Difference Between MPA and MBA


MBA and MPA are both professional degree courses at the postgraduate level. Both deal with adding organizational and managerial skills to students to enable them to work in the middle and top positions in both public, as well as private sector organizations. There are a lot of similarities between MBA and MPA, to confuse students as to whether they should enroll in one or the other program. However, there are subtle differences that will be highlighted in this article.


MBA stands for Masters in Business Administration. It is a two year postgraduate level degree course designed to teach managerial skills that are necessary to tackle organizational problems. MBA happens to be one of the most popular degree courses around the world in present times. Students desirous of making management as their career or profession seek an MBA degree from a reputed institute to get lucrative jobs in big companies. The emphasis in MBA courses is upon honing leadership skills of students though there is also focusing upon teaching ethics, team spirit, communication and cooperation. The course of an MBA program is designed to impart knowledge in finance, management, marketing, and many other important aspects of a business to make students learn how to conduct a business in a smooth and most efficient manner.


MPA is a postgraduate professional degree that prepares students for a career in public administration. MPA stands for Masters in Public Administration. This degree is an ideal option for students desirous of making a career in public administration by making and implementing policies and programs. The skills taught in an MPA program are important to deal with organizational, human resources, and financial challenges that lie in the field of policy making and implementation of these policies and programs. MPA is a good choice for students desirous of making a career in public service. Middle and top level posts in governmental agencies, NGO’s and other public sector departments that involve making policies to overcome societal problems demand students adept at policy making and decision making. Public administration involves working with and for people, though from a managerial angle.


• MBA is more suited to private businesses, whereas MPA is oriented towards bureaucratic roles and responsibilities.

• Finance, marketing, and administration of a business are the important areas of subject in MBA, whereas policy making and implementation is emphasized more in MPA.

• If you are interested in public service through governmental agencies or nonprofit organizations, MPA is more suited for your requirements whereas MBA is ideal for you if you aspire for a managerial position in private enterprises.

• MBA teaches how to make maximum profit in a private business, whereas MPA teaches how to manage a public sector enterprise.

• Success in the public sector is hard to measure, and skills required are different from that required for success in a private business.

• Finding social solutions is more important for someone with an MPA degree, whereas economic markets hold the key to success for an MBA.