What is the difference between an MA and an MBA?

Hi all,

I popped over to the British Education fair at New York New York last weekend and thought it was pretty good.

My question is Do you know the difference between an business school MA and an MBA? I’ve been in marketing in the Taiwan IT industry for a couple of years now and am thinking about pursuing an MBA. Can anyone give me tips on how I might go about my application process?

Cheers now,


As far as I know, a MA is a Master of Arts just like a BA is a Bachelor of Arts. If you get a MA in Business it is one step up from a BA with a major in Business. An MBA on the otherhand is not an Arts degree at all…its a Master of Business Administration, which is it’s own faculty I believe.

Prospect, are you only considering MBA programs in the UK, or elsewhere as well? There are some interesting American MBA programs that run out of Taiwan: Thunderbird and Tulane (Freeman) are two which offer Business programs and have a presence here already.


I’ve also heard that NCCU (in Mucha) is starting an IMBA as well.

An MBA is a status symbol. A brand so to speak. The Taiwanese love the sound of it, (easy to say) like “Kay Tee Wee.”

I’d be very careful about doing an MBA unless it is at a very good university. I suggest you do a “specialized” course of study. Either an Msc (Master of Science). Hey, but don’t worry about it too much, companies already know what kind of qualifications they are looking for and I suggest you ask them directly.

Thank you everyone for your replies

Originally posted by Msc freak.: [b]"Kay Tee Wee."[/b]

Oops, I don’t understand what you mean here – shouldn’t you mean “Emma Bee Ay”?

Originally posted by Msc freak.: [b]companies already know what kind of qualifications they are looking for and I suggest you ask them directly.[/b]

This is a great idea. But it assumes I am clear about which company I want to be in after my graduate degree. Which of course is exactly what all of the graduate programs what to know: how will an MBA (or MA or Msc) fit in with your plans.

I’m interested in learning more about the overseas programs that are here in Taiwan, and the one year programs that are offered in Europe. In particular, what kind of opportunities I can expect for going to those programs in the first place! Sounds like a regular chicken and egg situation!

Hi prospect!

I’m doing a master’s in International Marketing right now.

Drop me a line if you want more information.


From the Community Services Center:

Are you interested in gaining a Masters degree whilst in Taiwan?

The Center is pleased to announce the introduction of a Masters in International Business degree, in conjunction with Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.

The course will run over two years at the Center. In addition there will be two study periods at Saint Mary’s University.

This program is open to all foreign passport holders.

If you would like to receive a full information pack please e-mail your postal address. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call me on 2836 8134.

Ian Stephenson, Director

Community Services Center
No. 25, Lane 290, Chung Shan N. Rd., Sec. 6
Taipei, Taiwan 111 ROC
Tel (02) 2836-8134/2838-4947
Fax 2835-2530
Email: csc@community.com.tw
Website: http://www.community.com.tw


One of the differences between an MA and MBA is that MAs in business are often intended for those with no first degree in business whilst to enrol in an MBA you need a first degree in business and usually 3-5 years relevant work experience. In that sense an MBA would be a higher level qualification that an MA in International Business (typical title) if offered by the same place.

One word of caution - the Taiwan govt does not recognise degrees earned by distance learning (see previous posts) and so if you wanted to work for the govt at any time in the future your DL degree would not be counted. Further, local teaching, either by locally engaged profs or by staff flown in (called Distance Teaching in the trade) is strictly illegal. Not only will the degree not be recognised, you run the risk of the programme being closed down by the govt.

Thanks Education man

Hi there

MBA gives you indepth insight and knowledge about the strategic tools to manage functions of business. It offers a wide variety of areas to specialize that you can immediately use in your work life. MBA also put you in a catagery of professional thus making your selection by a future employer easier then a MA. The exposure to your line of interest depends on the MBA course structure of particular universities. But a lot depends on your personla ability to understand various philosophys of strategic business education and how you can can , as an professional, use these tools in your work life. I doubt an MA course coveres this nich part of MBA.

All the best.