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MIM vs. MBA: What's the Difference?

A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at AIU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.

Those interested in pursuing a postgraduate degree in management may be weighing the benefits of a MIM vs. an MBA. Although both are master’s degrees in general business management, they are distinct degrees that might appeal to different individuals for different reasons. Generally, those who choose to pursue a master’s in management vs. an MBA have less work experience compared to those who pursue an MBA. That said, even those who have considered earning a MIM vs. an MBA and opted to pursue the former may choose to return to business school later on and earn their MBA as well.

Even though both are advanced general management degrees, are there differences between a master’s in management vs. an MBA? And what are the reasons someone might choose a master’s in business management vs. an MBA?


A master’s in management (MIM) is generally conferred as a Master of Science (MS) degree, while an MBA is its own type of master’s degree in general business. Those comparing an MS in management vs. an MBA will find that the graduate courses offered by both programs focus on business management-related topics.

As you weigh the pros and cons of earning a master’s in business management vs. an MBA, which degree you ultimately choose could be influenced by your level of professional experience. Typically, those enrolled in executive MBA programs have the most work experience (63 percent have 10 years of experience or more, and 25 percent have between 6 and 10 years); those enrolled in MBA programs have several years of work experience (32 percent have between 3 and 6 years of experience, while 22 percent have fewer than 3 years); and those in MIM programs have little to no work experience (36 percent have none, and 51 percent have fewer than 3 years of experience).1

If you’re wondering whether you need to major in business as an undergrad in order to pursue a master’s in business management, the answer is, no, you don’t. One commonality you’ll find while weighing an MS in management vs. MBA is that applicants to these programs generally do not need to possess a bachelor’s in business or closely related field.2,3

AIU’s 1-Year MBA Program

While one potential advantage of a MIM vs. an MBA in the eyes of some could be that a master’s in business management program can be completed in about a year—less than the amount of time required for many full-time and part-time MBA programs4—AIU’s online master’s in business administration program can be completed in 1 year or less, which might make earning your MBA seem more within reach. Further, although the average MBA student has typically been working for several years,1 professional experience is not a barrier to acceptance in AIU’s online business admin program.

AIU’s MBA in Management offers courses in a number of topics related to general business management, with a curriculum that is designed to help students develop their management and leadership skills. In this program, students take the core courses required of all AIU MBA candidates, and can select a number of elective classes focused on strategy, leadership, ethics, and more.

Interested in learning more? Explore AIU’s online MBA program offerings.

1. Graduate Management Admission Council, “Work Experience of Applicants by Program Type,” in Application Trends Survey Report 2018, PDF file, available at (visited November 26, 2019).
2. Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), “Do I Need an Undergraduate Business Degree to Get My MBA?,” Best Business Schools Blog, available at (visited December 6, 2019).
3. Association des États Généraux des Étudiants de l'Europe (AEGEE), “An Alternative to the MBA? Masters in Management (MIM) Can Be Studied by Graduates from All Disciplines and Without Work Experience,” available at (visited December 6, 2019).
4. Ilana Kowarski, “How a Master's in Management Compares to an MBA,” US News and World Report, available at (visited September 6, 2019).

AIU cannot guarantee employment, salary, or career advancement. Not all programs are available to residents of all states.
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