Earning an MBA to Increase Salary Potential
An MBA suits business professionals looking to increase their job opportunities and salary prospects. The advanced degree helps graduates strengthen their business skills and distinguish themselves in a tight job market. However, not all programs lead graduates to the best MBA jobs. Before enrolling in an MBA, students should consider school reputation, earning potential, and industry demand for their chosen specialization.
Our guide offers an overview of MBAs and career potential. Read on for information on professional specializations, salary levels, and the best jobs for MBA grads.
Frequently Asked Questions About MBA Programs for Job Placement
Q. Will an MBA Increase My Salary?
While an MBA does not guarantee higher pay, graduates generally earn more than bachelor’s degree-holders. Fortune reports MBA graduates earning a median annual salary of $115,000, 75% more than bachelor’s degree-holders. MBA-holders can expect to earn $29,000 more annually than undergraduate business majors.
Q. Does an MBA Increase Job Prospects?
Earning an MBA builds the knowledge and professional connections necessary for better jobs. Concentrating in a high-demand field may lead to the best jobs for MBA grads. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects medical and health services manager positions to grow 32% from 2019-2029.
Q. What Type of MBA is in Demand?
While all MBA types can increase professional prospects, considering the current job market can bring better results. The Graduate Management Admission Council reports that companies want MBA-holders with knowledge in consulting, finance and accounting, healthcare, and information technology.
What to Consider When Choosing an MBA Program for Job Placement
When researching MBA programs, consider the job potential after graduation. What type of skills does a program build? Do these skills apply to your career goals? Most programs develop hard and soft skills, training students in specific concentrations and business in general. An MBA increases general job prospects, but students may find fewer career opportunities for less popular specializations. Research and consider the level of industry demand for each MBA concentration.
Learners should consider the potential for advancement at their current company or a new organization. An MBA may help individuals advance or move into a new field entirely.
Job Outlook After Your MBA
- School Accreditation and Reputation
When considering an MBA program, make sure the school holds proper accreditation. Accreditation assesses and regulates colleges, ensuring they offer quality education. Regulation comes in two major forms: national and regional. Reputable MBA programs hold regional accreditation from one of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation‘s six regional accreditation agencies.
Individual business programs may also hold programmatic accreditation. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs evaluate U.S. business schools. Schools with accreditation from either organization offer quality business education.
- Earning Potential
Students commonly pursue an MBA to improve career prospects and increase salary. The National Association of Colleges and Employers projects a $75,460 average starting salary for 2021 MBA graduates. MBA-holders often take upper-level management positions. The top paying jobs for MBA graduates can reach six-figure salaries.
The BLS reports high salary levels for many top management positions. Financial managers earn a median annual salary of $134,180. Human resources managers earn $121,220. Top executives of all types earn a median annual salary of $107,680.
- Program Length
MBA programs offer different enrollment formats to accommodate many students. Most traditional full-time programs take two years to complete. Part-time programs take 3-6 years. Accelerated programs with heavier course loads may take just 12-16 months.
Different programs serve different learners’ needs. Working professionals balancing school and their career may benefit from a part-time program’s flexibility. Recent undergrad graduates eager to enter the workforce may choose an accelerated program. Many schools offer multiple enrollment options, letting degree-seekers choose the program that suits their needs.
- The Alumni Network
An MBA builds more than just business skills. Enrollees make valuable connections with other professionals and build a network of contacts. Many of the best jobs for MBA grads come from networking with classmates and other professionals met in MBA programs. A strong alumni network helps students make connections and find job opportunities after graduation.
When researching an MBA program, try to evaluate its alumni network. How many alumni does the program mention? Are alumni employed in top positions at major companies? Have alumni found success in different industries? The larger and more robust a program’s alumni network, the better a student’s chances of benefitting from it.
Top In-Demand MBAs
Business graduates pursue many of the best MBA jobs in various professional fields. Different concentrations prepare students for different careers, but MBA skills transfer well to many positions. This section highlights some of the most in-demand MBA concentrations.
Entrepreneurship focuses on strategies for developing new business ventures and revamping existing businesses. Graduates often start their own businesses or work as consultants and innovation specialists for companies. Many MBA programs offer concentrations in entrepreneurship online. Programs focus on leadership, risk assessment, and innovation management.
Entrepreneurship graduates pursue careers as management analysts and consultants. These professionals earn a median annual salary of $87,660.
A finance concentration focuses on strategies to help organizations increase profits and maintain financial health. Finance professionals develop investment strategies, analyze financial markets, and evaluate financial risk factors. Courses include managerial finance, portfolio management, and market analytics. Degree-seekers can often complete a finance concentration online.
Finance graduates commonly pursue careers as financial managers. They earn a median annual salary of $134,180.
An MBA in information technology applies business and management principles to computing practices. Programs prepare learners to manage an organization’s technology use. Courses cover information systems, network security, and analytics for business intelligence. Due to the computer-related nature, many schools offer information technology programs online. Graduates pursue careers as computer and information systems managers and earn a median annual salary of $151,150.
A management concentration emphasizes the administrative and organizational skills necessary to lead businesses. Students gain a broad understanding of business practices and management techniques. Courses cover leadership theories, team building, organizational development, and group dynamics. Many MBA programs offer management concentrations online.
Management graduates pursue jobs as sales managers. They earn a median annual salary of $132,290. MBA-holders also work as training and development managers and earn a median annual salary of $115,640.
A marketing concentration focuses on helping companies reach consumers and build awareness of their products and services. Courses focus on consumer behavior, advertising and promotion, digital marketing, and market research. MBA programs commonly offer marketing specializations online.
Marketing graduates pursue careers as advertising, promotions, and marketing managers. These professionals earn a median annual salary of $141,490.
MBA Job Placement Services
MBA-holders use various online tools to find jobs after graduation. This list highlights four of the best MBA job placement resources available online.
One of the largest online job databases, Monster connects graduates to some of the best MBA jobs. The site also offers salary tools and career advice resources.
One of the world's largest job listing websites, Indeed boasts an average of 10 new jobs added every second. The site provides listings for jobs in all industries and at most experience levels.
Scouted approaches recruitment holistically. The site matches candidates to opportunities based on personality attributes, education, and experience. Scouted works well for younger graduates seeking their first full-time job.
Glassdoor features thousands of job listings, but the site's reputation rests on its company reviews. Users can research potential employers and read real employees' accounts of company culture, salary levels, and benefits.
Resources for MBA Students
Many websites offer additional resources for MBA students, such as networking, career coaching, and continuing education. These sites can also help users identify the top jobs for MBA grads.
Both a social network and a job site, LinkedIn lets people connect with peers and job recruiters. The site also features business articles and other informational resources.
Reaching Out serves LGBTQ+ students in MBA programs. The organization offers networking opportunities, mentorships, conferences, and other events. Members can connect to the best jobs for MBA grads in the LGBTQ+ community.
Business Professionals of America
Serving over 45,000 members across 25 U.S. states, BPA offers significant resources for students. Members benefit from awards and scholarships, business contests, national conferences, and other networking opportunities.
American Business Women's Association
Empowering female business leaders through education, ABWA hosts chapters nationwide. The organization offers conferences, continuing education opportunities, and member discounts on professional services.