Young graduate considering a master's degree

How to decide between an MBA and specialized master’s program

A master’s degree can be the best way to jumpstart your career. But how do you choose between pursuing your MBA or a specialized master’s degree? The Warrington College of Business has great options for both.

As you consider your options, here’s what you need to know:

You want an MBA if…

You have a broader understanding of strategy, management and leadership

MBA students typically enroll in a program with a general understanding of strategy, management and leadership – but it doesn’t always come from a business background. Those areas have been developed during a student’s professional journey before the program.

Once they enroll, students receive a broader understanding of every facet of business. While students in the UF MBA Full-Time program can pick a concentration for their MBA experience, the curriculum is about the broad business world and sets them up for success after graduation because of their new depth of knowledge.

You have work experience

MBA programs rarely have students without work experience in them. The UF MBA program requires two years of work experience, and exceptions are very rare. Sometimes, students leave their jobs and enroll in an MBA program to help them pivot to a new career path. Other times, students enroll in an MBA program to accelerate their careers and make them more competitive for a promotion or a raise. But it’s important that students in an MBA program bring what they’ve learned from prior professional experiences into the classroom.

No matter the reason students enroll in an MBA program, it almost always comes after they get experience in a full-time job.

You want more experienced classmates

If you’re a few years or more out of college, the MBA experience can give you the business knowledge you’re seeking and also provide you with a network of likeminded peers in a similar stage of life.

Joining this group in the classroom means you’ll benefit from their years of experience, as your classes talk through business problems and search together for real-world solutions. You’ll learn how people with similar levels of experience have solved problems in their unique industry.

You are open to a longer experience if you don’t have a business background

For students with a business undergraduate degree in the last seven years, UF MBA offers one-year program options. But for non-business majors, you’ll benefit from two-year programs to ensure you gain the business background you missed as an undergraduate. You’ll also benefit as that baseline knowledge combines with the detailed knowledge you’ll gain as you get deeper into our programs.

Are you interested in taking the next step of your educational journey at the Warrington College of Business? Request information today about the UF MBA program or a specialized master’s degree.

You want a specialized master’s if…

You want a more specialized experience

The name gives it away. Specialized master’s students get a deep dive into the specific field they want to learn more about. Instead of the broader business education that an MBA student receives, specialized master’s curriculum is mostly focused on one field. It provides an in-depth look into the field, whether the student is switching career paths or just wants to become more of an expert in an area they already know.

At Warrington, that specialization is offered in entrepreneurship, finance, information systems and operations management, international business, management, marketing and real estate.

You want to break into a new industry

If you are stuck in a field or career that’s making you bored, a specialized master’s degree can be a perfect jumpstart to a new field and career. Specialized master’s programs can give you the full scope of information you need on an industry so that when you graduate, you’ll be ready to step into a new role with the foundation you need to succeed.

Some specialized master’s programs, including the programs at Warrington, offer career services that can even help you find the new career you’re looking for.

You are more open to a younger set of classmates

Specialized master’s classrooms tend to be made up of younger students. While MBA programs usually welcome students with work experience, specialized master’s students can be straight out of undergraduate schools or have minimal work experience. At Warrington, some undergraduate students even participate in combined degree programs that allow them to take graduate courses while still enrolled as undergraduate students.

For younger students, the specialized master’s experience can allow them to build a network of professionals from similar backgrounds and stages of life.

You are looking for a shorter experience

Most specialized master’s programs are only one year. This packs all of the information you need into 12 months and puts you back into the work force fully equipped for whatever field you choose to learn about. You’ll return to the work force happy to be in a job that you enjoy.