To many college grads, going to business school and earning a master of business administration is just a way to delay the inevitable entry into real adult life. Conversely, to those already in the workforce, MBAs seem to be a step toward a better future. Still, for both types of MBA-seeker, life after their advanced degree can be difficult to imagine. In particular: What kind of career will they have?
The answer is both frustrating and exhilarating: almost anything. Most MBA programs provide the perfect training in practical business skills, which means companies big and small clamor over new MBAs for hire. Yet, such freedom of opportunity can be stifling, so to help those interested in pursuing an MBA, here are nine real careers they can absolutely look forward to.
Logistics is a growing field that demands the expertise of an MBA. Though the name makes it sound complicated, this career is essentially large-scale coordination. Logisticians must organize projects and manage employees to ensure peak efficiency. Often, MBAs with a background (or interest) in supply chain management do best in these positions.
2. Data Analytics
Big data has taken over the business world, and most companies desperately need qualified workers to sift through it all. Often, IT teams are tasked with the monumental responsibility of analyzing data, but these groups work best when guided by an MBA. Having an IT background is useful, but understanding the process of analysis and effectively organizing a team are the most valuable skills for this career.
Marketing is an exciting way to put analytical business knowledge to good use. In crafting marketing strategies, building advertising campaigns, and developing the brand, marketers get to flex their creative muscles. Though most marketing positions demand only a bachelor’s degree in marketing (or a related field, like communications) management positions (and higher) definitely require an MBA, so it is wise to enroll in one of the best flexible MBA programs while holding down an entry-level marketing job to gain experience.
4. Human Resources
MBAs who prefer to work with people rather than over them might enjoy a career in HR. Far from being the office shoulder-to-cry-on, HR specialists are responsible for finding and keeping the talent that keeps businesses running well. Grads who are sticklers for social justice might also enjoy using the power of HR to shape company policies to be more progressive.
If a business is a body, then the sales department is its heart ― and MBAs are the steady electric charge that keeps the thing pumping. Often, MBAs are placed in management positions within sales because they have the training to set proper goals to improve performance. However, MBAs also usually have the people skills to understand the needs of their sales team to prevent fatigue and low morale. Sales positions require a delicate touch, but the rewards are usually worth the challenge.
It’s usually the job of sales staff to generate money in for-profit enterprises, but in nonprofit work, someone else needs to bring in the cash: Fundraisers. All sorts of not-for-profit organizations need MBAs’ help to attract funding, which means charities aren’t the only places grads can peddle their skills; universities and political campaigns are two other examples of common employers of fundraisers. Non-technical skills are most valuable for this job, which requires MBAs to be likeable and persuasive.
7. Financial Advising
Contrary to what many might expect, financial advisors require no special certification or finance-related degree, which means MBAs with an interest in the market can put their knowledge to work counseling their clients on an array of financial matters. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects jobs in this field to grow 30 percent by 2024, which means there will continue to be plenty of opportunity for new grads.
8. Management Consulting
Consulting is one of the golden careers for MBAs. Instead of supplying one’s expertise to one company, consultants are paid a premium price by dozens of businesses looking to improve various practices. However, most clients expect their consultants to have a positive reputation, so MBAs should probably log a few years of experience in the field before starting their own consulting firm.
9. Computers and Information Systems
Today’s businesses are built on complex networks of technology, and most require entire teams of professionals to keep the whole system running ― as well as MBAs to keep the teams of professionals organized and on-task. Like with data analytics, MBAs with some interest in IT will likely excel in this field, as tinkering with tech is part of the job description.
Current students and MBA grads, what career are you planning to take – or took – with your new degree?