During the 2011-2012 school year, over 190,000 students graduated from American universities with business degrees. Public administration and business administration continue to be some of the most sought after fields of interest for American students today. However, deciding between an MPA or MBA is not always an easy task. While many features of these two degrees overlap, there are some noticeable differences in application and areas in which a worker can be employed. The following paragraphs will discuss what each of these degrees entails and how to determine which one is right for you.

What is an MPA?

A Master of Public Administration degree is a post-graduate degree specializing in public administration. Students who receive an MPA can be employed in either the public or private sector. This degree prepares students to serve as managers in a wide variety of career settings including local, state, or federal government, non-profit organizations, and corporate businesses.

The course work involved in gaining an MPA degree covers a broad spectrum of topics. Students will learn how to design, implement, and enforce policies and programs that will affect the daily life of their community or the population they are serving in their professional role. Other skills and subject matters covered include research methodology, urban planning, finance, economics, business ethics, community development, accounting, and much more. Importance is also placed on honing vital communication and interpersonal skills that will assist with the task of leading and managing large groups of people.

What is an MBA?

A Master of Business Administration degree focuses on the scientific approaches to the successful management of both large and small businesses. This field of expertise has been around since the early 20th century when our nation first became industrialized. At this time, businesses began seeking scientific approaches for management in order to help them become more successful.

Students working toward earning an MBA degree will study a variety of core subjects in depth. Some of these include marketing, accounting, human resources, statistics, and finance. Most programs require a certain number of elective subjects to be studied as well, offering a well-rounded education on a variety of topics.

Differences Between an MPA and MBA

Deciding to obtain your post-graduate degree is an exciting step toward a successful career. However, it can be difficult to know whether an MPA or MBA is best suited for you. While many areas of focus with the two degrees overlap, there are also a couple of differences.

An MBA is more suited for those who are interested in working in the private sector and those who are interested in modern business operations. If business related topics such as finances, marketing, and advanced management appeal to you, an MBA may be the perfect degree to satisfy those interests. An MBA will also allow you to explore your creativity, such as with marketing ideas, as well as stoke your competitive fire by focusing on areas within business operations where these is a lot of competition.

If you feel more inclined toward advanced leadership roles or have a strong desire to work in the public sector, you may want to carefully consider opting for an MPA degree. An MPA degree will provide you with skills that focus on the internal operations of a business, such as managing finances, but will also allow for focus on public policy and sociology. If working directly with people is important to you in your chosen career, it is likely that an MPA degree is more in line with your future goals. It’s important also to note that MPA degrees are also slightly less common than MBA degrees. This may mean that you have less competition in future when applying for jobs that you’re interested in.

How to Determine the Best Degree Choice for You

Ultimately, the degree you choose will depend in large part on your personality, your existing skills, as well as where you see yourself working down the line. It’s important to carefully consider whether you prefer to work more behind the scenes with a corporation or whether you prefer to work directly with other people.

You may even want to consider a dual degree that covers multiple aspects of business administrative roles and will lead to a more broad spectrum of job choices down the line. Whichever degree you choose, careers in the field of business administration and the political sciences will continue to advance and progress in the coming years, providing countless exciting job opportunities for new graduates.

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