PMP Vs MBA: 5 Advantages of PMP over MBA in 2023

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12th Dec, 2022
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PMP Vs MBA: 5 Advantages of PMP over MBA in 2023

What is PMP?

PMP stands for "Project Management Professional", which is a world-renowned certification that shows knowledge and expertise in project management. It is managed by the Project Management Institute (PMI). The PMP certification is usually recommended to professionals who have three or more years of experience in the field. The PMP is also one of the most recognized certifications in project management and can improve your career prospects. 

While we are discussing PMP Vs MBA, it makes sense to understand the difference between PMP and PMBOK. PMBOK stands for "Project Management Book of Knowledge" and it is the guidebook of project management. PMP is a certification that requires more than just knowledge of PMBOK, but also requires academic and professional experience.

Know more about importance of project charter.

What is an MBA?

An MBA, which stands for Master of Business Administration, is a graduate-level degree that provides students with an understanding of business administration and management. The degree can be obtained from a variety of part-time and full-time programs at schools worldwide.

With an MBA, students can advance in their careers or transition into new fields. Students can choose from a wide variety of MBA programs, each offering its own unique curriculum, specializations and career services. An MBA also has a proven track record of improving your career prospects and standing out from the crowd in our increasingly competitive marketplace. An MBA degree generally offers the following specializations: 

  • Human Resources 
  • Operational Management 
  • Marketing and Communications 
  • Finance and Accounting 
  • Information Technology 

The degree can be earned after completion of a four-year bachelor's degree and one- or two-year master's degree. The curriculum is designed to be an undergraduate program with additional advanced coursework in business administration. Although most schools require that an MBA applicant have a bachelor's degree (with some exceptions), some sources refer to the graduate program as a Master of Science in Business Administration (MSBA) or Master of Science in Management (MSM). The MBA is the more common designation.

An MBA from a top-ranked school (or B-School, as they are popularly called) can provide you with a competitive edge in the job market. If you are looking for your first professional job, an MBA can help you demonstrate your skills and experience to prospective employers and land the job of your dreams. For example, a middle-to-senior management position requires a mixture of technical skills and business acumen. In this case, an MBA degree can help you demonstrate that you can do all the required tasks to meet those standards. 

PMP vs MBA: Differences and Similarities

So, what does PMP Vs MBA look like? 

An MBA is a more general degree, which can be obtained at any point in your career. PMP is a specialized certification for project managers. You can obtain it if you are considering starting a career in project management. The PMP is a certification for which you will have to prepare on your own, usually with the help of a PMP certification course online. An MBA degree is offered by a college or university, so “preparation” usually involves for a specific entrance exam, if any.  

If you want to decide between the two options, it's not an easy journey, but we're going to try to make it as easy as possible! 

Eligibility

In order to be eligible for a full-time MBA, you need to meet the following criteria: 

  • You must have completed your graduation in any discipline or equivalent from a recognized university 
  • Your average score should be 50% on average. This minimum score requirement varies between colleges/universities.  
  • If you’re a final-year student and want to apply, you must present a proof of completion of your degree within the duration specified by the college/university 
  • Depending on the institute, you must also pass an entrance test. The most popular ones are CAT, GMAT, and XAT among others. 
  • This is usually followed by a Group Discussion (GD) and Personal Interview (PI) round, which you must clear  

The following are the educational, professional experience, and project management education requirements for the PMP:  

If you have a four-year bachelor’s degree or global equivalent, you need: 

  • Minimum three years/36 months of unique, non-overlapping experience on professional projects  
  • 35 contact hours of formal project management education or CAPM® Certification 

If you have a high school diploma, associate degree, or global equivalent, you need: 

  • Minimum five years/60 months of unique, non-overlapping experience on professional projects  
  • 35 contact hours of formal project management education or CAPM® Certification 

If you have a bachelor’s or post-graduate degree from a GAC accredited program (bachelor’s degree or master's or global equivalent), you need: 

  • Minimum two years/24 months of unique, non-overlapping experience on professional projects  
  • 35 contact hours of formal project management education or CAPM® Certification 
PMP (Project Management Professional)MBA (Master of Business Administration)
  • A four-year degree 
  • 36 months leading projects 
  • 35 hours of project management education/training or CAPM® Certification 

— OR — 

  • A high school diploma or an associate degree (or global equivalent) 
  • 60 months leading projects 
  • 35 hours of project management education/training or CAPM® Certification 
  • Graduation in any (discipline or equivalent) from a recognised university 
  • You must clear an entrance test, like CAT, GMAT, or XAT 
  • Group Discussion (GD) and Personal Interview (PI) round  

  • Education

In order to apply for an MBA, you need to have completed your graduation in any discipline from a recognized university. If you’re a final-year student and still want to apply, you must ensure that you finish your graduation without any backlogs.

For the PMP certification, you can come from a variety of educational backgrounds. The required project management education and experience will vary accordingly. However, please note that preparing for the PMP exam is a whole journey in itself. There are several project management courses that you can enroll for and start preparing. 

PMP (Project Management Professional)MBA (Master of Business Administration)
  • four-year bachelor’s degree or global equivalent 

— OR — 

  • A high school diploma or an associate degree (or global equivalent) 

— OR — 

  • A Bachelor’s or post-graduate degree from a GAC accredited program (bachelor’s degree or master's or global equivalent) 


Graduation in any (discipline or equivalent) from a recognized university  

Exam and Cost for PMP Certification and MBA Degree

Pursuing an MBA degree can be quite a costly affair, depending on which institute you prefer. The tuition fee can range anywhere between ₹2.5-₹25 Lakhs. A PMP certification, in comparison, is relatively cheaper. PMP exam eligibility involves becoming a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI), which offers the certification. The major chunk of the cost for the PMP certification is the exam fee. This varies for members and non-members: 

  • PMI Member: $405  
  • Non-member: $555  

Apart from this, the only other cost(s) may be a project management certification course, in case you decide to enroll for one. For example, the KnowledgeHut PMP Certification Course Online, for example, is a Premier Authorized Training Partner of PMI. This course will help you pass the exam on your first try, since you’ll get to learn from PMI-certified instructors. The course content will also be tailored specifically for the PMP exam.

PMP (Project Management Professional)MBA (Master of Business Administration)
  • Exam Fee: $405/$555
  • Cost of PMP certification courses: Depends on the institute/online program
  • Tuition Fee: Ranges between ₹2.5 - ₹25 Lakhs, depending on the institute
  • Cost of entrance test coaching: Depends on the institute
  • Salary

Now on to the most important section of this article. Everyone who wants to pursue a degree or certification (whether it’s PMP vs MBA or something else) does so looking at the potential salary they may earn on its completion. While it’s a no-brainer that both the PMP and MBA courses can significantly increase your earning potential, is one better than the other? 

When you look at an MBA, several factors determine your average salary. These include the B-School you graduated out of, your industry, experience, and specialization. For example, an entry-level public relations manager would get about ₹3.5 Lakhs per year. An analyst, on the other hand would earn anywhere between ₹5.75-₹6 Lakhs per year, while a product manager could expect an annual average salary of ₹8 Lakhs per year. In comparison, a PMP certified project manager can earn anywhere between ₹15-₹16 Lakhs on average to start with. 

This doesn’t mean that the value of an MBA is less when compared to the PMP certification. If you were to pursue a PGMP from one of the established IIMs, your average pay package would be anywhere between ₹20-₹25 Lakhs. 

PMP (Project Management Professional)MBA (Master of Business Administration)
₹15 - ₹16 Lakhs, depending upon the domain/industry
  • Ranges between ₹3.5 - ₹8 Lakhs, depending on the industry and experience
  • Can shoot up to ₹20 Lakhs depending upon the institute (IIM)
  • Job/ Career Outlook

There are a lot of misconceptions about PMP certification vs MBA degree. People assume that an MBA equals massive amounts of money and don’t realize there are many degrees better suited for project management jobs than business degrees. The MBA is a business degree and has no direct connection to project management. It’s not a good idea to get an MBA if you want to work in the field of project management. 

The PMP certification will get you career opportunities that are virtually unavailable for those with master’s degrees, so it does provide a distinct advantage over all other degrees. The certification can be easily integrated into the job market, and you will find opportunities to use it even in areas that don’t require project management such as public service, sales and marketing. In fact, there are many great jobs just waiting for project managers that don’t even require any credentialing. The PMP is a very robust program and is available all over the world. 

Pros and Cons

The pros and cons of a PMP vs MBA are given below:  

PMP (Project Management Professional)MBA (Master of Business Administration)

PROS 

  • Looks great on your CV 
  • Higher pay 
  • Increased networking opportunities 
  • Validates your project experience

PROS 

  • Opportunity to switch careers 
  • Career progression  
  • Master managerial skills 
  • Gain entrepreneurial skills 

CONS 

  • Costly for non-PMI members 
  • Time-consuming  
  • Eligibility requirements

CONS 

  • Cost 
  • Time-commitment 
  • Pressure of entrance exams 

Going Farther with PMP

Project managers have a distinct advantage of being able to work in different fields, such as IT, finance etc. An MBA will not give you experience in these fields, because you mostly end up specializing in only one domain. The PMP certification requires you to already know the principles of project management and then pass a test for the eligibility for certification. So, what you choose really depends on your long-term career goals. If you want to be a flourishing project manager, opt for the PMP. However, if you want a job in a specialty/niche domain and want the tag of an MBA, going for it makes the most sense.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Is PMP better than MBA?

PMP is definitely a great option for a career in project management. But its application is different compared to an MBA. Both fields require investment of time and finances, and the payoffs are comparable for both. MBA has a slight edge over PMP for people desirous of getting into the C-Suite. 

2. Is PMP equivalent to Masters?

In purely academic terms, the PMP Certification is not equivalent to a Master’s Degree. That said, the real value of either of the two depends on what recruiters are looking for, in the field of your choice. Interestingly, project management jobs need you to have a project management certification to be eligible to apply, whereas the MBA degree may not be mandatory. Similarly, if you wanted to pursue a doctorate, having a Master’s degree is mandatory in almost all cases, a PMP certification wouldn’t suffice in such a case.  

3. Is PMP same as MBA? 

No, the PMP Certification is offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), whereas MBA is a higher education degree you can earn by completing a one or two year-long program at a university. The PMP certification requires extensive prior experience in the field of project management, and a dedicated study plan. The prerequisites for an MBA course will differ from university to university. Some of the top-rated universities prefer candidates with prior work experience and good scores on exams like the SAT, GRE, GMAT etc.  

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KnowledgeHut is an outcome-focused global ed-tech company. We help organizations and professionals unlock excellence through skills development. We offer training solutions under the people and process, data science, full-stack development, cybersecurity, future technologies and digital transformation verticals.
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