What Career Can I Have with An MBA?

Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 1am

Career transition or progression are the main motivation for undertaking an MBA degree. Returning to school after being out in the real world for so long, most industries require the additional credential for employees to be considered for promotions. 

Unless graduates enter non-profits or make a radical change in career after achieving their MBA, the qualification almost always results in a significant increase in salary. In the United States in 2018, business schools reported MBA graduates had a pre-MBA salary of $53,000 compared to a post-MBA salary of $91,380, according to a survey of business schools conducted by the QS Intelligence Unit. In Europe, the pre-MBA salary was $46,106 with a post-MBA salary of $84,022.

Still, many people fail to recognize the versatility of the MBA degree. Once upon a time, MBA graduates were limited to careers in investment banking and consulting. However, in the last 15 years or so, the MBA has become more ubiquitous.

Nowadays, all sorts of industries are looking for those with the quantitative and leadership skills that top business schools are known for teaching. Here are some of the other career specializations which you could work in with an MBA.

Technology

Forward-thinking business leaders know technology is shaping the present and future. As a result, technology has become a popular industry for MBAs to pursue. In fact, 17.9 percent of MBA graduates work in technology in the United States, which makes it the top industry for MBAs, according to the QS Intelligence Unit.

Because advancements in technology cause constant disruption, the industry is in need of people with solid business skills, including strategy, finance, and change management. The most popular employers in this sector are Google, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook.

Opportunities also abound in smaller startups and other organizations that need leadership when it comes to managing technology. For instance, Christopher Reichert, a 2004 graduate of MIT Sloan School of Management, is the chief information officer at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Boston, Massachusetts. Learn more about his life as an MBA grad here. Reichert’s job is an example of the breadth of applications for MBAs in the technology sector. 


Investment banking and financial services

Working in finance was once the ultimate gig for MBA graduates, but it has much more competition nowadays. Investment banking refers to the part of a bank that provides underwriting to governments, corporations, and institutions.

In general, to gain promotion from the position of analyst to associate requires earning an MBA degree. Working in this field involves notoriously long, arduous hours. Even though there are lots of dues to pay, investment banking can provide a solid payout – at least when times are good. Barclays, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, and Deutsche Bank are among the popular employers.

Financial services could include private equity, corporate insurance, commercial banking, wealth management and more. MBA grads might work in the finance department of a company or for a firm that specializes in something else entirely. Truly, this knowledge could take grads anywhere. In the United States in 2018, business schools reported 15.3 percent of grads entered financial services, making it the second most popular industry after technology.


Consulting

One of the other mainstays of business schools is consulting job opportunities. Consulting firms, such as McKinsey & Company, Bain & Company, and Boston Consulting Firm, tend to hire MBAs regularly.

Most often, this job requires using quantitative, problem solving and analytical skills to help clients resolve common business issues. The starting salary tends to be on the upper end of MBA jobs too.

In the United States in 2018, 14.2 percent of MBA graduates went into consulting, making it the third most popular field. 


Entrepreneurship

For years, people have debated whether anyone can learn to be an effective entrepreneur. Business schools have taken the position that it is absolutely possible. Some of the top MBA programs, such as those at Stanford Graduate School of Business and MIT Sloan, have placed an emphasis on teaching entrepreneurship and producing graduates who could potentially change the world with their ideas.

In addition, many schools provide access to incubators, fundraising, and coursework specific to those interested in launching startups. Some schools even invest in student projects.


Healthcare management

Managing healthcare in the United States is complicated and requires astute, flexible leaders. You need to understand efficiency and cost-cutting while also being mindful of various laws governing medicine, prescribers, those doling out care or researching potential cures.

As a result, MBA programs have heard the call and are providing specialized programs for those interested in this field. People with a healthcare management MBA degree could end up managing a hospital. Sometimes, they are physicians, who use the business skills to innovate medicine.


Sustainability

Many young people are committed to saving the planet, and they would like to apply their business skills to addressing problems such as climate change. MBAs with an interest in sustainability may work in nonprofits related to topics, such as clean air or water, or they might work for a startup providing green products and services.

Some work in the alternative energy sector, while others might work in traditional, established businesses with departments focused on reducing the organization’s carbon footprint, for example. 


Marketing

Marketing is a traditional, yet dynamic industry for MBAs. Nowadays, business students need to learn how to navigate digital marketing and be able to best utilize technology to create brands and have a dialogue and personal relationship with customers.

Jennifer Apy, a graduate of Stanford Graduate School of Business, runs her own marketing business – click here to learn about a typical day on the job for her. The head of marketing at an organization might be managing blog posts, social media, public relations, media relationships, all while assessing the types of advertising and events that will have the most impact. Indeed, many are required to have the ability to analyze big data effectively.


Data analytics

The digital economy has caused a proliferation of data unimaginable by previous generations of business leaders. Now, even if MBAs do not specialize in data analytics, they must have a firm grasp on how to effectively use the available data to make more thoughtful decisions and strategies for success.

Well into the future, businesses are going to hire people who understand machine learning and can manage, organize, and analyze available data so it becomes useful. Companies need leaders who know how to use the findings to take action.


Fintech and blockchain

Another emerging field is fintech, which relates to financial products and services provided in an end-to-end process on the Internet. Imperial College Business School is among the business schools making this area of study a priority.

Blockchain, on the other hand, is a list of records maintained on the internet to keep track of financial transactions. It is used for cryptocurrency, but the concept can be applied elsewhere. Many experts anticipate blockchain technology will be a big part of the future of finance and understanding on-the-cusp technology like this will give you an edge on the competition in the future job market.


Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is in the headlines regularly with some experts believing AI will eliminate some jobs but make up for it by creating others. Business leaders who can effectively put AI to use will be in demand, as will those who can build, program, and fix AI. Business schools such as MIT Sloan are already preparing for such a future.

 

Written by Francesca Di Meglio

Francesca Di Meglio has written about higher education for two decades. She covered business schools and all aspects of management education for what became Bloomberg Businessweek from May 2004 to December 2013. Di Meglio was the consultant editor for the book Admitted: An Interactive Workbook for Getting into a Top MBA Program (85 Broads Publishing, 2011), which was written by admissions consultant Betsy Massar. In addition, she is a family travel and parenting blogger at the Italian Mamma website.

Originally posted on www.topmba.com

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