I’m going to return to a more admissions-related topic today. Recently, we were asked how an applicant could choose between the MALD and the MIB programs. I asked Kristen, our MIB expert, to lay it all out.
When talking with prospective students, one of the first questions we often hear is, “Which Fletcher degree is right for me?” While our five degree programs are suited to different professional interests and levels of experience, there is enough overlap among them that prospective applicants might feel torn in deciding between two different degree programs. And because all of our students can take all of the same classes, the differences blur even more. An MIB taking Peace Operations? Sure! An LLM in Corporate Finance? Of course!
So, as applicants narrow their choices, the questions we hear go something like this: Am I really mid-career enough for the MA, or is the MALD better for me? I’d like to enter the PhD program eventually, but should I start with the MALD? And then there’s the question I’m addressing today: I’m interested in building business skills. Is the MIB or the MALD the better choice?
The MIB and MALD programs share some fundamental similarities: both include classes in all three divisions, both require students to complete two Fields of Study and a capstone project, and both allow students to pursue business studies. The main difference lies in that last point. MALD students may choose International Business Relations as a Field of Study, requiring four classes in business. MIB students, on the other hand, complete a full core curriculum that includes business and international affairs classes, as well as a Field of Study in a specialized business area (Strategy, Finance, Marketing, or NGO Management). The MIB curriculum ensures that students have a foundational business education that delves into accounting, finance, strategy, marketing, statistics, and economics, and this curriculum (and the consequent “B” in the MIB degree name) is a signal to employers that, yes, this is a bona fide business degree, just as you would see in any more traditional business school.
If you are torn between the MIB and the MALD, ask yourself a few questions: How much business am I looking for in my degree? Am I looking to go into an industry that values a business degree? Do I prefer a more structured curriculum? And if you continue having a hard time grappling with these questions, please do not hesitate to call or email our office and we can talk about your career goals and the best degree for you.
And speaking of traditional business programs, this raises the second question: What about the MIB versus an MBA? The answer to this question is a bit simpler to describe. It is, quite simply, a matter of context. Where business schools almost exclusively focus on internal company matters (with some nods to market forces here and there), Fletcher is evenly weighted between the internal and the external. That is: What happens outside of company walls that makes for high risk or good opportunity? What are the market forces and cultural elements and policy factors and legal frameworks that affect a business? It’s this deep attention to context — what we call contextual intelligence — that distinguishes the MIB.
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