Thread: MBA vs. MPA

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    Default MBA vs. MPA

    I've looked for information on this debate, but only found one article I believe in fire engineering, and it wasn't very thorough. It was mostly various quotes from different chiefs on their personal experience. No doubt, worthwhile to read but I think wanting.

    Are there any chiefs out there who could give you an objective (as much as possible) outlook on the subject?

    Thanks.

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    ??????????????

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    Ummm... Master's of Business Admin. VS. Master's of Public Admin.? Just a guess though..
    Do it because you love it, not because you love being seen doing it.

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    Sorry. Yeah. Business Admin vs. Public Admin.

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    MBA generally requires a higher mastery of mathematics (Calculus) and statistics. Usually two intense classes on the budgeting process (cash flow analysis, projecting, analyzing.) One or two economics classes.

    MPA generally has more "theory of administration" courses. Depending on the university, the program may have a more federal than state/local government flavor. In the last decade a growth of programs in the Non-Governmental Organization [NGO - Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc.] More emphasis on the political and public policy topics.

    What skill set do you want to have when you are done?

    Mike

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    I would go with the public administration as long as you are staying in the public sector (or is it section now)
    City managers and other like jobs want a public administration degree. The fireservice isn't sure what they want so an MBA is fine for fire chief.

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    Calculus and more analytical classes aren't a big issue for me. My undergrad major right now is Economics, and it's loaded with calculus, statistics, game theory, etc.

    I suppose the issue with the MBA is that it's not quite as specialized or geared to the public sector b/c the focus in the private industry is of course profit. Still, one day I may decide that I just want to be an operational firefighter and open my own business where an MBA would be more beneficial. Also, MBA programs, generally speaking, are more competitive so I wonder if that is seen as a pro by city administrations.

    Thanks so far.

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    MPA for the current job.

    MBA for the job after civil service retirement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vegas0012
    I've looked for information on this debate, but only found one article I believe in fire engineering, and it wasn't very thorough. It was mostly various quotes from different chiefs on their personal experience. No doubt, worthwhile to read but I think wanting.

    Are there any chiefs out there who could give you an objective (as much as possible) outlook on the subject?

    Thanks.
    I wouldn't get too wrapped up either way. An MBA will emphasize more marketing, economics, product cycles, etc. An MPA will emphasize more budgeting in a public sector, administration, bureaucracy, etc. In the end, you'll learn a lot of stuff that his remotely related to real life. But, you'll have a Master's degree. Most jobs look for "a Masters in Public Adminstration, or equivalent"...or MBA!

    Choose the one that you think will be more interesting for you, not the one you think some unknown future employer may want. Also, choose the best (most respected) program you can. An MBA from Harvard is an open door to almost any job...marketing, stocks, mutual funds, politics, even public safety. An MPA from Southeastern Northern Community Technical Vocational School, or Bob's Online University, will probably mean squat.
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

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