MBA vs MS in New Zealand: Understanding the Differences

Last updated: 12 February 2024 MBA NZ Course Guide

MBA or MS? Deciding whether to study an MBA or MS course is tricky, as they are two of the most sought-after degrees in New Zealand that offer many career opportunities after completing undergraduate study.

If you want to learn more about studying an MBA or MS course in New Zealand, read below. To begin your study in New Zealand application, contact SI-New Zealand today for a free consultation.

MBA vs MS in New Zealand 

The difference between MBA and MS are as follows:


MBA (Master of Business Administration)

MS (Master of Science)

Area of Study

Develops business and management skills

Develops technical expertise in specific areas of study

Course duration

One to two years

Two years (full-time)

Work experience

Two to five years of experience

Not mandatory

Employment opportunities

Finance, Operations, Investment banking, and Private Equity

Engineering, Computer Science, Maths, and Science


$55,000 and $180,000 annually

$45,000 to $141,000 annually

Popular Universities

University of Auckland and University of Otago

The University of Auckland, Victoria University of Wellington, and Massey University

Overview of MBA in New Zealand

What is an MBA?

MBA, also known as Master of Business Administration, is one of the most versatile and demanding careers in the market. It is a postgraduate program focusing on business and management. The degree offers theoretical and practical training in business principles and leadership skills and provides a comprehensive understanding of various business fields, such as finance, banking, operations, and strategy. You can pursue an MBA degree in New Zealand in multiple types: full-time MBA, part-time MBA, Executive MBA, and Global MBA. 

MBA Curriculum

An MBA comprises a core curriculum and elective courses that cover various topics, such as management, finance, marketing, ethics, and communications. You have the option to specialise in areas of interest through concentrations or elective courses, such as:

MBA in New Zealand Entry Requirements

Eligibility is one of the essential criteria to enrol in any New Zealand university. The main entry requirements to apply in New Zealand are as follows:

MBA in New Zealand Fees

The MBA tuition fees in New Zealand are affordable compared to other study-abroad destinations. The average MBA fee for international students can range from $20,000 to $40,000 annually. On the other hand, the cost of living can range from $5000 to $10,000. The total cost of studying for an MBA in New Zealand can range from approximately $40,000 to $60,000. 

Job Opportunities, Salary, and Scope of an MBA

An MBA abroad is a wise career choice, with a wide range of career options at senior management and executive level. New Zealand has several career opportunities for skilled graduates, as the country has experienced a flourishing economy in the last few decades. MBA students in New Zealand can expect a salary range between $55,000 and $180,000 annually, depending on their skills and experience gained. The major employers who offer jobs in MBA New Zealand are Google, Bain, McKinsey, EY, and Microsoft. 

In addition, New Zealand also allows students to work while studying, and graduates can apply for a three-year post-study work visa. Some popular jobs where an MBA degree plays a crucial role include HR, marketing management, tourism management, finance management, and information technology. 

Overview of MS in New Zealand

What is an MS?

MS or a Master of Science is a postgraduate degree that can be pursued in various fields, such as engineering, science, statistics, psychology, and economics. An MS degree can also be pursued in business subjects focusing on finance, data analytics, marketing, and management, providing in-depth knowledge of the business industry. 

Most MS courses offered at New Zealand universities are two-year programs comprising theoretical and practical knowledge and field experience. 

MS Curriculum

The most popular MS programs in New Zealand are computer science, chemistry, nursing, data science, and business management. These degrees often lead to research-oriented courses. The subjects taught in a Master of Science degree might vary depending on the university and subject chosen to study. Here are some common subjects that are typically covered in various MS courses in New Zealand -

MS in New Zealand Entry Requirements

To be eligible for a Master of Science, international students need to meet specific academic requirements, such as

MS in New Zealand Fees

International applicants wanting to pursue an MS degree in New Zealand must know the expenses of academics, travelling, and accommodation. The average course fee for a Master of Science in New Zealand is around $26,000 - $37,000 annually. Apart from the course fee, the cost of living, which includes accommodation, food, travel, phone, and entertainment, will range from $20,000 to $25,000 annually. In addition, international students can also apply for student cards to receive discounts and offers across food and shopping. 

Job Opportunities, Salary, and Scope of an MS

Since New Zealand is a developed country with a consistent job market and opportunities, hence a degree in Master of Science can provide specialised career opportunities in a specific industry. The average salary of an MS graduate will range from $45,000 to $141,000 annually. There are many career options for STEM graduates with an MS degree from the top New Zealand universities. Some of the best-paying courses in New Zealand include MS in data science, MS in engineering, and MS in computer science. 

In addition, New Zealand also allows students to work while studying, and graduates can apply for a three-year post-study work visa. Here are some popular job opportunities in New Zealand are -

Best Universities for MBA and MS in New Zealand

New Zealand is a popular study destination for international students seeking high-quality education and multicultural experiences. The country has several universities and B-schools providing world-class education and unique career opportunities. To learn more about the MBA and MS courses in New Zealand, find details of the top-ranking universities in the QS World Rankings 2023 by Subject:



Acceptance rate


University of Auckland



University of Otago



Victoria University of Wellington



Auckland University of Technology



Massey University



University of Canterbury



University of Waikato


Study in New Zealand

Choosing which degree between MBA and MS entirely depends on your career goals and interests. Contact SI-New Zealand today if you need assistance deciding what to study and where.


Is an MS more valuable than an MBA?

The value of a degree ultimately depends on one’s goals and interests. For example, MBA focuses on management and leadership skills. On the other hand, MS offers specialisation in different areas, such as health studies, business, and science.

Which degree is equal to MS?

An MS degree in New Zealand is a higher academic qualification representing a significant achievement in a specialised study area. Degrees such as Master of Science (MSc), Master of Engineering (MEng), and Master of Philosophy (MPhil) are equivalent to MS degrees. 

What is higher than an MBA?

An MBA is usually a noble degree that demands exceptional knowledge and expertise. The course prepares you for leadership positions. No degree is higher than an MBA; however, some individuals pursue a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) or PhD in business. 

Which is the toughest field in MBA?

MBA has different fields that offer unique challenges, and identifying the most demanding field is subjective. Specialisations such as finance, statistics, and entrepreneurship are some demanding areas of study. These fields require critical and analytical thinking skills to solve complex business problems. 

What pays more, MS or MBA salary?

The pay scale mainly depends on factors such as job position, skills, experience, and location. However, an MBA in New Zealand offers higher salaries than an MS degree. 

Back to Study Guide

"SI-New Zealand helped me successfully apply to study business in New Zealand and I cannot thank them enough for their support. They assisted me with each step, ensuring I was aware of all my options in terms of program and university selection, making the process totally stress free."

Isabella Ramos Business and Management

Isabella Ramos