According to Times Higher Education, more than half of the top 200 universities in the world are either from the US or the UK. Comparing a Master’s Degree program in the United States and the United Kingdom requires thoughtful consideration of factors. Regardless of which side of the Atlantic you are on depends on your goals. The fact that Education being the 3rd most expensive investment one could make, we will be comparing the differences between both the American and British MBA programs, highlighting certain key factors that might impact your decision.
American Universities are commonly accredited by Regional Accreditors, National Accreditors, Specialised & Professional Accreditors and Programs Accreditors.
Regional Accreditation is the main mechanism used by the US Department of Education to look at the recognition of American Universities. The US Department of Education goes through 6 different regional accreditation bodies where they accredit universities that fall in a particular state. For instance, New York City falls under the Middle States Commission on Higher Education whereas South State Texas falls under the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
National Accreditors and Specialised & Professional Accreditors provides specific industrial recognitions of American Universities to differentiate themselves from others. Whereas Programs Accreditors (eg; Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs) accredits specific programs and not professional programs.
British Universities on the other hand, do not have such a complex accreditation. Their accreditation systems are done by one main Government Appointed Agency which is their QAA (UK Quality Assured), similar to that of Singapore’s MOE system.
Accreditations are voluntarily taken by Business Schools and do not endorse recognition by Government and employers or guarantee top university rankings. Accreditation of Universities is not equivalent to top recognition of the university. Hence, you should not choose schools solely based on logos provided as these logos do not guarantee a top educational standard.
American Universities offer more choice and freedom by focusing on providing a broader and diverse range of modules (10 – 18 modules) to major in. These modules prepare students to be a wide generalist. The modules differ in credit points. Some are based on 4 credit points while others offer 3 credit points system determined by business schools. Widely recognized universities like Harvard offer 18 modules while private ones offer 10 modules.
In comparison, British Universities offer highly specialized fields. The system does not allow students to study modules that do not pertain to their field of study. For example, a student majoring in psychology is not allowed to take on modules unrelated to psychology itself. Thus, the universities offer lesser modules (7 – 8 modules). However, in an American University, mixed and interchangeable modules are allowed to be taken up. Thus, a British University spends longer hours focusing on the depth of education, covering extensive content to help students be specialized and more in depth.
American University uses alphabetical letters (eg; A+, A, A-) to demote grades on a 4.0 GPA system. Passing marks stands on a 3.0 GPA, which is equivalent to 80 marks over 100 marks, whereas a distinction in the American MBA will only be given to top students with a GPA of 3.9 and above. Attendance, class participation and course work assessments are also modes of grading criteria in American Universities. Attendance and class participation bring about interaction between students hence a more cohesive form of learning.
In an American University, the system treasures faculty-student relationships and learning support. This explains why marks are given to students’ participation, attendance and are based on case studies, instead of examination. Examination schedules are largely non-existent in American Universities. Instead, collaborative applications driven learning styles are also adopted in the US MBA system for students to apply learnings in their everyday lives.
On the other hand, British University award students with an actual mark on their performance. The actual mark will be reflected on your transcript. In addition, an honours grading system will be used to classify performance. (Eg; Distinction, Merit and Pass) Coursework and examinations are also modes of grading criteria in British Universities. Before graduating from a Masters programme, students will be required to submit a dissertation paper.
British Universities focus more on wisdom and critical thinking by adopting a more individualistic learning style. Thus, fewer collaborative learning like presentations and group projects can be found in a British Postgraduate Program. Examinations usually take place at the end of the course.
An MBA in the UK takes as little as 1 year to complete, whereas a PhD level takes around 3 years. In the US, you will be able to graduate from an MBA program in 1 to 2 years, and the PhD education takes about 5 years.
The cost of education in both countries is far from cheap, but the cost of an education in the United States is generally higher. American Universities are generally priced at USD$30, 000 annually while the average cost for British Universities are £14, 000 annually.
Aventis School of Management offers 2 MBA programs. Both American (University of Dubuque) and British (University of Roehampton) MBA. University of Dubuque is a private professional university located in the city of Dubuque within the state of Iowa, United State of America. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and recognised by the US Department of Education.
University of Roehampton is a Public University in England, UK. Recognised by the UK government as a Government University and is accredited by the QAA for higher education, UK.