Understanding the Role of the Master in Management in Global Business Education

New GMAC Research white paper shares key insights on MiM programs and makes recommendations for the degree’s sustainable future.

Nov 14, 2017

GMAC Research

Over the past 10 years, the total number of Master in Management (MiM) programs accepting GMAT score reports around the world increased from 154 to 401, making it among the fastest growing program types in global graduate business education. This rapid expansion, starting in Europe and progressing to the MBA-focused markets of the United States and Asia-Pacific, has caused many business school leaders to grapple with understanding the strategic role of the MiM in their program portfolios and make sense of the credential’s place in the broader context of the industry.

Understanding the Role of the Master in Management in Global Business Education, a new white paper from GMAC Research, shares insights on key questions related to MiM programs and makes recommendations to help business school leaders plan for their programs’ sustainable futures. Through a wide-ranging examination of GMAC data, the analysis presented in this paper demonstrates that MiM and full-time MBA programs largely serve distinct types of candidates at different stages of their careers and lead to different outcomes.

MiM programs, which at most business schools serve pre-experience candidates, help graduates successfully launch their careers, leading them to job opportunities that otherwise might not have been open to them. For these programs, the value proposition of the MiM is grounded in the short-termit offers Understanding the Role of the Master in Management in Global Business Educationpragmatic training and connections needed to start a career. Full-time MBA programs, which generally serve experienced candidates, help graduates accelerate their careers and ascend to roles with increased levels of responsibility and organizational scope. The value proposition of the full-time MBA is in the long term—it provides connections and trains students not necessarily for their first job, but for their second, third, or fourth job after business school.

Among the recommendations made to business schools in the white paper is that this difference in value proposition be made clear in marketing materials and recruiters’ person-to-person communications with candidates. GMAC Research contends that failure to do this could lead to confusion among candidates and employers, and could ultimately do harm to a school’s overall brand, particularly at schools where the overall brand identity is most closely associated with its full-time MBA program. With this in mind, it is strongly recommended that MiM programs not be marketed as a replacement or substitute for an MBA.

The analysis featured in the paper also highlights key differences between the established European MiM market and the emerging US and Asia-Pacific MiM markets. For example, the analysis finds that European MiM candidates are a well-defined group: most very recently completed their bachelor’s degree (average age of 22.7) and majored in business (78%). This is due in part to the legacy of the “first degree” in continental Europe—there is an established norm of completing the equivalent of a master’s-level credential in the same subject they had studied previously before entering the workforce. While this legacy effect provides European MiM programs with a solid applicant base among business majors, the fact that so many business majors pursue it may make it difficult to persuade the larger pool of non-business majors to see a MiM as a good fit for them. In the US context, MiM candidates have a wider age range (average age of 25.6) and mix of majors and segments. Among the recommendations made to US MiM programs is to focus their recruitment on non-business bachelor’s graduates that stand to benefit most from the MiM value proposition: those that majored in liberal arts and public service disciplines.

The new white paper also analyzes global MiM candidates through the lens of GMAC’s global GME candidate segmentation model, providing new levels of insight into the pipeline. For example, about half of European MiM candidates belong to the Global Striver segment, a segment of candidates focused on enhancing their opportunities for global employment. Because the largest segment of Asia-Pacific candidates seeking MiM programs outside of Asia Pacific is also Global Striver, European programs seeking to differentiate themselves from their US competitors in recruiting Asia-Pacific candidates should communicate the international orientation of their programs’ students, curriculum, and career outcomes, in addition to highlighting favorable post-study work visa programs in their countries. From the Asia-Pacific MiM program perspective, both Asia-Pacific MiM candidates sending GMAT score reports in-region and out-of-region are majority Global Striver. To retain a greater share of their MiM candidate base, Asia-Pacific schools should convey that a MiM degree earned at their institution opens doors to careers both inside and outside of Asia. The recent shift in the US political climate is an opportunity for Asia-Pacific schools to recruit candidates who might otherwise apply to US MiM programs.

For more insights and recommendations related to the MiM programs, download Understanding the Role of Master in Management in Global Business Education.