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MBA vs Commerce and Management courses

Discover which business postgraduate degree is right for you
We have outlined the differences between an MBA, Master of Management, Master of Commerce and our specialised business masters degrees to help you choose the right one for you.


What is an MBA?

An MBA stands for a Master of Business Administration (MBA), so it is actually another form of a master’s degree. We offer a part-time and full-time MBA, however rather than the difference being the study mode they are two completely different degrees.

Nancy Huang

Nancy Huang (MBA Leadership and Enterprise '20)

Our part-time MBA consists of 7 core units of study, 4 electives and an industry capstone unit, whereas the full-time MBA has 11 core units of study, an industry capstone unit and no electives.

“Pursuing an MBA overseas was a dream of mine after graduating from a college in China. Growing up in Chengdu, a relatively less developed city in China, it was almost unimaginable for me to study overseas. 

The 18-month full-time MBA was a journey of self-discovery and self-building that helped me identify strengths and practise the latest business skills. Since completing the MBA, I have discovered and formed my own leadership styles and I found passion and excitement within strategic and creative work."

Why study an MBA?

Many students opt to do an MBA for its international standing and strong reputation around the world. Graduates also benefit financially from the educational investment, with graduate MBA salaries averaging above $140,000.

MBAs attract a mix of students from diverse backgrounds, far beyond traditional business roles. With a strong focus on developing technical, personal and interpersonal skills needed to lead, our MBA's are designed for professionals with 3-5 years of relevant experience looking to take their career to the next level, make a career change or break into senior management.

Kathryn Harris, current full-time MBA student

The Master of Management

The Master of Management program is similar in style to an MBA, but for a younger market. It’s designed to equip recent undergraduates or young professionals with 1-2 years’ experience from any background with the skills necessary for a career in management in their chosen field.

In just one year, you will develop the skills that businesses demand, regardless of your previous experience or undergraduate area of study.

Kalee Kapoor

Kalee Kapoor (MMgt '19)
Consultant, Meltwater (India)

You’ll explore the core areas of business activity – from strategy formulation and decision-making to business negotiation and people management. Through practical application and opportunities to work directly with industry, you will graduate with an integrated and future-focussed understanding of all aspects of business activity.

“I came to the Business School from Gurgaon India, to pursue a career in management. I was drawn by the practical application and global business focus of the Master of Management. The degree's consistent top rankings also helped me make my decision.” 

The Master of Management (CEMS)

If you are from a business background, the Master of Management (CEMS) is a 1.5-year global degree available to you. We are the only university in Australia to offer this program, which allows you to complete the CEMS Master in International Management as part of your degree.

Jacky Kiswanto

Jacky Kiswanto (Master of Management (CEMS) '16)
Strategy and Internationalisation Analyst, solarisBank AG

You will spend at least one semester at a CEMS network University where you will gain valuable cross cultural experience whilst undertaking study and business experience. In turn, CEMS graduates are eagerly sought by leading multination corporations.

“I wanted an international career and degree that would boost my competitive advantage. The Master of Management (CEMS) at the University of Sydney Business School offered this. I have also been able to find my niche in strategy and internationalisation.”

The transformed Master of Commerce

The future of work is complex and dynamic. In response, we’ve transformed our suite of Master of Commerce programs. Co-designed with industry, it’s now more versatile than ever. Study in either 18 months or 2 years and choose from 8 future-focused specialisations including Strategy, Innovation and Management and Data Analytics for Business. You can take advantage of integrated industry experiences as well as research and exchange opportunities. Your career, future-proofed. 

From semester 1, 2021, you can choose to study one of our transformed programs:

Specialised business master's degree

A specialised business master's degree may be the right option for you if you are looking to gain specialised skills in a particular area. 

As globalisation continues to put pressure on performance, there is an ongoing demand for employees with expert knowledge and the ability to edge ahead of the competition. For individuals who are interested in specialising, looking to upskill or jump into a new industry, a specialised master's degree can provide the right ingredients.

Jessie Hu

Jessie Hu Master of Professional Accounting '15
Senior Accountant, KPMG Australia

“I chose the Business School for its international reputation and connections to industry. I have completed internships in Singapore and Hong Kong worked on a consulting project in Nepal through the Community Placement Program and participated in the Deloitte NEXT Innovation Program.

“All of these opportunities not only equipped me with technical skills and real-world experience, but they are also shaping my career.”

More information

Whatever your career aspirations, there is a wide range of postgraduate business courses on offer. For more information, follow the links below:

*The figures are based on a survey with US companies. Find out more.
**Industries and salary data for Master of Management (MMgt) graduates are taken from the Survey of Completing MMgt students 2016/17. The survey is conducted within the first year of the graduates’ completion of the degree. Industries and salary data for Specialised Business Masters, MBA and the Global Executive MBA are from the Graduate Outcomes Survey 2016. 2015 graduates are surveyed 4-6 months after completion. Please note that graduate industries and salaries relate to domestic alumni only.
3 April 2019

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