Students interested in graduate school have a lot of options, two of which are a Master of Business Administration, or MBA, degree and a Master in Public Policy, or MPP. Both degree programs require two years of coursework and prepare students for careers in leadership. However, an MBA is a more generalized program in business and management, while an MPP is a more focused leadership and management program in a public policy.

MBA vs. MPP Overview

MBA programs are professional business programs that teach students application of economic theories and statistics to today's world of business and management. MPP programs are professional public policy programs that teach students to apply economic principles and management theories to today’s world of public service.

MBA Coursework

Universities offer students a variety of MBA programs, including full-time, part-time, evening and online programs. All of these programs have different requirements, but most require two years of full-time coursework with a certain amount of core coursework and electives. Students typically take required courses, such as statistics, organizational behavior, marketing and leadership, during the first year of the program and electives. such as finance, entrepreneurship, international business and international banking, during the second year of the program.

MPP Coursework

Just as with MBA programs, universities offer many different kinds of MPP programs in a variety of formats, including full-time, part-time and online. Requirements across different MPP programs and formats vary, but most programs also require students to take a certain number of core courses and electives. The core courses aim to give students a sound foundation in the field of public policy and focus on courses in analysis, leadership and management. Unlike MBA requirements, which tends to be broad and general, MPP primarily require courses directly related to public policy. Examples of required courses include quantitative analysis, financial management, economics, ethics and politics and advocacy. Depending on the program, students also have a choice of electives within a particular concentration. Examples of possible MPP concentrations include business and governmental policy, international global affairs and social and urban policy.

MBA vs. MPP Career Opportunities

Graduates with MBA degrees pursue careers in various fields, including government, education, private industry, healthcare and nonprofit organizations. Graduates of MPP programs tend to pursue careers in organizations that deal with public service, such as the government and nonprofits. Furthermore, most MBA graduates are employed in managerial roles, while MPP graduates pursue careers in both managerial positions and research and analysis positions.