Job Outlook After Your MBA

Once the diploma is in hand, keep an eye out for the following potential career paths, salaries and job growth for related occupations.

October 14, 2021

Job Outlook After Your MBA

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The Ultimate Guide to Career Options with an MBA

Earning an MBA can open doors to employment opportunities in nearly every sector, from finance to logistics. Yet, landing a job after graduation is not a foregone conclusion. Before completing their program, students should be sure to align their academic curriculum to their future career interests. The following guide discusses career paths for MBAs, includes an interview with a recent MBA graduate who secured employment, and offers resume tips to help maximize the chances of landing a job upon graduation.

Salary During MBA vs Life After MBA

We Surveyed 383 MBA Students about the cost of their degree and life after their MBA. Here's what we discovered about annual income before and after graduation.

53 students indicated a salary over $100,000 during their MBA 150 students indicated a current salary over $100,000
Annual IncomeDuring MBACurrent SalaryIncome Change
$20,000 to $34,9991113118%
$35,000 to $49,999232296%
$50,000 to $74,9994076190%
$75,000 to $99,9994480182%
Less than $20,0003267%
Over $100,00053150283%
(Did not answer)1690-
Grand Total343343-

Editor's Note: In conducting our 2021 survey, 169 students declined to respond to question twelve, "What was your household income while completing your MBA?." If a participant was uncomfortable with sharing personal information, or preferred not to answer, they were able to skip the question. We acknowledge that the lack of responses will skew our survey results.

MBA Concentrations to Career Map

Flexibility is one of the major benefits of the Master of Business Administration degree. The broad business curriculum, coupled with specializations in areas such as entrepreneurship, marketing, or finance, allow students to develop skill sets applicable across industries. Once the diploma is in hand, keep an eye out for the following potential career paths, salaries and job growth for related occupations.

ConcentrationCareerMedian Salary Job Growth
1. Economics Senior Financial Analyst $75,18412%
Economist$95,7106%
2.EntrepreneurshipChief Executive $173,3206%
Marketing Director$96,7209%
3. Environmental ManagementArchitectural Engineering Manager$130,6202%
Environmental Program Manager$120,0507%
4.ExecutivePostsecondary Education administrator$88,3909%
5. Health CareHealth Information Systems Manager$113,51014%
Hospital Administrator$92,81017%
6. Human ResourcesHuman Resource Manager$102,7809%
Compensation Manager$108,0706%
7. Information TechnologyInformation Systems Manager$127,6409%
Information Security Analyst$88,89018%
8. International BusinessInternational Marketing Manger$67,02012%
Transportation Manger$85,40012%
9. MarketingMarketing Manager$127,1309%
Market Research Analyst$61,29019%
10. Master of Business AdministrationDirector of Staff Development$101,9307%
Personal Finance Advisor$81,06030%
11.Project ManagementAdministrative Services Manager$83,7908%
Management Analyst$80,88014%
12. Public AdministrationInternational Affairs Director$104,920NA
Director of Operations$83,7908%
13. TechComputer Systems Analyst$82,71021%
Management information Systems Director$127,64015%

Start Early: A Timeline for MBA Success

First Semester Come prepared. Many MBA departments provide resume guidelines on the school’s website to help students revise existing CVs according to a set template. Arrive to campus with your current resume ready to be reviewed by a career counselor. Get focused. Professors often invite speakers from varied industries to speak in class during the first semester, allowing students to explore potential paths and narrow their areas of interest. Use these lectures – and your own research – to think through how goals and interests align to career options. Ask lots of questions about the ins and outs of different roles and sectors. Resume, round two. After receiving feedback on the initial resume, take those notes and make changes before resubmitting the file to the career department. Some MBA programs produce books containing resumes of current students that are made available to companies looking to hire MBA students. It’s vital for students to meet the deadline for these publications, so start early. Network, network, network. Recruiters begin visiting campus around October, with networking events extending until the end of the first semester. Students should use these opportunities wisely and meet as many current staff and recruiters as possible. Even if a company doesn’t sound interesting at first, it’s worth discussing available roles and company culture with visiting organizations.
Second Semester Apply. After researching companies and meeting recruiters, it’s time to hit the ground running. Many internships require individualization beyond sending a cover letter and resume. Work closely with a career counselor to create applications that will grab a recruiter’s attention. Put it on the line. Interviews for internships can take place between the beginning and end of the semester, depending on the company. Those that visited campus often conduct interviews at the school, while any companies found outside school networking events may require an off-campus interview. Use this time to showcase skills and present a clear vision for the future.
Third Semester Don’t panic. Not everyone finds a job by their third semester in an MBA program. If you’re one of them, try not to worry. There are plenty of resources available to help you find the right job. Social Networking. Many employers post jobs on social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. In addition, experts suggest making announcements on the appropriate website to let your key contacts know you’re searching. Be specific in your request, “I’m looking for a financial analyst position” instead of “I’m looking for a finance position.” Direct Networking. Don’t be shy about reaching out to friends, colleagues or former classmates to see if they know about open positions. If they don’t, they may be able to refer you to their contacts who might.
Fourth Semester Consider the options. Jobs at large companies are great. However, if those companies are done hiring, plenty of other options are still available. Entry-Level Positions. When undergraduates go straight into an MBA program without gaining professional experience, it can be difficult to land a high level position in a company. Entry level positions offer hands-on experience with the opportunity for growth. This doesn’t mean working as a receptionist. Examples of entry-level MBA positions include financial analysts, actuaries, and pharmaceutical representatives. Government Jobs. All government agencies need people with a management background, especially administration, budgeting, finance and accounting. Look at jobs with the local, state, and federal governments.

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An MBA Resume Checklist: 10 Tips

The most successful resume, says Walker, are easy to read, concise and descriptive. “Recruiters,” he notes, “generally scan resumes for 30 seconds, look at positions, companies, and education—and then finally dig deeper into your most recent position.” The ten tips below can be used to craft a compelling case to recruiters and hiring managers that your MBA and professional experience make you a competitive candidate.

TipReason
#1: Keep it to One PageRecruiters and employers may review hundreds of applications for a position and typically don’t have time to navigate through multiple-page resumes.
#2: Use Whitespace to Your AdvantageDon’t clutter the resume with too much information. Whitespace can be used to increase the readability of a resume.
#3: Use Hierarchies and FormattingUsing subheads and bullets, along with formatting (bold and underlined), presents information clearly, cleanly, and succinctly.
#4: List Accomplishments, Not DutiesTo stand out, candidates should demonstrate how their professional experience benefited their previous employers. This information is used to determine the potential success of the candidate in the new position.
#5: Demonstrate your WorthThe resume should be tailored to the role and responsibilities of the job posting. Throughout the resume, candidates should focus on showing how their job skills relate to the position they are seeking.
#6: Use Strong Action VerbsStrong, compelling language can catch the recruiter’s or hiring manager’s attention. Translate success into action.
#7: Use Numbers Whenever PossibleWhen discussing accomplishments or successes, qualify those successes with percentages or dollar amounts when possible.
#8: Write a Specific Job ObjectiveCandidates often include a vague objective, such as “Seeking a challenging, yet rewarding position that offers personal and professional growth opportunities.” Instead, focus on writing an objective that combines the needs of the employer with what you’re seeking.
#9: Reveal Your CharacterUse the “Interests” section of your resume to briefly show the hiring manager who you are outside of the workplace.
#10: Start the "Education" Section with Your Highest DegreeDon’t leave the MBA at the bottom of your education section. If not completed, include the date you will receive it—and if relevant—indicate any noteworthy coursework that is related to the job posting.

The Perfect Fit: Finding the Right Company

Although it may be tempting to jump at the first job opportunity presenting itself, it’s also important to remember how much time will be spent at work. Before accepting any position – no matter how great it sounds – consider the questions below to ensure the role is matched to specific personal and professional needs.

Is the company known for being innovative and taking smart risks? Does the executive team have a reputation for being on the forefront of new ideas and industry advancement? Do leaders within the company make themselves available to new hires and provide mentorship opportunities? Does the organization have a good public relations system to celebrate accomplishments of their employees? Do you prefer to be in an urban or rural area? How important is it to be close to friends, family or a significant other? When picturing your first place after competing an MBA, is it a 500-square foot Midtown apartment or a house with a yard? How do you want to spend your time after work? Is it hiking in nature or attending museum openings? Do you want to be a big fish in a little pond or a little fish in a big pond? How important is it to have access to decision makers within the company? Do you prefer the energy of a start-up atmosphere or the security of a stable venture? Will it be possible to make valuable contributions in a company of this size and is that important? What are your values, and are the values of this company in line with those? Does the company encourage employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance? Do other employees seem happy and motivated by the company culture? Is the work environment conducive to how you work best?

Standing Out: Impressing MBA Recruiters

As the old adage goes, you’ve got one chance to make a first impression. Recruiters interview countless qualified candidates during the hiring season, making it imperative to stand out – in a good way. Use the following list to make a favorable and lasting impression in the interview chair.

Get Connected: Networking Resources

One of the most important components of success when it comes to landing a job is who you know. Networking is vitally important for students, but while still in school and after they graduate. The following associations provide opportunities to meet leaders in the field.

Alumni Associations

Career Fairs

Location-Focused

Professional

Finance

Marketing

International Business

Operations Management

Leadership

Strategy

Entrepreneurship

MBA Graduate Talks Jobs, Transferable Skills, Advice: Interview with Ryan Walker

Ryan Walker

Employer MBA Program
Location Babson College in Masschusetts
In this interview, we talk with Ryan Walker, a recent graduate from the full-time MBA program at Babson College in Massachusetts. Mr. Walker shares his job search experience after graduation, what skills were transferable to his new job, and his advice for recent MBA graduates.
What was your job search like after finishing your MBA program?

It's not a ticket to a career change, as it is presented to many who consider a full-time program. I found that employers still care more about your previous experience, the MBA alone won't get you into a new career. I had three offers and a fourth on the way before graduation, but have for the most part stayed in my previous industry.

How have you benefited from earning an MBA?

The biggest difference is that I jumped up a few levels and am responsible for growing a new practice—a responsibility that probably would have been much harder to justify without an MBA. It also made a difference in pay as it more than doubled my salary pre- vs. post-MBA.

What did you learn in your MBA program or what courses were transferable to real-life situations in the workplace?

Although courses weren't entirely transferrable, the business strategy is very useful. Babson's small business focus also successfully teaches you to think about problems in a different light.

What advice do you have for a current MBA student to help them prepare for their post-education transition into the workplace?

Place a lot of thought into what you want to get out of it and go in with a plan The people that benefited the most knew exactly why there were there and what they needed to get out of it. They took the classes and participated in the clubs that brought them to their end goal. The people that just wanted to do something different and take two years off are in many cases still looking for a job.

Survey Methodology

All data was collected between 6/14/21 and 7/3/21. Respondents were fielded by Lucid LLC. All 343 respondents in the study were screened by multiple quality checks, including systems like Relevant ID, and responses were manually reviewed to ensure consistency and accuracy. Survey participants include 169 currently enrolled MBA students and 174 graduates from MBA programs within the past 6 years. Respondents are between 21 and 78 years of age and identified as 45% Female, 54% Male, and 1% non-binary.

Student testimonials have generally been obtained with the offer of compensation for completion of a survey (e.g., entrance into a gift card drawing). Such testimonials are the opinions of such students and surveys are designed to avoid influencing such testimonials either positively or negatively. All student respondents were supplied by Lucid LLC.

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