By Whitney Laughlin, EdD, IECA (Canada)

The Master of Management (aka, MIM, MM, MMgt, MMS, MSc in Management) is a one- to two-year program for students from a wide variety of academic disciplines that covers a broad range of topics in business management, typically with a focus on leadership. In many programs, students may have the option to concentrate in or specialize in several areas, such as accounting, finance, entrepreneurship, human resources, international business, and marketing. Some may also include internships or on-the-job placements to help prepare the student for the workplace. The MIM is tailor-made for the liberal arts graduate who wants a business degree before their first “real” job. With an MIM, they would typically be considered for more than an entry-level position because of the leadership and management background the degree provides.

What Is an MIM?

Like the MBA, MIM programs are competitive for entry and require a bachelor’s degree, with a competitive GPA (3.3–3.5 approximately). Some require a GMAT (or GRE) score (usually 600–700), but many programs will weigh the undergraduate coursework and GPA more heavily than the GMAT/GRE score. Unlike the MBA, however, students can apply right out of college or university with limited professional experience (usually one year of work or its equivalent in summer employment), if any. The average age of the MIM student is typically younger (20–27) than that of the MBA student (27–32) because of the MBA program’s minimum requirement of 2–3 years of work in the field. MIM programs are also less expensive and of shorter duration.

Some MIM programs require an economics or business background or at least some quantitative coursework in statistics, finance, economics, or accounting; however, the majority do not—and many actually require that the applicant did not major in business as an undergraduate. Requirements and preferences vary widely by country and by program. Students can later continue for an MBA, with some programs even offering that possibility with credit to forego the first year’s courses of the MBA or a leg up to their own MIM graduates.

The MIM is relatively new in the United States; programs in Europe, Asia, Australia, and Canada are more established. One way to assess the quality of a program is through rankings, such as those available at www.mim-compass.com/Rankings. Notice that the first 54 schools on the list are indeed outside of North America—although the majority offer their coursework in English—with #55 (UBC/Sauder) and #59 (Queen’s/Smith) in Canada. Only one US school is even listed: #82 ASU/Carey. Some other good programs also worth mentioning in North America are Western/Ivey and York/Schulich in Canada, as well as Babson, Duke/Fuqua, Michigan/Ross, Rochester/Simon, Thunderbird, and Tulane/Freeman in the US. Please note that their programs have distinct focuses, such as entrepreneurial leadership and global management.

Typical program requirements are an interview (most likely by Skype); a demonstration of strong analytical and communication skills; a personal statement (often including the “why us?” question); a CV and two references, one academic and one employment; and GMAT or GRE scores. Application deadlines are typically late October to mid-December.

A Student Profile

A profile of one of my MIM applicants this year is Simon (not his real name), a German citizen. I worked with him when he was in a private high school in Victoria, BC. He was a year young for his grade and although very bright—with 4s and 5s on AP’s, including BC Calculus—he was a bit immature. Both he and his parents felt that a gap year would be a great idea.

He spent his gap year back in Germany working as a teacher’s assistant with gifted students as well as those with learning differences. He also worked as an assistant to the occupational therapy team in a senior’s residence, with a focus on those who were comatose and those with dementia. The summer before university, Simon worked as a sales person at a local clothing retailer, experiences that not only built character, maturity, and people skills but also planted the seeds for the future.

When I asked Simon why he didn’t want to consider returning to Germany for university he replied, “I am a much nicer person in English.” That cracked me up, but for him, it was probably quite true! He was keenly interested in neuropsychology and in going to school in the UK, having already experienced Canada and Germany. He will graduate this spring from the University of Glasgow with a BS Honours in Psychology. His accent is a charming combination of Scottish, Canadian, and hint of German.

The past two summers, Simon was introduced to the business world at Ernst & Young’s German headquarters in Frankfurt, where he learned a great deal about fundamental and advanced accounting processes as well as event planning and execution. While at the University of Glasgow, he has been operations coordinator for TEDx, organizer of three Mental Health at the Workplace conferences in Scotland, and community ambassador (i.e., RA) for his dorm.

Simon writes in one of his personal statements: “In my internships with Ernst & Young I visited many different workplaces, some with healthy working environments, and some with anything but. It is my goal to improve those latter workplaces: the ones that suffocate even the best employees with their toxic atmosphere, rendering them unable to deliver work up to their full potential. To create the best solutions possible, I will need to understand the business perspective as well. The MIM programme is a perfect fit for my ambitions, as it does not require previous business experience but will still equip me with the tools and knowledge necessary to pursue my goals.”

Simon has applied to Babson, Duke/Fuqua, Michigan/Ross, and UBC/Sauder. He has so far been accepted to Babson (with a $20,000 merit scholarship) and Michigan and is waiting to hear from UBC and Duke. He is favoring the US so it will “round out” his very international education. If he ends up at Duke, that will indeed add a new dimension to his already interesting accent. If UBC, then he will need nothing, having already been prepared by the wet winters of Glasgow. However, if it is Michigan, he will need to invest in some heavy winter clothes (preferably blue!). And if Babson, then he will learn to love the Red Sox.

Additional Reading

• “Masters in management an MBA alternative” by Della Bradshaw: www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/careers/business-education/masters-in-management-an-mba-alternative/article595080

• “How to get in: Admission to Master in Management programs (MIM)” by Thomas Graf: www.mim-compass.com/Master-in-Management-MBA/Admission-to-Master-in-Management-programs-MIM-How-to-become-eligible-and-how-to-become-accepted

• Compass Master in Management: www.mim-compass.com

Whitney Laughlin can be reached at [email protected]

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