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Business postgraduate study

Should my business master’s degree match my undergrad degree?

Study tips
Published 22 Sep, 2023  ·  4-minute read

It’s a common question for people considering postgraduate business study:

  • Should I get a master’s degree in the same field as my undergraduate program?
  • Or should I choose a master’s program in a completely new area?

The answer likely depends on your career goals, but let’s dive into this question further.

Does my master’s degree have to be the same as my bachelor’s degree?

Not at all. Many students take diagonal paths throughout their academic journey. You don’t have to move directly from an undergraduate program to the postgraduate program of the same name.

Which business master’s program is best for me?

Approach your postgraduate decision by asking “which program will help me achieve my career goals?” rather than “which program makes the most sense based on my undergraduate degree?”. Because while the program that looks logical on paper is sometimes the best choice, it’s not always.

At the UQ Business School, we design our postgraduate programs to meet the needs of all students, whether you’re continuing in the same field or switching to a new area. This means you don’t need to worry about starting at a disadvantage if your undergraduate study doesn’t align perfectly with your postgraduate program – you’ll still gain those critical business skills as you go. And if you are transitioning directly from the relevant undergraduate program, you’ll get to diversify and extend your business knowledge through specialising in a new area. It’s a win-win.

For example, after completing a Bachelor of Business Management, you could study a Master of Business to specialise in an area of business not covered by the undergraduate program (such as advertising, organisational sustainability or supply chain management). Or you might choose to diversify your skills further by studying a:

“Undertaking my Master of Business at UQ has enabled me to pursue my studies in sustainability while also dual-majoring in international business. I would advise anyone considering studying at UQ to think no more and commit to this life-changing experience. UQ not only provides a top-tier education and industry connections but also a wonderful opportunity for personal growth."

- Cameron Law, Master of Business

Cameron Law, Master of Business

Cameron Law completed his Master of Business with the UQ Business School

Have you considered a Master of Business Administration?

It’s worth thinking about the Master of Business Administration (MBA) if your goals include:

  • advancing your career
  • increasing your earning potential
  • moving into a different field
  • expanding your professional network.

MBA programs enable you to develop broad, in-demand business leadership skills. These will help you succeed in a range of industries and positions.

The UQ MBA is ideal for professionals with at least 4 years’ full-time work experience (including 2+ years in a dedicated supervisory or management role). If you’re looking to step straight from an undergrad program to a postgrad business program, one of the degrees discussed above is more suitable.

Advice from graduates and students

After completing an undergraduate degree in business management, UQ alumnus Margo Camus wasn’t sure which postgraduate program to enrol in.

“Initially, I was looking at studying a Master of Business or Master of Entrepreneurship and Innovation because I had a perception that MBAs were just for people in traditional, corporate jobs,” Margo says.

“But as soon as I learned more about the program and met with some current students and alumni that were making their mark across a range of industries, I realised the UQ MBA was for me.”

Rob Sutton, a UQ MBA student and Managing Director at Mirragin Consulting, is experiencing the value of the MBA as well.

“I decided to study an MBA so that I could have a golden arrow that hit the first time rather than having to shoot multiple arrows,” Rob says.

“To me, this meant developing a broad understanding of different areas like marketing, accounting, business and HR, so that when someone comes to you with an issue or proposal, you know how to respond.”

Margo Camus, Rob Sutton and David Elchuk

Margo Camus (MBA), Rob Sutton (MBA) and David Elchuk (Master of Entrepreneurship and Innovation)

For Master of Entrepreneurship and Innovation graduate David Elchuk, finding the right postgraduate program to diversify his skills and achieve his career goals meant moving overseas.

"I chose to study the UQ Master of Entrepreneurship and Innovation because I wanted to augment my degree in biotechnology and start a business," he says.

"There weren't any similar programs in Canada, and it was worth the trip."

David found the flexibility around his course structure particularly appealing.

"I was able to customise my course load based on my undergraduate study to focus on specific courses. You can request to take a course outside of the curriculum if it aligns with your major, interests, or future career path."

The program offered new insights and gave him the push he needed to seize his next opportunity.

"I recommend this program to anyone who thinks they know how to start a business or how to innovate, because there are things you don't know, and you'll come out the other end better for it," David says.

"This program expanded my mind and removed my hesitations. I learned you don't need a solid product or idea to start your innovation journey. You just have to start."

The bottom line

Throughout your decision-making process, the most important thing to keep in mind is why you want to further your education.

  • What are you passionate about?
  • What is important to you?
  • What do you want to achieve in your career?

These questions can help you choose the best business master’s program to achieve your professional goals and create positive change.

Passionate about making a difference? Find a program that will help you gain in-demand and industry-relevant skills at our global top-50 university. Browse the UQ Business School site or speak to our friendly Student Admissions team today.

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