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What are the careers for MBA graduates?

02 Oct

Earning a graduate degree is a helpful means to expand your professional prospects and take the next step in your current job. It can also provide you with an opportunity to start a completely new career. A master’s in business administration (MBA) is one of the most versatile and marketable graduate degrees available because it provides management knowledge and skills in a wide variety of business disciplines, including:

  • Strategy
  • Innovation
  • Finance
  • Business intelligence
  • Analytics
  • Marketing
  • Consulting

MBA programs also allow you to focus on certain business concentrations, such as healthcare or data analytics, providing you with even more specialized knowledge to help you stand out in the job market.1

The combination of hard skills (accounting, marketing, and finance) and soft skills (leadership and creativity) needed to manage and run a business help MBA graduates rise above others as the most desirable hiring candidates.

This post will explore several careers for MBA graduates.

Established MBA Career Paths

Long-standing MBA careers that attract a high number of graduates include:

Investment Banking and Finance

These areas may involve investment banking and underwriting for governments and corporations, as well as financial services such as commercial banking, insurance, and private equity and wealth management. These are competitive fields, and an MBA can increase your ability to get promoted or land a job at a prestigious firm. In 2018, around 15 percent of MBA graduates were hired in investment banking and finance, making it one of the most popular choices for candidates with this degree.2


Companies hire MBA graduates to help them discover new and innovative ways to resolve challenges. These consultants offer unique perspectives, using quantitative and qualitative problem-solving skills. A successful consultant also needs to be good with people and adept at giving presentations.


The ongoing growth of technology in marketing has required the industry to adapt. As digital marketing continues to influence customer decisions, the field needs professionals who can combine traditional marketing principles with new skills. This area of emphasis provides a variety of career choices, with marketing positions available in almost every industry and at companies of all sizes.

Operations and Business Management

MBA graduates can help businesses run efficiently by unifying people from disparate departments. This often requires taking a multi-disciplinary approach to understand all the functions of an organization. The ability to gather and interpret data, as well as to work with employees and high-level management, are essential in an operations or business management role.

Healthcare Management

The healthcare industry is increasingly complex, requiring administrators to manage and coordinate multi-disciplinary teams of clinical and non-clinical staff. For clinical employees who want to move into administrative positions but lack business experience, an MBA can provide the training necessary to ensure career advancement.

High-level leadership positions are also available in large organizations for those without clinical background, but with education and experience in disciplines such as operations, IT, marketing, and regulatory/compliance. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that healthcare management jobs will grow by 32 percent over the next 10 years, and an MBA can help you stand out from other applicants in this rapidly growing field.3


Technology is shaping the current business landscape, and will continue to play a significant role for every business in the future. In 2016, the tech industry recruited more MBA candidates than any other industry, surpassing consulting and banking/finance.4

Tech giants such as Amazon, Apple, and Google provide a range of careers for MBA graduates, attracting them with perks including high compensation, work-life balance, and entrepreneurial and innovative cultures.5 Some of the older tech companies, such as Microsoft, Dell and Oracle, are also attracting a large number of graduates, while other MBA graduates choose to work for technology startups. The latter may not offer the same compensation levels as more established technology companies, but they can provide the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a growing organization.

The tech MBA hiring trend looks likely to continue, with Amazon recently announcing two new headquarters outside New York City and Washington, DC, and planning to hire 50,000 people—including many in high-level management positions—between the two locations.6


As of March 2019, almost 775,000 businesses in the U.S. had been operating for less than one year.7 Many entrepreneurs decide to become their own bosses, finding significant fulfillment and passion in starting their own companies. The risks of starting a business are certainly higher than those in working for someone else, but the rewards can be significant: In 2019, over 55 percent of the 2,604 billionaires in the world were self-made.8

We don’t yet know how the events of 2020 will affect small businesses and startups in the long term, but an MBA can provide a breadth of knowledge and skills that are essential for running one—including in marketing, finance, accounting, data analytics, operations, and management.

Non-Traditional Opportunities and Career Changes

One of the biggest benefits of an MBA is the broad and diverse educational foundation it provides. It can prepare you for more traditional jobs or help you land work in a new or growing industry or area of focus. MBA graduates are increasingly in demand in these fields, among others:9

  • Corporate sustainability and innovation
  • Supply chain management (especially in the digital retail space)
  • Data analytics and business intelligence
  • Higher education

An MBA can also help you change careers entirely. In some cases, you may not be planning a new career when you start graduate school, but exposure to new industries and opportunities may help you find something you are passionate about and choose to pursue after graduation.10

Unlock your career potential.

An MBA can open up opportunities for positions with more responsibility and higher pay. The highly ranked online MBA from the University of Kansas provides the skills and experience you need to redefine your career. To learn more, make an appointment with one of our admissions advisors today.