Getting your Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree opens the door to many management-level career opportunities, an extensive network of other business professionals, and some of the highest salaries in the job market. This article will explore some of the best career options you can seek with an MBA degree.
An MBA degree is a competitive higher-education program for students who want a satisfying, high-paying career in a business setting. The core courses in this type of degree program are packed with essential learning so students can prepare to take on leadership roles in business. Getting your MBA is a strategic step for students who want a fulfilling and lucrative career.
Entry-level investment bankers start their careers by supporting senior-level bankers in nurturing and closing deals. They build presentations, handle administrative tasks, and are known to work more than 40 hours a week as they grow their careers. These workers need to earn a bachelor’s degree before starting their investment banking career. Associates and director-level bankers, for example, focus on building and nurturing profitable relationships and closing deals. Some of their responsibilities include:
- Developing financial models to value debt and equity for mergers and acquisitions.
- Giving recommendations for product developments and private equity transactions.
- Preparing and reviewing materials used in the finances of clients such as management presentations and pitchbooks.
- Generating relationships with new clients and nurturing existing relationships to grow the business.
- Performing research, analysis, and documentation of transactions.
- Creating presentations for clients.
Investment bankers’ annual pay is based on two components: salary and bonuses. An analyst, which is an entry-level position, can expect to earn an average salary of $85,000–$100,000, but they’re also eligible for bonuses ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 a year on top of their high salary. Associates and director-level bankers salaries and bonuses are significantly higher, so MBA students who are looking for a very high-paying career should consider this track.
Accounting offers a high-paying career, a lifetime of job security, and fast placement post-graduation. For these compelling reasons, this career path is another smart way to use an MBA degree. There are many different types of accountants, but the main function of this role across the board is to manage and interpret financial records. Accountants work for individual clients, small businesses, and corporations to cover a wide range of financial tasks. Some of the most common tasks include:
- Maintaining accurate financial documents and ensuring their employer is compliant with industry laws and regulations.
- Preparing and interpreting company financial reports.
- Properly creating tax returns and submitting them on time.
- Assessing financial activities to align with best practices.
- Identifying problems in a company’s finances and recommending solutions.
- Strategizing ways to reduce costs and maximize profits.
- Forecasting potential financial risks.
Accountants earn $81,660 a year on average. Management-level accountants can earn mid-to-high six figures, so there is significant room for salary growth in this profession.
Financial analysts help individuals and corporations make investment decisions by creating financial plans, projects, and analytical reports. If you’re interested in pursuing this career, you must hold an MBA or related master’s degree. Common responsibilities in this profession include:
- Creating financial plans.
- Tracking an organization’s performance against the financial plan.
- Analyzing business performance and market conditions.
- Creating financial forecasts.
- Helping senior management make strategic business decisions.
- Providing financial reports.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a median salary of $83,660 for financial analysts.
Human resources managers plan, coordinate, and oversee the administrative processes and staffing of an organization. These professionals must hold at least a bachelor’s degree to have success in their career, though, like many other careers in business, those who seek an MBA are better equipped and more likely to get this type of job. The daily responsibilities of an HR manager include:
- Overseeing the recruiting, interviewing, and hiring of a company’s employees.
- Coordinating a company’s staff to best leverage their talents and skills.
- Creating a workplace environment conducive to job satisfaction, safety, and overall success of the organization.
- Planning and implementing employee benefit programs.
- Acting as a consultant on human resources issues, including equal employment and sexual harassment.
- Coordinating the work of contractors and specialists.
- Overseeing any staffing issues that arise, including performance improvement plans and disciplinary procedures.
The BLS reports a median salary of $121,220 per year for human resources managers. In addition to an attractive salary, human resources managers can look forward to 9% job growth from 2020 to 2030, which is higher than average.
Business operations managers help companies run smoothly and profitably by providing guidance and support to all departments in an organization. This is a great career to pursue because it’s an essential role in any for-profit or nonprofit business, large or small, in virtually every industry. You need to hold a bachelor’s degree in business administration or a related field such as accounting or economics to pursue this career. Those who have earned an MBA may be able to move into a business operations manager role right out of school. Job duties of business operations managers include:
- Providing support in keeping business systems running properly.
- Helping an organization’s departments meet predetermined quality standards.
- Maximizing the efficiency of processes.
- Assisting in establishing product or service KPIs and quality standards.
- Forecasting potential issues of daily business operations.
- Creating processes that help move a business towards its goals.
- Monitoring financial data to ensure profitability.
- Working collaboratively with the human resources department to make sure hiring aligns with company goals.
Business operations managers make a median salary of $ 103,650, as reported by the BLS. This career has a wide salary range, with the bottom 10% of professionals earning $45,850 a year and the top 25% earning $ 161,190. There is ample room for salary growth in this field as well as the potential to earn more depending on your geographical location.
Business intelligence analysts compile and analyze financial data to make predictions and strategic recommendations to the senior management of an organization. These professionals must hold a bachelor’s degree in statistics, business administration, or another related field. Many business intelligence analysts seek an MBA to expand their career options. Some of their job responsibilities include:
- Gathering and analyzing industry data.
- Assessing competitors’ products and services.
- Using business intelligence data to optimize experience of customers and identify potential customers.
- Identifying opportunities for new product development.
- Using business intelligence data and industry trends to give recommendations to senior management.
- Compiling company financial data for review by executives and stakeholders.
Business intelligence analysts make $85,690 a year on average, according to recent data from Glassdoor.
Budget analysts monitor a company’s spending and create budget reports to help them create profitable financial plans for the future. Holding a bachelor’s degree in business administration or a related field is required to work as a business analyst. Those that seek an MBA will be at a decisive advantage with many potential employers. The job duties of this type of business professional include:
- Assessing the effectiveness of budget proposals.
- Helping develop budgets for projects.
- Determining value through cost-benefit analyses.
- Examining funding requests.
- Ensuring budget proposals are compliant with regulations.
- Collaborating with management to form budget recommendations and developing a final agreement.
- Making sure company spending aligns with the budget.
- Forecasting future financial needs.
The BLS reports a median annual pay of $78,970 for budget analysts.
Sales managers lead a team of salespeople using effective strategy and techniques to drive new and existing customers to the company. Usually, sales managers are required to hold a bachelor’s degree, while some employers require only a high school diploma. The more education you seek in business, the more success you’re likely to have in this role. Sales managers’ responsibilities include:
- Overseeing the company’s sales operations.
- Meeting or exceeding sales KPIs set by senior management.
- Collaborating with the demand generation department to generate qualified leads.
- Creating and motivating a high-performing sales team.
- Innovating sales strategies to drive more high-value sales.
- Setting accurate new customer expectations.
Sales managers can expect to earn around $132,290 a year based on the median salary for this profession recently reported by the BLS.
Information technology (IT) managers use cutting edge technology to shape strategy and generate value for a company. To work as an IT manager, professionals must earn a bachelor’s in business administration or a degree in a related field such as information technology, computer science, or management information systems. The daily work of an IT manager consists of:
- Overseeing IT staff.
- Managing a company’s computer systems and IT strategy.
- Evaluating electronic data operations.
- Running frequent checks on the company’s cybersecurity.
- Constantly improving and updating software and computer systems.
- Building and reporting on system updates and plans with senior-level staff.
The BLS reports a median salary of $151,150 for IT managers. Job outlook for this career is also positive, with projected growth of 11% from 2020 to 2030.
Business consultants provide expert business advice in a specialized area to senior-level management of a company. These professionals often work as independent contractors rather than internal employees and are qualified to give strategic recommendations on areas spanning security, accountancy, human resources, marketing, engineering, digital transformation, exit planning, and more. The minimum education requirement for business consultants is a bachelor’s degree, but those who hold an MBA have the potential to earn a lot more earlier in their careers. Some responsibilities of this profession include:
- Organizing and providing recommendations on business projects on behalf of clients.
- Meeting with clients and reporting on performance updates of various situations.
- Understanding needs of clients and researching information to best serve clients.
- Analyzing data to forecast potential problems and present solutions.
- Creating strategies and solutions to help clients reach their goals.
- Collaborating with clients to design effective business plans.
- Providing advice when problems or discrepancies arise.
Payscale reports an average salary of $76,371 for business consultants.
Product managers are responsible for developing the products that a company sells. They own the functionality and strategy of a product and ensure that it meets customer needs. To work at a managerial level, product managers need a bachelor’s degree and years of experience or an MBA. Product managers’ responsibilities include:
- Defining the scope and objectives of product-related projects.
- Managing resources effectively and efficiently.
- Determining a budget that covers the scope of company projects.
- Tracking costs to ensure they align with the budget.
- Overseeing project schedules and work plans.
- Providing updates and progress reports to senior management.
- Utilizing industry best practices in product development and public release.
- Monitoring progress of the product team and making adjustments as needed.
Glassdoor estimates that product managers make $113,446 per year on average.
Policy analysts are public workers who examine political systems and assess the impacts of present and future laws on individuals and communities. Generally, these analysts must hold a minimum of a master’s degree to work in this area. The job description of a policy analyst includes tasks such as:
- Evaluating existing policies using specialized knowledge.
- Deciding if policies are meeting predetermined goals.
- Collaborating with stakeholders to ensure policies include all essential factors.
- Defining benefits and potential disadvantages of political frameworks.
- Ensuring that policies meet legal requirements.
- Proposing new policies or amendments to current policies.
- Documenting policy processes and reporting information to stakeholders.
The average salary for a policy analyst is $77,745 per year according to a report by Indeed.
Marketing managers are responsible for overseeing all of a business’s marketing programs. They monitor market demand and lead a team of marketers to communicate with and influence customers through many multimedia channels. Those seeking a career as a marketing manager should hold at least a bachelor’s degree, but those who hold an MBA will advance quicker in their careers. Marketing managers’ job duties include:
- Determining marketability of a company’s product or service.
- Leveraging creative communication skills to influence customers through channels including social media, television, billboards, newspapers, magazines, and more.
- Creating and adhering to marketing plans, complete with goals and projected outcomes.
- Creating and adhering to marketing budgets.
- Developing an expert understanding of company target audiences and marketing to them accordingly.
- Handling a company’s public image and solving related issues when they arise.
Salary.com reports a median salary of $109,831 for marketing managers. Depending on experience and geographical location, salaries in this profession can range from $82,000 to $147,000.
Chief financial officers (CFO) are senior-level businesspeople who oversee all financial operations of a company, including planning, management, reporting, and risk analysis. While you may only need a bachelor’s degree in business, accounting, or finance to hold this position within a company, it’s likely that it will take you years of experience within a company or field before securing such a senior-level title—but that process will be accelerated with an MBA. CFOs daily responsibilities include:
- Owning and managing an entire company's financial planning.
- Practicing risk management by weighing the company’s liabilities and investments.
- Driving the financial strategy of the business.
- Deciding on profitable or strategic investment strategies.
According to recent data from Salary.com, the median salary for CFOs is $411,400 a year. The top tier of CFOs earn upwards of $629,764, making this an incredibly lucrative career.
Chief executive officers, or CEOs, are the top executives who lead the development and overall long-term strategy of a company. These businesspeople hold at least a bachelor’s degree, but this isn’t a role you can slide into right after graduation. You’ll also need ample management experience to rise to this level, and earning an MBA will assist you in this process. CEOs are known to wear many hats, but their most common responsibilities include:
- Acting as the face of a company and communicating to shareholders, government bodies, and the public.
- Creating and leading a company’s short and long-term strategies.
- Determining and upholding a company’s mission and business goals.
- Keeping their finger on the pulse of important market trends, expansion opportunities, and industry news.
- Maintaining high social responsibility with business dealings.
Salary.com reports a CEO median salary of $786,256. Top CEOs earn upwards of $1,219,686 a year, making this one of the highest-paying careers in business.
In addition to numerous high-paying career options, there are many benefits to earning an MBA degree from WGU.
Many of the aforementioned MBA jobs can be held by professionals with just a bachelor’s degree. However, when you work as a professional in these roles, an MBA will essentially guarantee you a higher starting salary and greatly expands your future income potential. In fact, the National Association of Colleges and Employers Salary Survey of the Class of 2019 predicted that MBA holders would earn $27,000 more than people with business-related bachelor's degrees in 2019.
Earning your MBA essentially replaces years of experience in the field with less than two years of education. An MBA earns you accelerated career growth so you can pursue your professional aspirations at the rate you want. Getting an MBA also gives you more opportunity to switch careers as you please. Not to mention, you’ll earn more money quicker.
WGU’s MBA program instructors are some of the most experienced, connected, and talented instructors in the business field. This means that along with an education and degree, you’ll enter a network of connections that will help you make important relationships and secure future jobs.
The MBA degree program at WGU will equip you with all the in-demand skills huge corporations are looking for. Some WGU grads have secured positions at impressive institutions such as Goldman Sachs, Google, MGM, Microsoft, Apple and more.
WGU's competency-based model allows you to move through the coursework as fast as you want. Once you prove mastery of the material, you move on to the next course. That means you have the flexibility to earn your degree on your terms. You don't have to leave your job to pursue business school or adhere to set log-in times or class times. Many students complete this MBA program in just 12 months for only $9,350.
Ready to start a successful career in business? Learn more about the MBA program from WGU and apply today.