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MBA vs MSHRA: Which Degree Is Right for You?

difference between human recourse degrees

The field of business offers unique opportunities for everyone, no matter the path they take to get there or the background they come from. Whether through earning an MBA, running a successful startup, or with an interest in working for a non-profit, there are myriad opportunities for anyone in the business world no matter their skill set, interests, or strengths.

Under the business umbrella, some may be more interested in working within a traditional business role, such as in management or the C-suite, while others thrive in positions allowing them to work directly with people while building healthy workplace standards. Particularly when it comes to earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA), or a Master of Science in Human Resources Analytics (MSHRA), both the similarities and differences are nuanced, but equally valuable, and in many ways come down simply to a professional’s preference.

What Is an MBA?

As the standard in starting many business careers, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is one of the highest degrees a person can earn in the field. However, an MBA doesn’t mean the graduate is limited to simply working in business-related industries, as demonstrated by the varied skill set developed.

What Careers Can I Get With an MBA?

Professionals with MBAs are most qualified for positions in the C-suite or upper management-type positions, as well as in starting and directing their own entrepreneurial endeavors. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median pay for management-related positions in 2021 ranged from approximately $100,000 (Admin Services and Facilities Managers) to approximately $160,000 (Computer and Informations Systems Managers). However, it’s important to keep in mind the level of experience required before these wages become reality for many people.

Additionally, an MBA is highly valuable when considering a career change, or when simply seeking a more thorough understanding of the business field and how to be successful in the innumerable possibilities within it. Some of these different fields benefited by a general MBA include, but are not limited to:

The inherent value of an MBA is evident in how the skills earned are not specific to any singular industry or field, and can be used across a variety of professions. Understandably, traits like strong leadership, conflict resolution, and project management are all highly sought-after attributes important to any number of career paths.

Who Should Consider an MBA?

As previously mentioned, while MBAs most benefit those interested in pursuing careers in business and business-related fields, there are myriad benefits for people interested in other fields as well. Related accreditations and fields under the MBA umbrella include, but are not limited to:

While many pursue an MBA with the direct goal of entering a business-related field, the fact is, an MBA can also act as a solid foundation from which professionals can explore further career options. Because of the skillset it helps develop, it not only prepares people for myriad potential careers, but also provides value to a resume, no matter what industry is being applied for.

What Is an MSHRA?

An MSHRA is a relatively new, cutting-edge degree that enables those with an interest in human resources to apply data analytics in order to improve business processes. There is some crossover between an MBA with a business analytics specialty and a Master of Science in Human Resources Analytics degree. Both complement one another in a number of ways, however, with the ultimate goal of each coming down to developing specialized skills that can be applied in the workplace.

In general, while an MBA endorses skills around successful management and entrepreneurship, an MSHRA degree focuses more on the data surrounding human resources as well as all of the strategy, planning, and unique skills required in the field. 

Specifically, the MSHRA stacks a certificate in HR management and a business analytics certificate, preparing students to lead in the modern business world where talent acquisition and retention through data-based insights are quickly becoming essential.  

What Careers Can I Get With an MSHRA?

Generally, an MSHRA graduate will be qualified for most HR positions in myriad industries. However, the flexibility of this degree, not unlike an MBA in Business Analytics, means the skills learned apply to many different fields in several different capacities.

The median pay for a human resources manager was estimated to be approximately $125,000 in 2021, while human resource specialists were estimated at around $63,000 in comparison. The baseline difference between these two roles is simple: to be an HR manager generally requires a bachelor’s degree at a minimum, while HR specialists are considered more “entry-level” in the field.

Additional HR-related positions requiring a bachelor’s degree, at minimum, include:

  • Compensation and benefits manager;
  • Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialist;
  • Labor relations specialist;
  • Public relations specialist;
  • Job analysis specialists.

While many general HR-related roles require a bachelor’s degree, an MSHRA degree opens up more opportunities requiring more specialized skills. Such specialized MSHRA fields include, but are not limited to:

  • Human resources analytics;
  • Human resources management and development;
  • Human resources consultant.

Further, earning a degree past a bachelor’s not only demonstrates a passionate foundation for the field, but also potentially makes one’s resume more appealing to larger corporations looking for applicants at the top of their field. The crossover between MSHRA and MBA in Business Analytics degrees and the skill sets developed there also cannot be forgotten.

Who Should Consider an MSHRA?

MSHRA degrees may focus on several potential career paths, but are also known to be valuable for myriad industries and fields within those industries. Specifically, many careers outside of business and entrepreneurship need professionals with skills you will learn while studying HR specializations.

Career paths that may benefit from an MSHRA degree include those that:

  • Work closely with people;
  • Apply data analysis methods such as cluster analysis, cohort analysis, as well as predictive analysis to influence strategy and make decisions;
  • Strive to improve working conditions, no matter the industry;
  • Develop and implement workplace standards to benefit both the employee and the company;
  • Focus on leadership for the well-being of employees;
  • Tackle legal and compliance-related issues in the workplace.

Should I Get an MBA or an MSHRA?

With the wide crossover between the MBA in Business Analytics and the MSHRA programs and career paths, it may be difficult for potential students to determine which of the two is a better program for them. When it comes down to it, it’s important to keep in mind the specializations and unique skills that come with each, as well as those same experiences and skillsets that can be carried over between them.

Further, no matter which path students choose, the flexible crossover between the two allows for potential opportunity to either make a switch, or even pursue one and then the other. Online classes represent increased accessibility in earning a degree on a flexible schedule, opening up even more professional opportunities in the future.

Contact Information


Toby Burris
Montclair State University
Student Recruitment Manager

(973) 655-6015
onlinebusiness@montclair.edu

Do you have questions about the online MBA? You may find it helpful to watch a webinar hosted by Student Recruitment Manager, Toby Burris.

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By completing this form and clicking the button below I consent to receive communication from a representative of this insitution by phone, text or email regarding your educational program request.

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