MSBA vs MBA – The Difference Explained. Which One is Better? 

Many young professionals find themselves at a loss for how to best advance their careers. After all, there are so many master’s programs out there that it’s easy to be trapped in analysis paralysis. This is especially true when you find yourself torn between a Master of Science in Business Analytics and a Master of Business Administration.

How do you decide which is right for you? Both have similar merits but ultimately have different outcomes. But what are those outcomes and which should you choose?

Well, that’s exactly what we’re going to explore today. We’ll discuss the difference between the two programs, the jobs you can expect post-graduation, and how you can decide which is right for you.

But first, let’s clearly define what MBAs and MSBAs are. 

What is an MBA? 

An MBA gives students an overall understanding of how business works. It provides a top-down understanding of business operations while developing the skills to take on leadership roles and navigate the problems that often face businesses. On average, MBA programs take at least two years to complete.

However, there are options for those looking to achieve more in less time through programs such as Quantic’s accelerated 14-month MBA program. 

What is an MSBA? 

Your average MSBA program is much shorter than an MBA at around one year to complete. It is similar to the MBA in that it focuses on business operations. However, MSBA students specifically learn analytics and data management skills to use data to drive business decisions. It is overall a blend of technical and professional development courses.

As such, this is an excellent program if you wish to strictly pursue data analytics. 

What is the Difference Between MSBA and MBA? 

Although these two programs are similar, let’s take a look at the core differences between MSBA and MBA programs: 

msba vs mba
  • Focus – An MBA focuses on overall business management – the ins and outs of everything the student needs to know how a business operates. The MSBA, on the other hand, focuses on how to collect and utilize data to make business decisions.
  • Time – As we’ve discussed, your typical MBA takes two years to complete whereas the MSBA takes one year. However, there are alternative programs such as Quantic’s MBA program that can bring an MBA down to roughly 14 months.
  • Soft Skills – In addition to the hard skills it takes to run a business, MBAs include soft skill development that we don’t see in MSBA programs such as problem-solving, teamwork, and general communication.
  • Options –   You have more options with MBA programs as they come in many types. You’re not limited to a single concentration or general overview. If you are more technically minded but still want a high-level understanding of business, check out an MBA program with a STEM concentration. 
  • Experience Requirements – Whereas almost anyone with the right education can pursue an MSBA, MBA programs often require applicants to possess at least 2 years of industry experience. 

Still confused? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. The MSBA vs MBA is a common debate on Reddit, and it’s worth checking out what people are saying about it before you make a decision that’s right for you. 

Job Comparison 

When it comes to jobs between the MSBA and MBA, the primary difference you find is that MBA graduates are often positioned to take up managerial positions in a company. MSBA jobs on the other hand primarily focus working on analyzing data to advise leadership. However, MSBA graduates, with the right experience, can expect to advance to senior positions within a company.

msba vs mba job comparison

Data AnalystData ScientistBusiness Intelligence AnalystSenior Data AnalystAnalytics Consultant Market Research Analyst Process Engineer 

Product ManagerProduct SpecialistInformation Technology ManagerHuman Resources ManagerFinance ManagerProject AnalystFinancial Analyst 

Salary Comparison 

According to Payscale, MBA and MSBA graduate salaries vary by an average of a little over $10,000. 

msba vs mba salary comparison
Average MSBA SalaryAverage MBA SalaryMedian Quantic MBA Salary
$73,197$88,783 $105,500

By contrast, Quantic’s 2022 MBA Alumni saw an average salary of over $105,500

quantic mba salary results

Is an MSBA Better Than an MBA? 

It is difficult to say which is better between MSBA and an MBA. In fact, you will find the answer depends on your unique career goals. MSBAs are focused and value data analytics over leadership. An MBA, on the other hand, is more flexible by providing students with a high-level business understanding with the additional potential to specialize with concentration options.

Who the MSBA is Better for

An MSBA is best for those who wish to focus on data and analytics. If you have a passion for data science over management, you’ll most likely prefer taking an MSBA to become a data specialist. This program is best suited for those looking to keep their head down while excelling at what they do best – data science. 

Who the MBA is better for 

On the other hand, if you wish to rise to be a leader in a company, you’ll want to pursue an MBA. Although MBAs offer concentrations to allow you to specialize in the management of a specific field, such as data science, they offer a more general understanding rather than strict technical skills. As such, this is the program for you if you’re looking for a flexible degree that will serve you across industries as the best degree for professional growth. 

Is a Master in Business Analytics Worth It? 

In short, yes. A master business analytics degree is absolutely worth it for those wishing to become data specialists. These programs provide students with an effective understanding of data utilization within a business.

However, if you’re looking for more than a data science and lead teams to achieve large-scale business goals, it’s the MBA you’ll want. In fact, you can pursue your MBA with Quantic for a unique and accelerated education to position you to become a leader in any industry of your choice. In fact, 94% of Quantic Alumni report they met their career goals post graduations thanks to the education they earned through our program. What’s more, they did so over 5 times faster than other MBA students who attended the top 10 business schools.

With Quantic, you will develop core business skills to maximize your career success, regardless of your chosen industry. All the while, you do so in an accelerated 14-month program of study specifically designed for the early-career professional with leadership aspirations. Plus, you experience this award-winning curriculum through interactive technology and collaborative group study in a structured, yet flexible format. 

So, if you’re ready to advance your career with a quantic leap forward, check out our admissions page today. 


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