Is a Masters in Nonprofit Leadership and Management worth the money?

Discussion in 'Business and MBA degrees' started by Maple1214, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. Maple1214

    Maple1214 New Member

    Hello! I didn't know where else to post this question on the forum and figured this was somewhat related to this group.

    I was admitted to USC's Masters in Nonprofit Leadership and Management (MNML) program. The degree is similar to a MPA but specifically focuses on nonprofits.

    I received a partial scholarship (50%), so I will need to pay $30K out of pocket. I would like to know if anyone has gotten this degree or even a MPA and if it is worth the cost.

    Did you experience greater career mobility?
    What kinds of jobs did you get after graduation?
    Did you find there were practical applications to the curriculum when you went out into the workforce?
    What was the average increase in pay (if any) post graduation?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2017
  2. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    Often times when people ask about grad degrees we ask them about their goals, ROI, etc. Typically people see themselves at a point in their career where they feel the need for a degree in order to advance up the ladder or reach other goals. Not knowing your specific situation makes it difficult to answer your questions. It sounds like you applied for this degree program without really doing the preliminary research to assure yourself that it would actually help you. The best I can do is to point out that research indicates that obtaining a grad degree results in increased salary. Whether that increase is sufficient to warrant your expense, time, energy, opportunity costs, etc. One way to start is to look at open positions that you'd like to be in. Check out the salaries, the job descriptions, etc. Go on some informational interviews at companies you might like to work for. Ask your questions there. Look at the specific courses you would take at this school. What skills will you learn? Is it what you want? Speak to alumni of the program. What has been their experience post-graduation? You can also take some time ans scroll through the past several months of post here at degreeinfo. Your question, and other similar questions, have been asked and answered many times in the past. In short, you've got some homework to do.
  3. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    Is it a taxpayer supported public university? A price tag of 60k for that kind of a Masters degree is unusually steep. Extraordinarily high tuition rates are usually associated with private colleges and universities that are not funded with public money. Is it a public university? A 60k ROI seems questionable and a 30k ROI isn't much better.
  4. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    He said USC, which in this case means the University of Southern California, which is an upscale private university.

    I agree that $30K is an awful lot for something like this, and that $60K is madness.
  5. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    USC's expensive, that's always been the knock on it versus UCLA. Same metro, similar prestige, similar rankings, but a definite price point difference because the latter's state funded. My much younger half brother went there for his biz degree and it practically broke the family bank. But he got a job in IB and is now in his 20s making more than me, the old timer with all the experience. So although there may be options out there that are less expensive, USC does have a reputation that enhances the resume. $30K isn't crazy for an SC masters, but in that field, any amount is crazy if it's just a vanity degree and won't directly advance your career.
  6. Maple1214

    Maple1214 New Member

    Thank you for all your responses. Just to give a little more background, I already have a doctorate degree in education, but decided not to go into academia. My ultimate goal is a leadership position at an education non-profit, and perhaps to start my own down the line.

    Given my background, will the MPA help me get to a managerial/executive position faster? Or will my current lack of experience in the non-profit field still require me to work my way up anyway regardless of the MPA degree?

    I have looked up managerial/executive job postings in the non-profit field, and they seem to prioritize experience over a degree, is this what you conclude too?
  7. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    Those are tough questions. However, since you already have a doctorate, you may want to pursue an 18 credit graduate certificate in non-profit management:
    Online Graduate Program in Nonprofit Management | American Public University

    If you really want the full MPA, then here are more less expensive online options in non-profit management:
    The 20 Best Online Master of Public Administration (MPA) Degree Programs | The Best Schools
  8. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    That's true in most fields, especially when it comes to management. There's just no substitute for experience.

    Given that you're already "overeducated", I don't think an MPA is going to do as much for you as doing a lot of networking would -- Meetup groups, alumni events for the schools you've already attended, etc.

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