Is an MIM program worth the investment?
While the MBA has been the default graduate program for business education, Master’s in management (MIM) or named Master’s in Science in some universities have become popular over the past few years. In this article we want discuss what exactly is an MIM program, reasons for its popularity and prerequisites to enter a reputed MIM program.
What is an MIM?
An MIM can be defined as an early career degree – that prepares a student for entry level management position unlike an MBA. The MIM can have various names, such as a Master’s in Management, Master’s in Strategy, Master’s in Marketing and International Management or a Master’s in Analytics. A typical MIM program is structured with a few core management subjects taught in the first term. In the remaining two terms, the student has the option to choose from among several electives depending on the choice of specialization tracks in Finance, Marketing, General management and Strategy. Many programs include a Capstone Project providing an experiential learning edge – sometimes working to solve a problem with a specific company. On the other hand, a specialized program say Master’s in Finance would focus on many specialized areas of finance such as corporate finance, models of securities valuation, and structures and processes of specialized financial institutions such as Investment banking and Private Equity.
MBA vs MIM
Research into European MIMs by the Graduate Management Admission Council has found that the average age of a MIM student is 22.7 years. When GMAC asked students what they hoped to get from their MIM, the top three answers were “general business knowledge,” “leadership skills,” and “management skills.” While most business schools in USA and Europe requires 3-5 years of work experience post their Bachelor’s for MBA, MIM programs are open to fresh graduates. Further, a 2 year MBA program in USA would cost about US$ 150,000, and the same for an MIM would be about US$ 50000 - 70000. The fees for a reputed business school in Europe will be €70000 for a 15 months’ fulltime MBA and €39000 for a 12 months’ fulltime MIM. The relative advantage over MBA by way of lower cost and no prerequisite of prior work experience have been the factors that contributed to popularity of MIM, and is today considered more popular form of management education in Europe over MBA.
Admission and Prerequisites
What then does it take to pursue an MIM? First, one should have completed Bachelor’s studies. It is not necessary that a student has a background in business studies. As per available statistics, while majority of the MIM students have completed some form of business studies but some of the highly reputed schools such as HEC Paris, had only about 30% of students come from business background. Hence while some business schools might prefer students with business background, this clearly is not a prerequisite. While it is not unusual for students with 1-2 years’ work experience to apply for the program, MIM do not have a prerequisite of minimum work experience, This can also partly meet the requirements of those of you who are seeking to pursue MBA without work experience in Canada or MBA without work experience in USA.
There also is a concern expressed by many students if GMAT is required for MIM in Canada or other countries. There are many business schools in North America and Europe which do not insist on GMAT score. However, most of the premier business schools even in Europe expect the students to have high GMAT score upward of 650. This becomes especially critical for specialized Masters in Finance and Analytics that expects high levels of quantitative skills.
Hence a high GPA in one’s Bachelor’s and GMAT score of 700 and above would open doors to many distinguished business schools worldwide. While this can be challenging for many students to score high on GMAT in the first attempt – we would recommend you take the test at-least one more time as there is no restriction on how many times you take the GMAT. This gives an opportunity to improve on the first score with better preparation and precise feedback of your coach.
The application process for MIM will include preparation for GMAT, obtaining the appropriate recommendation letters, SOP and a well-structured resume. While no prior work experience is required, one should aim to have some significant stint of internship. Internship undertaken in one’s area of interest and clearly articulated future career plans in similar work areas can give a candidate an edge in weaving a congruent and credible unique story for admission committee. One of the important things a business school is looking at, is diversity in the class. That means, all other things being equal, the candidate with his unique story and profile will have a greater chance for acceptance. To achieve a good GMAT score and complete all documentation for application including your SOP and sometimes many short essays require considerable amount of time and efforts. Our advice therefore has always been to start early with this process of preparation – as a late start might compromise the quality of your application and therefore admission prospects in your dream school.
Placement performance naturally has a significant weightage in ranking of a graduate business program. While not at par with MBA compensation, MIM graduates compensation is higher than those of other graduates. Based on reported figures for 2021 batch, 99% of MIM graduates of HEC Paris (ranked number 1 MIM program* in the world as per FT), were employed within three months, with starting salaries that averaged €66,000. Considering that the school takes in 250 students in a batch this is impressive. Those numbers look even more attractive given that three years after graduation, their earning on an average was €107,000. The performance of HEC Paris can very well be taken as a good benchmark for all notable business schools in Europe. While the fees and total cost of an MIM program is higher in USA, it is matched by overall higher compensation levels for graduates in USA than those in Europe. Further, to aid foreign students find a suitable job and possible visa sponsorship, many business schools have begun offering STEM designated MIM programs with 2 years extended OPT.
Therefore, for those of you not fitting into the prerequisites for an MBA, MIM can provide a good and viable option to pursue business studies in esteemed business schools of your choice – giving your career an excellent head start.
Santanu Choudhury is Founder and Director of Lesli India Education (P) Ltd., and is an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur and IIM Ahmedabad.
*Many of the highly reputed schools such as LBS, INSEAD in Europe and most of the top Ivy Leagues in USA did not participate in the survey.