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Top 5 Jobs for MBAs

The sky seems to be the limit when it comes to job options for graduates of Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs. Looking at a 2017 Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) employer survey, MBAs are in demand across all industries, with salaries to match.

It is widely reported that the hiring demand for MBA graduates, along with earning potential, is strong. With the added bonus of flexible career paths, it is no wonder that MBA programs are a popular choice.

Those who want to develop a broad foundation that supports diverse career paths may be interested in a general MBA. For example, Northwest Missouri State University offers an MBA in general management that covers essential business skills and knowledge — from employment law to financial management and marketing. Students can graduate in 12 to 18 months, ready for wide-ranging careers in healthcare, energy and utilities, finance, technology, and more.

Just How Strong Is the Job Outlook for MBAs?

Interested in consulting? How about technology or manufacturing? Maybe it is too early to decide. The good news is that employers across every industry are hiring MBAs — in large numbers. A majority of employers reported plans to hire MBAs in 2017 — 86 percent compared with 79 percent in 2016.

A GMAC 2017 year-end employer poll indicates that even more employers plan to hire MBAs in 2018. Business growth is one factor driving the demand for MBAs. One way businesses grow, of course, is by expanding their customer base, product lines or even the number of locations. This in turn may fuel an increase in hiring prospects for MBAs.

Compared with actual numbers for 2016, hiring projections for 2017 were higher across all industries. Where are the hottest markets? GMAC survey results show hiring prospects for MBAs are strongest in these industries:

  • Healthcare/Pharmaceuticals.
  • Energy/Utilities.
  • Products/Services.

Job prospects for finance/accounting and government/nonprofit are not far behind, with the latter showing the greatest increase in projected job growth over the year.

What Are Some Top Career Opportunities for MBAs?

One reason consulting is a sought-after career for MBAs? Salary. According to business school resource Poets & Quants, MBAs landing positions with top consulting firms can earn close to $200,000. But there may be more to consider than salary.

TransparentCareer is on a mission to help MBAs make smart career choices. That consulting position with the big salary? It gets lower marks in TransparentCareer’s rankings for satisfaction. Long hours, extensive travel and high stress are likely reasons.

How do MBA careers compare? Here is a look at salary and satisfaction in five popular options.

Career TransparentCenter Overall Ranking Salary (mean annual)
General Management #1 for salary and satisfaction $122,090
Operations #2 (high salaries, 8 out of 10 for satisfaction) $122,090
Consulting #10 (competitive salaries, but low satisfaction scores) $147,940 (all management occupations)
Investment Management #4 (bottom third for satisfaction, but high marks for salary) $97,640
Marketing/Brand Management #8 (lower salaries, but excellent satisfaction ratings) $144,140

Sources: TransparentCareer “The Top 10 MBA Jobs (by salary and satisfaction).” Salaries based on data reported by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2016.

Of course, information on salary and satisfaction may vary from one source to another.

Another way to look at career opportunities? Check out the companies that MBAs are most likely to follow. Based on a 2017 Poets & Quants report, consulting firms take three of the top five “most-followed” spots. Technology firms make up the other two.

Finally, those considering an MBA may be interested in learning how salaries compare with those for other business school hires. Based on data from the 2017 GMAC survey of employers, MBAs top the list.

Postgraduate Degree Median Starting Salary
MBA $110,000
Master in Marketing $95,000
Master in Management $92,500
Master in Data Analytics $86,500
Master of Finance $80,000
Master of Accounting $70,000

In further evidence of the potential value of an MBA, workers with a bachelor’s earn $60,000. That translates to an 83 percent premium for MBAs. Clearly, those considering a postgraduate business degree may be swayed by high MBA salaries.

The reasons for pursuing one degree over another, or one career over another, may vary from one person to the next. It might come down to salaries. Or it might be all about job satisfaction or work-life balance. Now, with widely available data on both salary and satisfaction, MBA grads have more information than ever to inform their job search and pursue career paths that rank high in both salary and satisfaction.

Learn more about Northwest’s online MBA in General Management program.


GMAC: Corporate Recruiters Survey

Graduate Management Admission Council: 2017 Year-End Employer Poll

Poets & Quants: What MBAs Earn at Top Consulting Firms

TransparentCareer: Top 10 MBA Jobs

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: May 2016 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates – United States

Poets & Quants: MBA Job Outlook Better Than Ever in 2017

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