Date Updated: November 3, 2020
Master's in management degrees develop students' knowledge and skills in organizational behavior, economic theory, and business strategy.
These programs attract young professionals with limited work experience who recently completed their bachelor's degrees.
A master's in management prepares learners to take on leadership roles in their chosen fields, often suiting applicants without academic backgrounds in business.
Every industry needs management personnel to function properly. Driven by expanding and newly-created organizations, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a faster-than-average growth of 5% for management positions from 2019-2029.
To help prospective students evaluate their enrollment options, we compiled the following ranked list of the 10 best master's in management programs. After reviewing the rankings, continue reading to learn more about the master's in management curriculum and potential career opportunities for graduates.
The 10 Best Management Master's Degrees
|1||Harvard University||Cambridge, MA|
|2||Cornell University||Ithaca, NY|
|3||Lehigh University||Bethlehem, PA|
|4||Stevens Institute of Technology||Hoboken, NJ|
|5||Boston University||Boston, MA|
|6||George Washington University||Washington, DC|
|7||The Catholic University of America||Washington, DC|
|8||Illinois Institute of Technology||Chicago, IL|
|9||University of Florida||Gainesville, FL|
|10||Saint Mary's College of California||Moraga, CA|
What Is a Management Degree?
Modern management originated during the Industrial Revolution, from the late 1700s to the early 1800s. A transition from handmade production to machine-driven manufacturing across Europe and the United States led to significant growth in businesses and organizations.
These new, larger entities required owners to coordinate tasks with others. Industries developed solutions to aid mass production, including specialization of labor, standardized processes, workflow planning, and quality control.
The term "management" gained widespread use by the early 1900s, and the first comprehensive theories of management began to emerge. Harvard University launched the world's first MBA program in 1908.
Today, every industry and sector employs management professionals. Managers often specialize in certain fields, such as healthcare, information technology, manufacturing, education, and finance. Nearly 19,000,000 Americans worked in management occupations as of 2019. Some of the most popular positions include chief executive, financial manager, food service manager, and marketing and sales manager.
Managers complete many different tasks, depending on their employer and level of responsibility. They hire new employees, control expenses, develop goals, and monitor organizational performance. Managers are an indispensable part of modern industry — without them, goods and services would never reach consumers.
Why Get a Management Master's?
The greatest benefit of a master's in management is its flexibility. Whether your academic background is in business, the liberal arts, or a technical discipline, earning a master's in management empowers you with the skills required to lead and manage teams, departments, and organizations.
As a career field, management tends to offer a high level of job security and excellent compensation. A graduate degree in management enhances these benefits by increasing your competitiveness in the job market.
- – Transferable Skills: Most master's in management programs accommodate students with academic backgrounds outside of business. The degree provides highly transferable skills in leadership, communication, and analytics.
- – Job Market Demand: According to BLS data, the growth of organizations and formation of new companies will drive a growing demand for skilled managers from 2019-2029. Managers can apply their transferable skills to find opportunities across sectors and industries.
- – Earning Potential: Of all the major occupational groups, careers in management score the highest median wage: $105,660. In top fields like computer and information systems, managers earn a median salary of $146,360.
Ranking the Top 10 Master's Degrees in Management
Some employees secure leadership positions without any formal management training, simply by performing their job well. Other candidates set their sights on management careers before entering the workforce. For these motivated individuals, choosing the right degree can make all the difference in competing for high-demand jobs.
The following ranking details 10 of the best master's in management programs available. Prospective students can use these rankings to evaluate curriculum content, admission requirements, cost, and program formatting.
Every prospective student has different priorities in mind when comparing college programs. For our rankings, we use the following broad metrics.
- – Accreditation: 25%
- – Affordability: 25%
- – Regional College Prestige: 25%
- – Average Salary: 25%
For more information on how we rank management degrees, visit our detailed methodology page.
#1 Harvard University – Cambridge, MA
The nation's oldest university offers a master's in business management through its online Harvard Extension School. The program features a unique admissions process. Applicants take three classes, and if they pass, they can continue the program. The Cambridge, Massachusetts, institution delivers some coursework online, but participants must take at least four classes on campus.
In Harvard's 48-credit curriculum, students gain a solid foundation in accounting, economics, marketing, and organizational behavior. They also learn best practices in leadership through lectures, digital media, case studies, and group projects. Learners can apply credits to certificates in more than a dozen business disciplines.
Degree candidates can select a capstone track that includes an internship consulting for a real-world organization. Those with a GPA higher than 3.5 can participate in an executive education program at the JFK School of Government.
Average Net Price: $47,562
#2 Cornell University – Ithaca, NY
Students in Cornell's master's in management engage with an intense, immersive, STEM-designated education in leadership. Learners enter a cohort and spend a year on the school's Ithaca, New York, campus. Using electives in finance, strategy, accounting, business analytics, and business law, students can develop expertise in areas of professional interest.
Though based at the S.C. Johnson College of Business, program participants can take classes at several of the university's colleges. The 30-credit curriculum features coursework in communication, strategy, critical thinking, and operations management. Degree candidates participate in three industry practicums that feature live case studies and site visits.
Applicants need an undergraduate degree and a business minor or equivalent coursework in financial accounting, finance, economics, marketing, management, and statistics. Cornell's S.C. Johnson College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
Average Net Price: $29,584
#3 Lehigh University – Bethlehem, PA
Lehigh designed its master of science in management for students without a business background. The Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, institution's 32-credit program provides a pathway to careers at the executive level. Participants build their business skills, hone their professional goals, and develop expertise through experiential learning.
The program opens with a required pre-term orientation and then typically takes 10 months to complete. Carefully sequenced classes progress on a lock-step schedule. The cohort works through courses in business competencies, company operations, analyzing and managing business assets, and the changing business environment before completing an experience-based capstone.
Applicants should hold no more than one year of experience. Lehigh reports that 89% of graduates find employment within three months of graduation. Lehigh's College of Business is accredited by the AACSB.
Average Net Price: $27,130
#4 Stevens Institute of Technology – Hoboken, NJ
One of the nation's oldest tech schools, Stevens built its management master's degree to give STEM students practical business skills. The program shows learners how leadership, economic, strategy, and innovation skills can greatly enhance their resumes. Learners can pursue the degree either on campus in Hoboken, New Jersey, or online.
The 24-credit core curriculum grounds participants in the managerial aspects of finance, economics, technology, operations, organizational behavior, and financial decision-making. Two additional classes in one of these areas serves as a specialization. Students gain additional experience through a field consulting program.
Applicants typically bring an undergraduate degree in STEM or the liberal arts. The program does not require work experience. More than 300 businesses recruited on campus in 2019. Stevens' business programs are accredited by the AACSB.
Average Net Price: $37,250
#5 Boston University – Boston, MA
BU established its management master's degree as a pass/fail program for students with non-business undergraduate degrees. Learners join a cohort and progress through the 36-credit curriculum together. Moving in lock step, participants form close teams and build a network for the future. The process requires two semesters of full-time work.
The university created its curriculum with the help of industry leaders, and many classes revolve around real business challenges. Executives visit class, and program participants attempt to solve problems they faced. Many learners receive job offers before they graduate. BU emphasizes strong communication, decision-making, negotiation, and leadership skills.
Applicants must submit GRE or GMAT scores and their undergraduate transcripts. BU's Questrom School of Business is accredited by the AACSB. BU only accepts transfer credit from AACSB-accredited programs.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $53,572
#6 George Washington University – Washington, DC
At GW's School of Business, students can stack graduate certificates to create their own personal pathways. The Washington, D.C., institution hosts a business management master's degree that readies graduates for executive-level careers in business, even if they possess a liberal arts or STEM background.
Degree-seekers complete a core curriculum and choose from two dozen certificate courses as their electives, enabling them to leave school with additional credentials. Students can complete the 33-credit course of study in a single year by studying full time or take a more leisurely pace by enrolling part time.
Available online, on campus, or in a hybrid format, the program features a rolling admissions policy to allow students to get started at their convenience. GWU's School of Business is accredited by the AACSB.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $30,834
#7 The Catholic University of America – Washington, DC
The Catholic University of America offers a master's in business management with specializations in human resource, project, sales, leadership, and federal contract management. Intended for working professionals, the 36-credit program allows students to attend courses online, on campus in Washington, D.C., or in a hybrid format.
The university stresses that its master of science in management focuses entirely on management and leadership, unlike MBA programs. The 12-class curriculum features coursework in strategic planning, decision-making, communication, and the foundations of leadership. Students can select from a range of electives within each of the concentrations.
Degree candidates typically take two classes per semester and need at least a B to pass. The school reports that the average professional with a master's in management earns a salary of nearly $76,000.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $46,800
#8 Illinois Institute of Technology – Chicago, IL
Fitting for a tech school, IIT offers an innovative master's in management science that emphasizes quantitative methods and computer models in its curriculum. The STEM-designated program takes a data-intensive approach to business problem-solving and decision-making. Students can select from concentrations in analytics and quantitative finance.
The core curriculum features two math classes for management science and two statistics classes for management science. The remaining credits come from specializations and electives. IIT takes advantage of its location in Chicago's business district to provide experiential education and networking opportunities.
Applicants need an undergraduate degree from an accredited university earned with a 3.0 GPA or better. The institute's Stuart School of Business is accredited by the AACSB.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $55,440
#9 University of Florida – Gainesville, FL
UF's master of science in management was among the first programs of its kind in the country. Designed for individuals with no background in business, the curriculum features the same professors who teach the school's highly ranked MBA program. The 32-credit degree runs both online and on campus in Gainesville.
The curriculum features 22 credits in the business core, including classes in strategic thinking, global markets, financial accounting, marketing, and organizational behavior. Electives in areas such as entrepreneurship, finance, information systems, and real estate allow learners to tailor their program to their professional goals.
UF encourages students to pursue an internship to earn first-hand experience and build a network. The school also welcomes learners to take nine credits outside of the school of business, which many use to earn graduate certificates. Graduates join an alumni network more than 73,000 strong.
Average Net Price: $19,052
#10 Saint Mary's College of California – Moraga, CA
A liberal arts institution outside of Oakland, SMC uses its technology and Catholic heritage as focal points for its master's in business management. The program welcomes applicants from any discipline and uses practical, applied learning to ground students in modern management and the use of business analytics.
The cohort-based curriculum features classes in ethics, leadership, creative thinking, and communication. SMC leverages its Bay Area location, bringing in mentors from Apple, Oracle, Salesforce, and Kaiser. Two field projects give participants hands-on business experience.
According to PayScale, SMC's graduates rank among the top 10 percent in the nation for earning potential. The program itself boasts an 88% employment rate. Applicants with an undergraduate 3.0 GPA or lower must take the GRE/GMAT.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $39,077
#11 Babson College – Wellesley, MA
A Greater Boston institution with a reputation for developing entrepreneurs, Babson offers one of the nation's best master's in management programs. The curriculum blends classic management traditions with the latest in entrepreneurial education. Unlike many graduate-level business programs, Babson does not require work experience.
Degree-seekers join a cohort and build skills in six theme areas, including entrepreneurial thinking, global management, and social consciousness. Each student completes four action-based projects, and learners can finish the program in two 14-week semesters.
Applicants with a 3.0 GPA or higher often receive waivers for standardized testing requirements. Babson reports that 95% of program graduates find employment within six months. Babson's F.W. Olin Graduate School is accredited by the AACSB.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $82,496
#12 Ithaca College – Ithaca, NY
One of the nation's top small liberal arts colleges, IC offers a unique take on the master's in management. Known for its performing arts programs, the upstate New York institution hosts an MBA degree in entertainment. In just one year, students learn how to develop, market, and manage creative talent.
IC's core curriculum features the same coursework as many traditional MBAs, including accounting, finance, business law, leadership, and marketing. IC combines these with a deep dive into the world of modern entertainment. Most learners can earn all necessary credits within a single year.
Students enjoy hands-on, experiential learning working at SXSW, the PBS affiliate WCNY, and the local State Theatre. They also build a network using IC's many entertainment industry connections.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $20,832
#13 Elon University – Elon, NC
A mid-size liberal arts institution in North Carolina, Elon focuses on providing experiential education. The school's student-centered, hands-on focus extends to its management master's degree. The cohort-based program promotes camaraderie and teamwork, and practicums give participants real-world experience.
Elon crafted its 33-credit curriculum to appeal to both working professionals and recent college graduates. Learners can enroll part time and continue to work or enroll full time and finish in less than a year. The STEM-certified program stresses the use of data mining, predictive modeling, and enhanced communication in global business.
A capstone experience allows students to work at companies such as SAS, IBM, Wells Fargo, Hanes, and Fidelity. Elon's Martha and Spencer Love School of Business is accredited by the AACSB.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $13,482
#14 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Champaign, IL
Based in Champaign, Illinois established its business management master's degree to add value to an undergraduate degree, no matter the field. Students learn valuable leadership, communication, problem-solving, and decision-making skills.
The university's 34-credit curriculum features business fundamentals, including marketing, process management, data analysis, finance, and quantitative reasoning. Degree candidates can use electives to develop expertise in entrepreneurship, design, sustainability, and nonprofit management.
Company visits and action learning give students work experience and new connections in the business world. The course of study begins in June and concludes in three semesters.
Illinois boasts a 100% placement rate for 2019 program graduates.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $21,644
#15 The Pennsylvania State University – University Park, PA
Penn State's master of professional studies in management and organizational leadership teaches individuals from any background how to lead. Taught by the same faculty as the institution's top-ranked MBA, virtually every class in the 30-credit curriculum features management techniques. A leadership immersion capstone project puts learners' newfound skills to the test.
Penn State uses lectures, readings, team and solo projects, and experiential education to deliver a comprehensive management education. Core subjects include finance, strategy, decision analysis, accounting, marketing, and high-performance team development. The capstone course takes participants to places such as Quantico, the FDNY, and West Point to test leadership abilities under stress.
Applicants must submit undergraduate transcripts, hold a degree from a regionally accredited institution, and provide GRE or GMAT scores. Those who successfully complete the program join a network of more than 125,000 alumni.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $29,257
#16 University of Saint Joseph – West Hartford, CT
Located in West Hartford, Connecticut, USJ offers an organizational management master's degree that boasts a flexible format. At the Catholic university, students can pursue their degree in the evening, on weekends, or online, on a full-time or part-time basis. They can continue working or enroll as recent college graduates with no work experience.
In keeping with the institution's Catholic heritage, USJ's 36-credit program takes a values-centered approach to business. Ethical decision-making is one of the highlights of the core curriculum, which also explores leadership, accounting, finance, high-performance organizations, IT, and stockholder relations.
Participants can customize their degree plan by adding specialized graduate certificates in project management, healthcare systems management, homeland security management, and health informatics.
Qualified USJ undergraduates can often add a year of graduate study for free.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $14,532
#17 DePaul University – West Lafayette, IN
Based in Chicago, DePaul takes full advantage of its location in a major business hub. The nation's largest Catholic institution, DePaul hosts a management master's that provides early career professionals with a route into the executive ranks. Students can network and learn at several of the city's 35 Fortune 500 companies.
DePaul's curriculum involves 13 total classes in fundamental business areas, including finance, ethics, sustainability, consulting, and leadership. Learners also select four electives from the Kellstadt School of Business. Many pursue classes in the program's focus areas, which include human resources, project management, and sales and marketing.
Applicants submit a resume of their work experience, college transcripts, and an essay. DePaul reports that 90% of 2018 graduates found employment within six months of graduation. Graduates can immediately network with 116,000 Chicago-area alumni.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $19,422
#18 Regis University – Denver, CO
A private Jesuit institution, Regis offers a handful of management degrees on its campus in Denver. These include a master's that focuses on the in-demand discipline of project management. The university laid out the curriculum according to the Project Management Institute's Talent Triangle of Technical Skills.
Available on campus and online, the program features 30 total credits. Coursework covers topics such as communicating with shareholders, leading change and innovation, and managing project performance. Classes meet in the evening and run in accelerated, eight-week terms.
All degree candidates must complete a capstone in corporate responsibility and stewardship. The program is accredited by the Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education and the Project Management Institute. Regis does not require GRE or GMAT scores.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $13,177
#19 Concordia University – Saint Paul, MN
A Christian university in Minnesota's Twin Cities, CSP delivers career-oriented education with a biblical worldview. The school offers a management master's based in leadership, motivation, and influence. The program trains students in the use of interpersonal skills to improve dynamics, drive teams forward, and maximize business performance.
Offered online or on campus in St. Paul, the curriculum requires students to earn a total of 36 credits. Classes explore subject areas such as applied ethics, organizational research, structural change, quality management, and process implementation. The culminating course features an action project and a formal report.
CSP schedules classes in seven-week sessions. The school reports that its graduates earn 44% more than the national average. Applicants need an undergraduate 3.0 GPA or better.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $8,550
#20 George Mason University – Arlington, VA
Mason's MS in management prepares students without a background in business for management careers. Located in Arlington, Virginia, the university designed its program using the core business disciplines common to all AACSB-accredited schools. Learners typically complete the full-time, cohort-based course of study in 11 months.
Highlights of the 36-credit curriculum include performance evaluation, firm performance, statistical analysis, organizational behavior, and business strategy. Professors emphasize the modern global business environment and place many courses in this context. Degree-seekers often pursue an internship to gain portfolio-building work experience.
Mason requires applicants to have completed their undergraduate studies within two years of applying. Candidates should hold no more than two years of professional experience. The average starting master's in management salary for program graduates sits at $62,222.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $22,029
#21 Merrimack College – North Andover, MA
Among the nation's fastest-growing colleges, Merrimack established its master's in management as a practical alternative to an MBA. The Greater Boston institution offers the program in a variety of formats to accommodate working professionals and recent college graduates. Students can enroll full time or part time.
The Girard School of Business uses case studies and real-world problems to educate learners in financial reporting, management planning, statistical analysis, and effective team leading. Hallmarks include the Catholic college's commitment to integrity, communication skills, and decision-making. Many students apply for one of the school's competitive fellowships.
Learners can complete the program in as little as nine months. Merrimack boasts a 96% career outcomes rate and salaries 60% higher than the national average 10 years after graduation.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $29,100
#22 Rockhurst University – Kansas City, MO
A Jesuit, liberal arts university, RU offers a master's degree in organizational leadership through its Helzburg School of Management. The 35-credit program focuses on management, business development, human resources, and interpersonal skills. Learners meet one night a week on campus in Kansas City, Missouri.
Students must earn a minimum of 33 credits to complete the program. Degree-seekers can specialize in organizational leadership, healthcare management, or nonprofit management. Because of RU's Catholic heritage, ethics play a major part in coursework. RU schedules classes in eight-week terms and offers five start dates each year.
Using electives, learners can customize their degree plan in areas such as human resources, organizational change, innovation, and conflict management. An optional global experience explores cultural and business practices overseas. RU's Helzburg School of Management is accredited by the AACSB.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $16,060
#23 New Jersey Institute of Technology – Newark, NJ
NJIT's master's in management enables early and mid-career professionals to advance their careers in STEM fields. The interdisciplinary program combines an MBA's core business education with a focus on technology and management. Full-time learners can earn their degree in a single year.
Students in NJIT's 30-credit program choose from concentrations in web systems and media, business analytics, financial technology, and global project management. Half of the curriculum focuses on these specialty areas, giving students a deep immersion in their area of choice. Classes meet in the evenings to accommodate work schedules. Core business classes also run online.
NJIT boasts status as a top 10 percent school for return on investment, with a median salary of $65,300. The institute's Martin Tuchman School of Management is accredited by the AACSB.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $25,096
#24 Azusa Pacific University – Azusa, CA
At APU, students can tailor their master's in management to their interest areas. Uniquely customizable, the course of study offers ready-made concentrations in eight areas. The 39-unit, Christ-centered program runs online, on APU's main campus in Azusa, California, and at three other locations in California.
The program opens with a class in ethics that sets the stage for the curriculum's Christian focus. Core classes consider team management, applied research, performance improvement, and people management. Students can choose from concentration options such as entrepreneurship, human resource management, institutional research, and international business.
Graduate programs at Azusa's School of Business and Management run in accelerated, eight-week sessions and typically meet 1-2 times a week. APU is accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $17,362
#25 California Lutheran University – Thousand Oaks, CA
A Lutheran institution in Southern California, CLU established its master's in management to train the next generation of leaders in non-traditional businesses. Specifically designed for students from liberal arts, STEM, and technical backgrounds, the curriculum meets the needs of those who would not necessarily fit into an MBA program.
CLU emphasizes operational leadership and interpersonal communication in its 31-credit, year-long program. Participants use hands-on, experiential learning to understand business fundamentals. The capstone offers the option of an international immersion or an internship with a local organization.
CLU hosts classes on campus and online, typically in the evenings or on the weekend. In alumni surveys, 86% of respondents reported that their CLU management degree improved their individual competencies.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $19,215
What to Expect From Master's in Management Programs
Completing an in-person or online master's in management typically takes 1-2 years. Students can enroll on a full- or part-time basis, and many schools offer on-campus, online, and hybrid learning options.
Online programs may use synchronous or asynchronous formatting. Synchronous courses require students to attend class via live web conferencing. Asynchronous courses allow students to access course material independently and at their convenience.
Most master's in management programs comprise 30-40 credits of coursework. Along with core courses and practicum opportunities, students receive added flexibility in tailoring their program through open electives. Classes combine lectures, discussions, and exercises.
To apply, each prospective student typically needs to demonstrate a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA and hold a bachelor's degree in any discipline. Candidates can possess little-to-no work experience, but each applicant should supply GRE or GMAT scores, a statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation.
Management degrees have varying curriculum and admission requirements. Learn more about your graduate study options in the next section.
Management Degree Options
Prospective graduate students looking to study management often choose from three options:
- – Master of Science in Management: An MS in management increases students' management abilities through technical and analytical skills. Course topics include managerial economics, marketing strategy, and financial accounting. Applicants often possess little or no work experience.
- – Master of Arts in Management: An MA in management develops learners' management abilities through practical and theoretical study. Course topics include managerial strategy, organizational change and development, and leadership in management. Applicants typically need undergraduate business prerequisites and several years of work experience.
- – Master of Business Administration: MBAs boost management skills through technical, theoretical, and practical coursework. Enrollees select from concentrations in finance, project management, and healthcare administration, among others. Applicants typically need undergraduate business prerequisites and several years of work experience.
An MS in management offers the best option for individuals looking to begin graduate school immediately following their bachelor's. Regardless of the undergraduate major, the MS program prepares graduates to efficiently lead teams, departments, and organizations. The MBA and MA in management serve experienced professionals looking to advance and hone their existing skills.
Popular Management Courses
A master's in management requires approximately 12-20 courses, including core classes, electives, and a final capstone project or experience.
Curriculum focuses on developing degree-seekers' hard skills in key managerial areas like finance, data analysis, communication, and decision-making. Learners also develop interpersonal skills like communication, team development, and leadership.
For a better understanding of the course content in a management master's program, take a look at five sample course descriptions below.
- – Financial Analysis: This course provides a broad understanding of financial analysis and its applications in business and investment decisions. Students develop fundamental knowledge of accounting concepts and procedures by examining financial statements, balance sheets, and cash flow analysis.
- – Management Communication: A course in management communication teaches enrollees how to communicate clearly and persuasively with different audiences. Coursework examines best practices to improve writing, presentation, and interpersonal skills.
- – Marketing Management: This course provides a comprehensive introduction to marketing management. Students learn to assess marketing opportunities, develop marketing strategies, and implement plans. Topics include marketing research, consumer behavior, sales forecasting, brand management, and marketing ethics.
- – Entrepreneurship and Innovation: This common elective course focuses on creating new businesses and markets through innovation and entrepreneurship. Topics include business model innovation, new ventures, and entering foreign markets. Learners examine business models, funding options, barriers, and risks.
- – Capstone/Practicum: A master's in management capstone typically requires each enrollee to participate in a real-world consulting practicum with a business client. Students integrate knowledge and skills gained throughout the program to solve practical leadership challenges.
What Jobs Can a Management Degree Get You?
According to a CareerBuilder survey of nearly 4,000 workers, 26% of managers said they felt unprepared to lead when they started managing others. Fifty-eight percent said they received no management training at all. Earning an in-person or online master's in management can help you to stand out from the competition.
When you pursue an online master's in management, you acquire the knowledge and skills required to lead departments and organizations across diverse sectors.
A manager may oversee a single, small team within a small business or handle major decision-making at the top rung of a multi-million dollar company.
The master's in management commonly attracts students without business experience who aim to climb the ranks and secure higher salaries in their chosen fields. Explore three potential careers for master's program graduates below.
Human Resources Managers
These managers plan and direct organizations' administrative activities, including recruitment and talent management. HR managers mediate employee disputes and consult with top executives on strategic planning. This career commonly requires several years of related work experience. HR managers can pursue voluntary certification, as well.
- – Required Education: Bachelor's degree
- – Job Outlook (2019-29): +6%
- – Median Annual Salary: $116,720
Social and Community Services Managers
Social and community services managers coordinate and supervise initiatives that support public health and well-being. Common employers include nonprofit organizations, for-profit social service companies, and government agencies. This career requires related experience in social work, substance abuse counseling, or a similar field.
- – Required Education: Bachelor's degree
- – Job Outlook (2019-29): +17%
- – Median Annual Salary: $67,150
These professionals estimate consumer demand for products and services offered by their organizations and competitors. Marketing managers identify potential markets, develop pricing strategies, and monitor trends. Possessing related internship or work experience in sales, marketing, or promotions helps candidates thrive in these roles.
- – Required Education: Bachelor's degree
- – Job Outlook (2019-29): +7%
- – Median Annual Salary: $136,850
Selecting Your Master's in Management Program
Our school rankings offer a springboard to begin your college search, but selecting a master's program requires plenty of additional thought and consideration.
Applicants can start their search by verifying each prospective school's accreditation status. Accreditation involves a rigorous, third-party evaluation of minimum standards regarding academics, finances, student services, and faculty qualifications. Regional accreditation generally holds more prestige, but you can also consider schools with accreditation from national accrediting agencies.
Once you ensure a school's accreditation status, you can evaluate how well it fits your remaining priorities and selection criteria. Factors you may want to consider include:
- – School Size: Small schools offer more intimate classes, a close-knit community feel, and increased one-on-one attention from professors. Larger schools offer more diverse social opportunities, bigger sports programs, and additional campus events, along with a greater selection of academic options.
- – Cost and Financial Aid: Graduate school is expensive, but you don't need to break the bank to get your degree. Seek out schools with affordable tuition and diverse financial aid options like scholarships, grants, and assistantships.
- – Admission Competitiveness: Different types of master's in management programs fit varying student backgrounds. If you possess little work experience and lack undergraduate business courses, consider applying to programs specifically designed for non-business majors.
Should You Get Your Master's Online?
With short, 1-2 year timelines and small class sizes, master's degrees work extremely well in an online environment. Online graduate school has become increasingly popular in recent years. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, nearly 40% of graduate students attended some or all of their courses online in the fall of 2018.
The best online master's in management programs provide students maximum scheduling flexibility. Along with full-time, part-time, and accelerated enrollment options, many online graduate degrees feature asynchronous formatting, allowing learners to log in and complete course components at their own convenience. Sometimes remote learners can maintain part- or full-time jobs while pursuing degrees.
Before deciding to study online, however, prospective students should evaluate whether the online experience fits their learning preferences and lifestyle. Some factors to consider include:
- – Program technology requirements
- – Your learning style and time management abilities
- – Your at-home learning environment
- – Whether the degree requires any in-person components
- – Your comfort level in communicating digitally with professors and peers
If a fully online degree does not seem right for you, that's okay. Some schools offer their master's in management programs in a hybrid format for those who prefer a mix of online and in-person classes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a master's in management worth it?
For the right candidate, a master's in management makes for a great investment. This degree provides highly transferable leadership and communication skills that graduates can apply to their field of choice.
What can I do after a master's in management?
After earning a master's degree in management, graduates can pursue opportunities in many industries and fields. Managers work in for-profit companies, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies.
What kind of management degrees are there?
Popular management degree options include MBAs, MS in management degrees, and MAs in management. Students can also pursue management degrees with a narrower focus, such as a master's in human resource management.
What is better — an MBA or MS in management?
MBAs and management degrees both offer excellent education options. MBAs suit experienced professionals looking to advance in business, while management degrees provide young professionals with broad management skills applicable to the field of their choice.
What does a manager do?
The specific job duties of a manager vary by industry, employer, and leadership structure. Managers commonly oversee particular functions or departments within organizations. They supervise and lead teams, set goals, and make strategic decisions.
Professional Organizations in Management
For help choosing a management degree and career path, consider joining professional development organizations designed for management students and professionals. These organizations keep professionals current on industry and career trends by providing continuing education opportunities, publications, and relevant news. Professional organizations also typically facilitate networking opportunities through job boards and conferences.
- – American Management Association
AMA offers 26 business courses to educate management professionals seeking new skills in project management, analytics, and human resources management. Its Women's Leadership Center supports female students and professionals in management.
- – Association of Change Management Professionals
This association offers its members webinars, networking tools, events, and continuing education programs. ACMP also helps generate the change management field's professional standards.
- – Strategic Management Society
SMS unites strategic management scholars and industry professionals through annual conferences, journal publications, and funding initiatives.
- – Academy of International Business
As a nonprofit organization designed for global management professionals, AIB hosts events and a career center to facilitate international business networking.
- – International Association of Administrative Professionals
This nonprofit, devoted to improving the administrative profession, supports office and administrative professionals through conferences, certification programs, and leadership development.