At first glance, a Master’s in Accounting and an MBA with a focus in Accounting may seem to be more alike than different. By taking a closer look at each program, one will begin to see that these two programs not only offer different core curriculums, they also provide unique career trajectories for their students. A Master’s in Accounting is often “designed to prepare recent graduates or business professionals who have years of work experience for a career advancement in the field of accounting.” An MBA is typically designed to offer its students an all-around business education which includes instruction in the field of accounting, finance, leadership, and marketing.
While Master’s of Accounting students will most likely be building on a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and possibly some work experience in the field, a student considering a Master’s of Business Administration in Accounting may have no background in accounting but will most likely need to bring two to five years of professional business experience into her graduate program. While students seeking a Master’s of Accounting, in order to work in the public sector, will almost always be required to prepare for the CPA exam, MBA in Accounting students may stay within the realm of accounting, look to move onto higher positions of management in the future, or venture out into entrepreneurship in the Accounting realm. Another clear distinction between a Master’s in Accounting and an Accounting MBA deals with the focus of curriculum over the course of the degree. While a Master’s of Accounting will focus primarily on accounting as the core to the curriculum throughout the program with other auxiliary topics like strategy and sustainability playing a supporting role, an MBA will typically consist of one year of general business courses followed by another year of concentration-specific courses in Accounting.
One of the country’s best online MBAs with a specialization in Accounting is found at the Robert J. Manning School of Business at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. This 30-credit hour Accounting online MBA program is priced at $575 per credit hour making the total, cost of tuition an affordable $17,250. Based on the business school’s esteemed reputation, some recent graduates have reported an average early career salary of $67,300 revealing a solid return on the investment of education. Accounting-intensive electives within this program include Financial Accounting, Global Enterprise and Competition, Accounting Information for Management Decisions, Managing Organizational Change, Advanced Management and Sustainability Accounting, and Tax Factors in Business Decisions.
Another highly-accredited and nationally-recognized online MBA in Accounting is featured at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business. This hybrid program is delivered as a 32-month degree that allows students to complete the bulk of coursework online with six weekends each year consisting of short residencies on campus for group projects and networking opportunities. With a per-semester price of $15,350, this AACSB-accredited program features a total tuition fee of $61,440. Some students of the business school have reported an average early career salary of $109,000 showing a healthy return on the investment of education.
One of the nation’s most respected online Master’s of Business Administration degrees with an emphasis in Accounting is offered at Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management. Awards for this business school include Quacquarelli Symonds’ naming it the 29th best online degree on the planet. Priced at $1,500 per credit, this 54-credit program features a total tuition rate of $81,000. Receiving its business accreditation through the AACSB, the Martin J. Whitman School of Business includes such courses as Strategic Cost Analysis, Taxes & Business Strategy, Financial Statement Analysis, and Advanced Auditing within this program.