What’s the Difference Between an MBA and Master of Management?

Weighing options for your academic and professional goals

With the rise of new specialized master’s programs, there are many more choices available today in graduate management education.

Two graduate degrees, the Master of Management (MM) and the Master of Business Administration (MBA), offer pathways to rewarding business careers, accelerated professional growth and developing essential leadership skills.

While both degrees share a focus on management and business principles, the student experience, curriculum, formats and application requirements can vary significantly.  

There are several key differences to keep in mind when deciding to pursue either an MM and an MBA:

Focus and Specialization

MM: The MM degree offers a broad understanding of management principles without specific emphasis on a particular functional area. It is a generalist degree, covering various aspects of business and providing a well-rounded foundation for early-career professionals.

MBA: Renowned for its versatility, the MBA allows students to specialize in areas such as finance, marketing, human resources, operations or entrepreneurship. With a greater focus on in-depth exploration of business disciplines and specific industries, an MBA caters to those seeking a more targeted and specialized skill set.

Work Experience Requirements

MM: The MM is a great option for those with internships or no work experience, early-career professionals or career-switchers.

MBA: Typically, many MBAs have several years of work experience prior to starting a program. This helps them better complete for MBA-level roles from senior positions to management and beyond which usually require years of work experience.

Length of Program

MM: Generally shorter in duration, MM programs typically span one to two years of full-time or part-time study, providing the skills necessary for a quick entry into the professional arena.

MBA: In general, MBA programs require a more extended time commitment, two years for full-time programs. Part-time, online or executive MBA options, designed for working professionals, may extend over a longer period.

Curriculum Emphasis

MM: The Master of Management curriculum focuses on foundational management principles, leadership and strategy, without delving deeply into specific functional areas.

MBA: MBA programs offer a core curriculum covering essential business disciplines. The MBA also offers elective courses, enabling students to specialize in their areas of interest and fostering a depth of knowledge in specific fields.

Career Paths

MM: Graduates with an MM degree are well prepared for entry-level or mid-level management positions across various industries. The degree is suitable for those seeking a broad understanding of business and management early in their careers.

MBA: MBA graduates are often regarded as potential leaders and executives. It is better suited for those aspiring to higher management positions, leadership roles or entrepreneurship. The MBA opens doors to a range of executive-level opportunities.

What’s the Best Fit for You?

Both the Master of Management and MBA provide a solid foundation in business and management. The choice between them depends on your career stage and aspirations. The MM is a more general management education option suitable for early-career professionals, while the MBA offers specialization and is often sought by those with significant work experience aiming for leadership roles.

The UC Davis Master of Management

UC Davis is the first University of California campus to offer a Master of Management. In as little as 9-months you can earn your MM and jumpstart your business career.

Our MM program is STEM-designated, preparing you with the technical, analytical and quantitative skills for leadership in fields that benefit from advanced knowledge in data analysis and complex problem-solving.

And, MM grads are in increasingly high demand by corporate recruiters. According to the 2003 GMAC Recruiters Survey Report, more than half of U.S. corporate recruiters plan to hire Master of Management graduates.

Why UC Davis Master of Management?

  • Options of 9-month in-person program or 15-month online program
  • STEM-designated
  • No work experience required
  • GMAT/GRE is optional
  • Bachelors in any major (required)
  • Exclusive preferred partner scholarships available

Take the next step toward your goals and meet with an admissions representative today.