What's more valuable for fed consulting: MBA or MPA?

likesmart
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Neither. Both are useless.
Except maybe for campus recruiting, but if you can get in without it, don't waste your money and time.

likeuplifting

MBA - if you’re planning on staying in consulting. MBAs will teach you the basics of running and operating a business, so if you want to make MD this is the route. MPAs are only applicable to relevant roles, and even then, the higher you go the less you work on day to day. Also, there is a starch drop off of actual policy work consultants drive. MPA is great if you plan on flipping your badge and working for the govt

likefunny

I have both. For federal? I don’t use either.

likehelpful

I would recommend an MPA over an MBA if you want to make a career in federal consulting. Harvard’s MPA is one of the best out there. In most cases, completing these advanced degrees just bumps you up to the next level. If you’re already at a great place like Accenture, taking on $100k+ debt is a hefty price to pay for a promotion.

Neither is very useful or valued. I'd go for a highly ranked MPA for the network or a cheap MBA with a strong tech or quant focus.

Why are you convinced that either would be worth the time/money investment?

If you’re specifically in federal consulting, labor category requirements can include phrasing like “masters in a relevant field”. So would recommend just picking where you’re aligned and interested already for a leg up

MBA is better for consulting. An MPA is a masters in public administration that prepares you for a public administration career. MBA is more versatile. The only classes that don’t directly apply are finance.

I spent many years in federal consulting and it was very rare to use most of the business skills from my MBA. It became very frustrating because it felt like I earned the credential for nothing.. and then when I exited to industry my business skills were behind my peers.

Sorry to hijack your thread OP, but could anyone advise as to whether an MBA would help pivot to commercial? I have a bachelor’s in finance, but all of my (very little <2 yrs) experience post college has been federal.

It's always going to be a little harder for a non-target school, but if you have already worked in consulting then you should be able to leverage your network whenever you bounce back

J.D.??

MBA would be good if you're trying to leave federal consulting. An MPA if you're already in federal consulting seems like a waste of time.

I like having my MBA in a sea of MPAs, it helps me stand out.

I’ve got an MBA and work in Federal consulting. I use my skills consistently for helping clients connect and work with private sector stakeholders (clients often liked to be walked through the proposed strategy and understand those stakeholder motivations), and have set up and executed operating plans for new project offices overseas. I also tend to do a lot of budget development and analysis, which is always a plus in consulting for both new business and delivery.

Altogether, I use finance, operations and general business strategy skills ALL the time and would recommend it.

On the soft skills side, my business school also had a lot of ethics, negotiation, and business psychology/EQ-type courses, which put me far ahead my peers in managing federal projects.

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