The Master’s of Public Administration (MPA) and the Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) are both business degrees pursued by an individual who already holds a bachelor’s degree but wants to pursue leadership positions in the business world. Many people think they’re similar degrees that can be used interchangeably. While this is partly true, the MPA and the MBA are very different degrees that each offer specific training and job opportunities. The one thing they both have in common is that they’re chosen by individuals who want to go the extra mile and become leaders in their field. Here is an overview of the MPA and the MBA.
What is an MBA?
The Master of Business Administration degree helps students develop their business administration and management skills. It’s often the degree of choice for candidates interested in working in modern business and the private sector. Students learn about finance, marketing, sales, management, accounting and related areas. They also learn how to be competitive in the business world. The MBA is an advanced degree that prepares students for leadership roles in global companies and private firms.
What is an MPA?
The Master’s of Public Administration is also considered an advanced degree, but it’s a more targeted degree that focuses on the intricate operations of the public sector. Although students in the MPA program will take courses related to financial operations and management, the focus of these courses is how they relate to human resources, budget planning and funding opportunities.
Most courses in the MPA program are focused on social sciences, such as government, public policy, and law and ethics. Graduates of the MPA program have the skills to become leaders in both government and non-government businesses as well as nonprofit organizations. They often advance to work in local, state or national government jobs or direct nonprofits.
Before a candidate can enroll in either of these graduate programs, they must meet certain admission requirements set by the school and program. Admission requirements for either of these programs may vary from school to school. Here are some of the admission requirements that are the same for both the MBA and the MPA:
- Bachelor’s degree
- GPA of at least 3.0
- Letters of recommendation
- GMAT or GRE scores
- Personal statements and/or essays
Applicants to the MBA should have completed coursework in accounting and statistics while applicants to the MPA should have completed coursework in the social sciences. Students pursuing the MBA should also have a couple of years of work experience.
Career Opportunities for Both
Graduates of an MPA program are qualified to work for nonprofit and government clients while MBA graduates are qualified for both nonprofit and for-profit positions. MBA graduates may find work as:
- Chief Technology Officer
- Financial Manager
- Information Technology Director
- Computer and Information Systems Manager
- Health Services Manager
- Investment Fund Manager
- Investment Banker
- High-End Management Consultant
Possible jobs for a graduate of an MPA include:
- Research Analyst
- City Manager
- Cabinet Member
- National and Local Nonprofit Manager
- International Finance
- County Executive
- International Nonprofits
- Financial Manager
Related Resource: 25 Best Affordable Master’s of Public Administration Online Degrees
Despite there being very obvious differences between an MPA and an MBA, these two degrees both open up various career opportunities for recipients of the degree. Although MBA grads typically pursue private-sector jobs while MPA grads often work in the public sector, U.S. News & World Report indicates that either graduate is restricted to public or private sector jobs. With that said, both the MPA and the MBA are valuable degrees to earn!