With more b-school students entering MBA programs, selecting the right career path becomes important for current MBAs and alumni. With more MBAs entering the workforce, pursuing the right field can ensure your career progression
While an undergraduate BA might get you started, many companies want someone with an MBA, especially in certain industries.
Here are five jobs where an MBA can make you more attractive to employers:
1. IT Manager
IT managers oversee a company’s computer systems. That can mean ensuring computer systems meet a company’s needs, upgrading technology, and keeping the system secure. It also frequently includes managing IT personnel.
Many companies require IT managers to have a master’s degree, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Companies want managers with IT experience, sometimes in a lower-level management position. MBAs have the management experience to lead an IT team, with the skills to deal with executives.
The median salary for IT managers is $115,800, according to the BLS. For IT managers at companies doing systems design, that can jump to a staggering $123,500.
The BLS expects job growth to be 18% through to 2020. MBA graduates who stay ahead of the latest technological innovations will have an improved chance of employment.
2. Financial Manager
Finance is a great match for MBAs because it is a field that closely aligns with graduate education. Financial managers oversee a company’s financial condition, preparing or reviewing financial reports, analysing trends, and advising the top management personnel on finances and profits.
Many companies want financial managers with an MBA, as these candidates tend to have the analytical abilities and software knowledge required to do the job. Experience in finance industry will naturally help.
The median salary for a financial manager is $109,740, according to the BLS. The need for financial managers should grow by 9%, with MBA grads expected to have the best prospects.
For MBA jobs in consulting, check out:
3. Financial Advisor
Another finance-job that seeks out MBA graduates is that of financial advisor. Financial advisors provide investment, retirement, tax and insurance guidance for clients, including financial goals or investment strategies. This option is especially tempting for those who want to be their own boss, as 25% are self-employed, according to the BLS.
An MBA could help financial advisors attract clients. For those who are not self-employed, an MBA can make it easier to move into a management role.
The median salary for financial advisors is $67,520. Those working for financial service firms may also earn bonuses. The bureau expects the need for financial advisors to increase by 32% between now and 2020.
4. HR Manager
Increasing demands on human resources departments drives the need for skilled HR managers. This position directs administrative action for an entire company and works on recruiting and hiring for an organization.
Experience and an MBA can open advancement into this position, as HR managers work closely with executives and participate in strategic planning. Advancing to HR manager means a median salary of $99,720.
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5. Management Analyst
Management analysts recommend improvements to companies on costs, personnel, finances, alternate practices or work on solving specific problems. Around 23% are self-employed.
The BLS reports that 28% of management analysts have an MBA, and many companies prefer the graduate degree. Employers also prefer workers with experience in HR, IT, or management.
The median salary is $78,600 and the BLS forecasts job growth of 22%. Applicants with a graduate degree have the best prospects.
The disciplines and knowledge you gain from an MBA strongly increases your chances to enter any of these fields and unlocks the path for advancement, especially when coupled with a few years of experience. If you are looking for MBA jobs, these five industries are a good place to start.
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Beth Briggs, assistant dean for career services at NYU Stern, says: “Companies across sectors increasingly understand the value MBAs can bring to their organizations in data analytics roles. These roles are a way for MBAs to combine their quantitative and research skills with their deep business understanding to develop innovative data-driven solutions.
Stern has MBAs in data analytics roles at companies such as Tesla, Altice, the NFL, and IBM, to cite a few. Technology as an industry is the third largest employer of graduating full-time Stern MBAs.
Jean Ann Schulte, director of employer relations and recruiting services at MIT Sloan, agrees: “We are seeing demand for business analytics across all industries. The titles vary: director of marketing analytics; data scientist; director of reporting and analytics. These are all actual jobs posted with us that seek an MBA for the role.”
Lisa Umenyiora, director of the careers service at Imperial College Business School, says: “The top emerging job for MBAs graduating from Imperial is in the financial technology sector. With a push for real-time payments, increased automation and blockchain, fintech is an area of major growth and raised $60B globally in 2017.
“This year, 14% of our students (11 out of a cohort of 78) are working on fintech-related projects or internships as part of their MBA program. They have been working with companies including Nutmeg (digital wealth management), Flow Financial (fintech startup), Atlas City Finance (focusing on Blockchain), and Filigree (fintech startup).
“Fintech companies are increasingly looking to recruit experienced hires with cross-business skills. There are many small startups in this field where MBA graduates can apply the skills and knowledge acquired during their studies to enhance all facets of the business. Our MBAs are involved in a variety of work from developing business cases or market entry and pricing strategy to customer propositions and prototyping. They focus on areas such as crypto-currencies, global regulation and compliance, and open banking.”
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Wendy Pearson, careers consultant at Durham University Business School says: “IT professionals are deep specialists, experts in their field and often respected go-to problem solvers. IT has also become vital to the growth of companies operating in an increasingly digital world, which has led to greater opportunities for IT professionals to pursue business leadership and management roles, and to have a greater say in how a company can harness new technologies to innovate.
“An MBA gives the chance for IT professionals to gain an understanding all aspects of the business and of how they work together, as well as the effect of external factors facing organisations. This can help with making strategic decisions. MBAs with strong professional development programs also offer opportunities to develop leadership capabilities including self-awareness and personal presence which can help new leaders to be more effective in organisations. The Durham MBA also includes a technology pathway where students enhance their knowledge of business analytics techniques and gain a critical insight into technological innovation.”
Next Read: Which Companies Hire The Most MBAs?
This article was originally written by Ta'Rikah Jones, a contributor to US News & World Report. This article was first published in October 2013 and updated in January 2020.