Business Administration

What Kind Of Job Can An MBA Graduate Get?

What Kind Of Job Can An MBA Graduate Get?
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Nedda Gilbert profile
Nedda Gilbert September 24, 2018

There are many personal and professional rewards to getting an MBA. The degree can establish your credibility and give you an edge. It can open doors to new career pathways. It can give you access to jobs and networks that might otherwise be unavailable.

MBA/Business Programs You Should Consider

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Most business school students pursue an MBA with the expectation that it will lead to increased career opportunities and big financial rewards. And the degree continues to be a good investment for some individuals. For many, it will put them on the fast track and accelerate their career. Industry demand continues to be particularly strong in operations, technology and marketing, and healthcare is also emerging as a new and hot field for MBAs.

But business school is not just a destination for those looking to jump-start their careers. The MBA is a versatile credential that can help graduates switch to entirely new roles, professions, or industries. In fact, switching careers is one of the most commonly reported reasons for pursuing the degree.

For most MBA hopefuls, business school represents an exciting new beginning – either a move up in their current profession, or a big step towards an entirely different industry. Whatever promise the degree holds for you, it can position you for a substantive, responsible position right out of school.

What Can You Do with an MBA? How the Employment Landscape Has Changed

Across every industry, newly minted MBAs continue to be awash in great job offers. But this return on investment will hinge on many factors: the name brand and prestige of your school, your engagement with activities and leadership roles as a student, your summer internships, and most importantly, the profession you are entering. Those with strong technology and data analysis skills do particularly well, for example, regardless of the prestige or ranking of their school.

Who is doing the hiring? A wide range of employers. Mainstream corporations and Wall Street continue to hire their share of MBAs. Management consulting is also a common destination. Unsurprisingly, the technology sector is now a dominant goal for recent grads who are pursuing positions in the Silicon Valley area. And these days, many healthcare organizations are seeking MBAs as well.

Other popular destinations for newly minted MBAs include products and services and entrepreneurship, with new grads pursuing everything from positions in start-ups to their own one-of-a-kind companies.

MBAs have broad applicability in a wide range of industries. Graduates can work in almost any setting, and in almost any sector, from real estate, to healthcare, to entertainment, to not-for-profit, to tech, to hedge funds. Although students often specialize in a particular area to build their expertise, an MBA will give them the tools they need to enter a variety of fields.

Here are some of most common career paths for MBAS:

  • Marketing: Involves promoting products and services to potential customers, understanding market needs and trends, developing marketing strategies, and overseeing their execution. Careers in marketing may include roles such as brand manager, marketing director, or digital marketing specialist, where professionals work to enhance brand awareness, drive sales, and engage with customers.
  • Investment Banking/Finance: Focuses on helping companies, governments, and other entities manage financial assets, raise capital, and make strategic financial decisions. Careers in this path can include investment banking analyst, financial advisor, or portfolio manager roles, involving tasks such as managing investments, advising on mergers and acquisitions, and developing financial models.
  • Operations: Concentrates on the efficient production and delivery of goods and services. This career path includes roles such as operations manager, supply chain manager, or logistics coordinator, where professionals work to optimize operational processes, manage supply chains, and ensure product quality and timely delivery.
  • Management Consulting: Involves advising businesses on how to improve their performance, solve complex problems, and implement best practices. Management consultants analyze business challenges, propose solutions, and help with the implementation of changes. This career can span a variety of industries and functional areas.
  • Technology: MBA graduates with a technology focus can lead and manage technology-driven companies or tech departments within traditional companies. Roles may include product manager, IT director, or technology consultant, focusing on developing tech strategies, overseeing the development and deployment of technology solutions, and ensuring technology aligns with business goals.
  • Entrepreneurship: Entails starting and running one’s own business or startup. MBA graduates with an entrepreneurial focus learn about business planning, raising capital, marketing, and operations, equipping them to launch and manage successful ventures in a wide range of industries.

Some of the most common positions MBAs are hired for include:

  • High-End Management Consultant: Advises senior management of large corporations on strategic decisions, operational efficiencies, and major project implementations. They work with top-tier firms to solve complex problems and drive significant transformations.
  • Asset Fund Manager: Oversees investment portfolios on behalf of individuals or institutions, making decisions about buying and selling assets like stocks, bonds, and real estate to achieve financial goals and manage risk.
  • Investment Banker: Works with corporations, governments, and other entities to raise capital through the issuance of stocks and bonds, advises on mergers and acquisitions, and provides strategic financial advice.
  • Hedge Fund Manager: Manages a hedge fund, making investment decisions to achieve high returns for investors through a variety of strategies, including long and short positions, leveraging, and derivatives trading.
  • Information Technology Director: Leads the IT department within an organization, overseeing the development and implementation of information technology strategies to support business objectives, managing IT resources, and ensuring technology systems are efficient and secure.
  • Marketing Director: Responsible for guiding the marketing strategy of an organization, including brand management, market research, advertising, and digital marketing efforts to drive sales and enhance brand awareness.
  • Business Operations Manager: Oversees the day-to-day operations of a company, ensuring that systems, resources, and people are in place to achieve business goals, improve performance, and maximize efficiency.
  • Health Service Director: Manages operations within a healthcare setting, such as a hospital or clinic, focusing on improving the quality of care, managing budgets, and ensuring compliance with healthcare regulations.
  • Sales Manager: Leads a sales team, developing sales strategies, setting sales targets, and coaching salespeople to drive revenue growth. They also analyze sales data to identify trends and opportunities.
  • Computer and Information Systems Manager: Plans, coordinates, and directs all computer-related activities within an organization. They help determine IT goals and implement computer systems to meet those objectives.
  • Operations Research Analyst: Uses mathematical and analytical methods to help organizations investigate complex issues, identify and solve problems, and make better decisions to optimize operational efficiency.
  • Strategy Consultant: Provides strategic advice to companies on business models, growth opportunities, competitive landscape, and operational strategies to improve overall performance and gain a competitive edge.
  • Product/Brand Manager: Responsible for the strategy, roadmap, and feature definition of a product or product line. They also work on branding, marketing, and customer engagement to ensure the success and profitability of the product.
  • Financial Analyst: Assesses financial data and market trends to make investment recommendations, create financial models, and help companies make informed financial decisions, including how to optimize investments and manage costs.

“Should I Get A MBA?”

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Popularity of the MBA

The popularity of the MBA is known to wax and wane, largely based on the ups and down of the economy. When times are booming, fewer employees leave secure and lucrative jobs for the unknowns of a business school education.

During times of economic downturn and layoffs, however, many individuals head to business school. Their strategy is to ride out the storm and reenter the workforce two years later, into a rebounding economy with a powerful degree.

Has the MBA Lost Some of its Luster?

Some industry pundits feel that for those who are already established or more advanced in their positions – particularly those in the technology sector – an MBA offers less value. However, many degree holders earn an MBA in order to enter positions in companies that are off the beaten path, or in more unconventional industries. The bottom line? This degree is versatile and positions you to build the career you want.

The decision to go to business school is a personal one, and the rewards go beyond those found in a paycheck. Many students say the best part about going to business school is the connection they make with their classmates. It’s invaluable to meet others with whom you share common goals, and who may even become future business partners or collaborators With so many ambitious and talented individuals in one place, the single greatest resource at business school might be your fellow students.

(Updated on March 26, 2024)

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About the Author

Ms. Nedda Gilbert is a seasoned clinical social worker, author, and educational consultant with 25 years of experience helping college-bound and graduate students find their ideal schools. She is a prolific author, including The Princeton Review Guide to the Best Business Schools and Essays that Made a Difference. Ms. Gilbert has been a guest writer for Forbes and a sought-after keynote speaker on college admissions. Previously, she played a crucial role at the Princeton Review Test Preparation Company and was Chairman of the Board of Graduate Philadelphia. Ms. Gilbert holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University and is a certified interdisciplinary collaborative family law professional in New Jersey.

About the Editor

Tom Meltzer spent over 20 years writing and teaching for The Princeton Review, where he was lead author of the company's popular guide to colleges, before joining Noodle.

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