Should I get a Project Management Master’s or MBA?

Whether seeking to increase marketability to employers, or yearly salary, earning a master’s degree or an MBA in project management is the perfect choice for aspiring project managers to stand out in today’s job market. The field of project management has become an essential component in virtually every industry of the 21st century business environment. As more and more companies use project-based methods to achieve their project’s objectives, earning a degree in Project Management will likely expand your career development opportunities. As a general rule, most employers prefer candidates who hold an advanced degree, such as a Master in Project Management or a Master of Business Administration in Project Management but how do you decide which degree to pursue between the two?

What is a Masters in Project Management ?

Students in this program will learn with the skill sets valued by most organizations and use problem-based learning while blending theory and practice. The curriculum focuses on teaching managing, leading and directing projects and teams and is typically customizable to match your personal interests and professional goals. A master degree in Project management will prepare students to implement and execute a strategy through incorporating coursework on organization, assessment, communication, budgeting, management of complex projects, problem-solving skills, and ethical decision-making. Additionally, you will very likely complete a real-world management or capstone project. The program particularly focuses on subjects such as:

  • Project Management Fundamentals
  • Project planning and budget management
  • Cost control, and resource management
  • Human relations and project teams
  • Team-building skills and communication
  • Organization theory in project management
  • Risk and Assessment Management

Interested in checking out some top-notch master’s in project management? Check out our ranking of the best online master’s in project management.

What is an MBA in Project Management?

A Project Management MBA will place a stronger focus on the business administration side of things and incorporates subjects such as administrative practices, risk management, managerial marketing, and organizational leadership. An MBA program will especially prepare students for functional management with a special emphasis on identifying and developing the best strategy to effectively accomplish tasks while becoming more efficient and maintain profitability. The curriculum is designed to bring concepts and knowledge in business through an analytical, decision-making process which focuses on solving practical problems. In addition to core business fundamentals, you will acquire a strong foundation in project planning, administrative control, strategic analysis, resource allocation, and performance measurement activities. While studying business models, you will acquire specialized knowledge in the following areas:

  • Strategic Marketing Management
  • Financial and Accounting Report Analysis
  • Leadership Skills for Management Behavior
  • Time, client, cost, and quality control management

Interested in checking out some top-notch project management MBAs? Check out our ranking of the best online project management MBAs.

What are the differences between an MBA and a Master in Project Management?

Both degree programs are an excellent option for preparing you for high-profile managerial and executive positions but how do they differ?

One of the obvious perks of an MBA is its reputation as one of the most commonly recognized type of business degree worldwide. Further, this type of degree program focuses on general area of business, while in contrast, a master in Project Management emphasis will be on a specific industry of business. For instance, marketing, banking, human resource, or hospitality management to name a few. In other words, management processes vary from industry to industry and different sectors call for specific skill sets so a good point of departure would be to look at your own career goals. Some traditional sectors such as business-related fields might be more suited for an MBA, whereas less hierarchical-oriented fields may benefit from the specific level of expertise that a master in Project Management has to offer.

Essentially, if you are sure of the field of study you want to specialize in, then a master in Project Management is for you. In contrast, if you want to study a broadest side of business, then the MBA program is probably best.

Career prospect and Salary with a degree in Project Management?

In the last decade, project management has emerged as one of the most prevailing and fast-growing new career and students with either degree will have the qualifications necessary to pursue positions in this field. Most managers work within the area of information technology, healthcare, infrastructure development, real-estate, logistics, or engineering. Although, in recent years, the field of green technologies has experienced substantial growth thus, creating a sizable increase of new project management positions everywhere in the world.

By 2020, the demand for project management professionals is expected to increase by 12 percent, which will create almost 6.2 million new jobs worldwide. Here are a few options for those with a degree in project management: Project manager, Project analyst, Project scheduler, Director of Operations, Quality assurance manager, and Project management consultant, to name a few. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports salaries ranging from $90,000-$135,000 annually, depending on your chosen field, location, and level of experience.

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