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Reasons Why an MBA Differs from an MPA

Higher Education Articles November 16, 2015

The most significant difference between a Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) degree and a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree is the sector of work that the degrees prepare students for after graduation. Those seeking public sector careers should look into MPA programs. Those seeking private sector careers should look into MBA programs.

Master of Public Administration (MPA) vs. Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Students learn to fulfill administrative and managerial positions in nonprofit and public organizations, such as health services, schools, and regulatory agencies, in a graduate-level program called the Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.).

By contrast, a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program has a primary focus on private sector management and trains students for work within a specific business sector, such as marketing, finance, and management.

Coursework in an MPA Program

Coursework in MPA programs involves subject areas such as management, budget processing, urban planning, administrative law, public financing, and community development.

Students completing core courses within an MPA program might also be allowed to specialize in a concentration area such as public policy, the American political process, health policy, organizational leadership, international relations, and budgeting. Courses common to all enrollees are devised to train students in conducting research, evaluating program effectiveness and performing data analyses.

Students’ specialization areas will determine additional classes including public organization leadership, comparative administration, human resource administration, urban management, public financial management and administrative law.

Coursework in an MBA Program

The MBA program begins with core business courses in areas such as marketing, finance, and human resources management. After students complete this coursework, they can specialize in one of these areas.

The executive MBA, accelerated MBA, part-time MBA and full-time MBA are different types of MBA programs offered by schools. Each program is tailored to suit the needs of students at different stages in their professional and educational lives.

Professionals who have about ten years of business work experience are often the target customers of an executive MBA program.

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  • Each program is designed to instill the knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills of professional practice and to foster values of social responsibility.
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