MACC vs. MBA: Examining the Key Similarities and Differences

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MAcc graduate at work in the office

Those who are seeking a high-level career in a business-related profession can gain valuable advantages by earning an advanced degree. Advanced business degrees teach an array of sought-after and transferable skills that lend credibility to job candidates and indicate to prospective employers a high level of expertise.

In today’s competitive job market, employers look for professionals who bring advanced skill sets and levels of education. According to many recruiters, corporate clients who seek senior employees don’t consider potential hires without advanced business degrees. In fact, according to the 2019 Corporate Recruiter Survey from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), nearly 9 in 10 respondents said that candidates with advanced business degrees are well prepared to succeed in their companies.

Hiring managers seek well-rounded professionals who not only possess technical knowledge, but also strong interpersonal skills, leadership capabilities, and management acumen. They also seek candidates who ideally hold advanced business degrees. In addition to providing critical education, these degree programs serve as excellent places to network and make important personal connections.

Aspiring professionals who are looking for coveted high-level positions stand to gain a competitive edge by earning an advanced business degree. The question is, which degree should they pursue?

Many who are weighing advanced business degrees usually consider two specific programs: a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) and a Master of Business Administration (MBA). What are the differences between the MAcc vs. MBA and what role can each degree play in building a successful career? For those interested in pursuing a MAcc, Ohio University offers an Online Master of Accountancy that delivers the high level of expertise many businesses seek.

What Makes These Degrees So Valuable?

Overview of the MAcc Degree

MAcc degrees build knowledge and skills in the language of business – accounting. This specialized degree focuses on developing technical competencies and also delves into the study of financial topics such as cost analysis, auditing, and taxation. Some MAcc degrees incorporate a significant data analytics component – critical in today’s data driven environment. Overall, MAcc degree programs also incorporate general business concepts related to management, ethics, and communication. Attaining the MAcc prepares professionals for positions as accountants, consultants, entrepreneurs, accounting managers, corporate controllers and even chief financial officers.

Overview of an MBA Degree

A Master of Business Administration cultivates competencies and understanding of important business principles and practices. The degree has a broader focus, covering management topics including human resources, marketing, accounting, finance, and business operations. MBA degree holders are positioned to pursue general management positions such as project managers, financial analysts, operations managers, and human resource managers, to name a few.

The skills mastered in MAcc and MBA programs are critical to shaping business strategy, which is why recruiters typically link the degrees to important business roles. The degrees serve as a distinguishing factor for many prospective employers who view them as a validation of advanced skills.

MAcc vs. MBA: Shared Characteristics

While the two degrees have distinctive characteristics, they also share important qualities.

  • Both degrees can prepare students for advanced roles in business.
  • Both degrees typically feature concentrations in a specific area of business. For instance, the MAcc degree program may offer a data analytics concentration. MBA students can focus their attention on an area such as public administration.
  • Both degrees can lead to well-paying, diversified career paths.
  • Both degrees develop skills that are considered fundamental to business success, including advanced leadership, analytical, critical-thinking, decision-making, and communication competencies.

Exploring the Differences That Separate the Degrees

MAcc and MBA degrees vary in the depth and breadth of their studies, and each prepares graduates in a different way.

  • An MBA degree focuses on general business skills, while the MAcc concentrates on advanced accounting skills.
  • A MACC curriculum will normally meet the educational requirements to sit for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) examination, while an MBA curriculum usually will not.
  • MAcc graduates tend to pursue careers related to accounting or finance, while MBA graduates typically pursue a broader range of careers.

For those who find themselves most interested in accounting and financial careers, Ohio University offers an Online Master of Accountancy program that provides opportunities for students with and without accounting or business backgrounds. The curriculum guides students in a close examination of financial, accounting, statistics, organizational behavior, and economics concepts. Students take an in-depth look at advanced auditing, forensic accounting, and several areas of taxation. Courses also cover the identification and resolution of ethical issues in accounting.

The program culminates by providing students the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned to solving a real-world accounting or business problem. Students may also select a data analytics track in which they explore descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics. Overall, Ohio University’s comprehensive curriculum can help students deepen the skills to confidently pursue an advanced career.

Learn More About an Online MAcc from Ohio University

MAcc vs. MBA degrees offer different opportunities, but professionals who feel a calling for accounting, finance, and economics would do well to consider earning a Master of Accountancy degree. Discover how Ohio University’s Online Master of Accountancy program can help cultivate the expertise to achieve your professional goals.

Recommended Reading

Accounting Jobs That Put People in High Income Tax Brackets

Advanced Accounting Careers: How to Become a CPA

Why Learn Accounting Online?


Investopedia, Should I Go To Grad School After College?

Graduate Management Admission Council, “Corporate Recruiters Survey 2019”

Market Business News, MBA -Definition and Meaning

PayScale, Master of Accounting (MAcc) Degree

PayScale, Master of Business Administration (MBA) Degree

ThoughtCo, Meeting MBA Work Experience Requirements

U.S. News & World Report, “4 Key Career Benefits From MBA Programs”