MBA or specialized master’s? How to find the graduate degree that’s right for you

Fairfax Campus

You’re ready for a master’s degree in business. You’ve been researching programs and schools. But how do you decide which degree to pursue? Any business master’s degree will provide you with advanced skills and higher earning potential, but the type of program can be very different.

A Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) degree is well-known and respected by the business community, and an MBA can open doors beyond just one industry. If you’ve been working for two or more years and are looking to get promoted into a leadership role or shift careers entirely, an MBA is your best choice. While enrolled in the MBA program at George Mason University, you’ll learn business concepts that can be applied across all fields. In addition, you’ll have opportunities to network with classmates and business professionals from all industries, which will widen your network and increase your career opportunities in the future.

Specialized master’s degrees are also highly regarded in business, but the key difference is that while the MBA touches on all aspects of business, a specialized master’s focuses on one or a few. You should choose a specialized master’s if you know what industry you want work in or if career of choice has a credential attached, like the CPA or CFA. The make-up of your classmates will range from recent graduates looking for their first position to seasoned professionals working in a specific industry. This diversity of thoughts and backgrounds creates an enriching experience and means making network connections within your chosen industry is even easier.

George Mason University’s School of Business, conveniently located in the Washington, D.C., metro area, currently offers an MBA program and specialized master’s in Accounting, Business Analytics, Finance, Management, Real Estate Development, and Technology Management. Learn more about Mason's business master's degree programs here.