Exploring MBA Career Paths: Your Ultimate Guide

Exploring MBA Career Paths: Your Ultimate Guide

Thinking about advancing your education and career prospects with a graduate degree? Then a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) program can provide you with the in-demand skills and knowledge that you can adapt to a wide range of industries. At Marymount University, we offer a quality MBA program with a variety of specializations so you can pursue your interests and work toward your professional goals.

Understanding MBA Career Paths

There are a variety of different MBA career paths to consider. These include multiple tracks or specializations that can be catered to your aspirations and career interests.

Overview of MBA Careers

Having an MBA can be beneficial no matter what industry you currently work in or aspire to work in. Specifically, an MBA degree can help you gain valuable new knowledge and skills while building your leadership capabilities and business acumen.

Some of the most common industries where an MBA degree is in demand include:

  • Healthcare
  • Marketing
  • Information technology
  • Data science

By pursuing an MBA in these areas, professionals both deepen their ability and broaden their career prospects across industries. Whether in healthcare, marketing, IT, or data science, an MBA supplies a solid foundation for success in numerous fields, underscoring its value in today’s competitive job market.

Why Pursue an MBA?

Is an MBA degree right for you? There are numerous benefits to obtaining this advanced degree. For starters, an MBA can help you build the foundational skills that today’s employers value most in the workforce, including leadership and managerial skills, as well as problem-solving and communication.

In many ways, having an MBA can open the doors of opportunity for advancement within your current career or empower you to explore a new industry altogether. Likewise, studies have found that having an MBA can result in an approximate salary increase of 46 percent!

MBA Career Paths and Possible Concentrations

No matter where your interests may lie, there is likely an MBA track or concentration relevant to your professional goals. From paths in organizational development and digital marketing to business IT, talent management, and more — the possibilities of MBA career paths and salaries is nearly limitless.

Career Paths in Organizational Development

In the world of business, the capacity for adaptation and growth is indispensable. MBA students can further specialize their expertise by adding a graduate certificate in organizational development to their studies. Graduates combining an MBA with a graduate certificate in organizational development are well-suited for roles such as organizational development consultant, change management specialist, and human resources strategist. In these capacities, they leverage their comprehensive business acumen and specialized knowledge to propel organizational innovation and success.


Organizational Development MBA Specialization

An MBA with an organizational development specialization can give graduates a competitive advantage when it comes to being able to make sound decisions and develop businesses with confidence. This MBA track includes hands-on coursework in business analysis, finance, strategy, culture, human resources, and much more.

Average Salary in Organizational Development Roles

Specific salaries for organizational development roles can vary based on several factors, including the exact job title, location, and level of experience. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), however, the median salary of a development manager in 2022 was $120,000 per year.

Career Paths in Digital Marketing

Digital marketing has become essential for brand development and engagement, spanning industries and companies of every size. Professionals who pursue a graduate certificate in digital marketing combined with their MBA position themselves for success in key roles within this field, including digital marketing manager, content marketing manager, creative director, and brand manager. This specialized educational pathway enhances one’s skills in the digital space, enabling them to effectively craft and implement marketing strategies that resonate with audiences and drive results.


Digital Marketing MBA Specialization

An MBA with a digital marketing specialization is designed to prepare students to effectively create and implement sound digital marketing strategies. This includes using methods such as paid media, earned media, and the like. Meanwhile, graduates of this program sharpen their skills not just in technology, but business acumen and administration as well.

Average Salary in Digital Marketing Roles

Salaries for digital marketing roles can vary based on level of experience, job title, and other factors. BLS data reports the median pay for a marketing manager in 2022 was $138,730 per year.

Career Paths in Intrapreneurship

Entrepreneurship is widely recognized for its role in launching new businesses, but intrapreneurship — fostering innovation within existing organizations — is equally vital. Intrapreneurship focuses on leaders who innovate and drive change within companies they do not own. When earning an intrapreneurship graduate certificate alongside your MBA, it can equip professionals with the skills needed to excel in a variety of roles, from business development associates to sales managers and beyond. This specialized education empowers individuals to act as catalysts for growth and innovation, applying entrepreneurial principles internally to enhance business operations, develop new products, or improve services within their current organizations.


Intrapreneurship Specialization in an MBA Program

Intrapreneurs must be creative thinkers who can take an outside-the-box approach to innovating and problem-solving. Enrolling in an MBA program with an intrapreneurship specialization can be a great way to build upon these kinds of skills while improving your career prospects, even if you don’t plan on starting your own business.

Average Salary in Intrapreneurship Roles

Because intrapreneurs can work in a wide range of roles and industries, nailing down an average salary isn’t easy. However, for the example of sales manager, BLS data suggests that the average person in this role makes a median salary of $130,600 per year.

Business IT Career Paths

These days, companies across every sector and of every scale depend on business IT professionals to maintain their technological infrastructure. Beyond ensuring systems operate smoothly, these experts are pivotal in safeguarding files and data against cybersecurity threats, thereby mitigating the risk of data breaches. Individuals who enhance their expertise through an MBA along with an optional business information technology graduate certificate are often found in pivotal positions such as data center manager and director of IT. This advanced certification signifies a deep understanding of both the technical and managerial aspects of IT, equipping professionals to oversee complex systems and lead teams in protecting and efficiently managing an organization’s technological resources.


MBA Business IT Specialization

If you’re interested in IT or already working in the field, then an MBA with a business IT specialization can be a logical next step. In an MBA with a business IT track, you can learn about how to manage data, collect and communicate requirements to your IT staff, and secure businesses. Meanwhile, this type of program will empower you to improve upon your communication and decision-making skills.

Average Salary in Business IT Roles

While many factors can impact the salary of those in a business IT role, the average computer and information systems manager makes a median salary of $164,070 per year (per BLS statements). This reflects the high demand for skilled professionals who can navigate the intersection of business strategy and technological innovation.

Career Paths in Talent Management

Talent management is a critical area for businesses looking to improve and streamline their human resources functions. For individuals with a graduate-level degree, including MBA students, pursuing a graduate certificate in talent management can enrich their skill set and deepen their understanding of the field. This specialized education, when paired with a comprehensive graduate degree, potentially facilitates career advancement into positions such as human resources director, talent manager, and talent specialist. It is the combination of the graduate degree and the graduate certificate in talent management that enhances one’s qualifications for these roles, rather than the graduate degree alone.

MBA Specialization in Talent Management

An MBA degree with a talent management specialization can be a fantastic way to take your business career in a new direction. In this track, students will learn how to find the right people to work within their respective businesses while sharpening their own people and analytics skills. Topics covered in this program include human resource selection, recruitment, performance management, people analytics, and more.

Average Salary in Talent Management Roles for MBA Graduates

Those working in human resource management roles make a median salary of $130,000 per year, as claimed by 2022 BLS data. This highlights the value organizations place on professionals capable of recruiting, retaining, and developing top talent in a competitive business environment.

Career Paths in Leadership

If your goal is to ascend to a prominent leadership position within your industry, integrating leadership studies into your MBA program is a wise choice. Successful and influential business leaders are characterized by their robust decision-making capabilities, along with the capacity to motivate teams and communicate effectively. The spectrum of leadership roles in business is broad, encompassing everything from managerial positions to executive roles, including vice president and CEO. In this context, earning a graduate certificate in leadership, alongside your MBA, can significantly bolster your prospects for future leadership roles. This combination of a graduate degree and a graduate certificate in leadership equips you with a comprehensive skill set that is highly valued in the business world.

MBA Specialization in Leadership

In an MBA program with a dedicated leadership specialization, you’ll have the ability to study business essentials with the addition of such important leadership topics as collaboration, innovation, organization policy and strategy, and organizational development change and strategy.

Average Salary in MBA Leadership Roles

As suggested by the BLS, chief executives make a mean annual wage of $193,850. This showcases the significant financial rewards associated with leading an organization’s strategic direction and operations.

Healthcare Management Careers

For professionals in nursing or other healthcare fields looking to elevate their careers, pursuing a healthcare management graduate certificate can unlock new avenues for advancement. This specialized education prepares individuals for key positions such as practice manager, nursing manager, chief nursing officer, among others. By combining this certificate with your graduate-level degree in healthcare, you’re better positioned to assume leadership roles and contribute significantly to the operational excellence of healthcare institutions.

MBA Track in Healthcare Management

An MBA with a healthcare management specialization can help students better understand the nuances of the United States healthcare system, ranging from the healthcare delivery model to reimbursement/payment options and healthcare informatics. This program also includes coursework covering such topics as healthcare ethics and compliance regulations.

Average Salary in MBA Healthcare Management Roles

The median pay for a medical and health services manager in 2022 was $104,830 per year, indicating the growing importance of leadership within the healthcare sector.

Data Science Careers for MBA Graduates

The capability to gather, evaluate, and derive insights from vast quantities of data is a valuable skill across numerous industries. Those who decide to include a data science graduate certificate with their MBA are well-positioned to pursue careers as data engineers and data science managers. This specialized education not only empowers professionals with the analytical and technical skills required to handle complex data sets but also prepares them to lead projects and teams in extracting actionable insights. The data science graduate certificate enhances one’s ability to navigate the data-driven decision-making process, making it a critical asset for those seeking to advance in the field of data science.

MBA With a Data Science Specialization

An MBA with a data science specialization will include courses on such important topics as enterprise data management and analysis, principles of data science, people analytics, and natural language processing (NLP) to set graduates up for success.

Average Salary in Data Science Roles

A data scientist reportedly makes a median salary of $103,500 per year. This salary reflects the critical role these professionals play in extracting actionable insights from complex data sets to drive business decisions.

Hospitality Innovation Careers for MBA Grads

Transform your hospitality knowledge with an MBA specialization in hospitality innovation, where you can learn the skills you need to qualify for work as a business intelligence specialist, strategist, or other creative role.

MBA Hospitality Innovation Track

An MBA hospitality innovation track will include courses in topics ranging from strategic thinking and deal structuring to cost/benefits analysis, people analytics, and design thinking in a hospitality environment.

Average Salary in Hospitality Innovation Roles

Salary.com data reports the median salary for an innovation manager in the United States is $144,886 per year. This data showcases the premium placed on individuals who lead the development of new products, services, and processes that drive business growth.

What Are Some Growing Industries for MBA Graduates?

In addition to the concentrations and industries covered above, there are several industries where the demand for MBA graduates is growing. Some examples of these include:

  • Accounting and finance
  • Marketing
  • Supply chain management
  • Project management

This expanding demand emphasizes the versatility of an MBA across various sectors, indicating how such a degree can open doors to diverse career opportunities.

What Career Options Are Available for an MBA Graduate With No Experience?

Another common question that prospective students tend to have about MBA programs is “What can I do with an MBA if I don’t have specific experience in business?” The good news is that an MBA is such a versatile degree that it can benefit you in your current field or empower you to embark on a new career path. You might explore leadership positions within your current industry or even decide to start your own business, but the options are limited only by your aspirations and work ethic.

As you can see, there’s so much that you can do with an MBA. This is still true whether you decide to pursue a general MBA with no specific concentration, or if you prefer to sharpen your skills in a specific industry with a specialized MBA program. Regardless, you’ll have the opportunity to build upon the essential leadership skills and business acumen that you need to thrive in your professional life.

Begin Your MBA Career Path Today with Marymount University

Still looking for an MBA program that suits your needs and interests? Marymount University’s business school is proud to offer a wide range of MBA specializations to help you take your career to new heights, and plenty of graduate certificates for those who want to spend less time in school. Get in touch today to learn more about the programs that we have to offer or start your online application now!