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MBA vs MIS abroad: Which is better

MBA vs MIS abroad: Which is better

MBA vs MIS : Studying abroad has evolved into a lucrative option for Indian youth looking to broaden their horizons, face challenges and enter the corporate world in today’s competitive job market. Masters courses are specifically in demand because they give you an edge over your peers when it comes to jobs and promotions while allowing you to gain insights and knowledge in various fields, which enables career growth. 

Two of the most coveted Masters degrees Management in recent times are MBA (Masters in Business Administration) and MIS (Management in Information Systems). While each degree has its specializations, applications, and benefits, it is essential to understand which of these is the best fit for you. In essence, you should pick the program that will help you achieve your goals and fulfill your ambitions.

MBA is an internationally-recognized degree designed to develop requisite skills, not only for careers in business and management but in pretty much any managerial role across sectors. Most MBA institutes have a standard ‘core’ general management curriculum (accounting, economics, marketing, operations, business administration, human resources, ethics, etc.) with various specializations available to students (through elective courses within their areas of interest and proficiency) – the general curriculum of this course does not vary widely except for nuances and techniques of teaching, particularly in specialized courses.

MIS, on the other hand, has a curriculum designed to prepare students for the challenging managerial roles in the world of computers, pertaining to design & analysis, execution, and operation. MIS would enable you to incorporate computers and information technology into cross-functional domains of management to support and improve business processes. This course is centred around organizations – it teaches you about using computer information systems and I.T. tools to drive digital transformation in today’s world, to improve the operations of the organization. 

  1. Broadly, an MIS degree is more focused on the analytical aspect of human/system interfaces – systems analysis, database development, information management.
  2. In contrast, the MBA focuses more on fields such as strategy, finance and general management. Business school programmes primarily focus on the business usages of technology (finance and marketing systems).
  3. Still, the MIS programmes give you an insight into the human context of both current and future technology. Depending on your prospective employer(s) and career goals, the highly specific knowledge that you can gain in an MIS program could be very desirable. It is important to note that since MIS programmes are recent offerings and aren’t generic STEM or Management degrees, the curriculum varies depending on the institute. 
  4. Keep in mind that if you don’t want an utterly technical course, but a management course with certain aspects of information management and technology, you could always look for MBA specializations such as Information Management, Information Technology, Strategy and Digitization.
  5. An MBA programme offers a holistic management profile that gives you skills for working your way up the corporate ladder and excelling in different career fields.
  6. In contrast, an MIS provides a more technical perspective that would make you more qualified for jobs in fields that involve core I.T. such as Analytics and Software.
  7. An MBA is a broader degree that allows you to keep your options open for a career change or growth in a direction different from your original career path.
  8. At the same time, an MIS is a narrow, focused specialization degree that can help accelerate your growth in the primary technical field that you choose. 

Below is a comparison of the profiles for these courses abroad (particularly the USA, because that’s where the MIS is most commonly offered:


Academic prerequisitesBachelor’s Degree (can be STEM, Business, Arts etc. – most institutes don’t place restrictions but may have their preferences in terms of candidate profiles)STEM Bachelor’s Degree is a definite prerequisite (preferably B.E. or B.Tech.), with certain programmes requiring an M.Sc. or M.Tech. degree
Work Experience Preferably two years or more – fresh graduates are rarely accepted2-5 years required, depending on the job profile and whether you have a postgraduate degree
Qualifying ExaminationsGMAT and GRE (most colleges accept GMAT or both) with TOEFL/IELTS English Proficiency Scores GRE with TOEFL/IELTS English Proficiency Scores 
Best Programmes – MBA and Master of Science in Information Management Systems (or equivalent) respectively Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania Harvard Business SchoolStanford Graduate School of BusinessLondon Business SchoolINSEAD EuropeSloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyUniversity of California Berkeley’s School of InformationHeinz College, Carnegie Mellon UniversityEller School of Management – University of ArizonaJ. Mack Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University
Tuition Fees$70,000 – $90,000 annually$55,000 – $80,000 annually 

MBA courses allow graduates to apply for a wide variety of jobs across sectors and industries, in various fields. MIS courses restrict them to the tech sector, but it is presumably that when you’re doing a tech-intensive course like MIS, you have an interest in the field and are looking to progress in it. 

While there is no way to decide which course is better in absolute terms, one might be a better fit for you than the other. Keeping that in mind, when you have to get down to pick, remember to take into account your current career, goals, aspirations and ambitions. Your postgraduate degree will contribute heavily to your future career and the rest of your life, so pick the programme and institute that appeals to you and your interests.

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