Master’s in Business Degree Programs in Illinois
A master’s in business degree could be an asset to professionals in a wide variety of areas. From marketing to finance, from management to entrepreneurship, pursuing a master’s degree program may be just what you need to take your career to the next level.
Master’s in Business 2023
In a general, master’s in business program, students typically receive a broad but focused education in the functional areas of business. Many business master’s programs meld hands-on learning, upper-level business courses, and networking opportunities with formats that may include electives and independent research. Many master’s business degree courses tackle methods suitable for someone who manages people, projects, and day-to-day operations in:
- Human Resources
- Organizational Behavior
Each master’s student could also gain a unique education tailored to their career goals in one of two ways.
- Through a master’s or MBA concentration (e.g., MBA in Marketing, MS in Finance/Financial Planning)
- Through a master’s degree in a single area of business studies (Master of Accounting)
While some universities offer a 1-year business degree, these accelerated one-year master’s programs are usually for executives and students with experience. Otherwise, the average length of a master’s in business program is typically between 12 and 24 months.
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Benefits of Pursuing a Master’s Degree in Business
Whether you want to take your career to the next level, delve into a different area of business, or increase your existing knowledge, pursuing a master’s in business could help you fulfill your career aspirations and stand out in your field. Read on to learn more about the benefits of pursuing a master’s in business.
Boost Your Career with a Master’s Degree in Business
One significant benefit of pursuing a master’s degree in business is the impact it could have on your earning potential. Across many fields, master’s degree holders have a higher median annual salary than those with a bachelor’s degree—in 2021, the median annual salary was $12,480 higher.1 In addition, business occupations that may require a master’s degree tend to have higher median annual salaries than those that don’t.
Your chances at landing your dream job might also improve, since even in occupations that typically require a bachelor’s for entry, some employers prefer candidates to have a master’s. And earning a master’s could also help you move into more senior positions in your current career.
Develop Relevant Business Skills with a Master’s Degree
Another benefit of pursuing a master’s degree in business is the opportunity to develop business skills that could be applied to a range of industries. In addition to honing your knowledge in fundamental areas of business such as marketing, accounting, and human resources, master’s in business curriculums might help you cultivate skills in leadership, strategic thinking, data analysis, communication, and entrepreneurship, among others, and sharpen your technical skills as well. By gaining such skills, you may be better prepared to succeed in a variety of business roles.
Pursuing a master’s in business could also help you stay ahead of the game with regard to emerging trends in business. Some programs offer concentrations in the latest technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. Others focus on providing a global perspective to help equip students with the skills they may need to meet the world’s pressing challenges.
Networking Opportunities with a Master’s Degree in Business
Networking is considered by many to be a key component in expanding job opportunities and building a successful career. In a business master’s degree program, your interactions with peers, alumni, faculty, and business professionals might help you build a professional network that could have a far-reaching impact on your future.
In addition to its potential for expanding job opportunities, networking could help you gain insights into the industry, find mentors, foster the exchange of ideas, stay up to date on the latest trends and developments in your field, and develop a sense of community and support.
Flexibility of a Master’s Degree Program in Business
While pursuing a master’s degree in business is a commitment, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to put your life on hold. Many master’s degree programs in business offer a range of delivery methods, including online, hybrid, and in-person formats, allowing you to choose the option that works for you.
Online and hybrid master’s degree programs in business could provide flexibility for students who need to balance their studies with work, family, or other commitments. Some of these programs often offer asynchronous coursework, which means you may attend classes online at whatever times are convenient for you, or courses at night or on weekends. Others offer multiple start dates and flexible scheduling options that could help you fit your studies into your current schedule.
Schools with Master’s in Business Degree Programs
Different Master’s in Business Degrees: MBA, MA, MS
There are three basic options available to postgraduate students seeking a master’s in business: Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS or MSc), or Master of Business Administration (MBA).
MBA | Master of Business Administration
The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is an internationally-recognized professional master’s degree. It is designed to develop in graduates the skills required for careers in business and management. The bulk of MBA course credits are devoted to compulsory courses in core subjects such as:
- Operations Management
- Managerial Economics
- Business Strategy
- Human Resource Management
- Managerial Finance
- Corporate Ethics
After these “core” courses are completed, students could focus their MBA through a concentration—for example, healthcare administration, economics, finance—which allows them to follow their own personal or professional interests. Some schools require that MBA candidates complete an internship at a company or organization, which may lead to concrete job opportunities after the program.
MS | Master of Science in Business
A Master of Science (MS) is an academic degree with a technical focus in a business discipline. Students may be exposed to several business functional areas as they hone critical and creative thinking skills.
The aim of an MS is to help students learn to leverage organizational knowledge and navigate a data-driven business setting. Course plans tend to be holistic and cover a chosen subject from all angles while also covering:
- Management Strategy
- Data Analysis
This could ready participants to identify effective strategies, improve managerial decisions and drive overall business growth. A choice of emphasis often provides fuel for research and further professional development and expertise. Students often need to complete a thesis, and may, depending on the subject, need to complete an internship.
MA | Master of Arts in Business
A Master of Arts (MA) in business is a graduate degree that often melds current theory, academic research, and applied practice to help students lead effectively. Students often take a wide range of courses that could cover:
- Principles of Administrative Leadership
- Community Engagement
Throughout their program, MA students might have the chance to develop practical skills through written and oral assignments and through the hands-on crafting of strategic or marketing plans. Often, a field-based practicum and a culminating capstone project are required.
Should I Get My Master’s or an MBA?
An MBA is ideal for students with a professional background who want more flexibility or to work in management roles. They may become business owners. A master’s program is better for those who want to focus on targeted skills in a specific area.
MBA degree programs typically expose students to a general overview of business, with a more extensive range of compulsory courses designed to equip them to handle a wide range of business-related situations and roles. In contrast, an MA or MSc in Business tends to provide scope for gaining deeper skills and insights. These programs generally focus on precise academic and theoretical models and may help students become experts in a specific field (e.g. accountant).
MA programs tend to be offered in the humanities, while MS programs frequently have STEM-infused curricula. However, the nuances of each program are set by individual business schools, so take note of different program requirements and read course lists before you move forward.
Types of Master’s in Business Degrees
For students who have a plan for their career trajectory, a master’s degree in business could focus exclusively on one particular area of interest right from the start. What do you want to earn an MBA or master’s degree in? Below is a brief synopsis of some popular categories that fall under business master’s degrees.
Accounting master’s programs such as the Master of Accounting (MAcc) often prepare students to become a Certified Public Accountant. An accounting major in an MBA program might cover financial accounting and in-depth economic principles.
Business Administration and Management
A Master of Business Administration (MBA) or Master of Management (MIM) could ready students to plan, organize, direct, and take control of the various functions and processes of a firm or private enterprise. Concentration areas bring into focus specific tools and techniques that may be useful for executives and managers of certain departments (like human resources or budgeting).
Business Information Systems
A Master’s in Information Systems or Information Analytics is planned-out for those who want to use data mining to develop their organization’s strategic priorities. In some schools, students may earn a Business Intelligence Certificate, certified by SAS in tandem with their MS degree.
eCommerce and Social Media
A Master of Science in e-Business Management could help students cultivate the skills needed to assess, oversee and improve the operational functions of an online enterprise. Students may learn to apply the concepts of systems integration to the design and development of products and services through market analysis.
A Master’s in Economics (MS, MA, MEcon) program could refine skills in economic reasoning. Students could learn how to construct and apply economic models through the use of econometrics and other quantitative techniques.
A Master’s or MBA in Entrepreneurship may cover the finer points of taking an idea from concept to market. Students may learn how to gage opportunity and risk, create a business plan, and raise capital.
Environment and Agriculture
Master’s in Agriculture degrees cover the management of farmland, forestry, fisheries, and livestock. They often focus on a wide range of topics, from agribusiness and green technology to sustainability and zoology.
A Master’s or MBA in Finance could help students develop a capacity to manage a person or organization’s assets and maximize their growth. Banking and financial planning are two concentration areas.
Healthcare Administration and Management
A Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA, MS, or MBA-Healthcare) has at heart the skills and knowledge required to manage facilities, operations, and services in healthcare settings. Key areas could include health informatics, health law, clinical issues, and financial management.
A Master’s or MBA in Hospitality Management could explore the specific leadership needed in the hotel industry, tourism and businesses, such as hotels, spas, restaurants, casinos, and resorts. Students might gain a solid grasp of how to maximize profits, market their brand, and improve guest experience.
Human Resources Management
A Master’s or MBA in Human Resource Management (HRM) could help students understand what it takes to hire, fire, assess and train personnel. Course topics could cover workplace behavior and performance metrics.
A Master’s in International Business could help students understand the global marketplace and how to achieve and maintain a competitive edge. Concepts such as diversity, economics, and conflict resolution may be added on to courses in leadership and strategy.
Marketing and Advertising
Marketing master’s programs often help students make sense of market research, consumer behavior, and digital media platforms. MS programs may cover technical subjects such as search engine optimization and analytics, while MBA marketing programs may help students develop as managers.
A Master’s in Nonprofit Administration may cover the principles of fundraising and reaching budget goals in organizations and foundations dedicated to service or charity. Students may develop keen leadership skills and expertise in management.
Master’s in Operations Management programs could help students learn the ins and outs of logistics, supply chain management, and effective use of resources. A focus in construction management could help students plan, direct, and oversee building projects with an eye to negotiate contracts, control budget and understand the regulatory environment.
A Master’s in Organizational Leadership often provides a forum for students to develop as leaders who are able to manage projects and motivate teams. A less person-centric focus in this field is a Master’s in Risk Management, which emphasizes the calculations needed to make savvy decisions about opportunities.
A Master of Science in Project Management (MSPM) may help refine technical skills as participants study up-to-date and innovative management strategies. Students could learn how to initiate, plan, execute, control, and close a project—on time and on budget—using the latest project management software and technology.
Public Administration and Policy
A Master of Public Administration is similar to an MBA but focuses on the public and nonprofit sectors. Students could learn how to manage projects and programs that benefit the community as they hone skills in policy analysis and ethical leadership.
Real Estate and Property Management
A Master’s in Property Management could help students learn how to buy and sell property as well as how to manage real estate. Courses might include basic business, finance, accounting, and real estate theory.
An MS or MBA in Sports Management is all about the business of sports. Students could refine skills in management, coaching, sports analytics, marketing, and more.
A Master’s in Technology Management is geared toward developing the skills that may be needed to effectively lead in both technology and business sectors. Often, course plans focus on management, strategy, ethics, and industry trends such as information security.
What they do: Advise businesses and individuals about ways to expend money to increase profit
Median annual salary: $95,570
Job growth: About 32,000 openings for financial analysts are projected each year, on average, from 2021–2031.
What they do: Conduct research, evaluate monetary and fiscal policy issues, prepare reports, collect and analyze statistical data
Median annual salary: $105,630
Job growth: About 1,400 openings for economists are projected each year, on average, from 2021–2031.
Market Research Analyst4
What they do: Analyze and forecast marketing trends
Median annual salary: $63,920
Job growth: About 99,800 openings for market research analysts are projected each year, on average, from 2021–2031.
What they do: Manage business activities, implement new strategies, and create new policy
Median annual salary: $98,980
Job growth: About 318,100 openings for top executives are projected each year, on average, from 2021–2031.
Medical and Health Services Manager6
What they do: Plan, direct, and coordinate healthcare facilities
Median annual salary: $101,340
Job growth: About 56,600 openings are projected each year, on average, from 2021–2031
Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents7
What they do: Sell securities, advise companies in search of investors, and make trades
Median annual salary: $62,910
Job growth: About 46,600 openings for securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents are projected each year, on average, from 2021–2031.
Sources: 1 https://www.bls.gov/emp/chart-unemployment-earnings-education.htm | 2 https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-analysts.htm | 3 https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/economists.htm | 4 https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/market-research-analysts.htm | 5 https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/top-executives.htm | 6 https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm | 7 https://www.bls.gov/ooh/sales/securities-commodities-and-financial-services-sales-agents.htm | Based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Accessed 4/5/2023.
GradSchools.com Offers 42 Graduate Schools with Masters in Business Programs in Illinois
Wake Forest University
Colorado State University Global
Grand Canyon University
Western Governors University
Full Sail University
Northern Illinois University
University of Northwestern-St. Paul
Illinois State University
Northeastern Illinois University