MBA versus MS versus MCA What should I do ?


MBA vrs MS vrs MCA

I have tried to recommend either MBA or MCA/MS keeping in mind various parameters such as degree level qualification, preference etc. These are just opinions and should not be considered as rules. And of course you have to do your own research by searching and reading on web whatever you want to do. This is to give you direction to your required profession.

MS is Master degree in USA for which only Graduate degree is sufficient for application. Only thing is if your graduate degree has not some basic papers or subjects then you will have to first take those subjects.

For MS you must take TOEFEL and GRE exams. TOEFEL is a must whereas GRE score helps you in getting scholarship from the institutes. Apart from these you will need at least three recommendations from your distinguished professors( Who are well know in academic circle and have published some papers in various technical magazines etc.)

For those aspiring for MBA in USA go through GMAT exams.

1) Qualification:

Bachelor of Arts (Economics) /Science/Commerce/Computer Applications: You may go for either MBA or MCA/MS. If you want, you can go for MBA after MCA also.

Bachelor of Arts (History, Geography etc. except Economics): Go for MBA.

If you have MCA degree, in real life when you are looking for a job, people with some mathematics background are given preference over people with no mathematics background.

With BA degree you can go for MS in USA. Only thing is, if some pre-requisite subjects are not covered in your BA course, then you will have to take those courses prior to MS.


Bachelor of Engineering: Go for MBA if you are interested in Business Administration or if you are technically inclined Go for M. Tech or MS

With MCA degree you may go for part time MBA course or full-time MBA course. But reverse, that is with MBA going for MCA I have not heard of till date! With MCA degree you may go for MS but again it may be waste of time and resources on your part.

  1. Preference:

    You want to be a technical professional or want to be a management professional. You have to keep your degrees level qualification in mind even if you have preference for technical job. For example it will be difficult for you going for MCA with BA History qualification.

    If you are interested in Business Administration Go for MBA otherwise technically inclined people may go for MCA/MS.

  2. Compensation:

    MBA get better pay package compared to MCA. If you get MS degree from USA and then return back to India then you may get better compensation compared to MCA (my opinion, I may be wrong).

    But sometimes if you have a hot technical skill set (I am assuming here that your skill set is saleable abroad so that you are getting opportunity to go abroad for say 3months 3 years. Specially people with network experience, database experience fall into this category), you may get more than an average MBA compensation.

    In Government sector a person with Bachelor of Engineering gets one salary grade above than the person with MCA degree (At least till 1995 in CMC Ltd., which was a Government Undertaking.)

    Of course with better compensation comes more responsibility.

  3. Chances of Going Abroad:

    If you are doing your MBA/MS abroad you are already in foreign country! Otherwise with Indian MBA qualification it is difficult to go abroad with a job, not impossible. If you join multinational company after completing your MBA, chances of going abroad is more. An MBA with Bachelor of Computer Science & Engineering or BCA in IT industry may have a chance to go abroad, if you are doing technical job such as system analysis, system auditing (pre-requisite is programming) etc.

    With MCA if you are in IT companies for example TCS, NIIT, WIPRO, HCL-HP Consulting etc. then chances of going abroad is much more. Private companies train their personnel in India and then maximize their profit by selling their services abroad.

    Negative side of going abroad is, the stay in foreign country depends on the duration of project. The project ranges from 3months 3 years and more. So the life is a sort of Gypsy life. Wherever there is requirement (project) your company is sending you there. It is called Body Shopping.

    Once you have foreign experience your employer (company) will make sure that it is cashing on your foreign experience by selling you abroad forcing you to lead a Gypsy life. Today here Tomorrow somewhere else.

    With MS you can get a job in USA itself or may return back to India to a suitable industry where you can get suitable job for your MS degree.

    By the way Indian MBA and MCA both are treated at par as PostGraduate Degree in USA. It helps in Green Card (Permanent Resident) processing as the processing is done in EB2 class and is faster compared to only bachelors degree.

  4. Promotion:

    MBA has better chances of promotion compared to MCA on an average. Similarly may be MS carries more weight than MCA

  5. Job Availability:

    Much more jobs are available for MBAs compared to MCAs. The curriculum of MBA covers each and every aspect of Business. So you are already exposed to all the aspects (Finance, Marketing, Production etc) of a business and it becomes a plus point in landing better and more job.

    Whereas MCA confines you only to the technical aspect of a business that too related to IT.

    With MS you have more opportunity for jobs both abroad and in India.

  6. Expenses:

    MBA is much more expensive than MCA. But student loans are available for qualifying students. MS is also expensive compared to MS, expenses depends on the university/institute and its location in USA.

    Both MS and MBA (in USA) allow at least one year of stay in USA so that you can search for a job. If within this time frame you do not get a job then you have to return back to your home country.

    One good thing about MBA is that during Summer Project (after first year) you can earn some money, which helps you through the second year.

  7. Self Enhancement :

    In real life and industry self-enhancement is a continuos process. You have to keep up to date with the current market/business/technology trend.

    Technology changes at a fast pace and you have to try to keep up with the changing technology. For some it may be a real challenge especially in IT field. In such a situation you have to really think in which industry you want to be in. For example almost every 6 months there is changes in programming languages C, C++, C#, JAVA etc.

  8. Career or Family Life:

    If you want to settle down at a place after marriage, then Gypsy life will put a lot of burden on you. In this case you will have to select a particular Industry which will allow you to stay at the same place for a long time. It does not matter whether you are an MBA or an MCA. You will have to select a particular Industry, which will allow you to pursue your career as well as allow you to have a comfortable family life.

    If you are thinking of just the career all the options of MBA, MS and MCA are good. In case of MBA you may have to travel within the country due to business and in case of MCA/MS you should be ready to go anywhere in the world. This is true in case of MBA from India otherwise if you are doing MBA abroad then also you should be ready to travel to anywhere in the World!

  9. Current Economical Situation :

    The current economical scenario plays an important role in deciding what to do. As for an example 1996-1999 was a good period, especially for IT people as there was a demand for IT guys worldwide and so MCA had an upper hand compared to MBA.

    Looking at this demand more and more institutes and universities churned out a lot of MCAs. In 2000 this situation reversed and there is not much demand for IT right now in World (Hopefully it may improve in the near future). There may be now glut of MCAs given this decrease in demand as institute and universities are still churning out MCAs. We can not say that there will not be any demand. But as there are more and more people, with MCA degree, competition will be more and there may be less lucrative jobs and compensation compared to 1996-1999.

    Whereas due to high cost and due to local requirement only, the supply of MBA guys have not increased much, so the demand will remain stable. But again no one can predict future.

    In this case MS has an upper hand. If the economy is good, and demand is there; you can land a job in USA or return back to home country and try your luck there till the demand goes up back again.

    So you have to try to read the future also what will be the demand and supply situation.

  10. Quality and Reputation of Institute/University:

Finally the quality and reputation of institute or university matters a lot, whether you are doing MBA, MS or MCA. So decide what you want to do and select the institute or university carefully.

The placements support after graduation also matters a lot in selection of institute/university. Try to find out how many companies come for campus recruitment and on average how many jobs (at least one) a person gets in these campus recruitment.

Wish You All the Best in your endeavor.


Related Links

Tips for CAT

Note on XLRI

Tata Institue of Social Sciences

By John Ekka