Top Career Opportunities for MBA Graduates in 2023

Published on: July 17, 2023

Are you ready to take the next step in your professional life? If so, you should know that the career opportunities for MBA graduates are exciting and lucrative. A Master of Business Administration opens doors that might otherwise be closed. It also provides you with the knowledge and expertise to pivot away from your current position or start a business of your own.

The career paths for MBA holders are diverse and there is no ceiling for what you can accomplish. If you desire more from your career or want to contribute to growing a business, this is what you need to know about the opportunities that lie ahead.

Why Pursue an MBA?

Earning an MBA for the purposes of advancing and expanding your career opportunities makes perfect sense. Companies are always on the lookout for people who possess the executive leadership skills to achieve goals and make thoughtful business decisions. That’s because the principles MBA graduates learn throughout the program are applicable across industries. Whether you decide to apply for private-sector management positions, start a consulting firm, work in government or are interested in entrepreneurship, there are seemingly limitless career opportunities for MBA graduates.

What Jobs Can I Get with an MBA Degree?

The career paths for MBA holders are as diverse as the people who earn this advanced degree. Nearly a quarter of all top CEOs have an MBA, and new hires with an advanced degree start out with higher salaries. Because the curriculum prepares professionals for any business environment, the MBA career opportunities are largely determined by the graduate degree holder’s aspirations.

Can an MBA Help You Change Your Career?

It’s not uncommon for people already working in an industry to enroll in an MBA program for the purpose of changing careers. The conventional thinking for some working students is that they wouldn’t further their education if their current position were satisfactory.

The career opportunities after MBA completion are enormous because advanced degree earners possess rare business knowledge, skills and perspectives that are applicable in wide-reaching industries. Not only can earning an MBA help someone change jobs, but companies also routinely try to poach people with MBAs. A recent poll indicated that 69 percent of people who earned an MBA were approached and recruited by another organization without applying (Fortune). If your goal is to change jobs or careers, opportunities may come knocking before you even apply for a new position.

Career Opportunities for MBA Graduates

The job options for MBA graduate professionals are exciting and financially rewarding. Graduates have the chance to move into leadership roles and make critical decisions about an enterprise’s future. This involves influencing the operation’s direction, establishing brand identity, community involvement and profit-driving practices. As an industry leader, you’ll also be paid handsomely.

Although each industry and organization provide a different pay scale, studies indicate that people with an MBA enjoy significantly higher salaries. For example, US News & World Report estimated the average starting salary for the class of 2021 will come with a $95,370 pay base that rises to $105,684 when including bonuses. The Forté Foundation’s study of 2020 MBA salaries revealed that business degree holders earned between $133,511 and $144,956 within two years of graduation. These are career opportunities for MBA graduates that are considered intellectually challenging and generally pay well.

Manager and Executive Positions

Managers typically oversee the day-to-day business operations of an organization. This usually involves making decisions about company and departmental goals, budgeting, employee evaluations, hiring and monitoring productivity. A corporate manager is a hands-on position that requires strategic thinking skills and business acumen. Business managers put in full-time office hours and often travel for meetings to build corporate relations and networks. Depending on the operation, this position pays between $85,000 and $150,000. It usually comes with benefits and a retirement package.

Executive positions are similar to managers in terms of common duties, and salaries run between $97,000 and $167,000 according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although both oversee business operations, executives usually have the resources to delegate more responsibilities to department heads. This alleviates some of the pressure to micro-manage all the moving parts of an organization. Another factor at play is that some people who are in these positions hold a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science. That means professionals who earn an MBA have a competitive advantage.

Venture Capital and Investment Management

There are two career paths for MBA degree holders in the venture capital and investment management field. With the right skills and mindset, you can take a position at an established firm. People with advanced business degrees typically have the aptitude to succeed in this environment. That’s because they know how to analyze economic data, make decisions based on sound business principles and manage assets. The average annual salary for people in this field stands at $210,428, with top earners exceeding $377,000 (Glassdoor). If you decide to eventually go solo as a venture capitalist, the sky is the limit.

Entrepreneurship and Building Businesses

While many graduates focus on MBA career opportunities in government or established private-sector corporations, some people want to march to the beat of their own drum. An MBA prepares calculated risk-takers to build lucrative and exciting businesses. The coursework in an MBA program helps entrepreneurs make informed decisions about organizational structure, budgeting, marketing and profit-driving endeavors. The degree also arms them with confidence that business challenges can be overcome with the right strategies. If you are someone who believes you have a niche product or can provide a better service for less, entrepreneurs can realistically earn upwards of $118,000 annually (Zippia).

Create Your Own Schedule with Consulting

One of the most rewarding career opportunities for MBA graduates is to move from a salaried position to a consultant role. People who have worked in a niche industry for several years usually gain valuable experience they can couple with the knowledge they gain from an MBA. This allows them to step away from the 9-to-5 work week and get paid more.

Like other entrepreneurs, consultants usually set up a sole proprietorship or an LLC and offer services. The services may involve things such as strategic planning, cost-effective budgeting, productivity, outsourcing and employee training, among others. A consultant teaches companies how to perform at a higher level and achieve goals. The perk of being a consultant, along with earning a good annual salary, is that you set your own schedule.

Corporate Strategy and Business Analysis

A corporate strategist is another type of consultant business leaders bring in to help overcome a variety of challenges. Providing the insightful business analysis chops garnered from hands-on industry experience and forward-looking principles learned during MBA study, strategists provide detailed reports and advice about next steps.

As a third-party resource, a corporate strategist works diligently with leadership teams to develop long-term plans and implements all or portions of the framework. Those who pursue this lucrative career earn upwards of $142,000 annually (from Zippia).

Working in Education

The link between education and MBA career opportunities is not as obvious as those in the private sector. But an advanced business degree is as applicable in management positions in the education sector as it is in the boardroom.

School departments and universities seek people with MBAs to fill positions in human resources, policy management, superintendents, teacher recruitment and, naturally, teaching business at the high school or college level. These positions usually come with excellent healthcare benefits and retirement options and may mirror the teacher calendar. That means summers and holidays off, in some cases. The national average salary for a school superintendent exceeds $80,000 (BLS), which is consistent with a human resources manager.

Non-Profit and Philanthropic Business

One of the job options for MBA graduate professionals is working in the non-profit sector. Although doing work for the common good may not come with the six-figure salaries of other industries, it proves personally fulfilling. An MBA helps people develop the executive leadership skills needed to secure a non-profit director job. This position allows leaders of non-profits to implement their vision of the best ways to help underserved populations. Private sector MBA-level jobs may pay higher, but non-profit directors do on average more than $60,000 annually (PayScale).

Unconventional or Atypical MBA Career Opportunities

When people apply to graduate school, they often have firm ideas about how they will leverage a degree to further their professional goals. This typically involves applying for traditional management careers or getting a promotion in a business operations niche. But completing a program empowers people to pursue MBA career options they might not have otherwise considered. These rank among the somewhat unconventional career paths for MBA holders.

Healthcare and Hospital Administrator

Healthcare spending increased by 2.7 percent in 2021, topping $4.3 trillion in the U.S., according to the American Medical Association. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates there will be approximately 56,600 openings for medical and health services managers each year, on average, through 2031.

The job entails acting as a liaison between medical staff and other departments to ensure quality care, communication and safety. Administrators also take the lead in hiring nurses, interns and specialists. Along with earning a median salary of $101,340 per year (BLS), applying your executive leadership skills in the healthcare industry makes a difference in the lives of everyday people.

Emergency Management Director

When catastrophic weather or other disasters impact communities, emergency response organizations are tasked with developing and implementing a plan of action. The people charged with helping families affected by hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding or wildfires must possess high-level management skills. Needless to say, professionals who have earned an MBA are perfect candidates to serve as emergency management directors.

Due to the sometimes-transient nature of this occupation and the specialized skills required, an emergency management director’s salary ranges from an average of $79,000 to $147,000 (BLS). Those who are ready to meet the challenges of these vital posts enjoy the satisfaction of helping save lives and revitalize communities.

Get Involved in Social and Community Services

The career opportunities for MBA graduates are far-reaching because the skills and knowledge can be applied in most endeavors. Making a difference at the local level is something community-minded people relish. Jobs like community support specialist allow professionals to develop grassroots programs that serve people of all ages and walks of life.

While meeting the needs of local families, you can anticipate earning a salary in the ballpark of $74,000 (BLS). It’s not unusual for professionals to take on these roles after retiring from a private- or public-sector career. Earning extra money while enriching the lives of others is priceless.

MBA Career Options with the Government

Working in government may not be the first thing an MBA graduate considers. But positions such as city manager provide intellectual and professional challenges. They also come with excellent benefit packages and good salaries.

Public-sector management careers may also involve heading departments or agencies that oversee municipal water, sewer, power, trash disposal and planning, among others. These, and other government jobs, task people with communicating with key stakeholders, politicians and the general public. City managers earn an average of $100,000 to upwards of $219,000 (ZipRecruiter).

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At Park University, we provide educational resources for community members to enter rewarding and good-paying careers. These are among the many opportunities waiting for you if you choose to earn a Master of Business Administration at Park University. Request more information today!

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Park University is a private, non-profit, institution of higher learning since 1875.