Do I need an MBA? Maybe not.

When we think about building a career in business, we typically think about earning an MBA. The master of business administration degree is often thought of as the traditional credential for those in management positions. In reality, there are several graduate degrees that can lead to management roles in business. If you take a look at job postings for the types of positions that interest you, you’ll most likely see that employers list several degrees that are applicable.

The MBA prepares students for upper-level roles dedicated to the oversight of accounting, financial and marketing initiatives within an organization. Students usually choose one of these areas as a concentration.If you want to work in the private sector, are predominately task driven, and are highly motivated by the bottom-line, the MBA could be the right path for you.

On the other hand, if your true passion is community development, organizational performance, leadership or employee satisfaction, there are other degrees that may be a good fit for you. Two of the most popular options are the master of public administration (MPA)and the master’s in industrial organizational psychology.

The master of public administration focuses on the public or non-profit sectors. Individuals who earn an MPA often work for local government agencies or non-profit groups. It’s also a good fit for those who work in education or health care.

In many cases, the MPA is more customizable that the average MBA program. Depending upon the school, students may have the option to align their degree to the area that most interests them, such as community development, emergency management or occupational safety.

While MBA and MPA students might study similar course topics, the MBA curriculum typically includes more emphasis on statistics, finance and quantitative research. MPA students study economics and finance, but they are focused on applying these concepts within administrative agencies. Common course topics in the MPA program include public policy, administrative law and personnel management.  MPA graduates find employment in policy analysis, city government, non-profit management and economic development.

The master’s degree in industrial organizational psychology appeals to those who want to motivate employees and build dynamic working environments. Instead of focusing on projects, individuals with these strengths devote their attention to human resources. Courses of study include performance management, training/development, leading teams and navigating organizational change. A degree in industrial organizational psychology develops skillsets such as managing conflict and cultivating diversity in the workplace. Those who study industrial organizational psychology find job opportunities in data analysis, human resources, performance evaluation and organizational development.

If you’re considering a career in business or public service, Eastern Kentucky University offers a respected MPA and master’s degree in industrial organization psychology 100% online. Ranked among the best by U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Education Program Rankings, you can be confident in the world-class education you’ll receive from EKU Online.

To learn more about which area of study is right for you, reach out to one of our online advisors. Or, tell us the program you are interested in and we’ll be happy to help you take the first step in your journey! Find an advisor or get more information here.

Published on August 24, 2018