Does an MBA Make You More Employable? Prospects for Graduates

Brought to you by the Villanova School of Business

A master’s of business administration (MBA) degree is a popular option for individuals looking to enhance their understanding of business. MBA programs typically feature courses on areas such as management, accounting, human resources, marketing and operations. Some students may opt to keep their courses general, while others may choose to specialize in a particular industry.

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Is an MBA the right move for you?

Deciding to enroll in an MBA program is a significant step. Given that it is a post-graduate degree, there is a good chance that you may already have a successful career, familial commitments, or both, which can result in a full schedule. Thankfully, many institutions recognize that a typical MBA student’s life is considerably different from an undergraduate’s life. Universities understand the need to craft MBA programs that can be worked into a student’s already demanding professional and social calendar.

This is particularly true at Villanova University. Both part-time and online MBA program options are offered, which allow you to work at your own pace at the time of your choosing. With the online program, you will be able to study and work at a time that suits you – there will be no rushing to class to make that lecture, or taking time off work to attend a morning class. The same flexibility is afforded by the part-time MBA program. With a lighter workload, students will find greater ease in balancing their personal, professional and academic commitments.
 

A multitude of career paths

While it is clearly possible to earn an MBA and strike a healthy work-life balance, you may still be wondering if the endeavor is worthwhile in terms of career prospects upon graduation. The good news is that employers continue to revere candidates with an MBA. According to a 2015 study from the Graduate Management Admissions Council, over 70 percent of employers- hope to hire MBA graduates in 2016. Furthermore, a study from the GMAC revealed that over 90 percent of MBA graduates in 2013 are now gainfully employed, in industries as diverse as finance, health care, government and energy.

In terms of salary, GMAC reported that the median salary of an MBA graduate is approximately $88,000 per year. The figure is higher in Europe, where graduates can command almost $95,000 per annum. MBA graduates are also rewarded with high salaries across Asia and South America, pointing to the plethora of international opportunities an MBA can unlock.
 

Three MBA career paths

So what kinds of careers do MBA graduates typically pursue? Given that the MBA program is broad in scope, there are a multitude of paths open to MBA graduates. The following are three of the exciting and disparate career paths you could choose to pursue:
 
1.Human resources specialist
A human resources specialist is responsible for hiring and onboarding, benefit enrollment, tax and visa forms, mediating workplace disputes – it all falls under the purview of this multifaceted role, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Human resources positions are found from large international corporations to small local startup companies.

MBA graduates are well-suited to this role because education in management and administration are cornerstones of the program. MBA graduates will take a core class on the fundamentals of human resources practice and management.

Typical salaries for human resources specialists vary considerably, contingent on a candidate’s experience and the size of the company he or she works for. The U.S. Department of Labor reported that the median nationwide salary for a human resources specialist in 2015 was a little over $58,000 per annum. Lower end starting salaries are sometimes less than $34,000 a year, while the top 10 percent of earners in this field across the U.S. earn close to $100,000 a year on average.
 
2. Investment fund manager
An investment fund manager typically oversees the overall management of a client’s money. They have the power to make investment decisions on a client’s behalf, and are tasked with deciding the kinds of investments that may or may not be suitable. Most investment fund managers oversee and are responsible for vast sums of money. They are usually found in large organizations and will have sizeable companies and other organizations as clients. Individuals who manage the money of independent clients are usually regarded as financial advisers – which is another popular career path for MBA graduates.

This role necessitates strong interpersonal and communication skills, as investment fund managers spend considerable time meeting with clients. Investment fund managers also need a comprehensive understanding of global finance and the investment industry.

A career as an investment fund manager can be incredibly lucrative, particularly if you work within a large investment bank and have extensive experience. Payscale reported that investment fund managers can easily earn six figure salaries – sometimes in excess of $150,000 per year. The national median salary stands at around $86,000, with entry-level salaries averaging $51,000 per annum.
 
3. Chief financial officer
Every large company has a chief financial officer who oversees and manages the entire organization’s finances. He or she will oversee everything from spending and the bottom line to the cost of onboarding new employees. CFOs also scrutinize data to identify problems and propose solutions. This is a high-powered role with a considerable amount of responsibility.

Many chief financial officers have both an MBA degree and an extensive amount of professional experience. Given the level of responsibility and the potential consequences of a CFO’s decisions, recruiters tend to be highly selective in their search for candidates. The best CFOs will seamlessly blend financial acumen with effective leadership skills and a strong work ethic.

Chief financial officers are compensated generously. According to Glassdoor, at the lower end of the payscale, CFOs are earning almost $90,000 per year. The median national salary is $158,000, while some of the highest-paid CFOs command yearly salaries in excess of $285,000.
 

In summary

These three positions are just a sample of some of the exciting career prospects that MBA graduates enjoy. And with flexible options for study – such as online and part time – there has never been a better time to embark on an MBA program.