An MPA or an MBA?

It can be difficult to decide between an MPA and an MBA and determine which is better for you. Both master’s degrees can open the door to new career opportunities. Both also can lead to management positions in the business world, but there are some key differences in their focus and scope. Here are a few reasons why many choose the MPA over an MBA.

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You aspire to work with the public sector

The MPA degree prepares you for public leadership opportunities and is designed to help working professionals gain an understanding of management principles and the practical leadership skills that are used to build lasting and transformative careers in the public sector.

A philanthropic nature may be reason enough to get an MPA over an MBA. Maybe you’ve always seen yourself in a role that allows you to give back to the people of your community. If public service motivates you as much as money, the MPA might be a better fit for you.

You enjoy the challenge of effecting change

Some people decide to get the MPA because of the challenges and rewarding nature of public administration work. In government or the nonprofit sector, the outcomes of initiatives and projects are not as quantifiable as the profits and losses in corporate business.

While many roles in business can lead to success in the form of profits and expansion, success in the public sector can be even more rewarding. Success in public administration could mean healthier communities or increased opportunities for children. If you have a desire to help local communities or underrepresented segments of society, the MPA is the way to go.

You expect to run for office.

The Master of Public Administration degree provides knowledge and skills to start your career in politics. Politicians hold all sorts of degrees, from business to history to medicine, but getting the Master’s in Public Administration teaches you the specific skills needed to effectively legislate or govern on a higher level.

MPA programs typically concentrate on teaching students how to manage nonprofit and public sector organizations. The mission of these organizations is to improve living conditions and promote social welfare. These tasks are congruent with those of members of Congress, senators and governors. If you see yourself in one of these positions, you can learn the basics with a degree in public administration.

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