Public vs. private sector concept. Turned wooden cubes, with words changing from “private sector” to “public sector”

Choosing an MPA Over an MBA

The world needs more qualified public administrators. Addressing the complex issues facing public agencies requires people with an extensive understanding of policy analysis, program evaluation, and management techniques. Professionals with a Master of Public Administration (MPA) have developed these in-demand skills.

Public administration attracts people with similar qualities as those with a Master of Business Administration. They are adept at managing financial issues and exhibit the leadership qualities to head an organization successfully. However, choosing an MPA over an MBA reflects the different goals of those entering private business.

Professionals deciding between the two must understand their skill sets and establish clear career priorities.


While both an MPA and an MBA are advanced degrees, they are designed to prepare professionals for work in different sectors of the economy.

The MPA program prepares people as leaders at public and non-profit agencies. It emphasizes developing the skills and knowledge needed to manage these organizations. People who pursue an MPA degree value the significance of public service, social responsibility, and ethical considerations specific to public and nonprofit leadership roles.

An MBA program provides a broad business administration education, focusing on private-sector organizations. It prepares graduates for leadership roles in various industries, including finance, marketing, consulting, and entrepreneurship. MBAs often concentrate on financial management, profitability, and market-oriented strategies. These programs equip graduates with skills directly applicable in for-profit business settings.

The Need For Qualified MPA Graduates

The need for public administrators is apparent in job-related data. The number of “social and community service managers” is expected to increase by 9% in the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Pay is also very competitive: lists 12 well-paying public administration jobs, ranging from education director ($61,885) and transportation manager ($65,060) to human resources manager ($74,500) and chief operating officer ($133,761).

An MPA provides graduates with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate the complexities of public administration jobs. One of the keys to success is ensuring government or non-profit resources are used efficiently and effectively. MPA graduates manage budgets, implement programs, and oversee projects, all with an eye on streamlining operations, reducing waste, and improving overall outcomes.

The ethics learned in an MPA program also help graduates create organizational transparency and accountability. Qualified administrators ensure policies and programs are developed and implemented transparently, serving the public’s best interests.

Public administrators are skilled at adapting to constantly evolving tech-driven environments, demographic shifts, and changing societal needs. They also understand the benefits of collaborative projects involving government agencies, non-profit organizations, and private sector partners.

A variety of organizations need these skills. Forbes lists a sample of sectors where public administrators often work, including community and social services, education, training, libraries, and management.

Skills Needed for Success in Public Administration

For those deciding between an MPA vs. MBA, there are specific common traits to work in public administration. These qualities channel the business acumen found in the private sector toward delivering services for the greater good.

Upholding ethical standards is paramount in public administration. Leaders in a government-sanctioned role concentrate on implementing best practices for process enhancement and operational efficiency. However, trust from the public is equally vital. This responsibility can only be shouldered by those with a solid ethical foundation.

Another fundamental quality is a genuine dedication to a career centered around helping others. Public administrators use financial, managerial, and operational expertise to focus on providing essential services rather than pursuing profit.

Public administrators also possess communication and active listening skills. They are adept at crafting short and long-term strategies, maintaining a results-oriented, detail-driven approach. Expert administrators understand how to balance a broader vision with the nitty-gritty details of execution.

Touro University Worldwide’s Online MPA and MBA Programs

Touro University offers an online MPA program and online MBA programs, allowing professionals options for pursuing the degree that best serves their career ambitions. The MPA program features a curriculum with core courses in public administration management, public policy, organizational behavior, law and public policy, public budgeting, human resource management, and performance assessment.

The MPA program often attracts professionals interested in non-profit organizations, especially if they ardently believe in a particular cause, including environmental concerns or supporting disadvantaged youth. Many MPA students are motivated to work in public policy, helping craft programs and policies that best serve the needs of citizens.

The online TUW MBA program offers students a variety of concentrations, including accounting, artificial intelligence (AI) management, cybersecurity management, finance, global management, health administration management, human resources management, information technology (IT) management, marketing, nonprofit management, and physicians and healthcare executives.

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