MBA Careers

Earning an MBA can give you a serious leg up in a tough business job market. Read on to learn about what careers you'll be qualified for with a master's in business administration degree!

What Can You Do With an MBA?

MBA degree graduates are a high-demand hire for all types of organizations including corporations, non-profits, government agencies, and companies in the healthcare industry. In fact, GMAC's 2017 Corporate Recruiters Survey Report found that globally, 86% of companies planned to hire recent MBA graduates. This is up 7% from 2016. The number of start-ups looking to hire MBA grads is also very impressive with 3 out of 4 companies stating that they planned to hire an MBA grad in 2017.

So, the demand for job candidates with an MBA is there, but what career options are available to you? MBA graduates can explore many different career paths depending on their area of specialization and general interests. Generally speaking, your chosen MBA concentration will help you focus your career search to options that fit within that specialty. Your career path will also depend on the experience you have prior to and during your MBA degree experience.

MBA Career Options

As you're exploring potential careers, keep in mind that one major perk of earning an MBA is that you can work in several different industries, so there are several career options available to you. Here, we'll discuss a few careers available to MBA grads. Keep in mind that jobs available to you will depend on the specialization you chose as well as any professional experience you bring to the table.

Investment Banker

  • Median Salary: $93,231**
  • Job Outlook: 6%*

The primary role of investment bankers is to advise their clients on financial decisions and strategies and raise capital for businesses. They are a vital component of helping businesses go public. Careers in investment banking are competitive and, once employed, professionals can expect to work long hours.

Computer and Information Systems Manager

  • Median Salary: $139,220*
  • Job Outlook: 12%*

These professionals make hardware and software decisions for a company. Computer and information systems managers are responsible for identifying new technologies to enhance business operations, designing and implementing new technology plans, troubleshooting problems, and providing tech support.

Health Services Manager

  • Median Salary: $98,350*
  • Job Outlook: 20%*

These professionals are important due to the ever-changing healthcare landscape. Health service managers oversee facilities, departments, or other areas of healthcare practices. They are in charge of ensuring that the healthcare services provided are high quality, efficient, and compliant with regulations and laws.

Financial Manager

  • Median Salary: $125,080*
  • Job Outlook: 19%*

Often employed by insurance, healthcare, and banking organizations, financial managers are in charge of developing financial strategies, analyzing financial data, and compiling reports. They also evaluate a company's financial activities and manage the cash-flow.

Marketing Manger

  • Median Salary: $132,230*
  • Job Outlook: 10%*

Marketing managers evaluate demand and markets to sell a product or service. These professionals work with sales and PR teams to develop a pricing and marketing strategy that not only satisfies customers but makes money for the business.

Entry-Level MBA Jobs

Getting a job after graduating with an MBA degree is like any other job search - competitive. To get your foot in the door, there are some entry-level career options to consider that will earn you valuable professional experience to catapult your career.

Business Analyst

  • Median Salary: $82,450*
  • Job Outlook: 14%*

Business analysts, also known as business consultants, are responsible for evaluating and strategizing new ways to improve finances, structure, and efficiencies of an organization. They develop technical solutions to problems and communicate those solutions to leadership.

Financial Analyst

  • Median Salary: $84,300*
  • Job Outlook: 11%*

Financial analysts help individuals and companies make investment decisions. They need to stay informed on market trends and performance as their responsibilities include creating investment portfolios and making short- and long-term investment decisions. These professionals can work for insurance companies, banks, securities firms, or in mutual funds, and most jobs require students to be a Certified Financial Analyst (CFA).

Accountant

  • Median Salary: $69,350*
  • Job Outlook: 10%*

General accountants prepare financial documents such as monetary reports, tax filings, financial records, balance sheets, and income statements. They may also assess financial operations of individuals and businesses and make recommendations on fund management. Aspiring accountants are encouraged to take and pass the CPA exam to become a certified public accountant.

Market Research Analyst

  • Median Salary: $63,230*
  • Job Outlook: 23%*

Professionals in this field are responsible for observing and analyzing market trends to gain understanding of the consumer market. Market research analysts also use competitor activities and client needs to advise companies on actions to take in order to make a profit.

MBA Salary

An obvious benefit of going for an MBA degree is to increase your earning potential. The good news is, this is realistic for many MBA graduates. GMAC's Corporate Recruiters Survey Report from 2017 notes that although salaries for MBA grads will vary by industry, the projected starting median salary will be $110,000. As a direct comparison, the starting MBA median salary is 83% higher than the starting median salary for those who only have a bachelor's degree.

The report also found that one quarter of employers are willing to pay a higher salary for someone who attended a specialized MBA program. Furthermore, additional perks like a signing bonus, great health benefits, retirement savings plans, and tuition reimbursement are offered by most employers hiring MBA grads.

Highest Paying Jobs for MBA Graduates

Top-level executive careers will earn you the biggest paycheck, and a lot of the professionals holding executive job titles have earned an MBA. However, there are also some other management and leadership positions that are not executive level that also have a very high salary. Keep in mind that salaries will vary depending on location and industry.

Career Median Salary MBA Specialization
Chief Executive Officer $165,238** General Business or Management
Chief Technology Officer $153,972** Information Technology
Marketing Manager $129,380* Strategy or Marketing
Chief Financial Officer $127,848** Finance
Sales Manager $121,060* Marketing
Strategy Manager $99,054** Strategy
Investment Fund Manager $92,233** Finance

Source: *bls.gov, **payscale.com

MBA Career Paths

As you start exploring MBA schools to apply to, it's important to consider your desired career path since the specialization and electives you choose in your degree program have a big impact on the trajectory of your career. Whether you want to go into sales/marketing, IT, consulting, business operations, or finance, be sure to research careers that interest you. This will help you make informed decisions as you consider your future MBA program and specializations.

You should also explore industries you'd like to work in. MBA grads bring business acumen and expertise to the table. These skills are applicable in a variety of industries so don't limit yourself to just exploring one industry. As you start looking into careers you'll see that many industries including tech, non-profits, government, large corporations, family-owned businesses, and start-ups all need employees with MBA degrees.