Students pursuing an online MBA in strategy gain knowledge and skills in management and policy development. MBA in strategy programs combine foundational knowledge in finance and economics with the skills managers need to make sound business decisions. Graduates can excel across many job titles and industries, possessing expertise in company structures, global business environments, and technological advancements related to business.
A leadership-oriented degree, the MBA in strategy can lead to lucrative positions in high-level management. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that chief executive officers earn a median annual wage of $184,460. On this page, readers can learn more about careers for strategy and strategic management graduates, plus tips on how to find the right program.
Careers for Strategy and Strategic Management Graduates
Graduates with an MBA in strategy can pursue diverse business leadership positions. Employers look for leaders who can elevate their organizations through profit-building, improved personnel relationships, and public relations. An MBA in strategy prepares students to reach these goals as human resources managers, financial managers, and top executives, like CEOs. Some graduates may also work as consultants, guiding their clients toward business success.
Human Resources Manager
Human resources managers handle staff procedures for their organizations. They oversee and coordinate hiring processes, manage benefit programs like healthcare and pensions, and mediate disputes. Often responsible for overseeing a company’s administrative operations, these professionals help executives develop strategic plans for personnel. Human resources managers may also run training and orientation programs, wellness programs, and staff initiatives. They may specialize in areas like payroll or labor relations.
The title of general manager encompasses a wide range of potential positions and responsibilities. They generally handle daily operations on some level, either for a single department or an entire organization. They may oversee areas like supply chain planning and operations, policy development, and staff management. Top industries employing general managers include companies and enterprises; management, scientific, and technical consulting services; restaurants; and merchant wholesalers.
Financial managers monitor an organization’s financial operations, reporting on large-scale issues across the board. They produce reports, research investment opportunities, and strategize for building profit. Working as controllers, treasurers, and cash managers, these professionals may oversee budget-related departments, monitor legal requirements, and stay apprised of market trends. Some professionals, like risk managers, work to analyze and minimize financial risks for their companies. Financial managers may specialize in particular industries, like healthcare or government finance.
Sometimes known as management consultants, management analysts generally work for organizations that take on clients in need of business triage. Often traveling to client organizations’ locations, management analysts assess their company’s financial data, speak with managers and employees, and recommend business improvements. They may outline plans for increasing profit through restructuring, and they often specialize in particular industries, such as healthcare, communications, or specific government agencies.
CEOs direct their company’s activities on a large scale. Day-to-day tasks depend on organization size; smaller companies may require CEOs to supervise employees directly. In large corporations, CEOs rely on managers to oversee daily operations while they handle overall company strategy and policy. They may oversee budgets, work to improve the bottom line, negotiate contracts, and collaborate with managers. CEOs often present reports and recommendations to boards of directors.
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How to Choose an MBA Strategy Program
Prospective students should consider several factors when deciding on the right online strategy MBA program. With enticing options available from diverse schools, students must weigh their career goals and individual personalities and preferences against the benefits of each potential program.
The list below outlines key considerations for students considering MBA in strategy programs.
Students should ensure that prospective programs hold proper accreditation. Schools many receive regional or national accreditation, with regional accreditation generally considered the more prestigious of the two. Business students may also look for programs with accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business or the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education.
Content Delivery Style
Some schools delivery asynchronous coursework, meaning students can access course materials at their convenience while participating in forum discussions with their cohorts. Other programs require scheduled online meetings, where students participate live through webcam. Some programs may offer self-paced options as well. Students should consider their own situations and preferences and make sure they understand how courses run before choosing their programs.
In-person Requirements and Study Abroad Opportunities
Some MBA programs require in-person immersions. These immersions, or residencies, may take place over a weekend or last for a couple weeks. Many programs require these experiences, while others make them optional. Additionally, some schools offer international immersions or study abroad opportunities; students interested in international business relations may seek programs with overseas opportunities.
Local Business Partnerships
Students should consider programs that maintain strong relationships with local businesses. When local businesses work to maintain close relationships with educational programs, it speaks to the program’s quality.
Student Outcomes Data
Many MBA programs advertise graduate employment and promotion rates. They may also share data like salary earnings and employers. This data indicates whether a program consistently leads to career success.
MBA programs with strong networking opportunities can help students find internships, search for jobs, and connect with colleagues later in their careers. Online MBA programs can offer networking opportunities through alumni connections, nationwide events, and local business partnerships.
Resources for distance learners can make or break an online program. Students should consider which resources they may need while studying remotely. Some options include technological assistance, tutoring, career services, library resources, and disability services.
Relevant School Statistics
When researching potential MBA in strategy programs, prospective students should consider their priorities. Small class sizes often offer more one-on-one attention, though not all students prioritize individualized support. Learners may also consider factors like diversity and school reputation.
Program rankings serve as an excellent resource for strategy MBA program research. By studying these rankings, prospective students can identify top programs in their areas of interest.
Strategic management curricula vary between schools. Some programs focus more on international business, for example, while others emphasize the U.S. economy. However, the following list outlines common courses found in strategy MBA programs. Because offerings differ between schools, these courses serve as examples, and they do not represent all schools and programs.
Often a core MBA requirement for all concentrations, managerial economics explores interactions within and between companies. The course presents company structures, tools, pricing strategies, and fundamentals of market research. Students learn to apply actual economic trends to the decisions they make as business leaders.
This course examines what makes a strong leader. Students learn common practices and formulas for guiding organizations through structural changes, implementing innovation, leveraging resources, and making ethical decisions. Learners may also study common challenges, practical tools, and tactics for nurturing a company culture primed for change.
Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
Business leaders handle a variety of issues depending on their role. Human resources managers may need to mediate disputes between employees or act as liaisons between workers and management. Regardless of the position, leadership often entails some degree of conflict resolution. Rooted in psychology and communication, this course presents solid strategies for navigating conflict resolution.
Managing the Global Enterprise
MBA graduates often need to understand the intricacies of international leadership and practices. By studying the political and cultural aspects of operating an international business, course participants can develop the skills needed to negotiate global assignments when they enter the workplace. The course may also cover strategies for managing corporations across borders.
By engaging in hands-on fieldwork through capstone projects, strategy MBA students gain valuable experience and enhance their business knowledge. Capstones may partner students with businesses near their schools or in their respective areas, engaging participants to solve real business problems. Often working in groups, MBA learners study these problems, analyze relevant data, and present business owners and program faculty with options for real solutions.
Comparison of Strategy Degrees and Specializations
Prospective students considering graduate degrees in strategy can choose from a variety of degree and concentration options. Though often similar, these options may represent different goals and open doors to different career paths.
The table below compares degree and concentration options for students interested in pursuing advanced degrees in strategy.
Potential Career Paths
MBA in Strategy
An MBA in strategy typically prepares students to assess organizational goals and implement new
plans. The degree prepares students to understand market trends and opportunities, watch industry
competition, and analyze the effectiveness of strategic decisions.
MBA in Strategic Management
Similar in some ways to MBAs in strategy, MBAs in strategic management emphasize techniques related
to policy development and team leadership. Encompassing the various outside elements of corporate
leadership — including government, technology, and the global economy — the degree typically
prepares students for high-level leadership.
General and Operations Manager
Chief Executive Officer
MBA in Strategic Leadership
MBAs in strategic leadership focus on leadership theory and practice. These programs generally
emphasize high-level leadership over direct personnel management, preparing students to develop an
organization’s strategic directions, usher their workplaces through times of change, and make
Human Resource Manager
Chief Executive Officer
MS in Strategic Management
An MS in strategic management emphasizes general management, typically without the MBA core. The
degree focuses on corporate strategy related to industry competition and the global environment as
well as helpful tools for strategic analysis.
General and Operations Manager
Program Project Manager
MA in Strategic Communication
MA in strategic communication programs focus on the intricacies of public communications, examining
audience targeting, message crafting, and persuasion. Incorporating written and visual tools for
public communication, the curriculum combines creativity and focused strategy.
Social Media Manager
Public Relations Specialist
Director of Communication
Cost and Length of MBA Strategy Programs
The cost and length of an MBA in strategy varies by school, but most programs comprise around 30-45 credits and take 1-2 years to complete. Some schools charge higher tuition rates for out-of-state students, while others make no differentiation based on residency. Out-of-state distance learners can sometimes pay in-state or otherwise reduced tuition rates. Students living on campus should take room and board into account, along with books, materials, and additional fees.
Some programs offer flexible timelines, including part-time study and access to various cohorts based on a planned completion timeline. Other programs require students to complete their programs within certain time frames or remain in lockstep curriculum plans with their classmates.
An MBA in strategy prepares students to lead organizations through improved protocols and informed planning. The degree teaches students to apply market knowledge, international economics, and leadership skills to business challenges and needs.
Yes, students can choose from many quality online MBA programs in strategy. Online students can take advantage of many of the same opportunities as on-campus students, like internship and capstone experiences and study abroad opportunities.
What salary can I get with an MBA in strategy?
Salaries vary by factors like location, experience, and role, but PayScale reports that graduates with an MBA in strategy make an average salary of $118,000 per year.