Manhattanville College, Purchase

MS degrees take center stage.

At Manhattanville College School of Business, the focus is on Master of Science (MS) degrees—in fields ranging from finance to sports business management—instead of the common MBA. 

What is the main distinction? “The MBA is more general,” explains  Manhattanville’s Davidson. “The MBA helps you get the job, but the MS helps you do the job. It’s more hands-on, and the skills you use are going to be readily available to you in the workplace.” 

The school turned to this format after feedback from local employers, such as IBM, sent a strong message: We want grads who can hit the ground running.  

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With this in mind, Manhattanville College redesigned all of its graduate business programs in the past 18 months. In addition to making each MS program more focused and practical, it now has students taking courses on more elusive skills, such as how to communicate effectively and lead ethically. For mid-career professionals, the MS program teaches students how to transition from being an effective manager to a strong and engaging leader. Employers want their hires to have these skills when they enter the workforce, Davidson says.

All courses are taught by professionals currently practicing in the fields—e.g., a regulation course is taught by an executive at the New York State Bar Association—so students can learn modern practices and benefit from their teachers’ connections. 

Ten percent of Manhattanville’s MS students already have MBAs and feel they have more to learn. “People aren’t just saying ‘I want to get out of [graduate school] as fast as possible,’” says Davidson. “They’re saying, ‘I want extra skills and courses, and I’ll pay extra money and spend more time on it.’”

The Numbers:

Average age of MS students: early 30s

Breakout of MS degrees for 2013-2014 academic year: 

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  • Business Leadership 10%
  • Marketing 10%
  • Finance 15%
  • Human Resources 20%
  • International Management 10%
  • Sports Business Management 35%

The Grad

Benjamin S. Melting

Degree: Manhattanville College, 2011

Age: 32

Profession: Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Stribling & Associates

Why did you decide to go back to school? After completing my undergraduate degree, I moved to Seattle, where I learned the ins and outs of the real estate business. I then moved to New York, right at the collapse of the housing market. As the market retracted and business slowed, I saw it as an opportunity, and I returned to the classroom. 

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Why did you choose an MS over an MBA? While an MBA allows a student to see a larger picture, the MS allows you to ‘zoom-in’ on a particular field of interest, know-how, or expertise. I wanted to concentrate on specific subject matter related to my field, and see where I could take it.

Do you use what you learned at Manhattanville College in your day-to-day work life? Throughout the MS program, much of the focus was on analyzing and optimizing—it was strategic in nature. As a Manhattan real estate broker, this could not be more vital. Real estate is a numbers game. If the numbers don’t work, the deal dies. 


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