Master of Business Administration degrees are as relevant as they’ve ever been, but having a degree is less important than having the right degree. Rather than earning an MBA for the sake of having an MBA, you want a graduate degree that will influence the future of your career.
Any good MBA program covers a broad range of essential business skills as a baseline, but with the online MBA program at the University of Kansas School of Business, you can also expect outstanding faculty members, the convenience of online classes, academic rigor and professional relevance.
But what makes our degree program stand out (and what might help you decide if it’s right for you) is its three concentrations in Finance, Marketing, and Management and Leadership.
The benefit of multiple concentrations is that you can choose which direction best suits your own professional goals and personal strengths, knowing that in each concentration, you’ll graduate with a full understanding of your field, even if you’re making a career switch.
Below, you can find a quick overview of the three MBA concentrations in the KU online MBA program.
Students earning an MBA with a focus in Finance prepare to advance their careers in banking or investment settings as analysts or in leadership positions within an organization’s financial branch.
If you currently work in finance, you’ll gain a higher-level understanding not just of day-to-day trading concerns but of an entire organization’s financial activity. You’ll learn how to balance theory with real-world examples of relevant topics, including raising and deploying capital, risk management, investments, and mergers and acquisitions.
If there’s an area of finance that particularly fascinates you (such as real estate, entrepreneurship or international finance), you’ll also have opportunities to explore your specific interests as well.
Best of all: Choosing an MBA with a focus in Finance can make a big difference in your long-term earning potential. The median salary for graduates of this concentration in their early career is $69,400, and by mid-career, that increases to $130,000.1 Think about the net worth of this degree specialization!
An MBA with a focus in Marketing helps provide you with the insight and strategic thinking to identify, understand and influence a target audience. This is more than just intuition—you’ll study behavioral science and dive deep into consumer decision-making and purchasing.
You can also learn to develop effective communication strategies all the way from initial conception through execution, qualifying you for directorial and management roles within marketing departments or companies.
Perhaps most importantly in this rapidly changing field, you’ll study digital marketing in depth—including social media, content marketing and data analytics—and learn to market products and services on a global scale.
If marketing is an exciting topic for you, it can also be an especially smart investment in your career. Those who graduate with an MBA in Marketing see median salaries of $61,700 (early career) and $123,000 (mid-career).1
Management and Leadership
For individuals who are most interested in the people side of business, a concentration in Management and Leadership prepares you to move upward into positions with greater responsibility.
Whether you have experience as a leader or want to build interpersonal skills in a professional capacity, you can develop and cultivate your own leadership style, gaining the expertise and confidence to take charge of a team or guide an entire organization through change.
This concentration also includes a significant emphasis on cross-cultural and international differences, so you’ll be ready to lead diverse groups.
The monetary value of an MBA in Management and Leadership is harder to define because the skills you gain can be put into practice across so many organizations and fields. But the median salary with an MBA in General and Strategic Management increases from $85,200 (early career) to $146,000 (mid-career), and with an MBA in Leadership, the media salary increases from $57,500 (early career) to $102,000 (mid-career).1
It’s also a highly fulfilling choice, both intellectually and professionally, particularly for those looking to lead in the workplace and advance to management positions.
Choose Your Own Adventure
Ultimately, there is no wrong decision. All three concentrations will help prepare you with valuable skills and connections. It’s simply a matter of examining your personal career goals and setting yourself on the path that can help bring you closer to your personalized vision of professional success.
Wondering whether you’re at the right stage of your career for an MBA? Keep in mind: You’re never too old or too young to go back to school.
1Retrieved on August 25, 2017, from poetsandquants.com/2016/09/21/highest-paying-mba-concentrations-2016/