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

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published February 8, 2021

Pursuing your Master of Business Administration degree (MBA) can help you develop the advanced business skills needed to succeed in a managerial career path. Knowing what you learn during an MBA program and how you can apply it in your career can help you decide whether this educational opportunity is right for you. In this article, we explore frequently asked questions about jobs for MBA graduates.

What is an MBA?

A Master of Business Administration degree is a program where you learn business-related technical skills, managerial abilities and operational processes. You take courses and develop a working knowledge in topics like:

  • Accounting

  • Marketing

  • Economics

  • Operations and human resources

  • Logistics

  • Sales

You can also pursue a specialized MBA program where you take these courses and other supplementary ones in a specific field that relates to your professional goals, such as human resources or marketing.

You can earn an MBA in a variety of formats, including:

  • Online or in-person

  • One-year expedited

  • Two-year traditional

  • Three-year in-depth or specialized

  • Combined with a Juris Doctor (JD) or another professional degree

What fields can you pursue in an MBA program?

An MBA program provides you with the flexibility you need to choose from multiple career paths once you receive your degree. Here are some of the fields or capacities in which you can use an MBA degree:

  • Finance

  • Management

  • International management

  • Consulting

  • IT management

  • Executive management

  • Supply chain management

  • Healthcare management

While you can pursue many of these fields with a bachelor's or associate degree, some advanced positions such as department lead or executive-level roles may require an MBA.

Read more: What Can You Do With an MBA? With Example Careers

Which field is right for you?

Determining a professional specialization in business can depend on factors like your current professional experience, your ideal career and your previous education. Some items to consider when looking into an MBA program include:

  • What industry am I most interested in? Review the job outlook and salary for roles in various business industries to help you determine which one can best serve your goals. In addition, consider reviewing the job duties for various roles to see if you'd enjoy doing that kind of work.

  • What skills do I have so far? Consider what you're skilled at and where you can best apply those skills with an MBA. For example, if you're good at math, accounting or finance might be best for you. If you're a great communicator and advocate, human resources could be a good fit.

  • Where am I in my career?: If you're pursuing an MBA because you're looking to advance your career, look for an MBA program that focuses on developing the skills and knowledge you'll apply in your current field. However, if you're looking to switch career paths, research programs that provide a foundation or specialization in the area in which you're looking to transition.

Should you get an MBA?

Consider the following benefits on an MBA to help you decide if this is the right step for your career:

  • Transferrable skills: An MBA provides many transferrable skills, no matter which program you complete. You refine skills like research, analysis, critical thinking, computer literacy, business writing and communication, all of which you can use in nearly any industry.

  • Expanded professional network: You meet new professionals and experienced experts when you attend an MBA program. All of these people become network connections that you can use to find jobs, training, mentorship or other professional opportunities.

  • Career resources: In addition to a larger network, you also gain access to a network through the school, which may provide career resources like job search help, job boards and resume reviews.

  • Lucrative job opportunities: Having an advanced degree can often qualify you for more opportunities, including those in leadership. You may also be qualified for specialized industries and roles.

  • Increased salary: With advanced roles often comes higher earning potential, so earning an MBA can help you better secure positions that offer more money. In addition, you can use earning an advanced degree as a way to negotiate a higher salary at your current position as long as you can demonstrate the ways in which this degree makes you even more qualified for your job.

  • Business acumen: If one of your goals is to own a business in the future, you can use an MBA to develop the business skills and knowledge you need to do so effectively. Additionally, if you want to be a consultant who shares expertise to improve other businesses, an MBA is a great way to demonstrate expertise.

Which jobs typically need an MBA?

Some popular jobs for MBA graduates that you may consider include:

  • Financial manager: Financial managers oversee an organization's financial health and activity, ensuring that the organization is practicing effective spending, saving and investment policies. Responsibilities in this role will include collaborating with other financial employees, producing financial reports and forecasts based on their analyses and advising the company on all financial matters.

  • Information technology manager: An IT manager maintains existing computer systems, optimizes processes by finding and integrating new technology and manages all staff within the IT department. This career also involves staying up to date with industry trends in order to better support an organization.

  • Marketing manager: Marketing managers conceptualize and launch marketing campaigns, test ideas and analyze data to improve current marketing efforts. They also implement new industry practices and tools to drive further sales and customer engagement.

  • Human resources manager: An HR manager recruits and trains new employees for an organization, oversees payroll for new and current employees and enforces workplace rules. They also address any issues that may arise among the employees within the company, including personal conflicts, team conflicts and items related to compensation and benefits.

  • Management analyst: Management analysts evaluate how a business currently operates and provide ways to improve systems and processes while simultaneously reducing costs.

  • Medical director: Medical directors handle the operations of facilities like hospitals, so they oversee medical staff, hire and train new employees, ensure the quality of healthcare practices and take care of budgeting.

  • Business operations manager: A business operations manager acts as an analyst who reviews manufacturing processes and supply chains and improves efficiency and quality within these systems.

Read more: 20 Best MBA Degree Jobs That Pay Well

How can you prepare for an MBA program?

Get started pursuing an MBA by following these steps.

  1. Research the prerequisites for a program: MBA programs require you to hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and provide your official transcripts. You must also undergo the application process for your desired program, which can include taking GRE or GMAT exams, writing an essay and interviewing for potential admission.

  2. Take admission exams: Study and take the GRE, GMAT or other required proficiency exam to demonstrate your rhetorical, writing, critical thinking and computational skills. Studying in advance helps you get acquainted with the questions and the test format as well as get an idea of how well you'll do.

  3. Consider both expenses and time commitments: An MBA often costs more per credit hour than a bachelor's degree, so make sure to review how much programs cost and what your financing options are, like scholarships, grants and loans. Be sure to also consider how long the program is, how many classes you need to take to stay on track and how long the classwork and classroom instruction will take to complete. These factors can help you determine if the cost and time commitment are feasible.

  4. Speak with professors and program administrators: Reach out to the program's contact to ask questions about class size, coursework, projects and examinations as well as other factors that can help you determine if it's the right choice for you.

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