Why a Specialized Master's?

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Specialized Master's programs are on the rise, offering candidates extensive training in a particular field.

More schools around the world are offering a wider variety of master's programs and accepting the GMAT® exam for them. Unlike an MBA, most Specialized Master's programs let students matriculate directly from their undergraduate degree program. Prior work experience generally is not required. 

In many cases, Specialized Master’s programs are designed to respond to current market needs, such as degree programs in Entrepreneurship and the Master of Science in Data Analytics, a relatively new degree program that was created to fill growing industry and organizational needs for individuals who can manage the “big data.” 

Advantages

  • Starting salaries are higher than those offered to individuals with only undergraduate degrees, and some specializations, such as finance, may lead to salaries that are competitive with those earned by MBA candidates.
  • Part-time and full-time programs are available and can take between 6 and 24 months to complete.
  • A growing number of programs are being offered partially or fully online.
  • Coursework typically is isolated to a particular area of study; these programs are ideal for students who would like to develop a specialty in one area.
  • The Graduate Management Admission Council® (GMAC®) Corporate Recruiters Survey1shows that demand is increasing for Specialized Master’s degrees.

Challenges

  • A Specialized Master’s degree does not provide the broader, generalized approach to management that comes with an MBA.
  • In the competitive world of finance, some employers may not recognize the Specialized Master of Finance degree in the same way that they do the MBA.
  • Focusing on one functional area or skill set may limit one’s ability to create and innovate in the broader business environment.

1 GMAC Corporate Recruiters Survey, 2013