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Subject:  Benefit of CPA Obtaining MBA? Date:  11/8/2007  4:59 PM
Author:  LaughingRaven Number:  242 of 252

[I'm kind of thinking out loud here, but feel free to chime in.]

As you may have culled from my previous posts, I got my Bachelor's degree in 2004, then not long after went to work for a Big Four firm. I got certified in August 2006, and in May 2007 I left public accountancy to be a budget analyst at a hospital. I've been thinking about further education, but I'm not sure if it's worth the cost. Private and out-of-state schools run about $600 per credit, and State U doesn't seem to have anything that would improve my skills or career prospects.

I'm not sold on a regular MBA, as they seem a little too general for my needs, and I'm not sure if I'd really learn anything useful. That probably sounds arrogant, but if I'm spending $10-20K, I'd like a real learning experience, not just a piece of paper. I got my BBA from State U, and from what I understand, most of their MBA classes are just rehashed versions of upper-level BBA classes I've already taken.

A nearby private university has an MBA specific to healthcare, so that would provide some industry-specific insight. It's a bit pricey, but it sounds like a good fit if I plan to stay in the industry long-term (I'd like to, but I've only been here six months, so it's not really fair to assess that yet).

Then, of course, there's the Internet. Several accredited schools, like Golden Gate University [1] and the University of Wisconsin [2] offer degree programs that can be fulfilled mostly or entirely online. GGU's programs sound particularly interesting, offering several different concentrations within the business and financial fields (Accounting, Tax, Corp. Finance, IT) Still, I keep coming back to something a professor said a while back. An applicant wanted to teach as an adjunct[3] in their department, based on a degree he'd obtained at University of Phoenix. Their response was basically, "Come back when you have a real degree." Even though many distance-ed options are respected state universities, I'm concerned that somebody might ask how I attended college in Wisconsin while working in Alaska, and dismiss my degree simply because of the mode of delivery.

Which brings me back to the original question: Is it worth it? I don't have much to go on. Most of the public accountants I knew who have MBA's got theirs in another state, and said that their MBA-Acct. was basically an expensive two-year CPA prep program. And the people who've been through that healthcare MBA weren't CPA's, so it's not a proper comparison. I wish I had more to work with before committing so much time and money.

[3] State U allows non-Ph.D's to teach lower-division classes as "adjuncts," which basically means little to no pay and no chance at tenure, but also no departmental politics.
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