Maybe you don’t need an MBA after all.


It’s a common assumption that the MBA is offered at just about every graduate school.  That’s why I’ve gotten accustomed to the odd looks when I tell people we don’t offer one.  Some even argue with me.  I find those discussions pretty funny, and eventually lead the conversation to another topic.  But typically, I ask the inquirer what his/her career objectives are.  Those with an interest in non-profit, the public or private sector, or working for the government are often surprised when I tell them that a Master of Public Administration (MPA) will serve them better than an MBA.

naspaa_hp_york2Both MPA and MBA programs train you in management, finance, marketing and planning, but they train you for totally different industries.  Graduates of MPA programs typically work in “nonprofit, government, private and public sector, management or consulting, education, environment, healthcare, policy analysis, homeland security, and much more” (Go Public Service).  As with the MBA, MPA programs typically offer areas of specialized study.  For example, we offer three areas: arts management, nonprofit administration, and metropolitan public service administration.  In this program, students:

  1. Understand and, critically evaluate multiple ethical obligations
  2. Understand the diverse policy tools employed by public sector employees.
  3. Develop relevant professional competencies

Still not sure what alumni do? Take a look at what some of our 350+ alumni are doing now.  Or visit other MPA networks like the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network,  and the College of Charleston’s MPA Student Association (MPASA) website and Facebook page.

Related posts:
Class Notes: Quin Stinchfield
The Lowcountry Public Leader
Welcome to our new MPASA Board Members

2 thoughts on “Maybe you don’t need an MBA after all.

  1. MPA is not a program I’ve heard much about in the past. I would imagine with our new President’s past employment as a city planner, it may become more popular. Even besides that, this degree would well serve anyone wanting a career in foreign service, non-profits, or any number of organizations that work to improve the lives of others. Great article.

  2. […] The Fall semester is well under way, as are Graduate and Professional School (GAPS) Fairs. A GAPS fair is an event typically hosted by a university’s career center and attended by recruiters for graduate, medical and law schools. This is a great opportunity for students and alumni to learn more about graduate programs, and a chance to explore options often not thought of. For us, this is a great chance to enlighten many students that a Master of Public Administration might serve them better than a Master of Business Administration. […]

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