Masters in accounting worth it if you have your CPA? Is an MBA a better choice? - Page 2

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    Lots of great insight!

    If someone paid for my MBA I'm sure I would enjoy the experience (if it was a challenging program). I would be pretty bored with a masters in tax or general accounting, but that's me. Some people love accounting or need the MS to get 150 credit hours to pass the exam and start their careers.

    I have $750/mo in student loans already, so earning additional certifications to compliment my CPA might be a cheaper way to distinguish myself for now. I loved the university environment and wish I went to law school!


    That's a good point. If you're already paying $750 a month in student loans than I'd be very hesitant to add more to that. That's more than my mortgage. If you can get the company you work for cover the costs than it makes a lot more sense.

    In my case I might a decision to go back for my Masters. I'm a bit older than the average person on this board who is fresh out of college and looking to knock out the CPA right away. I'll turn 40 next year. So my undergraduate loans were significantly less than what they would have been today and they've long since been paid off.

    When I was let go from my last company I figured that a Masters was an investment in myself and I knocked it out very quickly. It led me to my Federal Government job where, as I posted above, there is a heavy emphasis on education. In my case the starting wages of someone with a Masters degree is 20K a year higher than someone without. And that gap only increases because advancement is much more difficult for someone without a Masters (not impossible but much more difficult).

    My Masters program was also a great foundation for the CPA exam. Reviewing for the CPA exam truly was review for me. There were very few subjects that I didn't already have a firm foundation already from my Masters. The only notable gap was Government Accounting on FAR since I didn't take that as an elective.

    Besides I needed the 150 education hours for my license.

    But blanket statements that a Masters is a waste of time annoy me. In some cases it might not be worth it but there are plenty of situations where it's extremely beneficial.

    One last thought: An old manager who I was talking to made the point that the Masters is more and more necessary for management level positions because it's becoming more common for others to obtain. When you have a situation where people with a Masters degree are working under a supervisor / manager who does not have one than there are a lot of instances where those workers resent the situation since they feel they might be more qualified than the manager due to their advanced degree.

    Anyway I'm done rambling now.


    I got my MTAX from a top program. I was on scholarship though so it was cheaper for me to do MTAX than pay for 30 more hours to double major to get my 150 hours.

    For me, the MTAX put me at a significant advantage over other tax professionals in the firm with MACCs or people with no masters. I was head and shoulders better at research where other consultants were clueless and lost in research. My MTAX program was heavy law based. It was 70/30 LLMs to CPAs in the program. My partners also did recognize my MTAX many times as well. So even though I wasn't compensated any better (yay big 4) than others for getting a specialized masters I do feel like partners gave me opportunities because of it over others. From a technical standpoint I was much more ready for technical issues over people who just had one or two general tax classes from a MACC or double major.

    My MTAX went deep into gift and estate, corporate reorganization, property transactions, partnership (2 full classes), Corp tax (3 classes), research and writing, individual tax, tax accounting and more.

    Plus I use my books and materials to this day for quick reference stuff. For a tax pro the MTAX definitely helps and is worth it. I would think the difference between and accounting/finance major and MACC is marginal for the average audit or accountant.


    I was planning on doing cornell's one year mba since it would recognize my cpa and cfa for course credit, but I realized how much my opportunity cost of 1 year would be (about $115k since I live in nyc), and that cornell has a grade disclosure policy (Dartmouth and a few others have non grade disclosure)…also I already have a master in accounting. Factor in tuition and cost of living, it's probably a $250k swing, which is ridiculous.


    DO NOT TAKE THE MS in accounting!! it is a waste of time especially after getting your CPA already… I am doing my masters in accounting but luckily half of my courses are electives and chose other disciplines like finance… GO for an MBA in finance (not even MBA in accounting)


    I think it depends on where you work.

    The CPA is the top certification you can get. Next up is not a certification, but rather experience and knowledge.


    I found out that the masters program which I am interested in offers in-state tuition for all applicants. Its the one year online Masters in Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination from West Virginia University. The coursework is different enough from my undergrad accounting studies and unique enough to hold my interest. I am going to apply and plan on enrolling unless something changes or I find a better program.

    Does anyone have any experience working with West Virginia graduates? I had a professor at college who had a PhD from WVU who seemed pretty sharp. TThe WVU school of business offers PhD programs in business, including a PhD in Forensic Accounting. From my research, masters programs are of better quality when the school also offers a PhD in the same subject.

    I would really like to take an LLM but from my research you need a JD for almost all LLM programs except those in tax. Does anyone have any knowledge of the usefulness of a Masters in Law/Juris Masters?


    The MBA is a resume-fattening degree. What you learn in MBA school pales in comparison to the connections you make and having those 3 letters on your resume. I've got an MBA from a good school and it has helped. As others have said, it depends on what you want to do. I've worked in corporate finance for 15 years and an MBA coupled with a CPA is a great combination. In fact, I would say the CPA is more valuable, which is why I decided at age 47 to sit for the exam…..


    passed FAR, REG; BEC next


    I read through this entire post because I was exploring getting my MBA. I'm surprised by the responses because of the feedback I've gotten from recruiters. I passed the CPA, but that hasn't seemed to mattered for most of the employers/recruiters I have talked to. They think it's great, but I always get questioned why I don't have a masters degree. They act as if you have to have both. While I'm no longer need a job, I wonder how my career will be impacted by not having both, especially since I've gotten such a negative feedback from those recruiters. After all, ALL jobs are temporary, even if it's just you staying with your current company. I guess I worry about what will set me apart (on paper) from other candidates. I love learning, so I wouldn't get it solely as a resume filler.


    More often than not an MBA will benefit you moreso than a masters in accounting, if you decide to branch out from the accounting industry. If MBA is the route you decide to take, strive for a 700 on the GMAT because anyone can get a sub par MBA these days IMO.

    AUD - 75
    BEC - 80
    FAR - 75
    REG - 78
    It can be done!

    I have a MBA in HR. I passed the PHR, but didn't get it because no one wanted to place me in that role, but I'm a CPA Candidate, and I stock shelves at Wal-Mart. Focus on your CPA! Get it done! People may take you more serious when they have no other choice. 🙂

    AUD - 69
    BEC - 75
    FAR - 76
    REG - 61
    "The hardest thing to understand in the world in the income tax." - Albert Einstein

    I got my MS Accounting because my school offered a 3+2 program where I graduated with my master's degree in 5 years.

    To be honest, I don't know if it has helped too much. I have always gotten a job pretty quickly, but in terms of pay my friends who just have a BS make about the same as I do and have no trouble finding jobs either. I think the job market for accounting where I live has always been pretty good though.

    The only way it has helped is that my state went from requiring 120 credits to requiring 150 for the CPA as of 7/1//15 so all my classmates that graduated with just their BS are back in school or thinking about going back to school if they want their CPA.

    On another note, all of the accounting managers,controllers, and CFOS at the three jobs I've had since I graduated have their MBA or MS and CPA, so I think that says something 🙂

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