When deciding on the next step for your career, an advanced degree can increase your options. More specifically, a master’s degree in administration provides you with a distinct advantage in the job market, especially when seeking a higher-level management position. Certain degrees, like a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a Master of Public Administration (MPA), can contribute to specific career goals. There are several similarities and differences between these two degrees, but the primary difference is in each degree’s focus on the private versus public sector.
An MBA program focuses on providing students with a comprehensive understanding of business fundamentals, such as management, economics, finance, and marketing. The degree is one of the most popular graduate degrees for students who desire to work in the private sector. Such popularity is due, in part, to the fact that MBAs provide a large amount of career flexibility. Graduates can typically find jobs in most industries, and several programs equip students to become leaders in almost any part of the world.
Topics covered in an MBA program can include the following:
MBA graduates usually emerge with a skill set in leadership, interpersonal and public speaking, problem-solving, and risk management. They also gain an understanding of the technical and operational functions of a business. Their expertise in these areas contributes to the high demand for MBA holders in upper-level positions.
An MPA is a targeted degree ideal for those interested in becoming public service leaders that work for government entities or nonprofit organizations. The program focuses on preparing students for the complex rules, operations, and management in public affairs. The MPA degree prepares students to manage people, projects, and resources in the public sector. While MPAs are more focused, graduates still have several career choices. MPA degree holders may work in nonprofits, government agencies, international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and private corporations.
Topics covered in an MPA program can include the following:
While a concentration can be helpful in certain instances, MPA degrees are versatile and comprehensive on their own. These programs offer a solid foundation for graduates to find their footing in any number of careers across the industry.
A good deal of overlap exists between MBA programs and MPA programs. Some similarities stem from the two degrees’ coursework, program structure, and formats.
MBA and MPA programs cover many of the same topics within their core coursework. Students will get an education in budgeting, finance, statistics, management skills, and project management. Additionally, both degrees usually require a capstone project to help students transfer their learned knowledge to the real world.
Many students often consider program length when deciding on a degree for themselves. However, the time needed to complete either an MBA or an MPA is similar. The LSU family of institutions provide access to two online MBA options, the Flores MBA and the MBA from LSU Shreveport. The Flores MBA requires 36 credit hours and can be finished in as few as 18 months. The MBA from LSU Shreveport requires 30 credit hours and can be done in just 10 months. LSU’s online MPA program also requires just 36 credit hours, and it can be completed in as little as 12 months.
Since many MBA and MPA programs are aimed at working professionals, the popularity of online courses has increased. Many MBA and MPA degrees can be done 100% virtually. Such a format provides unmatched flexibility and convenience, perfect for students who want to return to school while working full time.
Though there are multiple similarities, there are also many differences between business and public administration degrees.
One of the most significant differences between MBA and MPA programs is their focus on the public and private sectors. An MPA degree offers education in public affairs and nonprofit management and administration.
Today, MBAs are more versatile and can prepare students for careers in any space. However, an MBA generally provides students with the analytical and leadership skills to manage change and create opportunities for businesses.
While both an MBA and MPA will give students an understanding of organizations and leadership, MBAs tend to go into greater depth on subjects like financial markets. MPAs focus more on topics geared toward social change.
According to Payscale.com, the average salary for MPA graduates is $65,000 per year. The average salary for MBA graduates is around $86,000 per year. Of course, these salaries can vary greatly, and holders of either degree can bring in a very generous income depending on the position.
The career pathways for MBAs are abundant, and graduates can find roles in almost any industry. Job titles could include:
MPA graduates also have a diverse range of positions to consider throughout their careers. Potential job titles could include:
LSU and LSU Shreveport, in partnership with LSU Online, offer flexible, convenient, and competitively priced MBA and MPA degrees.
Learn more about how our online Master of Business Administration programs stack up to the competition. Or, take a look at our online Master of Public Administration.
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