Insights from the Girard School of Business and the School of Science and Engineering 

For decades, demonstrating advanced qualifications for leadership roles in the business world  rested on three letters: MBA.

But given the cost, time, and barriers to entry of an MBA, it’s reasonable to ask: is it worth it? If not, is a Master of Science in Management a better alternative?

Let’s explore the difference between an MBA and an MSM.


Both MBA and MSM degrees prepare students for leadership roles in various categories of business and management. In this regard, the two are similar, but the differences suggest the advantages of pursuing an MSM.

Differences between MBA and MSM:

  • There is a diminishing return on investment for many MBA programs. An MSM is often less than half the cost of an MBA.
  • Most MBA programs require extensive work experience. Students with a bachelor’s degree with little to no work experience can enroll in an MSM program.
  • An MBA typically takes at least two years to complete. An MSM from Merrimack College can be completed in just 12 – 16 months.
  • An MSM degree from Merrimack College is highly customizable and provides options for concentrations in key areas of business. MBA programs may be less flexible.

The ROI of an MSM Degree

Holding a leadership role in business and management is a rewarding and lucrative career path. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, top-level managers earn, on average, anywhere from $96,940 for Administrative Services Managers to $122,270 for Compensation and Benefits Managers.

Completing an MBA program has long been the gold standard for business management theory and practice, assuring access to the best jobs. In recent years, however, the return on investment has diminished. Only an MBA from one of the top 25 schools holds much sway in the business community.

In this environment, people need an alternative to reach their career goals.

Merrimack College Online MSM Program

The online Master of Science in Management degree program from Merrimack college is designed as an attractive alternative to an MBA.

Merrimack’s MSM offers a customizable curriculum for business and non-business majors. There are no prerequisites to the program, and electives are integrated based on career goals and interest. Features of the program include:

  • Accelerated degree completion with most students graduating in 12 – 16 months
  • The flexibility of 100% online classes and up to 6 start times per year. Work at your own pace on your own time.
  • Customizable to specific career goals
  • Less than half the cost of a typical MBA


  • Concentrations in Organizational Leadership, Marketing Management, Strategic Human Resource Management, Quantitative & Digital Finance, or Business Analytics
  • No GRE or GMAT required to apply
  • 100% online.

Merrimack understands the challenges faced by professionals in a dynamic, modern workforce. This is why the MSM program places special emphasis on personalization, flexibility and customization. Regardless of undergraduate major, students can customize their curriculum, and have access to an academic coach that will assist them with course planning that encompasses personal and career goals and fits their specific needs.

Deciding between an MBA and an MSM is an important next step in your professional development. Professionals in all sectors can benefit from the education and experience provided in the highly flexible, customizable online Master of Science in Management degree from Merrimack College. By choosing Merrimack’s MSM, you will find  a program with personalized options and investment value.