MA=Master of Arts
MFA = Master of Fine Arts
I know, it doesn't tell you anything.
Here in Romania we only have one such program that we call "Master", it's a vertical program you find only at film and theatre universities. By vertical, I mean such specialization might prove to be of great interest for let's say...the students in management and business schools. I know for me it would have made a lot of difference back on my time as a student at an Economic faculty where my only options were Accounting and ...you guessed, Accounting.
I am part of the generation who attended the 5-year day courses, so practically the present-days MA was integrated into the standard package. According to today's (lack-of-practical) standards in education, I have a BA in Economics, a MA in Accounting, and an ongoing MFA in Film Production. I also have an Oxford Certificat for English as a foreign language made in the UK plus an English Language Certificate issued by the Romanian Ministry of Education, but what the hell...it doesn't matter anymore because the only two certificates that matter today are TOEFL (made in the USA) and IELTS (made in the UK).
However, after not-loving-at-all Accounting, my business entrepreneurial life obliged me to do a lot of it, and I discovered that if you don't know Accounting, you have few to zero chances to perform well in a management position, much less in an executive producer chair. Numbers are everything and Accounting is all about numbers. Who spends or steals how much on what, why, and when. You can simply see until the blade of grass each movement of the money through accounting.
As a producer, you work with budgets and tones of numbers, it's less technical than Accounting is, but if you master also that, you will be unbeatable. However, if you know Accounting, you must know that the Accountant job is the best-paid job after the Line Producer when we discuss the BTL jobs (below the line) and the good news is you don't even have to know more than Bookkeeping which is much less than Accounting as expertise, plus that you can learn it in a much shorter training course.
This year I applied to a scholarship in the United States for a preparatory year before my Film Production Ph.D. as I have my X-Films (Brand Art Film) investigations to do and while looking for universities to choose from for my application, I kept bumping into MA and MFA choices, having no clue which one I am doing here.
To keep it short: the MA is a shorter intensive program (one academic year), while the MFA is a more in-depth and intensive 2-year program. In my case, I am doing the MFA program.
Depending on the country of your origins and the film industry dynamics in your region, choosing one over the other may make the difference in your career path as a producer, but know how to choose, you should crystalize very well your goals, your point B.
In Romania we don't have an industry, we have more like a domain or a field, so the MA is helpful for me in the scenario of making a Ph.D. next (that will also allow teaching to students), to emigrate in a country where it matters or to open a business in the film zone with more chances of thriving and surviving given my other skills and my cross-industry knowledge.
For more insights from the American market in this regard, I found this article on The New York Film Academy, Student Resources that is a good starting point in helping you better understand and make a choice.
I leave you also this TOP of the best film schools in the world, so you access them and read about the difference between their MA and MFA programs, you may be amazed at how different they approach film.
If you can share what type of program you chose (MA or MFA), how much did/does it cost and how did it change your life, that would be great!