MBA vs. Master’s in Accounting Programs
Successful businesses need strong leaders and strong math. That’s why they hire graduates of master’s of business administration (MBA) and master’s in accounting programs. Both degrees provide critical knowledge and skills for operating a business successfully. However, they operate with different perspectives. Simply put, the MBA is broad, while the master’s in accounting is deep.
An MBA is a generalist degree that teaches a business skill set with a leadership focus. The core curriculum typically focuses on business fundamentals, which include accounting, but in a way that prioritizes breadth over depth. Many MBA programs offer specializations in various fields of study, but these electives make up a small portion of the overall curriculum. MBA graduates may not be experts in a specific subcategory, but they can go on to take leadership positions at companies operating in a wide variety of industries.
A master’s in accounting is a targeted degree that provides an in-depth study of accounting and prepares students to pass the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam and advance their career. Focusing on both technical and analytical accounting skills, students take courses in taxation, fraud detection and prevention, forensic accounting, and international accounting. The depth of these programs prepares graduates to become experts in their field. Those with a master’s in accounting can go on to become corporate auditors, public accountants, and financial analysts.
Both an MBA and a master’s in accounting can advance one’s career in the world of business. While they share many similarities, they do diverge significantly in admissions requirements, coursework, and salary potential. Read on to learn the details of each degree program, and how they compare.
|MBA||Master’s in Accounting|
|What is it?||An MBA is a graduate-level degree focusing on business and management skills that can prepare students for leadership roles across a wide range of industries.||A master’s in accounting is a graduate-level degree focused specifically on the advanced study of accounting practices and data analytics.|
While admissions requirements for MBA programs vary from school to school, they often include some or all of the following:
While admissions requirements for master’s in accounting programs vary from school to school, they often include some or all of the following:
|Typical duration||MBA programs typically last two to three years, but specialized tracks offer flexibility in intensity and length. A part-time student may take up to six years to complete their degree, while a full-time student on an accelerated track may graduate in 12 months.||Master’s in accounting programs typically take one to two years to complete, but specialized tracks exist. Intensive programs can be completed in under a year. Integrated programs, where students pursue their master’s at the same school they earned their undergraduate degree, can similarly reduce the overall required study time.|
Core classes in an MBA program typically include subjects such as:
Coursework in master’s-level accounting programs includes topics such as:
|Who can benefit from this degree?||An MBA is for someone looking to increase their business acumen and take on leadership roles in their career. Recent graduates, mid-level professionals, career executives, and entrepreneurs across several different industries can all benefit from an MBA.||Master’s in accounting programs are for those dedicated to advancing their career in the field of accounting. Those looking to prepare for the CPA exam, or those wishing to gain in-depth knowledge of advanced practice areas in accounting, can benefit from this degree.|
|Salary prospects||MBA graduates can expect a high earning potential, sometimes doubling their salaries upon graduation. Exact salary figures depend on specialization, location, and work experience, but graduates of top MBA programs earn an average of $125,000 a year, plus a signing bonus.||Master’s in accounting graduates can expect a modest to strong earning potential, with the top 10 percent of accountants making more than $120,000 a year. Exact salary figures depend on location, work experience, and area of focus, but the average salary for those holding a master’s in accounting degree is $66,000 a year.|
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|The bottom line||An MBA is an advanced generalist degree with broad applications across several industries. The business skill set focuses on graduates attaining leadership positions and high earning potentials. What they lack in depth they make up for in breadth, making them a wise investment for a business-minded professional with leadership ambitions.||A master’s in accounting is a specialized degree that focuses on the advanced technical and analytical aspects of accounting. Graduates of master’s in accounting programs can go on to become experts in accounting practices. What these programs lack in breadth they make up for in depth, making them the ideal choice for those dedicated to a career in accounting.|