Students have the option to integrate an MBA with a degree in a different complementary field, like engineering, law, or medicine.
Traditionally, an MBA has been the preferred qualification for ambitious individuals seeking a solid grounding in fundamental areas like finance, marketing, strategy, and leadership. However, with the increasing interdisciplinarity of industries, there is a growing demand for professionals with specialized expertise. To address this need, dual-degree MBA programs have emerged, allowing students to combine their MBA with another complementary discipline, such as engineering, law, or medicine.
By enrolling in these programs, students not only develop a diverse skill set but also gain the ability to integrate various perspectives, think critically across different fields, and tackle complex challenges.
Students are increasingly creating one’s own degree
A variety of business schools worldwide now offer dual MBA programs, and Michigan Ross, for example, provides 22 formal dual degree options while also allowing students to create their own. Popular dual-degree programs at Ross include medicine, public policy, environmental sustainability, and law.
The benefit of being part of a large, public university like Ross is the opportunity for students to tailor their educational experience according to their interests and career goals. Pursuing a dual degree empowers students to specialize in two areas while reducing the number of individual courses required for each.
Academic advisors from Ross and partner schools provide support and resources to ensure that students meet the requirements of their dual degree program without feeling overwhelmed. Additionally, students can rely on each other for advice and best practices, and some programs even have dedicated student clubs to support the dual degree experience.
Maximizing potential in one’s chosen field
Harvard Business School also offers several dual-degree MBA programs in collaboration with other Harvard schools, such as the Master of Science in Biotechnology/MBA and Juris Doctorate (JD)/MBA. These joint-degree programs enable students to collaborate with other schools, equipping them with the skills and knowledge needed to make a significant impact in their chosen field.
Similarly, the McDonough School of Business in Washington D.C. offers the MBA/Master of Public Policy and MBA/Master of Science in Foreign Service, responding to student demand and recognizing the value of overlapping skills in specific niche industries.
The Oxford 1+1 MBA program in the UK allows candidates to combine a master’s degree from selected University of Oxford departments with the one-year MBA at Saïd Business School. This offers over 30-degree combinations, partnering with departments from different areas, providing students with unique expertise.
Notably, some of these dual-degree programs come with full tuition scholarships, like the Oxford-Pershing Square Graduate Scholarships, which support exceptional students dedicated to finding sustainable solutions to global challenges in society. These scholarships also offer additional benefits beyond financial aid, such as attending prestigious conferences and access to mentorship opportunities.
Growing demand for niche studies
In Washington D.C, the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University provides several dual-degree options, including the MBA/Master of Public Policy and MBA/Master of Science in Foreign Service. Instead of taking more classes simultaneously, students extend their time in school over the years to complete these programs.
The creation of these dual-degree programs was driven by student demand and the McDonough School’s recognition of certain niche industries that benefit from a combination of skills from two different areas.
According to Shelly Heinrich, associate dean of MBA admissions at the McDonough School, an MBA equips students with essential business skills, but when combined with other disciplines, it allows them to specialize in areas like managing law as a business or approaching public policy from a business perspective. Heinrich emphasizes that MBA skills are versatile and applicable across all industries.
Choosing to pursue these degrees separately would take more time and incur higher costs. However, opting for a dual degree allows students to overlap elective courses, providing them with more value for their investment. Moreover, they can take advantage of the career centers at both schools simultaneously, maximizing their chances of success.
In the UK, the Oxford 1+1 MBA program offers candidates the chance to integrate a master’s degree from selected University of Oxford departments with the one-year MBA program at Saïd Business School. Amy Major, associate director of MBA program delivery at Saïd Business School, highlights that they offer over 30-degree combinations, collaborating with departments such as the Blavatnik School of Government, the School of Geography and the Environment, and the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine.
In Swiss, there is a new AI-focused college, Swiss Institute of Artificial Intelligence, offers an MBA program specifically designed to combine knowledge in mathematics, statistics, and some computer programming to business application. The MBA program, MBA in AI/BigData, offers two tracks, each of which are either for technically oriented students or business story based studies. The school official told us that they plan to launch MBA in AI/Finance program for specifically working in field of finance.