FAQ About MBA/MSW Dual Degrees (Including Job Possibilities)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published September 29, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you enjoy leading and helping others, you might consider getting an MBA/MSW dual degree. Receiving these two graduate degrees simultaneously can help you pursue advanced or supervisory roles related to social work, boost your earning potential, increase your professional experience and positively affect both individuals and communities. Discovering the answers to frequently asked questions about MBA and MSW programs may help you decide if earning this dual degree is the right decision for you.

In this article, we discuss why you may want to pursue an MBA/MSW dual degree, explain how long it may take you to complete this program, explore six different jobs you can get with an MBA/MSW degree and review its typical admission requirements.

What is an MBA?

An MBA is an advanced degree that teaches students skills related to business and management. MBA stands for Master of Business Administration. In an MBA program, students learn about a range of topics from various academic disciplines that can help prepare them for a role supervising others or managing a company. These topics may include data analytics, economics, communications, accounting and operations.

Related: What Can You Do With an MBA? (Plus Tips and Steps)

What is an MSW?

An MSW is a graduate degree for students interested in pursuing a career related to social work. MSW is an abbreviation for Master of Social Work. An MSW can prepare students for advanced positions in social work, such as clinical social worker or community services manager.

Related: MSW Degrees vs. MFT Degrees: Definitions, Similarities and Differences

What are the benefits of earning a MBA/MSW dual degree?

Getting both an MBA and an MSW degree simultaneously can provide professionals with an array of advantages, including:

  • Pursue advanced or managerial positions: A dual MBA/MSW degree can help you get an advanced or supervisory role. Many graduates search for these types of positions in social work or community development, but you could also look for executive roles in other fields related to helping others, such as in human resources management.

  • Help individuals and communities: Many individuals interested in fields related to social work desire to assist or improve the lives of individuals and communities. With a dual MBA/MSW degree, you can pursue jobs that allow you to make a positive difference to others by developing or optimizing programs with professional or community resources.

  • Increase your salary: Graduate degrees can help distinguish you as a job candidate to prospective employers and boost your earning potential.

  • Understand both the human and operational aspects of a business: A MSW teaches you strategies for empathizing with and helping people in various situations and from diverse backgrounds. Combined with the business skills you learn from your MBA, this dual degree may help you understand how to manage business logistics alongside more personalized factors.

  • Gain professional experience: Many MSW/MBA programs give students the opportunity to gain professional experience, such as through fieldwork or an internship. These experiences can hone your leadership abilities and practical skills related to both business administration and social work.

  • Choose from an array of options: With multiple schools across the country offering dual MSW/MBA programs, you can choose a program that best fits your preferences or lifestyle. For example, you can find programs that offer part-time options, online courses and full-time in-person classes.

Related: Working in Social Justice: Why 90% of People Would Sacrifice Money for Meaning (With Example Career Paths)

What is common coursework for an MBA and MSW student?

Classes that MBA and MSW students take depend on several factors, including a student's concentration or the program's focus. Courses may also vary based on if a student already has a bachelor's degree in either social work or business administration, which may allow them to skip some of the introductory courses in this discipline. Some courses that many MSW/MBA programs offer their students include:

  • Management of finance, human resources, accounting and marketing within a business

  • Ethics of social work

  • Cooperative practices within an organization

  • Community resources available related to social work

  • Methods and practices related to scientific research and clinical trials

  • Various practices and techniques of social work

  • Resource allocation for both organizations and individuals

  • Strategic administration and management

  • Local or federal regulations that apply to social work

  • Strategies for collaborating with clients and colleagues from diverse backgrounds and treating them fairly

  • Management of information and communications systems

Related: How To Find Master's in Social Work Jobs in 5 Steps

How long does it take to earn a combined MBA/MSW?

The time it takes students to earn their dual MBA/MSW degree can vary based on a range of factors. Most of these programs take approximately three years for students to complete both their coursework and any field assignments or other practical experiences. Students enrolled part-time may need to complete the program.

Some programs also vary in length based on a candidate's previous degrees. For example, if you already have a bachelor's degree in social work, some programs may allow you to skip the introductory courses related to social work and earn your dual degree faster.

What can you do with a combined MBA/MSW?

Earning a dual MBA/MSW gives professionals the opportunity to pursue a range of diverse careers and industries. While most graduates of these combined MBA/MSW programs decide to pursue leadership positions related to social work or community management, many others find great jobs in other fields that allow them to use their leadership and empathy skills.

Here are just a few of the jobs you may pursue if you decide to get an MBA/MSW dual degree. For the most up-to-date salary information, please click on the links below:

1. Human resources specialist

National average salary: $49,459 per year

Primary duties: A human resources specialist helps with the daily operations related to their company's personnel. They assist with recruiting and hiring new employees, such as by posting job ads, conducting preliminary interviews, providing onboarding related to the company's culture and overall processes and processing the paperwork for new hires.

Human resources specialists also perform job duties related to managing current employees, like selecting insurance policies, updating staff on any changes to their benefits packages and making sure that personnel adhere to both internal policies and government regulations.

While some human resources specialists may find full-time employment at a specific organization, others might receive jobs at firms that manage human resources processes for multiple businesses.

2. Social worker

National average salary: $55,231 per year

Primary duties: A social worker helps individuals or communities learn how to solve or mitigate challenges they face in their daily lives. Many social workers specialize in working with a specific population, such as children or people with mental illness, or in helping people who share similar challenges, like domestic abuse or terminal illness.

Their responsibilities can vary based on their concentration, but often include counseling their clients, connecting their clients to useful community resources, intervening during crises and maintaining diligent records.

Some professionals who pursue a dual MBA/MSW want to become clinical social workers, meaning licensed social workers who specialize in helping people with behavioral, mental or emotional disorders and challenges. This type of social worker can evaluate, diagnose and treat patients in either individual or group settings.

3. Social and community service manager

National average salary: $69,600 per year

Primary duties: Social and community service managers develop and facilitate programs for their community. These programs may attempt to fix or improve a range of public issues, such as by reducing homelessness, lowering poverty rates or optimizing a region's infrastructure. Their exact responsibilities can vary based on their community's unique needs and resources, but typically their goal is to support and improve their community's overall well-being.

A social and community service manager often handles both the personnel and operations, like budgets and schedules, related to their community programs. Depending on the size of their organization and community, these professionals may oversee one or multiple programs.

4. Learning and development manager

National average salary: $70,333 per year

Primary duties: A learning and development manager creates and oversees various training opportunities for their company's employees. They devise training programs and other development opportunities both for new hires along with current staff members. Their goal is to help both individual employees and their organization to develop to their best abilities.

Depending on the size of the organization, a learning and development manager may be a member of the human resources team or oversee their own department that focuses specifically on internal opportunities for professional growth.

Job responsibilities include collecting and evaluating data related to potential development opportunities, creating training materials personalized for diverse learning styles, optimizing their programs over time and keeping track of the budgets for various training initiatives.

5. Diversity and inclusion manager

National average salary: $81,155 per year

Primary duties: Diversity and inclusion managers develop and facilitate various internal programs within their organization that help promote or improve workplace diversity and inclusivity. A diversity and inclusivity manager often works closely with human resources personnel to ensure that they create and adhere to equal hiring practices, such as by considering candidates fairly regardless of their gender or race.

These professionals also oversee processes related to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment for their existing employees. For example, they may strive to ensure that staff members with disabilities have accessibility tools that allow them to fulfill their job duties, or run events related to cultural appreciation.

Other duties may include investigating harassment claims, training employees in how to use nondiscriminatory language, offering advice on benefits packages that can accommodate a range of employee needs and helping their organization adhere to local or federal regulations related to equality.

6. Administrative services manager

National average salary: $98,890 per year

Primary duties: An administrative services manager plans, facilitates and optimizes an organization's various clerical processes and tasks. These procedures can vary based on their company's needs but may include managing record-keeping, organizing mail distribution, maintaining the facilities and keeping track of inventory levels.

Larger organizations may hire administrative services managers to oversee one specific clerical area, while smaller companies might have an administrative service manager who supervises all processes related to administration.

Also called an administrative manager or business office manager, an administrative services manager's primary goal is to provide an environment that allows their colleagues to perform their job duties as efficiently as possible.

Read more: Learn About Being an Administrative Manager

What are the admission requirements for a MSW/MBA dual degree?

Admission requirements for MSW and MBA programs can vary, but often include :

  • Bachelor's degree: Most programs prefer that their candidates already have a bachelor's degree in social work, business administration or a related field. For candidates who already have several years of experience in one of these fields, school administrators may waive this requirement.

  • GPA minimum: Getting into an MBA/MSW can be a competitive process, so some programs may have a GPA minimum.

  • Professional experience: Some MBA/MSW programs may prefer that candidates have at least one year or more of professional experience in either social work or business administration. This can help the program administrators ensure that you're passionate about your chosen career.

  • Personal statement: A statement of purpose or a similar essay gives you the opportunity to express your unique interest in pursuing this dual degree. You can also use the personal statement to indicate why you're excited about this program or professional opportunity.

  • Transcripts from previous degree programs: MBA/MSW programs that require candidates to have a bachelor's degree typically also request their official transcript from that university.

  • Interview: Some dual degree programs require or offer an optional interview with a program facilitator or admissions representative. Interviews can be a great opportunity to discuss any of your qualifications that you potentially couldn't fit into other parts of your application.

  • National exam scores: While not always required, an MBA/MSW program may request that you complete a standardized test for graduate students, such as the GMAT or GRE.

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