MBA or M.S. in Organizational Leadership? Which Master’s Program Fits My Career?

March 07, 2024

Crystal Neumann

Executive Faculty, Assistant Provost, Business Professions, Department of Business

MBA or MS in Organizational Leadership

If you’re looking for a business degree to take your career farther, you’ve got some options to consider. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) might feel like the route by default, but there are other degrees that may align more closely with the work you want to do. One of these is the M.S. in Organizational Leadership.

While there are some similarities between the MBA and the M.S. in Organizational Leadership (MSOL), there are definite distinctions to consider when deciding which best fits your personal and professional goals.

Who is the MBA for?

An MBA is a program designed for individuals to develop expertise in business and prepare for management and leadership positions. Earning this degree would allow you to advance your career in almost any field or discipline, as the managerial and leadership skills you’ll learn are a crucial part of successfully leading any team or project. In addition to soft skills, an MBA will include technical coursework that covers areas such as finance and economics. Thus, this degree might fit you best if you are looking to start a business, run a business or lead an enterprise.

Who is the M.S. in Organizational Leadership for?

An MSOL degree draws on the understanding of social dynamics that influence how individuals and groups work with each other in a business environment. The role of an organization’s leader is to inspire employee commitment through developing a culture and business structure. This program prepares you to do that by diving into how you empower workplace communities, become a global business leader and operationalize various dynamics in a business setting to maximize an organization’s workforce. Therefore, this is probably a better fit if you want to prepare for management and leadership positions.

Business Degrees Built for the Future of Business

While many higher education institutions offer business degrees, the MBA and MSOL at American College of Education are designed to help graduates navigate the future of business, not just learn about the strategies of the past.

The MBA incorporates emerging consumer trends within its coursework, including a focus on ways that businesses can make a positive impact within social justice, sustainability and more. And just as there’s more importance placed on diversity and sustainable workplace cultures in today’s job market, the MSOL at ACE includes a focus on leading diverse teams and organizations, becoming a positive change agent, and creating innovative organizational cultures and continuous improvement. It also covers how to manage teams who work in various settings, including virtual and remote.

Many companies are no longer just simply reviewing profitability as an indicator of organizational performance. Social impact has become an integral part of a business operation to ensure corporate social responsibility. Both the MBA and MSOL equip students to be leaders in that area by covering LLCs, C-Corps and other types of businesses. They also demonstrate how to run and/or lead a Benefit Corporation (B Corp), a business that meets the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. Each of the programs’ objectives, description and courses are purposefully broad to allow for an interdisciplinary approach for any industry.   

When it comes to choosing a business program, let your future goals be your guide to ensure that what you’ll learn will directly apply to your career. Choose a program that will prepare you to face the future of your industry.

Learn more about American College of Education’s fully online MBA and M.S. in Organizational Leadership. We offer multiple degree pathways that allow you to pursue both degrees at once, saving you time and money. Additionally, because our courses are easily transferrable between the two programs, you can switch programs after starting if it better aligns with your needs.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of American College of Education.
Crystal Neumann
Crystal Neumann, Executive Faculty, Assistant Provost, Business Professions, Department of Business

Dr. Crystal Neumann previously worked in marketing and market research before she transitioned to higher education to work with and motivate adult learners. She has taught marketing and public relations in Germany and has worked as an administrator and instructor within higher education. Her work has been published in several journals, and she has presented at several national and international conferences.

Dr. Neumann continues to study leadership, marketing, and higher education. She enjoys being a part of every learner’s journey and seeing their growth throughout the program.

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