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Making the Case for an MPA vs. MBA

By Bisk
Making the Case for an MPA vs. MBA

Professionals interested in advancing their careers in the public sector may wonder how an MPA and an MBA compare with regard to future career growth. Before comparing programs and graduate offerings it is important to understand the distinctions between the two degrees.

The MPA Degree

This two-year graduate degree can help prepare professionals for higher-level leadership roles within public administration jobs. The most common areas of employment for MPA graduates include non-profit agencies, governmental agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGO’s). While program curriculum may vary, programs typically include three components.

The first component of an MPA program involves learning the skills to write and implement effective public policy. Secondly, an MPA program should build strong skills in managing resources, as well as managing a team of people focused on action-oriented policy projects. Finally, an MPA program should provide the courses needed to understand and navigate the complex arena of ethics and accountability.

The MBA Degree

While ethics and team leadership is part of an MBA degree, the main focus is generally on managing business systems and organizations from a different vantage point. The MBA curriculum spends time reinforcing the business skills leaders need to understand - market trends, anticipating areas of growth, increasing profitability and driving change. MBA graduates are employed in a wide variety of settings, from small non-profit organizations to large multi-national companies.

The time to complete each degree is usually equal. In both cases, online courses can offer the convenience and flexibility to speed up the process and continue pursuing an education while remaining employed full-time.

Choosing an MPA over an MBA

For professionals in the non-profit sector, the MPA degree provides a stronger outlook in most cases. Graduates with public administration degrees are needed to guide policy on many important issues, including those related to healthcare, the aging population and renewable energy. Employers are currently hiring MPA professionals both domestically and abroad. Positions available in the government sector can often include cabinet officials and traveling dignitaries.

The Villanova University MPA Degree

With a tradition of excellence, Villanova University can offer professionals an online alternative for earning their MPA degree. Students enrolled in the program engage in coursework designed by faculty. Knowledge acquired throughout the program can help students develop the skills to lead, manage and promote projects aimed at furthering the common good. The program can be completed in two years and includes twelve required courses. Online courses typically provide greater flexibility, which may allow students to speed up the time it takes to complete the MPA degree.

Taught by industry leaders, Villanova’s courses include:

  • Public Administration Theory

The tensions between bureaucracy and democracy can be numerous. This course aims to explore these tensions and delve into the theories and practical development of public administration in the United States.

  •  Financial Management

Effective budgeting and financial decision-making are often important parts of a business. This course helps prepare students to examine the complex dynamics inherent to financial decision-making and focuses on topics such as revenue policy, the budgetary process and debt management.

  • Effective Non-Profit Management

This is a comprehensive course covering contemporary leadership needs and challenges. The topics include board development, strategic planning, volunteer management, as well as other topics such as political and legal considerations.

For professionals interested in advancing a career in an organization that develops policy and programs to benefit common good, earning a MPA degree can be a good decision. If you’re interested in learning more about Villanova’s MPA degree program, visit our MPA degree page or click the button below to request additional information.


Category: Public Administration