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leica06

Lost: MBA vs MPA?

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Hi everyone,

Been researching on this forum and you all seemed to be pretty well acquainted with the education system and job prospects. I am hoping some of you would be able to provide some guidance...

Been thinking about going back to school for 3+ years now. 
I have 2 bachelors from good design schools (international schools). Graduated 12 years ago., in my late thirties. Dual citizen (hoping that would not be an issue)
My GPA was not good since 70% of my grade was based on my final art project. I can't get a GPA for my first degree where I did pretty good because they wont send the grades anymore (wasn't digitalized) and it is more of a pass/fail system in my home country. 

Through the years, I made my way to a senior management job in digital marketing in a large company. Mostly retail/web and entrepreneurship experience.
I don't like marketing. I can find interest in pretty much most of the day to day of any job, mostly around project management, process improvement, etc.. but I need to be working on something I like or believe in.

I am mostly interested in local government: urban planning/public transportation, general city management,  digital/web department for the city (very low volume of jobs there ), health policy. Usually project managers jobs seem most interesting to me.
I have been trying to find ways to change field without going back to school but I think my profile is so far away from gov affairs that it is almost impossible.

I have been taking some free online classes for a while and that was very interesting (fundamentals of public policy, statistical reasoning for public health, urbanism and mobility, american law,..) But I can't justify paying $50K for a degree to end up cutting my existing salary in half once it is done.

A lot of people on this forum mention that a MBA can be better or the same as an MPA for jobs. 
It would make more sense for me to do an MBA as I could use it in many different fields and if I need to move back to my native country. I have looked into cheap, decent programs and found one (WGU). The thing is, the classes are not nearly as interesting as an MPA and I don't think it would help my job applications as much as an MPA given my lack of any public policy related classes or experience at all. Am i wrong on this?

I did find a couple affordable MPAs, though I am still trying to find if they are decent (fort hayes, South dakota which has an MBA with lots of public policy classes, Arkansas State).This is not a convo about getting the best degree or anything because, I can barely qualify for the less good colleges with my gpa, beside the high cost..

So

- what is everyone's take on MBA vs MPA in my situation?
- for those who made such a career jump in the middle of their career, how did you know it was the right decision? Some have mentioned trying to work my way to gov affairs through jobs rather than school but I just feel there is too wide of a gap in skills and experience.
- does getting an MPA for a not so great school has any value? Is gov job so competitive that it may not even help? 
 

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1. Think about what your day-to-day duties in your new ideal job would look like. Are they more on the policy work end or more on the marketing/communications with a government interface end? MPP for the former, MBA for the latter.

2. Think about the type of organization you want to work for. Is it city government, a think tank, non-profit, or a consulting firm? MPP for the first two, MBA for the last two with the caveat that some mission driven non-profits prefer MPPs. 

3. Is money a priority? If yes, MBA. 

4. Remember there are dual degree programs. 

5. School prestige matters. 

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Thanks!

This is super helpful. Definitely think that MPP/MPA is the way to go.

If money was a priority I would never consider go back to school, lol. but it is a concern. 
As far as school prestige, yeah I get that, but with what my records looks on paper, I am going to be limited as it is.. it is just how it is.
I am going to try to see if I can get my first bachelor grades translated and accredited. maybe that will help my GPA.

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