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In 2020, the AACSB reported that more than 120,000 students graduated from MBA programs. MBA graduates can pursue management roles in a variety of sectors.
Students can choose popular MBA concentrations to learn skills in project management, business analytics, marketing, or information technology, which they can transfer to leadership roles in many fields.
Recent college graduates and midcareer employees in many fields may enroll in MBA programs to earn more money. According to the Corporate Recruiters Survey, the median starting salaries for MBA graduates was $115,000 in 2021.
Explore five high-paying, fast-growing jobs for MBA graduates.
Computer and Information Systems Managers
Also called IT managers, computer and information systems (CIS) managers are the strategic planners for an organization’s tech-related policies and procedures. Typically, they maintain computer systems, promote tech safety, and recommend hardware and software upgrades.
In 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the median annual income for this role at $159,010. The agency projects positions in the field to grow 16% from 2021-2031, much faster than average.
CIS managers also manage other employees. Specifically, they lead individuals in related roles, including software developers, computer support specialists, and security analysts. They may also plan and execute hiring.
These professionals also stay ahead of IT trends relevant to their field and organization. For instance, they often identify necessary upgrades for computer systems and seek out vendors for partnerships.
CIS managers also go by other titles, including:
Chief Information Officers
Chief Technology Officers
IT Security Managers
Key Soft Skills for a Computer and Information Systems Manager
- Analytical skill: CIS managers must consider and identify the most effective solutions to problems.
- Communication: Professionals consult with executives and provide instructions to their team members.
- Organizing: CIS managers lead multiple departments in IT and must create processes for these teams to work together.
- Decision Making skill: CIS managers must handle resource allocation and determine the best methods for using those resources.
Key Hard Skills for a Computer and Information Systems Manager
- Technical knowledge: These professionals have knowledge in computer hardware and software, including circuit boards, processors, and chips.
- Programming: CIS Managers typically know at least one programming language, networking basics, the software development lifecycle, and application development.
- Math: CIS Managers need a solid understanding of calculus, algebra, statistics, and geometry.
- Business Management: CIS Managers must have skills in management principles like budgeting, personnel management, and strategic planning.
Human Resources Managers
Human resources managers (HRMs) hire, onboard, and terminate employees at an organization. According to the BLS, these professionals earned a median income of $126,230 in 2021. The role is projected to grow 7% or as fast as average.
These professionals consult with executives to plan hiring and retention efforts to build a strong workforce. They also develop retention programs for employees by helping them develop their interest and expertise, along with creating attractive payroll and benefits programs for staff.
HRMs work with both management and HR specialists and support staff. They are the intermediary between levels of personnel.
Sometimes, HRMs oversee all aspects of the HR department. But, larger organizations may employ several higher-level HR positions, including compensation and benefits managers or training and development managers.
Key Soft Skills for a Human Resources Manager
- Communication: These professionals need to write and speak effectively to deliver presentations and manage their staff.
- Leadership: HRMs must develop strategic plans and procedures that direct their teams, plus negotiate issues that may arise.
- Interpersonal skills: Human resources managers must be able to understand others and address their concerns.
- Organizational skills: These professionals need to connect with multiple teams and executives, plus navigate multiple tasks at once.
Key Hard Skills for a Human Resources Manager
- Retention: HRMs help improve or maintain a company culture that keeps employees satisfied and retained.
- Workers’ Compensation: These professionals must understand the rules and regulations of workers’ compensation requirements for employees who may get sick or injured on the job.
- Benefits: HRMs should stay updated on benefit trends and handle payouts of accounts including dental insurance, Flexible Spending Accounts, and Health Savings Accounts.
- Payroll: HRMs should understand appropriate compensation requirements and manage others who handle employee payroll.
Management analysts identity inefficiencies in an organization and suggest improvements. The BLS reported that management analysts earned $93,000 in median annual salary. The agency projects an 11% increase in jobs from 2021-2031, which is much faster than average.
Management analysts advise corporations and devise solutions for workplace inefficiencies. The job's goal is to increase worker performance, boost profit, and reduce costs. Management analysts typically specialize in a particular area like inventory control or corporate reorganization.
These professionals are either internal or hired by organizations on a project-by-project basis. Some analysts who are contractors must write bids to be hired for projects. Sometimes they work by themselves while others work on teams.
Key Soft Skills for a Management Analyst
- Analytical skills: These professionals must collect and interpret data to make recommendations.
- Communication skills: Analysts must listen, speak, write, and present information to understand an organization’s issues and make improvements.
- Interpersonal skills: Analysts work with employees and managers to understand issues and make recommendations.
- Problem-solving skills: Analysts must gather information and think critically to understand organizations' issues and recommend solutions.
Key Hard Skills for a Management Analyst
- Organizational knowledge: Analysts should be familiar with organizational best practices to make recommendations for improvement.
- Data collection and analysis: Analysts must collect and interpret quantitative and qualitative data to better understand organizational issues.
- Compliance: Analysts need to understand rules, regulations, and laws in the areas in which they work.
- Mathematical knowledge: Analysts often need to collect data using analytical software and use their knowledge of statistics, calculus, algebra, and geometry.
Project Management Specialists
Project management specialists or project managers (PMs) lead projects from start to finish, considering the timeline, personnel, and budget. The median annual income for this role was $94,500 and jobs are projected to grow as fast as average from 2021-2031, according to the BLS.
PMs lead personnel through projects and are the points of contact for clients and their team members. Project management specialists either work at one company or on a per-project basis at different organizations.
Project managers envision and execute a project's many stages. First, they identify a timeline and key activities. Next, they monitor team members’ progress and solve problems that may arise. They finish the project by closing out contracts and financial statements.
Key Soft Skills for a Project Management Specialist
- Interpersonal skills: Project managers develop relationships and trust with team members and clients.
- Time-management skills: These professionals meet deadlines and set up tasks and checkpoints to monitor progress.
- Problem-solving skills: PMs devise solutions for issues with timelines, personnel, or budget while maintaining project parameters.
- Communication skills: PMs must use their listening, writing, and presentation skills to convey information and lead teams.
Key Hard Skills for a Project Management Specialist
- Negotiation: PMs must understand how to write project bids and negotiate between a client’s expectations and what can be delivered.
- Budgeting: These professionals must be able to establish and monitor budget guidelines to ensure project compliance.
- Delegating: Successful PMs understand their team members’ strengths and assign them the tasks that will make them most successful.
- Organizing: A project management specialist sets deadlines, develops instructions, and monitors team members' progress.
A financial manager directs an organization’s long-term financial goals. Many work in financial institutions, banks, or insurance companies. The BLS reports that financial managers earned a median annual salary of $131,710 and projects these jobs to grow 17% from 2021-2031, which is much faster than average.
Financial managers help ensure an organization’s financial growth. Some of their responsibilities include preparing financial reports, improving financial health, and making predictions based on financial trends. Typically, these professionals supervise employees in reporting and budgeting. They also help management make sound financial decisions.
These professionals must understand the regulatory policies, taxes, and laws relevant to their field to ensure organizational compliance. Other positions related to financial managers include:
They may advance to become Chief Financial Officers (CFOs).
Key Soft Skills for a Financial Manager
- Analysis: Financial managers collect and interpret data to help executives to make sound financial decisions.
- Communication: These professionals explain financial information and decisions to stakeholders with varying degrees of financial knowledge.
- Attention to detail: In writing and reading financial reports, financial managers must be precise when considering balance sheets and income statements.
- Organization: Financial managers develop processes that help them track a variety of documents, projects, and expectations.
Key Hard Skills for a Financial Manager
- Accounting: Financial managers need a keen understanding of accounting documents like cash flow statements, balance sheets, and annual reports.
- Financial Analysis: They must analyze financial statements using performance metrics like debt-to-equity ratio and current ratio.
- Financial Reporting: These professionals use a company’s historical performance data to make forecasts about the organization's financial future.
- Investing: Financial managers must have the skills to diversify their organization’s financial portfolios through risk assessment and alternative investments.
Best Jobs for MBA Graduates
These are just a few of the jobs professionals can earn after completing an MBA degree. MBA holders can also pursue the following professions.
Jobs for MBA Graduates
Common Questions about MBA Careers
How will an MBA help my career?
Most people earn MBAs to advance in their field and earn a higher salary. In 2021, the average new MBA graduate received a six-figure salary, and the median starting salaries for new graduates was $115,000.
What do most people with an MBA do?
A master of business administration prepares professionals for management roles in which they develop policies and strategic plans, direct high-level operations, and oversee others.
What kind of job can an MBA get you?
An MBA helps prepare you for management and leadership roles in various industries, including finance, healthcare, marketing, and business.
Which MBA job is in high demand?
Some of the most in-demand MBA jobs include marketing manager, financial manager, and IT managers. All of these jobs are predicted to grow more than 10% from 2021, which is faster than average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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