One of the reasons to consider getting an MBA are the job opportunities and earning potential that comes with the degree. It’s natural to ask the question of “what are the job opportunities after MBA school?” because the MBA is a degree that comes with a lot of intense schoolwork. Fortunately, careers for MBA graduates are plentiful as organizations of all types want and need the expertise someone with an MBA brings to the role. Still asking “what jobs I can get with an MBA?” Here’s a look at some careers for MBA graduates including some of the highest-paying jobs for MBA graduates. The Top 5 are:
1. Business Analytics
2. Information Technology
3. Real Estate
These are some of the highest-paying jobs for MBA graduates, but salaries vary with experience and field of employment. The financial sector tends to be the highest paying, but the technology sector can also offer lucrative careers for MBA graduates. When looking at how to get a job after MBA, consider how well your undergraduate degree and your MBA degree work together and focus on finding employment in fields that play to both strengths. Taking part in internships and networking during schooling is highly advisable as it gives you an inside track to potential employment after getting an MBA.
The 25 Highest-Paying MBA Specializations are ranked based on average salary, using data from Payscale.
1. Business Analytics – $126,000
Business analytics professionals are one of the highest paying MBA specializations available in today’s business marketplace. A business analytics degree offers graduates a large variety of specialty options that include cost estimators, financial analysts, statisticians, and marketing research analysts, to name a few. Business analysis is the systematic study of data generated through operations and statistical sources. Students graduating with a degree in business analytics explore models and predictors in great depth to gain the necessary insight to move businesses forward.
The job market for business analytic degree holders (aka management analysts), according to the statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), is quite strong with anticipated job growth through 2028 estimated to be 14%, which is must faster than the average of all U.S. occupations combined. This 14% job growth would equate to the creation of more than 118,000 new business analysts positions over the next decade. While the median salary for management analysts in 2018 was $85,260, however, those nearing the top of the scale earned nearly $155,000 during the same year.
2. Information Technology – $110,000
Information Technology is an MBA specialization that offers graduates a tremendous variety of career applications. A Computer & Information Research specialist is the highest paying MBA specializations within the subspecialty of Information Technology. Other career options for those who hold information technology degrees include Network Architects, Systems Analysts, database administrators, web developers, security analysts, and software developers, among others.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that those professional occupations within the field of information technology to grow at a pace of 12% through the year 2028. A 12% job growth far exceeds the national average of all occupations combined. A Computer and Information Research scientist earns the highest median annual salary that exceeds $118,000. Computer network architects earn about $110,000 per year, while software developers have a median yearly salary of $105,590. Information security analysts earned a median yearly income of approximately $98,000, and database administrators earn a median salary of $90,070.
3. Real Estate – $102,000
The Master of Business Administration specialty of Real Estate is one of the highest paying MBA specializations, which offers a multitude of professional specialties. Real estate management professionals work as appraisers, operations researchers, investment analysts, and community association managers. MBA professionals with real estate degrees may also find rewarding careers as sales professionals or investors themselves.
The federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) offers job growth estimates for those in the various real estate professional specialties. According to BLS, real estate sales professionals, managers, and appraisers can expect a job growth rate of 7% over the next ten years, a projected growth rate that slightly exceeds the national average of all job categories. The median pay for community association managers was $58,340 per year; however, those earning at the top of the scale as community association managers have yearly salaries that near $130,000. Real estate appraisers earned a median annual salary of $54,980 for 2018.
4. Entrepreneurship – $100,000
Master of Business Administration (MBA) graduates with a degree that specializes in entrepreneurship will find there are as many job opportunities as one’s creativity and imagination will allow. Entrepreneurs perform a critical role in the U.S. economy in terms of job growth and job creation. As one of the highest paying MBA specializations, an entrepreneurship MBA major can find rewarding work as a mid-level manager, sales consultant, business consultant, business report, or one of the many subspecialties in the area of research and development.
The job growth for those with an MBA degree with an entrepreneurship specialty depends on the industry and the exact position of the entrepreneur. As such, the median salary for entrepreneurs is approximately $43,000, according to careerexplorer.com. However, the top 20% of entrepreneurs, generally those entrepreneurial professionals at a senior management level, earn yearly salaries that exceed $133,000.
5. Economics – $99,000
Those individuals who graduate from a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program with a degree in economics have a variety of career paths from which to choose. MBA economics majors offer job opportunities that make an economics major one of the highest paying MBA specializations available. Career opportunities for those with an MBA economics degree include the specialties of market research, economic consultancy, benefits & compensation, credit analysis, actuarial science, policy, finance, and attorney, among others.
According to the BLS – the Bureau of Labor Statistics, professionals with an MBA economics degree – working as an economist – can expect the job growth over the next decade to be about 8%, slightly faster than all other U.S. occupations combined. According to the BLS, economists had a median salary in 2018 of $104,340, actuaries had a 2018 median salary of approximately $108,000, and financial analysts had a 2018 median annual salary of $85,660.
6. Consulting/Corporate Strategy – $98,000
MBA graduates with a degree in the specialty of corporate strategy or consulting have a wide array of careers from which to choose. Corporate strategy is one of the highest paying MBA specializations available in the business education marketplace. Corporate consultants work as management analysts, event planners, training specialists, and human resources managers, to name a few options. Some MBA consultants work in the field of accounting, administration, operations, finance, and research.
Job growth for those professionals who hold corporate consultancy positions depends upon the chosen field and the exact professional position. Administrative managers earned a median salary in 2018 of $96,180, with job growth predicted at 7% over the next decade, slightly faster than average. Economists, for 2018, earned a median annual salary of $104,340, with job growth predicted at approximately 8% over the next ten years. Financial consultants earned about $127,000 for the calendar year of 2018.
7. Finance – $98,000
Earning an MBA with a finance major is often viewed as a coveted degree and one of the highest paying MBA specializations available to business majors. A finance MBA major can find rewarding careers in many different sectors of the economy like insurance, wealth management, taxation, international finance, or tax planning, to name a few. Jobs for MBA finance majors include operations managers, analysts, logisticians, vendor managers, product developers, and consultants, among others.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), financial analysts earned a median yearly salary of $85,660 during 2018, with a job growth rate of 6% over the next decade. Business managers with at least five years’ experience earn approximately $127,000 per year. The job growth rate for financial managers over the next ten years is a smoking hot 16%, significantly faster than the average of all combined professions in the United States.
8. Innovation Management – $98,000
The MBA innovation manager is considered one of the highest paying MBA specializations for business majors. Innovation managers are tasked with being accountable for a number of merchandising and planning functions in a company. Innovation managers oversee ad writers, graphic artists, promotion managers who are responsible for designing company endeavors. Innovation managers tend to be creatively wired and often specialized in marketing, project management, or brand development.
According to salary.com, innovation managers earned an average annual salary of approximately $113,000, as of March 2020. However, the salary range for innovation managers starts at about $98,000 and caps out at about $135,000. Innovation managers’ salaries increase as the manager gains additional education, skills, and certifications. Indeed.com notes that innovation managers earn an average salary of more than $98,000. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that professional marketing managers earned a median annual salary of $136,850.
9. Cybersecurity/Information Security – $97,000
As one of the highest paying MBA specializations, an MBA degree with a concentration in cybersecurity or information security offers a variety of job opportunities graduates may select from. An MBA graduate with an information security major is qualified to be a system administrator, network security analyst, firewall administrator, network troubleshooter, security manager, and information security policy analyst, among others.
Information Security analysts earn a median yearly salary of $98,350, with an impressive job growth predicted at 32% over the next ten years, which is remarkably faster than all other U.S. occupations combined. In 2018, more than 112,000 information security professionals were working in the United States. A 32% growth rate pace will create more than 35,000 cybersecurity jobs over the next ten years. Computer Network Systems Analysts, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, earned a median yearly salary of $82,050 for 2018.
10. Investment Management – $96,000
An investment manager oversees the investment decisions and results of an investment portfolio. MBA graduates with an investment management concentration often find that this degree is one of the highest paying MBA specializations available to graduate business majors. Investment managers are also known as money managers or portfolio managers. Money managers perform in a fiduciary capacity as they must place a portfolio’s performance and interests ahead of his or her own.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveals employment data for investment managers within the category of financial managers. According to the BLS, financial managers earned a median annual salary during 2018 equal to $127,990, or $61.53 per hour. The job growth for financial managers is predicted to at 16% over the next decade, much faster than average. Personal financial managers, according to BLS, earned a median salary for 2018 of $88,890, and financial analysts earned $85,660 per year, similarly.
11. International/Global Business – $93,000
An MBA graduate with a major in International or global business will find there are a variety of career options after graduation. International MBA majors are considered degrees that offer the highest paying MBA specializations. MBA grads with international business degrees find rewarding careers as risk managers, auditing directors, sales directors, government affairs directors, logisticians, and business analytics directors, to name a few.
The job growth predictions for the many global business careers will depend on the industry and the exact position chosen. Overall, the BLS notes that it anticipates business occupations to grow at 7% over the next decade, a bit faster than average. Logisticians, according to the BLS, earned a median annual salary of $74,600 during 2018. Management analysts, during 2018, earned a median yearly salary of $83,610. Those MBA grads majoring in business, and working as financial advisors, earned a median annual income of $88,890.
12. Marketing – $91,000
A marketing MBA major is considered one of the highest paying MBA specializations. Marketing managers are tasked with the responsibility of overseeing a company’s marketing efforts by managing the company’s marketing resources appropriately. Marketing managers participate in bringing a marketing idea to fruition, which includes the creation of marketing strategies and pricing initiatives with the ultimate goal of maximizing a company’s bottom line and profits.
According the federal government’s statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), marketing managers, along with advertising and promotional managers, earned a median annual salary of $132,620 for the year 2018, which translates to $63.76 per hour. Further, in 2018, there were more than 285,000 advertising/promotional/marketing managers employed in the United States. The job growth rate for marketing managers is anticipated to be about 8% over the next ten years, slightly faster than the average of all other U.S. occupations. At an 8% job growth rate, the marketing industry will create nearly 22,000 marketing positions during the next decade.
13. Homeland Security – $84,000
Those individuals who graduate with a Homeland Security MBA degree will find there are numerous career opportunities upon graduation, which makes a Homeland Security MBA degree among the highest paying MBA specializations available. Law enforcement careers include the U.S. Secret Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or Border Patrol. Prevention response careers include FEMA and the Coast Guard. Mission support careers include jobs in a variety of government areas like fraud, planning, intelligence, procurement, or human resources.
According to Payscale.com, the average salary for those working within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is approximately $74,000 per year. However, the salary range for those employed by the Department of Homeland Security begins at $42,000 and caps off at more than $128,000 each year. More specifically, an immigration officer earns an average salary of $67,400 per year, and a border patrol agent earns an average salary of $77,700 each year.
14. Risk Management – $84,000
Risk Management MBA graduates specialize in the identification and the quantification of business risk. As one of the highest paying MBA specializations available in the education marketplace, a Risk Management MBA professional generally works in the compliance area of a company. MBA graduates with risk management concentrations also choose careers in accounting, budgeting, financial advising, actuarial science, and auditing. Risk managers employ computer modeling for its predictive value but must understand the boundaries of compliance and law.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), risk managers, along with financial managers, earned a yearly median salary that exceeds $127,000 in 2018, which translates to $61.53 per hour. Additionally, the statisticians at BLS anticipate the job growth rate of risk and financial managers to be 16% through the year 2028, which is more than twice the national average for all other occupations combined.
15. Project Management – $83,000
MBA graduates who specialize in project management enter the workforce with skills across several industries. Project managers coordinate the efforts of the professionals required to complete a large project, which includes information technology, sustainability, landscaping, security, construction, architecture, and communications technology, among others. The comprehensive education makes an MBA project management degree one of the highest paying MBA specializations available in the 21st century modern business market. Project management MBA professionals hold job titles like operations managers, construction managers, and project managers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the salary data for project managers across several categories. According to the statisticians at BLS, construction managers earned a median yearly salary of $93,470 in 2018, with a job growth pace estimated to be at 10% over the next decade. The BLS reports that operations managers earned a median yearly salary of $100,410 in 2018.
16. Supply Chain/Operations Management – $83,000
MBA grads with a major in operations or supply chain management work as operations managers and logisticians, among other job titles. Most graduate business programs focusing on supply chain management prepare degree candidates for careers in the private sector, the military, or the many levels of government. As one of the highest paying MBA specializations, supply chain and operation MBA majors find rewarding careers as operations managers, corporate managers, and supply chain managers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveals employment statistics for supply chain and operations managers in several categories. Logisticians, according to BLS, earned a median annual salary of $74,600, and a job growth rate through 2018 of 5%, a bit slower than the average of all U.S. occupations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, for 2018, that operations managers earned a median annual salary of $100,410.
17. Change Management/Operational Behavior – $82,000
MBA graduates specializing in organizational behavior and change management hold a variety of job titles in the business and government sectors. Many operational behaviorists work as industrial or organizational psychologists or corporate consultants, which makes the major one of the highest paying MBA specializations. Change managers and operational behaviorists are tasked with the responsibility of recruiting employees, training, ergonomic issues, and performance/art management, among others. A corporate consultant specializing in organizational behavior assesses the organization’s structure in search of areas in need of improvement.
The statisticians at BLS – the Bureau of Labor Statistics report that organizational or industrial psychologists earned in 2018 a yearly median income of $97,260; however, the salary range for corporate change managers begins at $51,000 and caps off more than $192,000 per year. Operations managers work in a variety of industries, which include research and development, schools, the private sector, and government agencies, among others.
18. Healthcare Administration – $82,000
MBA graduates who choose to major in healthcare administration will find that this degree is among the highest paying MBA specializations in the education marketplace. MBA healthcare administration grads work like health or medical services managers responsible for the overall operation of a variety of healthcare facilities. Most MBA healthcare administration degree graduates have some healthcare or clinical professional experience when entering the graduate program. Healthcare administrators work in nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living facilities, and urgent care centers, among others.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that health and medical services managers earned, in 2018, a yearly median income of $99,730, which translates to $47.95 hour. Further, the BLS statisticians anticipate that the job growth for MBA healthcare administrators over the next decade to be 18%, more than twice as fast as the average of all U.S. occupations combined. The states with the highest level of healthcare administrators for 2018 include California, Texas, New York, and Pennsylvania.
19. Environmental Management/Sustainability – $75,000
As one of the highest paying MBA specializations, environmental or sustainability managers graduate with skills in the areas of pollution prevention, energy reduction, conservation, waste elimination, recycling, and human rights, among others. As sustainability becomes a priority for government agencies and the many companies in the private sector will need to hire sustainability specialists, like those with an MBA in environmental management.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) categorizes environmental and sustainability managers as environmental scientists and specialists. According to BLS, environmental scientists and specialists earned, in 2018, a median annual income of $71,130, which translates to $34.20 per hour. The salary range for environmental managers begins at approximately $43,000 per year and caps out at roughly $125,000 per year. The states with the top paying environmental managers include Washington, DC, California, Washington, Virginia, and Colorado.
20. Accounting – $73,000
MBA graduates who major in accounting will find the degree offers a wide array of job options across many industries. Among the highest paying MBA specializations, MBA accounting majors find rewarding careers as a tax manager, an auditor, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), tax professionals, budget analyst, fraud examiner, or financial planner, to name a few. Professional accountants are responsible for the forecasting, budgeting, and auditing functions within a company or organization.
According to the statisticians at BLS, accountants (along with auditors) earned in 2018 a median annual income of $70,500, which translates to $33.89 per hour. The BLS anticipates the job growth of this MBA specialty to be about 6% over the next ten years, which is approximately equal to the national average. Currently, more than 1.4 million accountants are working in the United States. A 6% job growth over the next decade would create more than 90,000 new accounting positions.
21. Public Administration – $73,000
MBA Public administration graduates will find their skills are marketable in a wide range of government jobs, nonprofits, and even businesses and organizations in the private sector. AS one of the highest paying MBA specializations, MBA public administration degree holders enter the workforce skilled in the 3 E’s of public administration – Equity, Economy, and Efficiency. Public administrators find rewarding careers as a customs inspector, labor manager, mediator, auditor, criminal investigator, city manager, or private investigator, to name a few.
According to payscale.com, the average annual salary for those public administration professionals who hold an MBA degree is $73,000. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) breaks out public administrator positions into several categories. For example, the BLS reports that Administrative Managers, for 2018, earned a median annual income of $96,180. Financial managers earn, according to the BLS, a median annual salary that caps off at $127,000 each year.
22. Nonprofit/Social Entrepreneurship – $72,000
MBA graduates who major in nonprofit management or social entrepreneurship will learn quickly after graduation that this degree is among the highest paying MBA specializations available in the marketplace today. Nonprofits require management and business professionals who have the skills to run a business while maintaining progress towards meeting the nonprofit’s unique mission. Social entrepreneurs are unique business professionals as they often choose a business or mission that is either challenging or not very popular because it is a cause or business; they believe in.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) offers nonprofit management salary data through several job categories. For instance, a public relations or fundraising manager earned a median annual income of $114,800, which translates to $55.19 per hour. In addition, the statisticians anticipate a job growth rate 8% over the next decade, a little faster than average. According to the BLS, Fundraising professionals earned a median yearly income of $56,940, with a job growth rate expected of 9% over the next ten years.
23. Human Resources – $68,000
Management professionals who hold an MBA with a major in human resources will find after graduation that their skills meet the qualifications of many rewarding careers across many different industries. MBA grads with a human resource major is one of the most marketable and highest paying MBA specializations available today. Human resource professionals are tasked with the responsibilities of facilitating workplace conflicts and helping employees negotiate the often tricky corporate or nonprofit culture.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), human resource managers earned a median yearly income in 2018 of $113,300, which translates to $54.47 per hour. Job growth for human resource managers is anticipated to be 7%, which is faster than the average of all other U.S. occupations combined. Human resource specialist income data is reported separately from human resource managers. Human resource specialists earned a median yearly income in 2018 of $60,880, which translates to $28.27 per hour.
24. Hospitality/Tourism – $59,000
MBA graduates who specialize in tourism or hospitality generally work in one of two industries – the foodservice & accommodation industry, or the entertainment, recreation & art industry. MBA graduate with a major in hospitality or tourism will find after graduation that their degree is highly marketable and one of the highest paying MBA specializations. Hospitality professionals prefer the high pace and people-centered focus that can be offered by a hospitality management career.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics categorizes income data for hospitality professionals across several categories. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that lodging managers had a median annual income in 2018 of $53,390, which translates to $25.67 per hour. Foodservice managers earned a similar yearly income in 2018 of $54,240, which translates to $26.08 per hour. Top executives, however, earned a yearly income in 2018 of $104,980, which translates to $50.47 per hour.
25. Sports Management – $58,000
Sports management professionals who hold an MBA degree find rewarding careers as a sports manager, a marketer, a publicist, a distributor/retailer, or an event planner, among others. Still, other MBA sports management grads work as a coach, operations manager, or high-profile sports agent, which makes an MBA sports management degree among the highest paying MBA specializations. Sports management professionals view sports as a business, rather than the entertainment package it provides, but also recognize the tremendous amount of revenue that flows through the sports industry.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), business managers and agents for athletes and artists earned a median annual income in May 2019 of $73,740, this calculates to $46.72 per hour. BLS also notes that the salary range for business managers/agents for athletes and artists during this same time period begins at $37,300 per year and caps off at $189,420 each year.
Can I Get a Job Without Experience?
Yes, you can find entry level MBA jobs that hire graduates without experience, but your undergraduate degree can influence the type of employment you find available to you after graduation. Entry level jobs for MBA graduates are usually found in the financial and banking industry. Many roles require a candidate to have financial certifications or train candidates to obtain them after hiring. Some positions involve sales and marketing as part of the role which means income is based on commission.
Entry level MBA jobs can help a graduate gain valuable on-the-job experience that’s useful for finding better jobs once the entry level position has been exhausted and no further advancement is possible. However, entry level jobs for MBA graduates vary greatly in terms of quality, job definitions, and role requirements. Before deciding on going the entry level route of jobs for recent MBA graduates, make sure that the employment opportunities are in line with your expectations after graduation. Some of the best jobs for MBA graduates with no experience tend to combine the skills from the undergraduate major with the MBA skills.
When asking the question of “what can I do with an MBA and no experience?”, think about your undergraduate major. If you majored in computer sciences, there are many opportunities in managing computer and information systems and it’s possible to become a chief technology officer. Some of the best jobs for MBA graduates with no experience include becoming a financial manager or an investment banker if you concentrated in finance and gained certifications. When looking at jobs for recent MBA graduates, be selective in your criteria and focus on finding employment in a field that suits your undergraduate and graduate education
How Much Can I Make with an MBA?
The entry level MBA salary averages between $50,000 to $60,000 a year based on salaries published on job search websites. Most positions that pay that amount are ones that require no experience and are ideal for graduates who want to have a broad range of experiences before they advance up the career level. An entry level MBA salary pales in comparison to more specialized MBA positions. The National Association of Colleges and Employers predicts that the average starting salary for 2020 MBA graduates with a bachelor’s in business will start at $79,000.
The highest paying jobs for MBA graduates average $150,000 annually, but tend to require in-depth experience that’s relevant to the role. Most mid-range salaries for MBAs average in the low six figures and positions tend to be at the mid-management level. There is always room for advancement and some of the highest paying jobs for MBA graduates can pay a very lucrative salary with commensurate experience and/or education. The entry level MBA salary is reasonable, but paying attention to specialization during education can pay off in the form of getting into an industry with some of the highest paying jobs for MBA graduates.
The average MBA salary after 5 years of post-graduate employment is about $90,000 a year, but compensation after 5 years varies greatly depending on the industry. In 2016, the average salary after 5 years ranged anywhere from $92,000 to $126,000. The lowest paid MBA position was in media and entertainment with the highest paid position being in consulting. The highest paying MBA specialization is in the financial industry. The financial industry offers multiple high paying positions which means someone who wants to earn as much as possible with an MBA should determine what educational path is going to bring the highest financial reward.