Master in Management: Shaping Future Leaders | Top Universities

Master in Management: Shaping Future Leaders

By Laura Bridgestock

Updated March 5, 2016 Updated March 5, 2016

This article is sponsored by IE Business School. Find out about IE's Master in Management program >

While most people don’t discover their management potential until several years after completing their undergraduate degree, there are a number of ambitious graduates who leave college already knowing they want to be in a business leadership role.

“For this set of students, it helps if somebody can shape how their career should take off... This is the kind of profile that would be best suited for a Master in Management (MIM)”, states Kiron Ravindran, the Associate Dean for IE Business School’s MIM program.

But how do you know if fit the profile of the ideal MIM candidate? And how will a MIM prepare you for a business leadership position? Read on to learn more.

Master in Management vs. MBA: Student Profiles

If you are deciding between a Master in Management and an early MBA, one of things you need to look at is your age and work experience. One of the biggest differences between MBA and Master in Management students is age – most MIM students are younger than the average MBA student. At IE, for example, the average MBA student is 29, but the average MIM student is 23.

The average IE MBA candidate has five years of work experience, while the average IE Master in Management student has less than two years of experience. In terms of career plans, the ideal MIM candidate is more open-minded about the next five years. While s/he is ambitious and has a general idea of what s/he wants to do, s/he isn’t fixated on one particular career path.

Professor Ravindran also points out that the student body for IE’s Master in Management program is more diverse than their MBA intake. “We have more women in class. We have a broader range of undergraduate majors. It’s a broader segment that chooses to do a MIM.”

According to IE’s Master in Management Placement Report 2012, 42% of the 2012 class was female. While the majority of students had undergraduate degrees in business (48%), the 2012 class also included majors in: economics, law, engineering, science, social science and the humanities.

Master in Management vs. MBA: Career Exploration

Compared to an MBA, a Master in Management program provides students with more guidance in terms of the coursework that should be completed in order to prepare for certain career paths. In an MBA program, career exploration is managed primarily by the student, since s/he chooses the electives.

For a student with less than two years of work experience, however, choosing from a menu of more than 100 course options can be a daunting task. Professor Ravindran explains: “For MIM students, if I offer them a set of electives and one elective is called Management Control, it might not mean much to somebody who’s never worked in a company before. So, considering the less experienced student profiles it is more effective to give them some channels to consider.”

At IE’s Master in Management program, these channels include a more structured set of specializations instead of a large menu of electives. Course leaders guide students on what makes an ideal job candidate for their chosen industry, and give expert advice on coursework and career paths.

Master in Management faculty members also help students to start thinking about the types of jobs they will have several years after graduation, as opposed to just in the immediate future. According to Professor Ravindran, “When I speak to my MBA students, I tend to think of them as people who are going to take their leadership position – managing large teams or thinking about strategic issues – a couple of years down the line, whereas my MIM students are possibly going to do that a little later.”

In order to prepare students for those leadership roles, the Master in Management program tends to be more hands-on in terms of technical skills. For example, students may work on the technical tools that can be used to support senior managers when making long-term decisions.

Like their MBA counterparts, IE’s MIM students get several opportunities to network with industry leaders. For example, this year’s MIM students will visit Shanghai and Silicon Valley. These trips will give them an opportunity to see for themselves what makes innovative companies tick. In the Silicon Valley, for instance, they will talk to innovation leaders like Google, Oracle and Intel. These hands-on experiences are another prompt for students to envision the opportunities available to them.

Master in Management Jobs

Since career preparation is one of the main goals of a Master in Management program, it’s important to know about the types of jobs available to graduates, as well as how employers perceive MIM graduates. Most Master in Management students start in entry-level roles. For example, a MIM graduate who works in consulting will probably work as an analyst after graduation, instead of starting in an associate role.

At IE Business School, 93% of 2012 MIM graduates were hired within three months of graduation. These graduates work in a variety of industries, including consumer goods (31%), consulting (23%) and financial services (13%). In terms of job role, the majority of IE’s MIM graduates work in marketing (44%), consulting (23%), and finance/accounting (19%).

While more employers hire MBA graduates, employer demand for Masters in Management graduates is on the rise. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council’s Year-End Poll of Employers, 43% of the 201 employers surveyed plan to hire Master in Management candidates in 2013 – a 10% increase compared to the previous year. Of those employers, 19% said they would be likely to hire more Master in Management candidates this year.

One of the selling points for MIM students is that their relative freshness can make them easier to train. Based on his conversations with IE’s Career Management group and other schools, Professor Ravindran has found that, “A certain set of companies tend to think of the MIM as more amenable to being assimilated into their corporate culture. [MIM graduates] come with less institutional memory.”

So for recent graduates who know they want to become business leaders, a Master in Management degree can be a way to start achieving goals more quickly. In order to know if the degree is right for you, consider how soon you want to get started in a management role, and how open you are in terms of specialization and career path.

Find out more about IE’s Master in Management program >

This article was originally published in April 2013 . It was last updated in March 2016

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