So, you want to crunch numbers like a calculator, market like a maestro or study policy like a pro?

As it turns out, there’s a master’s degree for that – and it’s not an MBA. The Master of Science in Management (MSc (Mgt)), is a relatively new designation that originated in Europe. While traditionally, an MBA was the way to go if you wanted to get ahead in business, an MSc has become a viable option for recent undergraduates looking to begin their careers in business-related fields.

Here’s a closer look at some of the differences between an MBA and an MSc (Mgt):

Theory vs Practice
An MBA is a good choice if you’d like to develop and grow your management and leadership skills. The degree features a more practical curriculum than a specialized master’s program like the MSc (Mgt), with students conducting case studies and exploring solutions to real-world business problems.

Meanwhile, an MSc focuses on quantitative study in a specialized area, such as accounting or marketing, allowing students to deepen their theoretical understanding in one specific area – perfect for students who have a clear idea of where their interests lie.

At the University of Lethbridge, there are six business-related MSc programs offered: accounting, finance, international management, marketing, policy and strategy, and human resources management and labour relations. The research-intensive program provides students with the knowledge and hands-on experience to be able to conduct rigorous and scholarly investigation into business or management issues within their specialized major.

Student Profile
While both the MBA and the MSc appeal to those wanting to advance their education – and their careers – they do tend to attract slightly different participants.

If you’ve recently obtained your bachelor’s degree and have yet to spend significant time in the work world, or are looking for a career change, the MSc may be the perfect fit. The program is designed for students with an undergraduate degree in management, commerce or business, and previous work experience is not required for admission.

In comparison, most MBA programs require their students to have a few years’ work experience behind them and potentially some leadership experience as well. Students usually come from a diverse array of backgrounds.

Breadth vs Depth
If you’re looking for a broad understanding of multiple business-related topics, rather than a deep understanding of a few specific subject areas, an MBA may be the degree for you. That’s because a specialized master’s program like an MSc (Mgt) is structured for students who want to take a deep dive into a topic that most interests them alongside like-minded individuals.

Career Path

Another key differentiator between the two degrees is your post-degree goal. While an MBA can set you up for a management or leadership role, most people who obtain an MBA don’t go on to do a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) or a PhD.

However, an MSc is an excellent bridge to PhD studies, with a full half of graduates from some programs going on to do a doctorate. If a doctorate degree doesn’t interest you, students with a MSc often pursue careers where research skills and scholarly knowledge are valued.


The University of Lethbridge’s Calgary Campus provides evening and weekend blended undergraduate and graduate degree programs for working adults.  Learn more at www.ulethbridge.ca/calgary