What’s in a Degree: A Comparison of the MBA versus the M.S. in Organization Leadership

Comparing the MBA and the MSOL

Both of these business degrees prepare graduates for leadership positions in organizations. They differ in content and focus. Both are grounded in Jesuit values of social responsibility.

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) offers the opportunity to develop a sophisticated understanding of the business enterprise. The curriculum is intended to develop business leaders that understand each functional element of business including leadership, management, marketing, operations, finance, and accounting. In addition, students can specialize in one business area for even more depth (see table below).

The Master of Science in Organization Leadership (MSOL) focuses specifically, and in depth, on the leadership function in organizations. The curriculum is intended to give all individuals exposure to organizational development, strategic planning, and process improvement. In addition, students may specialize in the leadership aspects related to one business area for more depth in that area (see table below).

Students wishing for a broader examination of business functions may prefer the MBA. Students wishing to focus in depth on leadership theory and skills development may prefer the MSOL.

A Comparison of Core Requirements: MBA vs. MSOL

MBA Core Requirements MSOL Core Requirements

MBAC 611 MBA Cornerstone Course

Foundational course in the MBA program. Explores all disciplines of business as well as the MBA program options. Activities will include simulations, graduate level research, and writing.

CBE 602 Leading in a New Era

Explores and examines the concept of shared leadership in organizations and how this paradigm impacts organization purpose, mission vision, culture, and ethics. Explores concepts related to leading in a socially responsible manner.

MBAC 601 Ethical & Legal Environment of Business

Examines the social and governmental structure within which business operates. Focuses on effective and ethical strategies for addressing issues of public concern including labor and employment law; administrative agency procedures; public issues management; product liability; and various models of corporate responsibility.

MSM 621 Leading Change & Innovation

Students will learn how the need for change is both predicable and unpredictable while analyzing actual workplace situations to diagnose when innovation within organizations is catalyzing change and when innovation provides a solution for change.

MBAC 602 Developing Effective Organizations

Effective organizations converge adaptable leadership, engaged workforces and aligned processes. Explores concepts from organizational behavior (OB), organizational development (OD) and strategic human resource management (SHRM) through the use of case studies and current organizations.

MSM 621 Leading Change & Innovation

Students will learn how the need for change is both predicable and unpredictable while analyzing actual workplace situations to diagnose when innovation within organizations is catalyzing change and when innovation provides a solution for change.

MBAC 696 MBA Capstone Course

MBA Capstone is a multifaceted project which serves as a culminating academic experience that reflects the business concepts and practices that affect business, globalization, ethical frameworks and CSR/sustainability in the 21st century workforce.

CBE 603 Business Intelligence & Analytics

Students gain insight into business intelligence and knowledge management systems. Students will learn to utilize applicable tools to examine complicated business problems and to select appropriate management decision models.

MBAC 604 Accounting & Financial Concepts for Managers

Examines accounting and finance concepts managers use in making decisions, including uses of cost information analysis, limitations and ethical dimensions of financial reporting, capital investment analysis, financing strategy, working capital management, and financial projections.

MSM 662 Foundations of Organizational Behavior

Explores how people and groups in organizations behave, react, and interpret events. Examines individual characteristics such as learning, personality, and motivation. Considers group formation, development, and structure.

A Comparison of Specializations: MBA vs. MSOL

MBA Specializations MSOL Specializations

General MBA

Provides a solid educational foundation of organizational behavior, strategy, leadership, finance, marketing and operations and allows students to build upon that foundation with courses across the general framework or specialize in the high-demand business discipline of their choice.

Organization Leadership Management

The namesake specialization for the MSOL degree, this specialization delivers a deeper understanding and commitment to organizational process excellence, collaborative leadership and forward-thinking change management in today's global society.

Finance and Accounting

Prepares students to assume an important role in managing their organization’s fiscal policy and operations, while also increasing their expertise in financial areas and developing skills essential to business and leadership.

Human Resources Management and Leadership

Learn to maximize human capital and potential to achieve individual team and strategic organizational goals. Fully aligns with SHRM's "HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates".

Health Industry Leadership

Designed to facilitate skills and knowledge such as leadership, management, critical thinking, strategy development and economics, which are directly tied to healthcare administration and related industries.


Project Leadership and Management

Provides the advanced knowledge required to develop, analyze and change a project plan, determine risk and allocate the necessary resources to effectively manage and complete a project. Fully aligns with the Project Management Institute for Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education Programs (GAC).


Prepares students to examine the relationship between marketing and corporate strategy to develop and implement strong marketing tactics throughout their organization.

Enterprise Resource Leadership and Planning

Introduces you to business processes from a systems perspective. You will explore Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) utilizing SAP, and see how ERP systems operate and how they enable organizational objectives to be met.

Operations Management

Emphasizes the fundamentals of product creation, development, production and distribution, as well as quality control, logistics and analysis of the production process.


Strategic Management

Prepares you to effectively analyze operations, address competition, survive volatile markets and evolve operations in a fast-paced business environment