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Joint MBA/MA Chemistry

  1. Oct 11, 2011 #1
    Yes - I know this is a physics forum, but technically chemistry is a result of physics, and the chemical forums are relatively unpopulated, so I thought I'd ask you all about this as well (if it helps, replace every instance of the word 'chemistry' with 'physics')...

    I graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry, minor in biochemistry, in 2010 with some research experience, no papers, and a decent GPA. Since then I have been bouncing around the industrial world, learning this and that. I had planned on going back to school to pursue a PhD, but after quite a bit of research I think I may hold off to see how the economy fares. I would, however, like to go back to school in the meantime (whether or not I eventually apply to PhD programs), so I have been looking into Master's programs in my area. While doing so I stumbled across the existence of a joint MBA/MA chemistry program.

    Now, first of all, could anyone explain the major differences between a MA and a MS in chemistry? I am especially interested to know how a MA degree is viewed in industry compared to a MS, mainly because it seems that, at the Bachelor's level, a BS outshines a BA particularly due to the increased amount and complexity of material studied. Is it the same case with MA and MS? My goal is to mainly to learn, but the outcome (a.k.a. $) is important as well - especially due to the high cost of continuing education without stipends.

    Next we proceed to the main question - Are there substantial advantages to earning an MBA as a chemist? Is there a big difference between having a Master's degree in chemistry and having the same coupled with an MBA? What about an MBA + BS?

    As I have seen in my journey, many supervisors and managers are delegated to doing solely what their title entails, and rarely enter the laboratories. Now I definitely enjoy the lab work, but I am under the impression that I will need to move up the chain in order to make more money as a chemist at a large firm. I am assuming (maybe wrongly) that an MBA will not help me much if I apply to a PhD program (please let me know if I am wrong), but if the market stays the same, and I decide to keep grinding, I want to know if an MBA is a decent option or if it would fall into the category of 'over qualification.' What I mean by this is could I climb the ladder just as easily armed with only a Master's in Chemistry?

    Thank you for your time, folks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 11, 2011 #2
    I've never heard of an MA in chemistry. It's going to look really bad if it's a coursework only program and pretty much a waste of time. I don't know about the MBA. I know one guy who got one just because his job paid for most of it (he's a PhD chemist). He said he is just happy to have a job at all and didn't expect it to pay off yet.

    I have a MS in chem and you can read my past posts to get an idea of what it's like to be one. I can't advise anyone looking for money to go into chemistry. The only up side is that the degree was free (except time) and I even saved a small amount of my stipend.
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