By Charlene Lattea, WVU Online
Thinking of earning your MBA? We break down high-paying jobs for MBA graduates across various business industries and how you can earn your MBA online.
Career Outlook for MBA Graduates
Not too long ago, MBA programs were mostly for students interested in finance and accounting who planned to enter careers in banking.
Today, however, MBAs are going into many different fields, as the professional landscape changes and new opportunities become available. Also, most business schools now offer areas of specialization to help students who would like to concentrate in a field where they can expand their skills even more.
But, with tuition costs rising, is it worth it to pursue an advanced degree like an MBA?
What the experts say:
According to Alicia Plemmons, coordinator of WVU Online’s MBA program, the degree provides students with the ideal environment to build professional skills that are needed for top job placements.
"The WVU Online MBA program is ideal for students who want to take that next step in their career at their current company or move into a new industry," she says. "Our program focuses on teaching students cutting-edge skills in data analytics while building experience in leadership and team management."
"A large proportion of our students who choose to stay with their current employer report promotions and being chosen for new responsibilities, while students searching for new opportunities have gone into many exciting types of careers from accounting to human resources, and banking to logistics."
MBAs Now Work In A Variety of Industries
One of the main attractions of an MBA degree is that it is a very flexible degree that provides a lot of opportunities.
Your earning potential with the degree depends on the industry you enter, its location, and your own personal experience.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that graduates who go into "C-suite" jobs, such as chief executive officer (CEO), financial manager, marketing manager, and chief technology officer, are among the highest-paid workers in the United States, making salaries in the six figures.
The median annual wage for chief executives was $179,520 in May 2021.
Finance is still an area where many MBA graduates begin their career. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), financial manager positions are expected to grow by 17 percent through 2031, which is much faster than growth for the average occupation. The median wage for this career is approximately $131,710 (as of May 2021).
MBAs have moved into other fields due to the changes in the economy, but also because our culture has changed and Millennials, in particular, desire to have a better work-life balance.
For example, technology jobs have evolved to be much more laid-back, with employees wearing casual clothing instead of three-piece suits and working different hours under less stressful working conditions.
This "Silicon Valley" culture is spreading throughout the world. Technology is also one of the highest-paying careers for MBAs, offering salaries of $100,000 a year or more and strong job growth.
Many of today’s MBAs go into the consumer products industry, where they also have a better work-life balance and where they can expand their creativity through team collaboration.
These jobs may pay somewhat less, but workers have a high degree of job satisfaction.
The same is true for MBAs in the healthcare field, including healthcare services, insurance, hospital administration, and finance, among other specializations.
These jobs also have a less stressful workload, less travel, and exceptional worker satisfaction.
The demand for digital marketers has skyrocketed during the past 10 years and employers are willing to pay a substantial premium for MBAs with marketing and management skills, including expertise in research, business strategy, product innovation, sales, content strategy, social media, and advertising and promotions.
The median pay for marketing managers was $135,030 in 2021 and overall employment in this field is expected to grow 10 percent by 2031.
Working in the relatively new field of data analytics is another popular area. Most people don’t know that 90 percent of all the data in the world was created in just the past few years.
For this reason, many MBA graduates are finding careers in the data analytics field as business intelligence analysts, data and analytics managers, and business systems analysts.
MBA Career Paths and Salaries
The MBA is an excellent choice for those who would like to advance in their careers, or for someone looking for a new and different career altogether.
The in-depth education about business management and administration you gain with this degree prepares you to be a leader in today’s global society.
While job titles vary from company to company, here are some common examples of positions MBA graduates fill, from entry- to executive level.
1. Financial Manager
Financial managers monitor a company's budget and decide where to financially invest.
They plan, direct, or coordinate accounting, investing, banking, insurance, securities, and other financial activities of a branch, office or department. Median salary: $131,710.
2. Marketing Manager
Marketing managers coordinate marketing policies and programs, such as determining the demand for products and services offered by a firm and its competitors.
They evaluate research to determine customer demand and pricing strategies and plan marketing programs that encourage new purchases. Median Salary: $135,030.
3. Computer and Information Systems Manager
Computer and Information Systems Managers act as the head of technology for an organization, planning, directing, and coordinating activities in fields such as electronic data processing, information systems, systems analysis, and computer programming.
They conduct research into new technologies and recommend strategies to the chief executive officer. Median salary: $159,010.
4. Business Intelligence Analyst
Business intelligence analysts decipher raw data to analyze business and market trends to determine how the business is performing, how it can improve, and where it can lower costs.
They produce financial and market intelligence by querying data repositories and generating reports that increase efficiency and profits. Median salary: $100,910.
5. Medical and Health Services Manager
Medical and health services managers run various types of healthcare facilities. They oversee non-clinical functions, manage staff, create long-term plans, and coordinate services. Median salary: $101,340.
6. Chief Executive Officer
Chief executive officers are the head of a company and establish the strategies that dictate how the business will operate, within the guidelines set up by a board of directors or similar governing body.
They set goals, implement policies, make major corporate decisions, and manage overall resources and business operations. Median salary: $179,520.
7. Human Resources Manager
Human resources managers coordinate the human resources activities of an organization, including the recruitment, hiring, and retention of new employees. Human Resources is a popular area of specialization today and managers work with executives to create long-term hiring plans. Median salary: $126,230.
8. General and Operations Manager
Business operations managers oversee daily operations of a company and create long-term business plans.
They assign work, track progress on projects, formulate policies, plan the use of materials and human resources, generate financial reports, and collaborate with others to create company budgets. Median salary: $97,970.
9. Project Manager
Project managers oversee the completion of one or more specific company projects, such as introducing a new product.
They analyze and coordinate the schedule, timeline, procurement, staffing and budget of a product or service, manage quality control, schedule employees, meet deadlines, order supplies and materials, and more. Median salary: $94,500.
10. Sales Manager
Sales managers find and recommend ways to improve sales procedures. They coordinate the distribution, train salespeople, and analyze sales statistics and market trends to determine sales potential and inventory requirements and to predict the needs and desires of customers and recommend the best new markets. Median salary: $127,490.
What can I do with an MBA and no experience?
With the MBA degree, you will be qualified for a wide variety of jobs in many career fields.
But what if you went into the MBA program directly from an undergraduate degree, or you are changing careers, and you have no job experience in business?
The bachelor’s degree is the standard for entry-level positions, so with an MBA you will still have an advantage over entry-level job seekers with just a bachelor’s degree.
However, if you are looking for a senior management or executive position, you’re probably not going to find that right away.
You’ll still need to have the experience and you’ll have to work your way up. The MBA is not a "fast pass" into management, but it does set you apart from other job seekers and it does set you up for success.
What kind of entry-level job can you get with an MBA? Here are some roles for MBAs with no job experience worth exploring:
Consulting. This is a great choice for many MBAs looking for an entry-level job, because they can learn about multiple industries, interact with top management, develop new skills, and network with other business professionals.
Launching a new product or service. The MBA degree prepares you well to start your own business.
Teaching, either full-time or part-time. This also gives you a way to expand your network. As you share your knowledge through mentoring another aspiring business professional, you continue to learn as well.
Internships. Consider pursuing an internship in a field where you would like to work full-time. Many students have been offered full-time jobs at the companies where they served as interns.
Earn Your MBA Online at WVU
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After reading this article, if you are unsure about your goals, or how to identify your interests and skills, be sure to reach out to one of our WVU Online admissions coaches. They are trained to help you look at your individual situation and make the right choice for your future.
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