Finding the Right Business Master’s Degree

Finding the Right Business Master’s Degree

Business Degrees Rule in the Online Master’s Degree Market

Hundreds of thousands of undergraduates study and graduate from business fields in the U.S. every year. Many find that their career ambitions are best served by completing master’s degrees. But, which business field is the right one?

In this article, we present:

  1. basic data on the current size of business master’s degree markets to provide context for prospective students interested in getting their master’s degree, and
  2. research results on student motivations for pursuing a business master’s degree.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) collects degree information annually from all of the accredited colleges and universities in the U.S. The 2016 data from the NCES shows that business disciplines continue to be among the most popular for student seeking master’s degrees. Which of these business master’s degrees grants the most degrees?

The chart above shows the percent of business master’s degrees awarded by field in 2016.

The Business Administration and Management discipline awards the most master’s degrees by far – this is the Master of Business Administration (MBA) category.  The MBA is still the degree of choice for the vast majority of business students interested in graduate education. Accounting awards the next largest number of master’s degrees, followed by Finance, Human Resources Management, and Organizational Leadership.

Student Motivations

Prospective business master’s students start considering a master’s degree, on average, two years before applying to a program, according to the GMAC 2017 Prospective Student Survey.  They select their short list of schools about a year before actually applying to master’s programs.

Why do students decide to get a master’s degree?

  • Enhance their current career
  • Pursue a different career
  • Better manage their own business

Cost is their biggest reservation about returning for the master’s degree

The top three concerns identified in the research include:

  • The cost of getting the degree; finding ways to finance this includes looking at employer-sponsorship, scholarships, grants & fellowships – ultimately, they say they’ll go to the school that offers the best financial package
  • The time and energy business school requires
  • How pursing the degree will affect their personal relationships and personal plans

The proportion of students that say they are interested in a non-MBA business degree has increased over the past five years; this is likely driven by growth in degree options like Master of Analytics and Master of Entrepreneurship programs. Click here for more details on Master of Analytics programs.

What are the key decisions to make along the way when you decide what type of degree to get?

In the GMAC 2016 Prospective Students Survey Report, prospective students whose first choice was the MBA also considered Master of Finance and Master of Management degrees.  Among those whose first choice was Master of Management, they also considered Master of Global Management, Master of Finance, and the One Year MBA.

Here are some of the other disciplines that students tended to consider together:

  • Master of Accounting prospects also considered Master of Finance and Master of Taxation
  • Master of Finance prospects also considered Master of Accounting and Master of Management
  • Master of Marketing prospects also considered Master of Global Management, Master of
    Management, Master of Entrepreneurship
  • Master of Supply Chain Management prospects also considered Master of Global Management
    and Master of Management

Online Degree Database is Your Best Source for Research

While there are many different resources available to you as you work your way through all of the decisions necessary to find the best business master’s program, until recently, there was no place to go for complete and objective information about available online business master’s degree programs.

The Online Degree Database gathers the details of all the most popular online master’s degree programs in the United States so you can search by the exact criteria that’s right for you.  You can select programs by Degree Type, Total Tuition, Professional Accreditation, Admissions Requirements, Location and more. Then you can get a free report that lists the institutions that offer the programs that meet your criteria. This free report also provides an active link to the program website so you can do more detailed research on your own.

If you are still trying to decide what type of business master’s degree is right for you, use our Interactive Tool to create various scenarios by type of degree, and  generate your free reports on the key characteristics of these programs to help get you started!

Getting your master’s degree is expensive, in terms of cost, time, and effort.  Let the Online Degree Database help you be sure you choose the best program possible.

Universities, work with the Online Degree Database directly to access unique and relevant intelligence about the online degree market. Contact Michelle at for more information.

Search our available programs and get your free reports today!


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