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What is the difference between MBA, masters and doctorate?

Higher education diploma in hand. The instinct is to seek a post-graduation that complements your education and leverages your career, right? MBA, masters and doctorate: what are the main differences between them and how to choose what is best for you?

All courses performed after graduation are considered post-graduations. What changes is the focus of the classes and the objective of the student. In Brazil, there are the Lato sensu courses, called specialization courses or MBAs, and the Stricto sensu, which are the masters and doctorates.

We have selected the main features and specifications of each one to better understand how MBA, masters and doctorates can contribute to the improvement of your resume. Remember to choose the one that best matches your professional plans and contemplates the achievement of your purposes!


MBA is an acronym for Master Business Administration. Usually, this type of course is focused on the segment of management, business and companies, directed to develop professional skills of leaders and managers.

The idea of the MBA is to combine technique and practice to meet the demands of the job market. Among the differentials of this modality, we can highlight the construction of a network of contacts, which can open doors and generate new business opportunities; studies of practical cases, with debates of trends on the market; and development of technical and socio-emotional skills, which are so sought by companies nowadays.

In the MBA USP/Esalq, interaction is a key word. So, contact between students and teachers is facilitated both during and after live classes. This feature contributes to the debate and enriches the professional training of students.

However, it is important to highlight that the advising process of the Final Paper is done individually.

For the  MBA USP/Esalq professor João Carlos Boyadjian, “an MBA makes a difference in a professional career because the student studies the set of strategic information related to the operation. The course allows them to improve these practices and apply them to the routine.”

The MBA students also count with classes, opportunities for field research and literature reviews. The differential of USP/Esalq is that the work presented at the conclusion of the course should be applicable to real life. Therefore, the practical and operational part is highlighted in the professor’s speech.

Masters and Doctorate

Masters and doctorates usually prepare professionals for academic performance – but nothing prevents the development of a corporate career. These two types of post-graduation are classified as Stricto sensu and are more specific, indicated for those who want to deepen themselves in research and develop knowledge. They are recommended for those who want to work with research or education.

  • Masters: has an average duration of two years, with classes, field research, literature reviews, among other activities.
  • Doctorate: has an average duration of four years and a higher level of depth in the subject studied, with fewer classes and more research and field and bibliographic activities.

Don’t be mistaken: masters and doctorates are completed after the presentation and defense of a dissertation and thesis, respectively, before an examining board. In the MBA USP/Esalq this process is the Final Paper and it also requires presentation and approval from a board to be completed.

Did you already know the difference between MBA, masters and doctorate?

Learn more about the MBAs USP/Esalq here.


Marina Petrocelli
Marina Petrocelli
Over 12 years have passed since my first experience with Social Communication. My first professional years were dedicated to the routines of redactions with no or little digital relevance. Plural journalism was resumed in investigating facts, write a piece and guarantee an expressive picture. The first sign of change came with the proposal of changing realities and experimenting a different way of producing. From then on, the specificities of the marketing universe became permanent. Oh! I’ve also graduated in Law School (passing the bar exam and all). But not everything is comprised tom y professional skills. As a content producer, I’m interested in good stories, from real people or series, movies and books, specially dystopias. I like to draw up travel plans and identify stars and constellations on a cell phone app. Museums, music and art in general grab my attention, as well as pop culture. O primeiro sinal de mudança veio com a proposta para mudar de realidade e experimentar um formato diferente de produzir. Daí pra frente, as particularidades do universo do marketing se tornaram permanentes. Ah! Também me formei em Direito (com inscrição na OAB e tudo). Mas nem tudo se resume às minhas habilidades profissionais. Como produtora de conteúdo, me interesso por boas histórias, de pessoas reais ou em séries, filmes e livros, especialmente distopias. Gosto de montar roteiros de viagens e reconhecer estrelas e constelações em um aplicativo no celular. Museus, música e arte no geral chamam minha atenção, assim como cultura pop.