Results 1 to 25 of 25

Thread: MBA vs. MS in Accounting

  1. #1
    TJW
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    4,150

    MBA vs. MS in Accounting

    Hey everyone, I've done some research and can't seem to find a general consensus, so I figured it was worth a shot to ask on here. I graduated in May with a degree in Sport Management and a minor in Business Administration and I'm looking at getting a Masters while working. I eventually would like to work in Accounting/Finance, but I was wondering which degree would be most beneficial to someone with not much work experience.

    I've narrowed it down to an MBA and a MS in Accounting (hopefully a CPA upon completion). While most will say the MBA, I've read that for someone that doesn't have a ton of work experience and for someone that will be doing it online (less networking opportunities), the MSA would be more beneficial. What are your thoughts? Thanks in advance for the help.

  2. #2
    Go Bears Pete22's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    2,556
    I'm currently pursuing my MBA, while a good friend of mine went the MSA then CPA route. IMO if you're set on a career in accounting, whether public or private, then I think that's probably the route to take (you'd definitely pigeonhoIing yourself a little bit). I think the MBA is definitely more versatile, and a huge selling point if you've got management aspirations in the future. You could always go the MSA/CPA route now, then come back for your MBA down the road as a capstone to your business education.
    My Training Log

    You want science and studies? **** you. I've got scars and blood and vomit. - Jim Wendler

  3. #3
    Senior Member BilltheButcher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    3,474
    CPA. Last people to be fired are accountants and DB admins.

    MBA is so common, unless you are getting it at a prestigious school then they are useless IMO.

    My first job out of college, I was there about a month and they fired 9 MBA guys (all making 6 figures) and pretty much handed there work to me and another guy. In addition to the salary saved we increased revenues by 300% in 60 days. They had no work ethic or common sense.
    Never shall innocent blood be shed, yet the blood of the wicked shall flow like a river. The Three shall spread their blackened wings and be the vengeful striking hammer of God.

  4. #4
    big on TONING dynamo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Cockeysville, MD
    Posts
    1,219
    my old engineering professor tells me an MBA is where its at. I wonder if thats just because it shows one would have two different backgrounds one being whatever (not necessarily engineering) and another is business thus maybe the ability to run a business? While all you businessy guys already have the business background. If that makes sense. As for saving over half a million dollars on salaries alone and raising revenue 300% i'd fire anyone for those numbers lol.
    My journal
    Goal(Current):
    400(335) Bench Press
    600(520x3 2xBW) Dead Lift
    500(495x1) ATG Squat
    Total: 1500(1350)
    365 Front Squat
    consistency and intensity.

  5. #5
    Senior Member cphafner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    The Big Apple
    Posts
    7,701
    I went with the MBA route. I am a dual Finance and Accounting major. I wasn't trying to get into accounting though. I work in equity analysis and only picked up the acct major so I had better knowledge of financial statements.
    My Journal
    http://wannabebigforums.com/showthread.php?t=119765

    I think this is possibly the all-time best response on WBB. - Jorge Sanchez

    "you're an animal eat like one damn it!" - Wikked1

    "Now we're finally getting to the chicken or the egg question," I grinned. "Did I eat all that food because my size gives me more of an appetite, or did I get to be this big because I've been forcing myself to eat like this for years?"

    From A Body Builder is Born

    i knew you were a beast but not that kinda of a beast that eats grown men and children.. lilmase

  6. #6
    Banned
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    4,580
    I dont see how you're going to be able to end at a CPA as most states require a substantial amount of upper level accounting/finance classes and you have a Sports Mgt degree. edit: this really depends on the state. I am now perusing other states where I am not licensed and you probably will qualify in many of them. Regardless, as a cpa w/ an undergrad in accounting right now, i would prefer an MBA from a prestigious, top 20 school... failing that, I would opt for an MS Accounting to pursue the CPA path

    I tried to go cphafner's route w/ finance and I got stuck in accounting oh god when does it end

    http://www.becker.com/accounting/cpaexamreview/state/

    you can check your eligibility to sit for the exam for your locality at becker's website. there is a good degree of variability between states.
    Last edited by f=ma; 10-23-2010 at 07:54 AM.

  7. #7
    Tap, Rack, Bacon ncsuLuke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    1,389
    If you want to get into accounting definitely get your masters in that and then your CPA. I don't really see a whole lot of value in an MBA unless you go to a top school, a school that is very specialized, or your company just wants you to have one so you can move up the ladder. I wouldn't really waste my time/money otherwise.

  8. #8
    Ash "Money" Hegde Y2A's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Miami, FL
    Posts
    4,789
    Definately look into your state CPA requirements as f=ma said. If you can get an MBA while taking enough accounting credits to sit for the CPA, that would be a good way to go, but I don't know if that's possible, especially considering your undergrad degree. I have a Masters in Tax, I only chose that over Accounting because it took 2 less classes to graduate, though I did end up in Tax anyhow.
    "We fight our battles, we wage our wars, we settle the score, with honor and blood" - Atreyu

    Dontate to my favorite charity!

  9. #9
    TJW
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    4,150
    Thanks for all the responses so far! You don't understand how helpful it is hearing from people that have actually had to make this decision and from people who actually have these degrees. I think I'm going to go with the general consensus of the MSA, hopefully leading to a CPA. I checked my states requirements and it is 30hrs of accounting which would be met by the Masters. I think I'd then go the route some of you stated of eventually obtaining my MBA when I'm older to kind of round out my business knowledge and further enhance my appeal to employers.

    I'll also be doing it online, so the MBA doesn't seem to be as beneficial since I won't get all of the networking opportunities that a normal MBA student would get. Thanks again for all the replies and if anyone else has an opinion, let me know.

    Quote Originally Posted by ncsuLuke View Post
    If you want to get into accounting definitely get your masters in that and then your CPA. I don't really see a whole lot of value in an MBA unless you go to a top school, a school that is very specialized, or your company just wants you to have one so you can move up the ladder. I wouldn't really waste my time/money otherwise.
    Did you graduate from NC State? I ask because that's where I graduated from in May.

  10. #10
    Tap, Rack, Bacon ncsuLuke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    1,389
    Quote Originally Posted by gatorman2k6 View Post
    Thanks for all the responses so far! You don't understand how helpful it is hearing from people that have actually had to make this decision and from people who actually have these degrees. I think I'm going to go with the general consensus of the MSA, hopefully leading to a CPA. I checked my states requirements and it is 30hrs of accounting which would be met by the Masters. I think I'd then go the route some of you stated of eventually obtaining my MBA when I'm older to kind of round out my business knowledge and further enhance my appeal to employers.

    I'll also be doing it online, so the MBA doesn't seem to be as beneficial since I won't get all of the networking opportunities that a normal MBA student would get. Thanks again for all the replies and if anyone else has an opinion, let me know.



    Did you graduate from NC State? I ask because that's where I graduated from in May.
    I graduated from state with an economics degree and statistics degree in 2008 and now I am back in grad school there full time getting my masters in analytics. It is a one year masters and I will either go into quantitative risk management for a bank or go into consulting when I finish.

  11. #11
    TJW
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    4,150
    Quote Originally Posted by ncsuLuke View Post
    I graduated from state with an economics degree and statistics degree in 2008 and now I am back in grad school there full time getting my masters in analytics. It is a one year masters and I will either go into quantitative risk management for a bank or go into consulting when I finish.
    Gotcha, glad to see another alum on here. Good luck with the masters; it seems like you've got a good head on your shoulders. I actually moved back to the Northern VA area after graduating, but want to move back to Raleigh as soon as I can, as I like it a lot more than VA.

  12. #12
    Ash "Money" Hegde Y2A's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Miami, FL
    Posts
    4,789
    Quote Originally Posted by gatorman2k6 View Post
    I'll also be doing it online, so the MBA doesn't seem to be as beneficial since I won't get all of the networking opportunities that a normal MBA student would get.
    This is great insight and you are making a smart decision IMO, good luck.
    "We fight our battles, we wage our wars, we settle the score, with honor and blood" - Atreyu

    Dontate to my favorite charity!

  13. #13
    TJW
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    4,150
    Quote Originally Posted by Y2A View Post
    This is great insight and you are making a smart decision IMO, good luck.
    Thanks! I look forward to seeing where it takes me.

  14. #14
    Wannabebig Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by gatorman2k6 View Post
    Thanks for all the responses so far! You don't understand how helpful it is hearing from people that have actually had to make this decision and from people who actually have these degrees. I think I'm going to go with the general consensus of the MSA, hopefully leading to a CPA. I checked my states requirements and it is 30hrs of accounting which would be met by the Masters. I think I'd then go the route some of you stated of eventually obtaining my MBA when I'm older to kind of round out my business knowledge and further enhance my appeal to employers.

    I'll also be doing it online, so the MBA doesn't seem to be as beneficial since I won't get all of the networking opportunities that a normal MBA student would get. Thanks again for all the replies and if anyone else has an opinion, let me know.



    Did you graduate from NC State? I ask because that's where I graduated from in May.
    First, I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned this. How do you know you want to go into accounting? You have a sports mgmt degree, which means there's a good chance you didn't take a single accounting course during your undergrad, correct?

    Therefore, is it safe to assume that you don't really have a good grasp on whether or not you actually want to be a CPA. At least, definitely not a good enough grasp to jump into a masters program and find out that it bores you to death, or you like Finance better.

    More importantly, I would seriously consider what your chances are of getting accepted into a MSA program with no undergrad business degree and no relevant work experience. I'm not being harsh, I'm just giving you the facts. Considering your undergrad degree is in an unrelated field and you don't have accounting experience, I'd expect to get above a 700 on your GMAT to have any shot at all. I would also never, ever waste your money on an online degree (undergrad or graduate).

  15. #15
    TJW
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    4,150
    Quote Originally Posted by VicTW65 View Post
    First, I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned this. How do you know you want to go into accounting? You have a sports mgmt degree, which means there's a good chance you didn't take a single accounting course during your undergrad, correct?

    Therefore, is it safe to assume that you don't really have a good grasp on whether or not you actually want to be a CPA. At least, definitely not a good enough grasp to jump into a masters program and find out that it bores you to death, or you like Finance better.

    More importantly, I would seriously consider what your chances are of getting accepted into a MSA program with no undergrad business degree and no relevant work experience. I'm not being harsh, I'm just giving you the facts. Considering your undergrad degree is in an unrelated field and you don't have accounting experience, I'd expect to get above a 700 on your GMAT to have any shot at all. I would also never, ever waste your money on an online degree (undergrad or graduate).
    Thanks for the advice, it is appreciated. If you reread my first post, I minored in business administration, so with that, combined with the sports focused business classes I took, I've taken basic accounting and finance classes in the 200 and 300 levels. With those classes, I was one of the few that it didn't bore. I enjoy working with boring stuff like that and numbers, in general. Regarding the acceptance, most programs don't require a business degree, but I'll just have to take the accounting prerequisites, as a refresher. In addition to that, most don't require work experience, unlike MBAs which want 5-8yrs of experience.

    Why wouldn't you do an online program? People have different schedules, that may not allow them to attend classes during the day or night on a consistent basis, and would rather get the work done when they can. Duke, Florida, UMass, etc all offer online MBAs, would you consider those a waste? Online programs allow for more flexibility. Just my thoughts, but please understand that I do respect your opinion and will take it into account.

  16. #16
    Wannabebig Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by gatorman2k6 View Post
    Thanks for the advice, it is appreciated. If you reread my first post, I minored in business administration, so with that, combined with the sports focused business classes I took, I've taken basic accounting and finance classes in the 200 and 300 levels. With those classes, I was one of the few that it didn't bore. I enjoy working with boring stuff like that and numbers, in general. Regarding the acceptance, most programs don't require a business degree, but I'll just have to take the accounting prerequisites, as a refresher. In addition to that, most don't require work experience, unlike MBAs which want 5-8yrs of experience.

    Why wouldn't you do an online program? People have different schedules, that may not allow them to attend classes during the day or night on a consistent basis, and would rather get the work done when they can. Duke, Florida, UMass, etc all offer online MBAs, would you consider those a waste? Online programs allow for more flexibility. Just my thoughts, but please understand that I do respect your opinion and will take it into account.
    I missed that you had minored in business.

    As far as an online program, I am assuming you are referring to schools that are actual online schools, not universities/private schools that offer classes online as well. Big difference.

    For the record, I think an MSA or a Masters in Finance is better than an MBA, so good choice.

  17. #17
    Tap, Rack, Bacon ncsuLuke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    1,389
    Online MBA's are typically garbage. I know ECU has an online MBA program and getting that degree is worth about as much as the paper it is printed on. Now doing a distance ed MBA from Duke is a different ball game and from reading the description of it, it seems like they conduct it a bit differently as well.

    With something like a masters in accounting I guess it wouldn't matter since your CPA is the big deal.

  18. #18
    TJW
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    4,150
    Quote Originally Posted by VicTW65 View Post
    I missed that you had minored in business.

    As far as an online program, I am assuming you are referring to schools that are actual online schools, not universities/private schools that offer classes online as well. Big difference.

    For the record, I think an MSA or a Masters in Finance is better than an MBA, so good choice.
    Ahh, that makes sense. Yeah, I'm not talking about a DeVry or Univ. of Phoenix type deal. I'm talking about an actual university, but I'll be doing a strictly online/distance education offering. I understand what you mean now about the "online" schools being worthless. I guess mine would be classified as distance education instead of online. Glad to hear that I'm making a good choice, as I would agree.

    Quote Originally Posted by ncsuLuke View Post
    Online MBA's are typically garbage. I know ECU has an online MBA program and getting that degree is worth about as much as the paper it is printed on. Now doing a distance ed MBA from Duke is a different ball game and from reading the description of it, it seems like they conduct it a bit differently as well.

    With something like a masters in accounting I guess it wouldn't matter since your CPA is the big deal.
    Yeah, that seemed to be the general consensus on here and in my research regarding the online degrees. I've read and heard from MBA graduates that it is all about networking and prestige and if I am doing it as distance ed, I won't be getting the full experience. With the masters in accounting, you are already more specialized and by earning your CPA, you have "proven" that you are knowledgeable in the field.

    I can't wait to get started and see where it takes me.

  19. #19
    Super Moderator RBB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    NOVA
    Posts
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by BilltheButcher View Post
    CPA. Last people to be fired are accountants and DB admins.

    MBA is so common, unless you are getting it at a prestigious school then they are useless IMO.

    My first job out of college, I was there about a month and they fired 9 MBA guys (all making 6 figures) and pretty much handed there work to me and another guy. In addition to the salary saved we increased revenues by 300% in 60 days. They had no work ethic or common sense.
    I've known a lot of unemployed MBA's. Sure, it's a more versatile degree, but they're a dme a dozen. As Bill said, you will have much better job security when you're a CPA, you'll never have a problem finding work. When I was getting my MS, the program was very similar to the MBA program. All the core classes were the same, then you had to pick some accounting courses. I think it was a difference of about 5 or 6 courses.

    I will tell you, though, you're definitely going to have to take some prerequisites to get into any MS program right now. Looking at your undergrad degrees, you probably haven't had much accounting. You will need to take Principles - Intermediate as well as a few other electives like auditing, etc., before any program will even think about letting you in. You're also going to need those credit hours if you plan on sitting for the CPA exam as well, so it's not even an option, it's a must. Just something to think about.....you're going to have quite a bit more school to go through if you want the MS.


    AtLarge Nutrition Supplements – Get the best supplements and help support Wannabebig!

  20. #20
    TJW
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    4,150
    Quote Originally Posted by RBB View Post
    I've known a lot of unemployed MBA's. Sure, it's a more versatile degree, but they're a dme a dozen. As Bill said, you will have much better job security when you're a CPA, you'll never have a problem finding work. When I was getting my MS, the program was very similar to the MBA program. All the core classes were the same, then you had to pick some accounting courses. I think it was a difference of about 5 or 6 courses.

    I will tell you, though, you're definitely going to have to take some prerequisites to get into any MS program right now. Looking at your undergrad degrees, you probably haven't had much accounting. You will need to take Principles - Intermediate as well as a few other electives like auditing, etc., before any program will even think about letting you in. You're also going to need those credit hours if you plan on sitting for the CPA exam as well, so it's not even an option, it's a must. Just something to think about.....you're going to have quite a bit more school to go through if you want the MS.
    Thanks for the advice and the heads up. Yeah, I knew going into it, I'd have to take some prerequisites, but some MBAs required me to take prereqs if I wanted to focus in finance/accounting anyways. Thankfully, most of them just require that they be my first set of classes after being accepted. Thanks again for everyone's advice.

  21. #21
    Senior Member shootermcgavin7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    2,240
    Seems like you already have a lot of good advice, but if you are sure you want to specialize in accounting go with the MS. When I interviewed candidates at PwC this was always our strong preference. MBAs with little or no work experience are generally grinning morons with lots of jargon and no technical skills.

  22. #22
    Go Bears Pete22's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    2,556
    Hung out with some accounting buddies last night (all CPAs with MSAs) and each one pretty much said that the MSA was a waste of time and money for them. It got them the additional hours needed to sit for the CPA, but that was about the extent of its benefit for them. They're on the private side, so not sure if that would differ from the public sector. Not that this will sway your decision, but just giving you some input from another perspective.
    My Training Log

    You want science and studies? **** you. I've got scars and blood and vomit. - Jim Wendler

  23. #23
    Ash "Money" Hegde Y2A's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Miami, FL
    Posts
    4,789
    Quote Originally Posted by Pete22 View Post
    Hung out with some accounting buddies last night (all CPAs with MSAs) and each one pretty much said that the MSA was a waste of time and money for them. It got them the additional hours needed to sit for the CPA, but that was about the extent of its benefit for them. They're on the private side, so not sure if that would differ from the public sector. Not that this will sway your decision, but just giving you some input from another perspective.
    I worked in public and the degree itself doesn't matter as much as the ability to get your CPA license. The license is all the qualification you need, but to get the accounting hours you will almost have a masters anyway so it's not a big deal to finish it.
    "We fight our battles, we wage our wars, we settle the score, with honor and blood" - Atreyu

    Dontate to my favorite charity!

  24. #24
    Super Moderator RBB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    NOVA
    Posts
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by Y2A View Post
    I worked in public and the degree itself doesn't matter as much as the ability to get your CPA license. The license is all the qualification you need, but to get the accounting hours you will almost have a masters anyway so it's not a big deal to finish it.
    Yeah, that's the thing. You pretty much have to get your master's if you want to sit for the exam, there's really no way around it....you need the hours.


    AtLarge Nutrition Supplements – Get the best supplements and help support Wannabebig!

  25. #25
    TJW
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    4,150
    Quote Originally Posted by shootermcgavin7 View Post
    Seems like you already have a lot of good advice, but if you are sure you want to specialize in accounting go with the MS. When I interviewed candidates at PwC this was always our strong preference. MBAs with little or no work experience are generally grinning morons with lots of jargon and no technical skills.
    Yeah, with little work experience I figured that right now that accounting was the way to go and as Pete said, pursue the MBA later in my career.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete22 View Post
    Hung out with some accounting buddies last night (all CPAs with MSAs) and each one pretty much said that the MSA was a waste of time and money for them. It got them the additional hours needed to sit for the CPA, but that was about the extent of its benefit for them. They're on the private side, so not sure if that would differ from the public sector. Not that this will sway your decision, but just giving you some input from another perspective.
    The additional hours of credits and accounting classes is why I need the MSA to sit for the CPA, so I guess it wouldn't be as much of a waste to me. Good info though.

Similar Threads

  1. Accounting or Finance?
    By accuFLEX in forum General Chat
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: 04-10-2007, 09:14 PM
  2. MBA Career Paths
    By galileo in forum General Chat
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 01-20-2006, 03:41 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •