MBA Vs MiM | What’s The Difference?


Should you do an MBA or a Master in Management? Find out the similarities and differences between two of the world’s most popular graduate management degrees.

MBA or MiM? It’s a classic face-off for business school candidates. When it comes to knowing which program is for you, understanding the difference between an MBA and a Master in Management is key. 

Article by: Emmy Hawker, Business Because. The article is also available on Business Because

Hermina Kooyman is the enrollment and career services manager at Maastricht School of Management (MSM). The school offers both a one-year full-time MBA program and a MiM

Hermina explains that the MiM is better suited to younger students at the beginning of their careers.

With a total tuition fee of €16.000 (compared to €32.500 for the MBA), the MiM is the cheaper of the two programs on offer. 

MSM’s MBA is a more established program, with extra resources included in the cost, and Hermina explains it's targeting a more mid-management to senior level cohort looking to reinvigorate their careers and develop managerial expertise. 

How do you know which program is for you? Here are the key similarities and differences between the MBA and the MiM:

MiM vs MBA: The Similarities 

Both programs support the ideology of learning by doing. MSM’s extracurricular offerings extend across all programs, so you will have unrestricted access to a myriad of opportunities to make the most of your time at b-school. 

Every module on offer––whether that’s Finance, Managing Cultural Diversity or Entrepreneurship––can be paired with hands-on opportunities such as company visits, simulation games, real-time case studies to work on with your peers, or an expert-level guest lecturer who visits and shares their own experiences. 

The importance placed on having diverse faculty and student cohorts creates an international learning environment. Whether you’re on the MiM or MBA, graduates Wilsasinee Kongsom-od and Alsu Nurieva both agree that the privilege of having an international learning experience––meeting a diverse array of like-minded businesspeople and immersing themselves in a new culture––has bolstered the more theoretical and practical knowledge they gained on the MiM and MBA.  

Meeting people from different cultures and business backgrounds gave me more opportunities to learn about different cultures, ways of communication, and interpretation,” Wilsasinee says. 

MSM boasts an amazing blend of people from different parts of the world,” Alsu agrees. “I’m sure every single student grows as a person as much as they do as business professionals.” 

You would be encouraged to opt-in to the Career and Personal Development Track (CPDT) which runs workshops and events that aim to further prepare you for the job market. Through CPDT, existing MBA and MiM students can work on their career plan, as well as developing their self-awareness through workshops such as CV layout, interview techniques, social development, and some psychometric testing, to name but a few. 

MiM vs MBA: The Differences 

The MBA and the MiM are for different students at different stages of their careers. At MSM, the 2020 MiM cohort average two years of work experience between them compared to eight years for the MBA class.

Other differences at MSM come down to the learning dynamics in the classroom and the modules on offer.  

The MBA encourages learning from the peers around you, with members of faculty sitting in a more advisory role, compared to the teacher to student relationships forged on the MiM. If you walk into an MBA class, you will often be greeted by students debating a topic with the professor, sharing some of their own experiences on the topic and absorbing the perspectives of their classmates. This is possible thanks to their work experience before joining the full-time MBA. 

An additional advantage of the MBA is that it provides you with an opportunity to gain an in-depth knowledge in a specific domain or topic, through the specialization phase, which includes 6-8 different specialization topics. For example: Digital Economy, Healthcare Management, International Business & Sustainable Development, and Supply Chain Management. Ultimately, MBA students have a more packed schedule, with a wider array of modules on offer. 

For MBA alumna Alsu, stepping into a managerial role was her next career goal. She wanted to develop her skills in supply chain management. “For me, it was the right time to take a deeper dive into business studies to match the practical experience I already had,” she says. 

The MiM offers 13 modules covering the broader aspects of business. MiM students are able to work on their Personal Development Portfolio (PDP) throughout the year, and are given regular opportunities to take part in workshops focused on their personal and interpersonal skills. Hermina explains that MiM candidates should be looking to develop their core business skills to escalate career growth. 

The MiM students are given practical experience too, by conducting a group project for a company. Working alongside their peers, students solve an actual problem of a specific company in the region, and compete with other teams consisting of fellow students working on the same case for the same company. The project will be related to Sustainable Development or to the Digital Economy.

The lessons I learned during the company project helped me to practically understand things like the supply chain process, lead time, and inventory management,” says MiM alumna Wilsasinee. 

As an MiM student, you finish up your time on the program with a compulsory academic thesis, but it can include a practical element (for example, consulting experience). If you choose the MBA, however, you get to choose between three options and can therefore finish off the program catering to their strengths: an academic thesis, consulting project, or a complete business plan.

Which program should you choose?

Similarities and differences aside, everything links back to Hermina’s analogy.  

If you are like Alsu, with more work experience and a desire to plan out your future career path, you will want to enroll on the MBA program. If you’re like Wilsasinee––nearer the beginning of your career and wanting to cover all your bases––then the MiM makes more sense. 

Ultimately it comes down to where you are in your career. If you’re looking to move into more senior roles or even start your own business, then the MBA gives you the flexibility to do so. The MiM is ideal if you're a junior businessperson looking to bolster your chances of reaching the next rung in the career ladder. 

Regardless, as an MSM student, you will be given every opportunity to grow your own networks, work on your strengths and weaknesses, and propel your careers to the next level.