14 of the Highest-Paid MBA Majors (With Descriptions)

Updated June 24, 2022

High-paying jobs in the business industry typically require advanced education. People who choose to pursue an MBA with a specialization may have a high earning potential when they enter the workforce. If you're a business professional with an interest in increasing your salary, you may consider earning an MBA with a focus on a particular area. In this article, we define what an MBA is, discuss why you might choose to earn one and provide a list of 14 high-paying MBA majors.

What is an MBA?

An MBA, or a Master of Business Administration, is a graduate degree concentrated on teaching tangible business, management and leadership skills that apply to various careers. They generally take between one and two years to complete. Universities around the world offer a vast range of specialized MBA programs.

An MBA is a popular degree that provides foundational knowledge about business and applies to a wide variety of students with different interests. Because business principles have the potential to improve operations and leadership in several industries, this degree has many applications. For example, many students focus on finance or business administration, while others may pursue information technology and health care administration.

Related: How To Get an MBA: Step-by-Step Guide

Why get an MBA?

It's important to consider the benefits of earning an advanced degree, especially because higher education requires time, effort and money. Aside from the fact that some business sectors may require it, here are some reasons to consider earning an MBA:

  • Provides tangible, applicable skills

  • Increases your earning potential in some cases

  • Helps you gain advanced knowledge that directly applies to your field

  • Provides opportunities to explore new sectors of business

  • Expands your professional network

  • Provides a clearer career path

Related: FAQ: How Will an MBA Help My Career?

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14 high-paying MBA majors

MBA students who choose to specialize in a certain topic may have a competitive advantage in the job market. A specialization or emphasis helps graduates learn specific skills related to their desired careers. Here's a list of 14 high-paying MBA majors, including careers to consider pursuing with each degree:

1. Business analytics

With a business analytics focus, MBA students develop the ability to make analytical business decisions based on data. They learn how to collect, manage and interpret data to make informed choices about the future of a company or organization. These students have the skills to make inferences and practice forecasting in order to prepare a business for the future. Some careers you might pursue with this degree include:

  • Management analyst: $85,547 per year

  • Business analytics manager: $99,571 per year

  • Chief executive officer: $114,830 per year

Related: Jobs for MBA Graduates: What Can I Do With My MBA?

2. Information technology

Students pursuing a degree in information technology (IT) learn how to combine business management skills with extensive industry knowledge. This degree combines IT software management with the management of people. The curriculum often includes data security, telecommunications and project management. Common careers for people with an IT MBA include:

  • Senior project manager: $104,597 per year

  • IT director: $112,450 per year

  • Vice president of IT: $168,047 per year

3. Real estate

This degree prepares students to enter the field of real estate with knowledge of finance, investment, asset management and acquisitions as they relate specifically to real estate. These topics equip students to buy, sell and manage properties or lead a team of people in this industry. There are a few typical careers for people with this degree, including:

  • Real estate development manager: $68,965 per year

  • Real estate agent: $92,557 per year

Related: 35 MBA Interview Questions

4. Economics

Choosing economics as a focus develops a strong knowledge of theoretical economic concepts that apply to real-world businesses. Because the topic of economics is relatively broad, students have a variety of specific skills and courses that relate to economic principles. Economics MBA students typically learn about market trends, how to conduct research and data analysis or how to have an awareness about the private and public market. This degree leads to careers such as:

  • Financial manager: $96,417 per year

  • Finance director: $97,224 per year

5. Corporate strategy or entrepreneurship

With a focus on corporate strategy, students learn how to start, manage and lead businesses through challenging circumstances. These students develop the competencies to make large-scale decisions for the betterment of the company by learning how to update current business practices or lead the company toward a positive trajectory. Through understanding the logic of the marketplace, corporate strategy and entrepreneurship, MBA graduates have careers such as:

  • Management consultant: $79,142 per year

  • Senior product manager: $130,344 per year

6. Finance

Finance MBA students take classes that focus on account and financial management, pricing, financial planning and risk management. These subjects develop strong leadership and data analysis skills that help graduates work to achieve specific financial goals and objectives. Whether working for individual clients or a corporation, these graduates assist others in the process of increasing their financial health through the management and preparation of finances. Careers include:

  • Senior financial analyst: $85,941 per year

  • Chief financial officer: $128,137 per year

7. Innovation management

Students in an innovation management MBA program learn how to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a business to create new ideas for operation and management. These students learn the intricacies of different sectors of the market in order to implement creative new ideas into a company. Coursework typically combines theoretical knowledge with principles of business design to foster creative and innovative thinking. People with this degree pursue careers such as:

  • Senior business consultant: $86,491 per year

  • Senior operations manager: $113,633 per year

8. Investment management

An MBA in investment management equips students to apply theories, practices and strategies of investment to the management of client's finances, assets and portfolios. By learning how to analyze and understand how the market works, graduates of this program have a more in-depth understanding of market trends and portfolio management. Typical careers for this degree include:

  • Senior accountant: $73,084 per year

  • Investment analyst: $75,824 per year

  • Portfolio manager: $84,642 per year

9. International business

An MBA in international business prepares students to conduct business or trade on a global scale. While this degree comprises general business and management principles and courses, programs typically have a diverse or multicultural setting to prepare students for international work. Some programs highlight the importance of learning and studying abroad and provide opportunities for students to travel and work in international locations. Careers in this field include:

  • Marketing and sales director: $73,960 per year

  • Government affairs director: $91,076 per year

  • Risk manager: $98,073 per year

10. Marketing

With an MBA in marketing, students receive a multidisciplinary education focused on sales and marketing. Courses may cover topics such as market research, product knowledge, consumer trends, leadership and management. This degree may equip students to engage in a dynamic and fast-paced business environment, working to promote, advertise or advocate for products and services. Graduates with this degree may pursue careers such as:

  • Marketing manager: $63,904 per year

  • Marketing director: $80,663 per year

  • Vice president of marketing: $143,438 per year

11. Project management

An MBA in project management focuses on leading and managing projects by understanding the functions, principles and priorities of the field. Students learn to analyze data and other relevant information to make holistic, effective decisions. Their courses might focus on resources, strategic planning or business operations. Careers in project management include:

  • Regional manager: $73,677 per year

  • Director of operations: $87,161 per year

12. Health care administration

When students pursue an MBA in health care administration, they earn a broad business degree that helps them become inventive leaders in the health care industry. Rather than providing care to patients, these graduates manage other aspects of health care, such as billing patients, negotiating with insurance companies, staffing the clinic or hospital and implementing successful business operations. With this degree, consider pursuing careers like:

  • Hospital administrator: $71,787 per year

  • Medical policy analyst: $82,379 per year

13. Sustainability

An MBA in sustainability, known as a "green MBA," focuses on combining theories of successful business practices with sustainability and ethical practices. These students generally have a passion to implement sustainable business procedures. They may also have a focus on reducing a specific environmental issue. People who earn this degree may have careers such as:

  • Director of environmental services: $68,424 per year

  • Director of manufacturing: $126,754 per year

14. Public administration

An MBA in public administration, or an MPA, teaches typical MBA material within the scope of policy, government or political analysis. The focus of these programs is to create leaders with knowledge of both business practices and social issues. Graduates with this degree have a goal of improving the overall quality of public service and leadership. Careers in this field include:

  • Urban and regional planner: $68,828 per year

  • Economist: $107,244 per year

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