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Some readers may not be familiar with the Master of Science in Management (MSM/MiM) degree, and that’s okay – not many in the US are. It’s a common degree in Europe, but colleges have only recently begun offering the MSM as an option in order to overcome a pretty significant shortcoming in the traditional MBA: almost all MBA programs require students to have at least a couple of years of professional work experience, but that can be hard to come by these days in a contracted job market. Plus, with more and more working adults returning to school to improve their education, prospective students with one or two years of experience are often competing against candidates with 5, 10, or more; just look at some programs’ stats on average work experience, and you’ll see how competitive it can be.
Finding the Best Master’s in Management Programs
The MSM/MiM is designed as an alternative business program for students who have little or no work experience, but who still feel strongly enough about their career path that they want to go straight into a business graduate program from undergrad. It also works for students who want a high level business degree but don’t have a business bachelor’s degree (and thus aren’t eligible for most MBAs). While these management degrees can often be completed online, there are still significant benefits to choosing a more traditional residential management program. In particular, the connections with classmates, networking with the college’s business partners, and the mentorship of a face-to-face program make a big difference on the job market. If those things sound helpful to you, an on-campus program is probably to your advantage.
Methodology: Ranking the Top Master’s Business Management Degree Programs
With a degree that’s still coming into its own, it’s important to know that you’re getting it from a recognized, reputable source, because the last thing you want is employers throwing your resume out because it has a shady-sounding name in the “Education” category. The universities on the Value Colleges Best Value MSM list are all regionally accredited; the business schools are accredited by the IACBE or AACSB, the standards for business accreditation.
Besides those basic requirements (to get into the running in the first place), we consider three factors in ranking:
- Cost (IPEDS data)
- Reputation (College Consensus aggregate score)
- Average Alumni Salary (College Scorecard data)
These are the universities that have found the right balance between reputation, quality, and cost to give students a high return on investment and a proven advantage on the job market. With these factors taken into account, we formulate the final list, an authoritative ranking of the programs that will give you the best Master of Science in Management for your money, making these 25 colleges and universities the best value in their category.
Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller College of Business
Georgia Tech’s MS in Management comes from their world-renowned Scheller College of Business. With their location in Atlanta, GA – the South’s most innovative city – Georgia Tech’s business school has been a leader in managing a transition from an industrial economy to an information economy. Their mission is to teach students to blend innovation, skill, and hard work to solve real problems to improve people’s lives around the world.
Georgia Tech’s Master’s in management is a program for non-business major students who want to increase their managerial skills, but not take MBA program. This is a purposefully tailored curriculum at the masters level satisfying the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) requirements about a common body of knowledge. The student along with an advisor selects a pertinent concentration of elective courses. This program is geared towards students in the foreign education programs.
University of Virginia - McIntire School of Commerce
The University of Virginia’s Master’s in Commerce gives non-business majors an entry into the influential McIntire School of Commerce. This is a full time degree that takes 10 months to complete. It is less traditional than a typical masters business management degree and requires little to no prior work experience. UVA’s MS in Commerce program is for candidates who have liberal arts, science, or engineering degrees; not those who have undergraduate degrees in business.
The UVA MS in Commerce programs gives students a strong foundation in business with specializations in business analytics, finance, or management. This program teaches students to work with diverse teams, become comfortable presenting to executives, and expand their global mindset. At the end of the program, students will have a three-week global immersion experience. The Commerce program focuses on case studies and team building and students develop solutions to actual business problems.
Texas A&M University - Mays School of Business
Texas A&M University’s MS in Business program is an 11-month program with a total of 36 credit hours and 17 courses for MS Business students only. Texas A&M’s program gives students a solid base in business basics, including communication and ethics, accounting and finance, information systems, leadership, and supply chain management. Offered through their Mays School of Business, the MS in Business is built for the modern business world and for Texas’ booming economy.
Texas A&M offers an integrated business experience to allow students to start a business, so they can learn how to handle business by actually doing it. Students select a product to create and sell. They must form a business team, create the business plan, find the funds to start the business, market and sell their product. They must also collect payment and pay expenses. Profits are donated to local charitable organizations. Students also have the opportunity to travel abroad to learn about business across the globe.
Lehigh University - College of Business & Economics
Lehigh University’s MS in Management allows students to add business to their existing degree in a non-business related field. Offered through their College of Business & Economics, the program starts with a two-week orientation to expose students to professionals leaders in the field and give background on the program. This program is specifically for those who have degrees in liberal arts, economics, or STEM fields.
The course of study concentrates on the aspects of business management, such as finance, statistics, accounting, and marketing. Lectures, case studies, and discussion are all tools used to bring together the concepts coupled with hands-on experience. The curriculum includes workshops in business center hubs such as New York City, Washington DC, and Philadelphia. Students will go on international business trips to interact with world leaders in business.
University of Michigan - Ross School of Business
University of Michigan is home to the Ross School of Business, which is one of the top ranked business schools in the US. The University of Michigan’s Master of Management for non-business majors takes about 10 months to complete. The curriculum is action based and is purposefully designed to gives students the upper hand when seeking employment. They focus on high impact leadership development and a dynamic program to complement the student’s current degree.
The intent of this degree program is to blend the skills learned in a non business undergrad program with rigorous study of all functional areas of business. The Ross’ Sanger Leadership Center gives action-based seminars, such as the Leadership Crisis Challenge, to build the character and skills necessary to achieve business results. Their goal is to provide a strong foundation to allow students to succeed in diverse industries, including consulting, technology, and manufacturing.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - College of Business
The University of Illinois MS in Management is offered through their College of Business at the main Urbana-Champaign flagship campus. This program provides students with business skills employers are looking for in potential employees. They want people who have a global view of business, are innovative, flexible and have a broad understanding of business. This course takes about one year to complete and requires a minimum of 34 credit hours. The classes typically start in June.
University of Illinois understands that students need passion, drive, flexibility, strong communication skills, and leadership qualities to success in business today. Their program provides a strong background in finance, accounting, marketing, and business operations to allows students to be successful at any job in any industry. Students blend problem solving, knowledge, and innovative thinking across broad areas. They learn the benefit to strong leadership skills and ethical decision making to gain a better appreciation problem solving, strategy creation, and sound decision making.
University of Florida - Hough Graduate School of Business
The University of Florida’s Master of Science in Management program is designed for students with non-business backgrounds and undergrad degrees who need to develop their managerial skills and business knowledge. UF’s Hough Graduate School of Business helps students receive business knowledge to strengthen their skills to provide more opportunities for advancement within their chosen career. This program takes about a year, is only available part time, and must be completed on campus.
This program allows for students who have little to no work, or business, experience to gain a foundation in business fundamentals. It provides a core business curriculum of 22 credits that can be tailored to blend with electives. There are people available as career coaches that are currently in the field that can provide a wealth of knowledge as to what is wanted by employers. The program is available to start during any semester. Existing UF undergrad students can begin working towards a MS in Management while completing undergrad or other graduate programs.
Indiana Wesleyan University - DeVoe School of Business
The DeVoe School of Business offers Indiana Wesleyan University’s MS in Management. Students in the Master of Science in Management (MSM) program gain an understanding of organizational management knowledge and skills. They learn to analyze the environment to create pertinent business plans and communication strategies. They begin to understand the need for ethical leading, planning, and organizing. Students create and develop their own management skills learn to guide their interactions within the business constructs.
The IWU MSM teaches students the value of continual growth. They learn to communicate effectively to achieve business goals. Students work with groups to provide support to each other and learn the value of networking. They learn the fundamentals of business and how businesses are structured. These classes can be taken online or meet in the evening, once a week. The program takes about 18-20 months to complete.
Michigan State University - Broad College of Business
Michigan State University’s MS in Management, Strategy, and Leadership brings the expertise of the Broad College of Business to students with a non-business educational background. This program is intended to blend management theories with applications to give students with the skills desired by employers. The program combines the Broad School’s commitment to excellence in management education with online accessibility. It is available online only and will take 20 to 24 months to complete. It can be started at the beginning of any semester.
The course work includes intense discussion and hands-on activities to hone leadership skills, decision making, and strategic planning. Students are challenged to think critically about solutions and create influential leadership skills. Students learn the fundamentals of human resource management, decision making, leadership, and team management.
Stevens Institute of Technology
Stevens Institute of Technology’s MS in Management can be done completely online in just about a year. This MIM degree allows those with little business experience to enhance their current skills with practical instruction. This provides them a foundation in leadership, innovation, economics and strategy and teaches them how to define their roles in industry. The Stevens Institute’s masters in management programs are interdisciplinary and collaborative.
The School of Business instructs students to approach the world trying to problem solve and be instruments of change on a global scale. Graduates of this program are able to start new jobs with no additional training because this degree program offers real world experience. They work with a real company to help resolve their day to day business problems. At the end of the program, they participate in a field consulting program to provide experience in a professional setting to ready them for management roles in any field they choose. Students create a network by meeting managers with whom they work closely.
University of Indiana at Bloomington - Kelley School of Business
University of Indiana at Bloomington’s online MS in Strategic Management comes from their Kelley School of Business. This course of study helps students develop a strong foundation in management knowledge an leadership. They learn problem solving techniques and hone their leadership skills with tools geared specifically to organizational growth. The course work teaches students the benefits to organizational development and how fostering an environment of change may be beneficial to success. Students learn in depth operations management skills, including strategic thinking. They learn the benefits of analysis and how it helps a business remain competitive.
Students in the UI Strategic Management program gain an understanding of innovation and technology and how those tools can help a manager be successful and encourage growth. Students are taught the importance of sound decision making in leadership, along with critical thinking and effective communication. For those wishing to become entrepreneurs, students develop an understanding of questioning that which seems logical and simple when it comes to marketing and opportunity.
Northeastern University - D’Amore-McKim School of Business
Northeastern University’s MS in International Management is the best opportunity for students who do not have a business bachelor’s to join the respected D’Amore-McKim School of Business. This full time program provides students the opportunity to study and live in two different countries. One term the student will study at D’Amore-McKim School of Business and the other term will be at a partner university in Italy, Mexico, or the US. The course includes a wide variety of topics including international trade and globalization of the world economy.
This programs teaches students to expand their networks by working with multicultural teams and learning about the complex fundamentals of international business. Students will be better able to compete on a global scale and gain a better understanding of cultural differences and how they impact business. Typically this course of study take 10-15 months to complete. At the end, students are ready for employment in various fields while utilizing their broader understanding of international business.
George Mason University - School of Business
George Mason University’s Masters in Management, from the School of Business, is for those who recently graduated with a degree in liberal arts, sciences, or engineering. This program gives students an understanding of the fundamentals of global business management. It is a full time program that takes 11 months to complete. Students receive practical knowledge in business to blend with the skills acquired during undergrad to create a well rounded background to use in any potential career path.
George Mason’s MS in Management prepares students for a career in management by providing a strong foundation in leadership and teamwork. Students also gain an understanding of analytics and decision making. They learn about business on a global scale and the social responsibility that comes with global interactions. They develop strong ethical knowledge and understand the importance of smart and fair leadership. GMU’s location in the Washington, DC suburbs also provides students with an ample job market for their skills.
University of Notre Dame - Mendoza College of Business
The University of Notre Dame’s MS in Management degree program offers a curriculum of coursework in small classes covering the topics of Marketing, Management, Finance, and accounting. Notre Dame’s Masters in Management programs are offered as a full-time program that is completed in eleven months. The Mendoza College of Business provides its graduates with a team of career service members to assist you in your career selection.
The University of Notre Dame was established in 1842 as a private Catholic university. Its 1,200-acre campus in Northern Indiana is home to nearly 13,000 students and is about four miles to Michigan’s state border. Notre Dame is consistently noted as a top university in the country, and the Mendoza College’s wide network of partners and alumni make it one of the strongest institutions in the nation for job placement.
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota - School of Business & Technology
The Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota MA in Management is designed to prepare graduates with refined interpersonal skills and analytical skills. Coursework includes Legal Issues, Ethics, Finance, Communication, and Project Management. SMU ’s Master’s in Management program requires the completion 30-credit program, which concludes with a capstone project. Additionally, attending Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota’s Master’s in Management will assist students in building a lifetime network of contacts for career advancement.
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is a private coeducational university with two main campuses. The Winona, MN, campus offers the undergraduate programs, while the Twin Cities campus is the primary facility for graduate and professional programs. SMOO also operates several smaller campuses in Minnesota and Wisconsin, in addition to the Jamaica and Kenya. Their outreach to working adults has made them an important force for professional education in the upper Midwest.
University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business
The University of Southern California’s Master’s in Management program is designed for those who have previously completed coursework that meets the requirements of the first year of a traditional two-year Master’s of Business Administration. Degree applicants have the opportunity to select from many specialized graduate-level programs. USC’s MIM degree MS in Management program offers classes as evening or day classes and as a full-time or part-time students.
The University of Southern California was established in 1880 and holds the distinction of the oldest California private research school, and both a sea-grant and a space-grant school. USC’s combined campuses include nearly 400-acres which is home to more than 45,000 students. The The Mendoza College of Business is one of the most trusted and influential business schools in the world, with extensive connections not only in the US, but across the Pacific Rim, providing students with not only the most current learning, but top-notch employment opportunities.
Penn State University - Smeal College of Business
Penn State University’s Master of Science in Management and Organizational Leadership (MSMOL) can be completed in as little as two semesters – less than one year. The Smeal College of Business’ accelerated MS in Management and Organizational Leadership is a direct adaptation of Penn State’s renowned MBA program, redesigned for students without a business background. These masters in management programs develop critical business elements such as Communication Skills, Business Fundamentals, and Essential Leadership skills.
Penn State University is a land-grant university established in 1855. It holds the distinction as a flagship, space-grant, sun-grant, land grant, and a sea-grant school set upon more than 7,300 college-town acres. The on-campus student body is more than 46,000 strong; however, Penn State’s student population across 20+ campuses and it’s World Campus currently near 100,000. These impressive numbers make Penn State one of the largest schools in the country, and an international leader in business education.
Pepperdine University - Graziadio School of Business and Management
Pepperdine University’s MS in Management and Leadership degree program can be completed in just sixteen months as it is offered as a part-time or full-time program and, as a distance learning option as well. US News & World Report has long recognized Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School Business and Management one of the top b-schools across the country. Pepperdine’s MS in Management and Leadership degree program concludes with a capstone leadership project that requires the real world consulting with a non-profit organization located near the school.
Pepperdine University was established in 1937 as a private research institute of higher learning. The school is affiliated with the Churches of Christ. Courses are offered at the main campus, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, as well as six graduate campuses in southern California and internationally in Italy, England, China, Germany, Argentina, and Switzerland.
Wake Forest University - School of Business
Wake Forest University’s Master’s in Management degree program is ranked by The Economist as the fourth best master of science in Management program in the United States. This 10-month MIM degree program offers small class environments with a faculty to student ratio of 10:1. Degree graduates are provided numerous opportunities to practice team-centric consulting projects. Eligible applicants must already be pursuing a non-business degree from another fully accredited institute of higher learning. Coursework includes Economics, Information Technology, Leadership, Organizational Behavior, Ethics, Accounting, and Business Analytics.
Wake Forest University was founded in 1834 as a research university with the school motto of “For Humanity.” Wake Forest’s suburban 340-acre campus is home to nearly 7,500 students. With the leadership of the School of Business, Wake Forest is one of the Carolinas’ leaders in professional education, and is widely cited as one of the elite “Southern Ivies” – private research institutions in the South that rival the Ivy League.
University of San Francisco - Masagung Graduate School of Management
Two University of San Francisco masters in management programs are available through their Masagung Graduate School of Management. Among the master’s business management degree programs offered, students can choose either an MS in Global Entrepreneurial Management (MSGEM) or a Master of Science in Organizational Development (MSOD), among six others. These MS in management programs offer graduates excellent Career Services and involvement in the school’s Graduate Student Affairs. The Financial Times ranks the MSGEM program among the top 50 in the world! The MSOD program is generally completed in 21 months.
The University of San Francisco was founded in 1855 and is a non-profit research school affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. US News & Report recognizes USF among top National Universities in 2020. Additionally, US News & Report ranked USF 6th among schools with the greatest ethnic diversity. The University of San Francisco is recognized as a ‘selective’ school with an acceptance rate of around 70%.
University of Texas at Dallas - Jindal School of Management
The Jindal School of Management offers several master’s in management degrees at the University of Texas at Dallas. The MS in International Management Sciences (MSIMS) covers coursework that includes Finance, Supply Chain Management, Organization Behavior, Information Management, and Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Students experience an international trip every semester. The MS in Management Science program is generally completed in 1.5 – 2 years. Degree candidates have the opportunity to select a concentration to match their career goals.
The University of Texas at Dallas was founded in 1969 as a public university. Downtown Dallas is about 18 miles south of UTD’s main campus. US News & World Report ranks, in 2020, the University of Texas at Dallas’ in their top tier of national universities. The Jindal School Management is the largest school within the University of Texas at Dallas system.
New Jersey Institute of Technology - Tuchman School of Management
The New Jersey Institute of Technology’s MS in Management, from the Martin Tuchman School of Management, offers an with integrated coursework that includes business fundamentals with cutting edge technical expertise. Coursework concentrations include Global Project Management, Business Analytics, Financial Tech, Web Systems, and Media. This MBM degree program is fast-tracked for business professionals on the move. The masters business management degree can be completed full-time in one year, or as a part-time student in two years. For students requiring flexibility in scheduling, the 15-credit core curriculum of the core work is available online.
The New Jersey Institute of Technology was established in 1881 and is considered a sea-grant public research school. Its 48-acre campus is about a half-hour from New York City by New Jersey rapid transit. Forbes has called NJIT the #1 upwardly mobile school for graduates.
DePaul University - Kellstadt Graduate School of Business
DePaul University’s MS in Management is designed for those seeking a career in the business realm but have non-business experience and backgrounds. The MIM degree required to graduate include 48 credit hours. The Kellstadt Graduate School of Business provided scholarships that exceeded $3 million dollars in 2020. Degree graduates complete 13 courses, which include Ethics, Leadership, Financial Accounting, Operations Management, Organizational Behavior, and Managing Human Capital, among others, and four electives.
DePaul University is a private Catholic institute of higher learning that was founded in 1898. The school operates from campuses in Lincoln Park, the downtown loop and one satellite campus. The nearly 24,000 students represent 60 countries and primarily commute to DePaul University. The Driehaus College of Business and the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business are nationally ranked and the 10th oldest business school in the country.
Fordham University - Gabelli School of Business
Fordham University’s MS in Management (MSM) that focuses upon innovation and global sustainability through the exploration of coursework that includes Leadership, Decision-making, Organizational Behavior, Business Analysis, Negotiations, and teamwork among others. This Master’s in Management program is essentially designed for recent non-business graduates who wish to gain the business knowledge necessary to successfully build their own business. Fordham’s MSM program prepares graduates to innovatively reach for today’s real-world business problems by applying responsible business practices.
Fordham University is a non-profit, private school founded by the Catholic Diocese of New York in 1841. Fordham University holds the distinction of being the third oldest institute of higher learning in New York and the oldest Catholic school in the Northeastern portion of the country. The school operates several campuses in the Bronx, Manhattan and nearby Westchester County in West Harrison, NY. The Gabelli School of Business is regularly cited as one of the best in the nation.
Saint Vincent College (PA) - McKenna School of Business, Economics, and Government
Saint Vincent College’s Masters Business Management in Operation Excellence (MSMOE) is a unique master’s in management degree program that defines the concept of management as an integral combination of Organizations, People and the Process. Degree graduates possess refined leveraging techniques and problem-solving skills and are ready to take over leadership positions within various disciplines and industries. This masters business management degree can be completed in the evenings, daytime or even online. Graduates often complete their degree coursework in a year.
Saint Vincent College is a liberal arts college affiliated with the Benedictine tradition that was established in 1846. It was the first Benedictine monastery in the US, founded by Bavarian mok Boniface Wimmer. The McKenna School of Business, Economics, and Government is one of the best-known b-schools in Pennsylvania, and has earned a national reputation for staying at the forefront of business education.
MS vs MBA: Which is Better?
Just having degree in business isn’t enough to really distinguish yourself on the job market anymore; a graduate degree is the new bachelor’s. The two most popular choices of business education are the MBA vs MSM degrees. They’re not that far apart, and in fact, many courses for the MBA vs MSM overlap; Master’s in Management students will find themselves in class with MBS students. Both degrees also provides advanced knowledge of business theory, practice, law, and other subjects. So in asking MS vs MBA, which is better? That’s where the differences come in.
MS stands for Masters in Science, providing a more concentrated approach or specialization of study – for instance, someone who is studying accounting would be more likely to seek out an MS vs MBA. However, the biggest difference is in who the degree is for. MS in Management programs generally require no work experience, while an MBA program usually expects at least 2-5 years of actual professional employment. An MBA usually also requires the GMAT for applicants, while MS programs may not. The MBA provides a broader business education, including economics and finance, while the MS in Management is more specifically focused on management, marketing, accounting, and information systems.
What are the Different Types of Management Degrees?
Your ultimate goal will determine the right choice for you from the many types of management degree. Master’s in Management degrees are fairly new to US students; many MIM degrees are more popular overseas. Business schools still aren’t entirely sure what to call these degrees, so the naming can still be confusing to American students – it’s not as standardized as the MBA. Master’s in Management programs might be called:
- Master’s in Management Studies (MMS degree)
- Master’s in Management (MIM degree)
- Master of Science in Management (MSM degree)
- Master in Business Management (MBM degree)
These are not different types of management degrees, but just different names for essentially the same degree. Whatever it’s called, a master’s in management will provide the student with myriad skills, such as leadership, organizational, and critical thinking.
Is a Master’s in Management a Good Choice for International Students?
The Master’s in Management had its start in Europe, and the MIM USA is a great choice for international students who want to thrive in American business. For international students, looking at sites that provide master of management in USA rankings will help in determining the right college or university as a prospective student. There are several colleges for international students looking for masters in management top universities.
The benefit of the MIM for international students is that an MIM, USA style, requires no business undergraduate degree; international students can bring whatever bachelor’s degree they may have earned in their home country. And international students can learn American approaches to business – including the different legal realm, organizational structure, and corporate culture – from the get-go. That way, the international student’s knowledge of business comes from an American perspective right away, without having to unlearn anything else. Master’s in Management in USA rankings can help international students find what MIM USA programs are right for them.
Recommended Online Master’s in Management Degree Programs
Aya Andrews is a passionate educator and mother of two, with a diverse background that has shaped her approach to teaching and learning. Born in Metro Manila, she now calls San Diego home and is proud to be a Filipino-American. Aya earned her Masters degree in Education from San Diego State University, where she focused on developing innovative teaching methods to engage and inspire students.
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