Is a Master in Professional Accouting Useful or Useless?

I am currently pursuing a BBA in Accounting and a Masters in Professional Accounting concurrently (it's a five-year program at my university). My plan was to come out of college with a Bachelors and Masters and be CPA-certified. Then, I planned on working for about 3 years and getting my MBA.

However, after speaking to one of my recent professors, she said that getting an MBA after already having a Masters would be pointless. What are your thoughts?

(In reality, she said that if I wanted to get my MBA that badly, it would be better for me to forget about getting my Masters in Accounting, work for 3-5 years, and then apply to a Business School. However, seeing that I am well into the program, I feel like I'd lose too much if I turned around now.)

From my limited knowledge, an MPA can't even compare to an MBA (not to mention it's not very relevant to IBD/PE/etc.). With that said, would it be in my best interest to still get an MBA after receiving my MPA?

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Comments (4)

Dec 30, 2007 - 5:11am

Why did the professor say an MBA would be pointless?

If the reason is something like, "A lot of the classes will be redundant," then just ignore him/her. The point of an MBA is not to learn accounting, it is to gain access to the recruiting network, alumni network, etc. Also, most top MBAs let you opt out of core classes that you are proficient in (i.e. accounting) and then you can take electives in other areas in which you may be weaker (e.g. marketing, operations mgmt, etc.).


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Dec 30, 2007 - 10:10am

To be honest, your answer alone is good enough to convince me otherwise. I've read numerous posts on here about the benefits of an MBA, and that point was constantly brought up. Thanks!

I do have a follow up question. Because the main aspect is networking, is it better to go to B-School after more years of work (eg. after 5 years as opposed to 2 years) because you'll have more experience and therefore might look "more popular"?

P.S. My professor never said an MBA would be pointless! I might have distorted her response a tiny bit. Let me point out that she doesn't know that I'm strongly considering a career in IBD.

Her actual response: "Are you really thinking about an MBA later? If so, why spend money on an MPA? Consider a corporate job for 3-5 years then go get the best MBA pedigree you can get accepted into. If you go the MPA/CPA route, I'm not sure you'll ever need an MBA. From a CPA job you could move into a finance, controller, eventually cfo job just supplemented by some executive education classes that your employer pays for, I think. At least talk to more advisors about those paths."

Dec 30, 2007 - 6:28pm

I see, that context is useful. From that perspective, maybe you could afford to drop the MPA, but I think it would still be looked on favorably as a differentiator for b-school. As far as working a few more years, I'm not sure. I should disclose that I am currently an MBA applicant, so I can't really comment too much on the experience once you get there, but I have a pretty clear understanding of why you go and what adcoms look for (or I hope I do, at least!). If your goal is IBD, a top-tier MBA is your surest way to get there. If your goal is a CFO position or similar, your professor may be right. You need to think hard about what you ultimately want to do, and then research what it will take to get there.

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