Pursuing a Master of Business Administration offers students and career switchers an opportunity to widen their employment prospects, develop new skills and increase their earning potential. The diverse nature of modern MBA programs makes them appealing to professionals from a wide variety of academic and industry backgrounds, especially those looking to take their career in a new direction. With concentrations in finance, accounting, marketing, information systems, business analytics and more, MBA students can tailor their education to their specific career goals and personal interests. But who should consider pursuing an MBA, and how can it support their long-term aspirations?
Making an MBA career change
First, it’s worth noting that it’s never too late to make an MBA career change. Whether you’re just entering the labor force or looking to pivot to a business-centric profession, an advanced degree can help you build the practical knowledge and technical expertise you need to stand out from the competition. Even professionals with decades of work experience in niche industries can benefit from an MBA program, as it allows them to translate their existing knowledge into a business context. While everyone has their own reasons for career switching, a 2019 survey by the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC) found that most prospective students enroll in MBA programs to:
- Acquire new skills and knowledge about business (57%)
- Gain access to job prospects and/or transition into a new career (49%)
- Advance their career within the same industry (48%)
- Increase their salary (38%)
- Make a positive impact on the world (35%)
One reason the business field is so appealing is that it offers a wide spectrum of career paths, many of which can accommodate professionals from different backgrounds and specializations. For example, engineers with years of design and manufacturing experience could leverage their MBA education to take on complex supply-chain-management positions, marketing jobs and even executive roles in usiness operations. If you’re interested in pivoting to a different line of work, an MBA can help you build the foundational knowledge and business savvy you need to excel in a new field.
Professionals who are already entrenched in the business world can also benefit from pursuing an MBA, as it enables them to fill in their skill and knowledge gaps. For example, even if you’ve spent years working in a company’s marketing department, you may not be familiar with how business executives create and monitor advertising budgets. This type of high-level decision-making is crucial for moving up the corporate ladder and broadening your professional opportunities. But what specific career paths can an MBA program qualify you for?
MBA careers: A brief overview
Although every MBA program is different, most offer a range of foundational courses and specialized concentrations that can set you up for success in the business field. Of course, choosing a learning track can be difficult if you’re unsure where your career aspirations lie. Generally speaking, MBA degrees provide in-depth instruction on a variety of key subjects, such as corporate finance, business operations, information technology, accounting and much more. Through these core courses, you can learn how to adapt your pre-MBA education and work experience to modern business environments.
After exploring your options, the next step is to select an MBA concentration that aligns with your unique career goals. Some of the most popular MBA specializations include:
- Finance: Learn how business executives manage financial investments, balance risk and profitability, and work to maximize stock value by applying microeconomic and macroeconomic principles.
- Marketing: Gain hands-on experience with large-scale advertising initiatives, including how professionals leverage market research, consumer data and engaging content to drive sales and brand awareness.
- Analytics: Develop the crucial analytical skills and technological expertise companies need to measure business performance, identify inefficient workflows, and make well-informed financial and operational decisions.
- Strategic management: Discover the methods organizations use to set clear goals and objectives, adapt to changes in their industry, and improve the efficiency of their management strategies in an ever-changing marketplace.
- International business: Explore how international companies create sustainable business models that support cross-border transactions of goods and services, adjust to global economic and business climates, and grow their market presence in countries around the world.
Ultimately, the concentration you choose should fall in line with your broader career goals and personal interests. For example, specializing in international business may allow you to experience new cultures and perspectives, travel to foreign cities, and network with professionals around the globe. If you’re interested in taking on leadership roles, an MBA degree can help demonstrate that you have the analytical skills and problem-solving abilities necessary for high-level executive positions.
The degree can also differentiate you among other business professionals. According to the Census Bureau, only 13.1% of US adults possessed a master’s degree or higher in 2018. What’s more, these professionals earned 3.7 times more (on average) than those who did not finish high school.
Supercharge your career with an MBA from Villanova University
If you’re interested in pivoting to a new career or moving up in the business field, an online Master of Business Administration from Villanova University may be right for you. This unique MBA program is designed to deliver a highly personalized, applied learning experience in an interactive online format. Students can choose from five distinct concentrations—including Finance, Marketing, Analytics, Strategic Management, and International Business—and benefit from an asynchronous curriculum that can fit into their busy work schedules.
Earning an MBA through Villanova University can also help you develop essential leadership skills for today’s complex business world, allowing you to pursue higher-level positions with competitive pay rates. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, the median starting salary for newly hired MBA graduates stands around $115,000, which is more than double that of new bachelor’s degree hires at $55,000. That said, getting the most out of your MBA degree is all about expanding your knowledge base, acquiring new skill sets and building a strong foundation in modern business practices.
To learn more, visit the MBA program page to read about the admission process, coursework and potential career outcomes.