MBA concentrations combine the advanced business management curriculum of the MBA with graduate-level courses across a wide array of subjects, yielding graduates primed for leadership roles in their desired field.

What Is an MBA Concentration?

The MBA is a versatile degree. Graduates are prepared to work in many different fields and are usually offered the opportunity to specialize their degree. Popular concentrations include accounting, finance, healthcare, and economics. MBA programs usually include courses that focus on management and leadership strategies, preparing graduates to lead groups of people or a whole company.

Prospective MBA candidates are not obligated to select a concentration; generalized MBA programs are common. This type of MBA is based on the principles of organizational management, statistics, and business analytics. All learners take courses in these topics, which provide more detailed explorations into their implementation. MBA concentrations prepare students for a particular career path, while also giving them a solid foundation of business knowledge.

Benefits of Choosing an MBA Concentration

MBA concentrations include strategic human resources and environmental management. Pursuing a concentration shows future employers that you have an interest and passion for a particular dimension of business. Students who earn a specialization are employable because they have general MBA knowledge in areas such as accounting and finance, as well as specialized knowledge in their area of expertise. It’s important for students who are seeking careers in specialized fields to earn a concentration in a related field, because it may be more difficult to obtain that career without one.

Search Programs by Concentration

Popular & In-Demand MBA Concentrations

Some of the most popular MBA concentrations may be listed under different names depending on the school. A school might also combine two concentrations, such as accounting and finance, into one specialization, therefore offering a more dynamic opportunity. Below, we’ve listed a few popular concentrations.

Finance

Businesses always need employees who excel at financial analysis. An MBA with a concentration in finance entails coursework in topics such as financial planning, financial analysis, investment management, and corporate development. This concentration can be a gateway to work as a financial consultant, investment manager, or financial analyst.

Marketing

A marketing concentration taps into more abstract areas of knowledge, in addition to management skills. This degree is often analytically-minded and research-oriented. Learners can expect to delve deep into advertising, branding, and global marketing.

Management & Strategy

A management and strategy MBA studies the ways that business management can be coordinated to develop corporate strategy effectively, working with competition and diversification in the marketplace. A management and strategy MBA holder may find work as a global operations manager.

Healthcare Management & Administration

This concentration uses the managerial and analytical skills that an MBA teaches and applies them to a healthcare setting, oftentimes dealing with technology and the complex invoice and payment procedures that healthcare workers deal with every day.

Human Resources

Human resource management involves resolving conflicts and mitigating concerns. Students usually take ethics and workplace diversity courses. Graduates who earned this concentration often become human resource managers.

Accounting

Accountants concern themselves with the examination of financial records. An accounting MBA prepares students to work as an accountant, auditing manager, or financial analyst.

International Business

An international business MBA may feature courses on topics such as analyzing and developing global financial markets. Graduates learn managerial, planning, and organizational skills that can applied to different cultures.

Project Management

Project management is an MBA concentration that could equally apply to the micro and macro levels of business. This concentration teaches leadership and organizational skills. Students learn how to work with different personalities and motivate them to do their best work. Courses like quantitative management and market research teach these skills.

Entrepreneurship

An MBA in entrepreneurship incorporates course topics such as venture capital, design, strategies for innovation, and ethical leadership. This degree concentration is designed to give students the confidence to establish their own business. At the very least, it could indicate ambition and creative-thinking to a potential employer.

Leadership

Leadership learners are equipped for careers in human resources management, training and development management, and executive leadership. Coursework may be geared towards organizational skills, ethics, and psychology.

Supply Chain Management

A supply chain management MBA prepares learners to oversee the whole process of a product, from creation to shipment. This versatile concentration entails course topics such as logistics, operations management, and supply chain cost and design.

Highest Paying MBA Concentrations

The following table provides a broad view of which concentrations offer the greatest payoff in terms of earning potential. Strategy provides the greatest financial reward. International business and operations management yield the lowest return on investment comparatively, but still offer competitive wages. Some of these concentrations, such as marketing and finance and economics, offer more career opportunities. Entry-level and mid-career salaries vary widely. The chart below shows that some careers have higher salary-growth potential, with a lower starting salary than others, but a higher mid-career pay.

Choosing Your MBA Concentration

Before choosing an MBA concentration, a learner must carefully weigh their expectations, career goals, and educational needs. Some concentrations prepare students to work in a specific field, while others offer a more broad education. However, even specializations that have a narrow focus will provide learners with a core MBA education.

  • What are your strengths?

    An MBA candidate should tailor their plans to their strengths. Someone who is more adept at solitary work that requires an attention to detail may be better suited for an accounting concentration rather than leadership.

  • Does this concentration compliment your desired career?

    Although all MBA curriculums share common classes, it’s important to make sure that your concentration is related to your career goals. A concentration in entrepreneurship may not be particularly useful for someone interested in supply chain management.

  • Is your concentration in-demand or growing?

    The hard reality is that some concentrations are more useful than others because they prepare students for me in-demand careers. It’s important to check the demand for graduates in your field before completing a concentration.

  • Do the classes in this concentration compliment what I want to learn?

    It’s important to read the fine print. Some concentrations may offer noticeably different curricula from others with the same title. Make sure that a program’s focus matches your career interests.