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Masters in Economics or MBA?

SolomonmSolomonm Posts: 326Registered User Member
edited February 2013 in Business School - MBA
I'm currently a Junior at USC majoring in economics. USC has a progressive degree program where for 1 extra year (6 classes) you can earn your masters in economics.

I know that I definitely want to earn a graduate degree (a personal goal of mine). However, until recently I was unaware of this progressive degree program and just had my eyes set on earning an MBA. For the progressive degree program I have to formally apply this semester in order to be elligible so the decision is rapidly approaching for me.

If I don't get my masters I will most likely have to work 2-4 years then put my career on hold and go back to school for 2 years in order to earn the MBA versus just sticking around for 1 more year at USC.

So far the consensus I am getting is that the masters is the better choice. That it will make me very marketable and its worth it especially with the progressive program. Conversely I've heard that an MBA is viewed with higher esteem and the masters in economics is seen as more of a degree leaning towards academia.

As far as my career prospects. I'm planning on entering the fields of either investment banking or financial planning/wealth management.

To sum it all up I guess my question is which degree should I pursue, the masters or the MBA? Or should I get my masters, see where the road takes me and possibly get the MBA as well somewhere down the line?

Thanks ahead in advance guys

-Michael
Post edited by Solomonm on

Replies to: Masters in Economics or MBA?

  • Gordon_GekkoGordon_Gekko Posts: 352Registered User Member
    In the long run the MBA may be more beneficial. What business schools are you considering for the MBA?
  • derivativexderivativex Posts: 16Registered User New Member
    In all honesty a masters in economics is useless. A PhD can get you a university job or consulting job, but rarely does it get you into WallStreet. An MBA overall is useless as well IMO if you are doing it solely for the academic enrichment because everything you learn in business school you can learn outside of school. That doesn't mean getting an MBA from a good school won't help you get into a good job though. I would choose an MBA over a grad. econ degree.
  • SolomonmSolomonm Posts: 326Registered User Member
    The masters will be from USC while for the MBA I am primarily looking at UCLA since the in-state tuition is appealing as well as the fact that it's decently ranked
  • giants92giants92 Posts: 1,338Registered User Senior Member
    derivative is right. A masters in economics is really not of much help. If you want to go into business, study business. Use your undergrad economics degree as leverage to get you into the industry after college, but if you want your career to be business, an MBA will be the way to go. Of course, if you enjoy economics and simply want to study it, by all means, do an MA in econ as well (if you have the funds for two degrees). But if you had to pick one, you definitely want to do the MBA.
  • gellinogellino Posts: 3,017Registered User Senior Member
    An MA in economics is not going to help very much to get into IB and for academia, you're going to need a PhD, not an MA anyway. I'm not really sure what the advantage of an MA in economics would be. I would go the career office there and see what positions people with the MA went on to do.
  • hmom5hmom5 Posts: 10,882- Senior Member
    If you can get into a better MBA program than UCLA it's worth the investment if you want to work in banking. It's fine for PWM.
  • Venkat89Venkat89 Posts: 7,327Registered User Senior Member
    If you are considering getting a PhD, go for the Masters. It'll help you build on the quantitative skills necessary for a PhD. If you have 0 interest in a PhD just get out with a BA and start working to build a good resume for your MBA. If a Masters helps your career prospects and won't set you too far back financially it might be worth getting. I think an MA in Econ will help you get research jobs and policy jobs. However, I don't think it will help much in business.
  • coollegecoollege Posts: 964Registered User Member
    Would the extra year in school help him get into a good MBA school, or improve his chances?
  • gellinogellino Posts: 3,017Registered User Senior Member
    Would the extra year in school help him get into a good MBA school, or improve his chances?

    I'd say that is unquantifiable except to the extent that the MA led to a job that he, otherwise, wouldn't have been able to get.
  • Moment4lifeMoment4life Posts: 1Registered User New Member
    I am going through this exact same situation. I never comment these type of threads... ever, but I feel the need to because it has helped me make a final decision. I am a recent graduate with a BS in Finance, minor in Economics. I was employed right out of school as a financial advisor. The I.B. I work for (headquartered on Wall Street) can send me to school to receive my Master's. But I've been trying to decide between MBA or Master's in Econ. I really have a passion for economics and would love to get my PhD in it to become a professor. As a certified substitute, I fell in love with teaching and being in front of a class room. But I also have 4 years in the banking industry and I love that as well. I think I have found the best of both worlds taking a year off after graduation (traveling, meeting new clients, and becoming financially stable with a great name backing you... speaking of which, I have a seminar in CA coming up; I'm from NJ) and then going back for the master's in Econ next year. Also, I was lucky to be exposed to how to write a successful thesis (I had to write it in a month but got a B+, most kids take the entire semester. There was a timing issues with the new job...) so I am well prepared in regards to having to write my dissertation. This may not have helped you, but it certainly helped me. I would agree with those before me, if you want to move up the corporate ladder within a company or start your own, the MBA would be more marketable in the corporate America world.
    -Good Luck with your decision!
  • dkwayudkwayu Posts: 1Registered User New Member
    This forum has deemed to be really helpful to me especially since i am facing a similar dilemma myself.
    I just graduated from a fairly small school and not that recognized SUNY Plattsburgh with a degree in International Business in May and i am an International Student from East Africa. Right after graduating i came back home (Tanzania) to work and i landed a job at a fortune 500 company with offices here (AON). It is a leading insurance company. However this is not my passion, i want to work for NGO's, international Organizations, UN, UNDP, World Bank, IMF and etc as an economic consultant in third world countries. I want to pursue a career in International economics, International development, Economics Development in third world countries.

    My dilemma comes when deciding which school i should pursue for this. If or not i should stay at AON and get some experience even though it is not in the field i aspire to work in or i will be studying for in my graduate studies. Whether i should go for Masters of economics or an MBA?

    Another question that arises is which schools will i be able to get into with my grades? I graduated with a GPA of 3.3, i was very involved in school and i have very respectable and good professors who will write excellent recommendation letters, i have done a lot of volunteer work and am now getting some very valuable experience from an International Company with Headquarters in Chicago (although its field of business is kind of far from Economics, but i figure any experience is good experience right?)

    Please HELP?????? Anyone????
  • xzrcccxzrccc Posts: 1Registered User New Member
    If you want to get a degree in economics and make it worthwhile for you, you have to be very good, very very very good, the kind of people who can actually make a difference. The kind of work you will be doing with a phd in economics (either in the business world or academia) put people into 2 categories: the best & all others. The expected payoff is low because most people will generate little value (in money, satisfaction, achievement, happiness) while very few generate a ton lot. If you are confident that you are the best, do it.

    The kind of work with an MBA is more lenient. You can find a spot for your level of competence. They value the smartest a lot but they also value those who are not the smartest a lot. All kinds of people handling different roles are needed to form a working team. Maybe you are not good enough to be the legendary CXO's or executives but there are still many levels of positions you can enjoy.

    Now the main part, which can be a little philosophical (since you are econ student you should understand). Our satisfaction of our lives, provided a constant event, can differ due to the ways we think. A rich man can feel unhappy and a poor man can feel happy. The difference is in the root of our thoughts, which can be influenced by the society. In business, the influence is rather positive, we encourage people make people feel proud of their work. In economics, it can be quite the opposite. Due to the lack of monetary incentive and thus improvement in social management, people are constantly made to believe they are not good enough and they worth very very little. These cause people in business to be more likely to feel satisfied of their lives and those in academia to feel less (where satisfaction is independent of stress, there is an article concerning statistical correlation of happiness and wealth that footnoted that Americans are one of the most satisfied but also one of the most stressed; you can live a stressful life and still feel that that is the best it should be).

    I have to run.
  • donnawhitedonnawhite Posts: 21Registered User New Member
    MBA is a better option always to choose than other courses and have better career opportunities everywhere.
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