Need to know

Not to be mistaken with MBA courses, business masters programmes are geared toward those without any work experience or academic background in this subject. In most cases, they lead to a Master of Science (MSc). The information provided here is only relevant to MSc programmes.

The most common mistake among prospective MSc business students is to consider an MSc as an alternative to an MBA. It’s genuinely not. Failing to recognise the differences between these two qualifications might lead to disappointment when you study an MSc course. Many MBA programmes require only two or three years’ professional experience, meaning once you start working, it won’t take too long until you’re a qualified candidate. They also provide a full range of business skills which prepare you for management careers. So is it worth studying for an MSc in business?

An MSc has many distinctive values. It might be the case that an MSc suits your business experience and career direction better.

Firstly, an MSc allows a lot of flexibility for students to shape the course to match their career interests. If you aspire for a management role or plan to switch to a business career, but have a first degree in another subject, you should opt for an MSc rather than waiting to do an MBA. An MBS requires you to reflect and build on your business experience. In contrast, an MSc introduces you to the core knowledge areas of business, preparing you to enter and operate effectively in the business world. You will find the content of MSc courses very general, although the majority of them enable students to pick one or two specialisations. This is not a disadvantage, as it ensures that you gain the expertise in individual business disciplines without limiting your employment options. 

Secondly, despite being generalist, MSc programmes are good for getting a solid foundation in one specific business area within a short period of time. This is not something that you can get from doing an MBA, which is more about professional development. It therefore suits those who are determined to progress in one specific profession. Typical specialisations of MSc programmes include law, project management, entrepreneurship, marketing, corporate reputation management, real estate or shipping.

Thirdly, MSc programmes are open to experienced professionals and newcomers alike. In MBA programmes, most of your classmates will be in their 30s and already have established careers. In contrast, as an MSc student, you will study with a cohort of young professionals with less professional experience and open to a wide range of career paths. This is a great learning opportunity.

Why should I study business at postgraduate level?

The often repeated words of wisdom are that a master’s degree will increase your employability. Moreover, because the majority of jobs are a “business” of some sort, many believe that business degrees are versatile.

In fact, according to Higher Education Statistics Agency, a total of nearly 68,000 students enrolled in business postgraduate courses in the UK in 2013, making it the most popular subject at postgraduate level. This stat indicates that postgraduate qualification itself doesn’t really make you stand out from the crowd.

An MSc, however, could be the stepping-stone to a high-status career if you fully understand the opportunities available to you.

Firstly, the focus on developing transferrable skills in business master’s courses is probably stronger than in any other degree. Business students are offered the best environment to gain desirable graduate skills such as problem solving, project management, strategic planning, commercial awareness, negotiation and teamwork. Therefore, they are very well prepared academically and professionally for the workplace.

Secondly, as mentioned above, the curriculum of an MSc is relatively flexible, giving you plenty of time to enrich your CV with extra-curriculum activities, work experience and other hobbies. It is the diversity of experiences that differentiates you from other MSc holders.

Finally, attending business graduate school means far more than dedicating one or two years to this subject. If your end-goal is not earning a PhD but a straightforward corporate career, you can use this time to effectively network and secure employment opportunities after graduation.

Does it make sense to study business abroad?

You might be surprised that only 12% of students at UK business graduate schools are Brits. In addition, the majority of business master’s programmes in the UK have the word “international” in their titles. This means that you don’t really need to go abroad to get an international experience and curriculum as a master business student.

Despite this reality, we firmly believe that you will significantly benefit from studying business abroad in many ways.

Relocating to pursue postgraduate study is strong evidence of adaptability and commitment. It’s indeed challenging yet exciting to study and live in a foreign environment. Therefore, a master’s degree can be a worthy investment to add character to your CV.

Moreover, doing business in an international environment requires good understanding of cultural, social, political and legal differences. Studying in a foreign country for one or two years enables you to fully immerse in and understand its culture and society. This will definitely give You the competitive edge when applying to the positions that require regional knowledge.

Example of postgraduate opportunities in business

The Netherlands

MSc in Business Administration, University of Groningen

MSc in Business Analytics,Tilburg University

MSc (Research) Economics and Business, Groningen University

MSc in International Business, HAN University of Applied Sciences

MSc in International Business Tax Economics, Tilburg University

MSc in International Business and Management, University of Groningen

MSc in International Economics and Business,University of Groningen

Master (research) Business, Tilburg University


Master in Economics and Business, Sciences Po


Master in International Management, Bocconi University

Master in Marketing Management, Bocconi University

Master in Management,Bocconi University

Czech Republic

MSc in International Management, Prague University

What grades do I need to get in?

The ideal candidate would hold a bachelor’s degree, first or second class.

At postgraduate level, you should also expect to submit your CV and attend admission interview with the faculty.