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  • 7 of the Most Common Jobs for MBA Graduates

October 19, 2019
Realizing you have untapped potential doesn't need to be frustrating. It’s actually kind of exciting to recognize that you can advance your career. There are so many opportunities for professionals motivated to climb the ladder to a more senior role, particularly after obtaining a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA). Maybe you’ve already given some thought to pursuing an MBA. If so, you probably want to know more about the specific positions that could become available to you. How much variety is there? Will you be able to work in different industries? If you’re curious about what a post-MBA future could hold, you’ve come to the right place. Join us as we take a closer look at some of the most common jobs for MBA graduates.

Common MBA jobs: 7 careers you could pursue with this advanced business degree

We used real-time job analysis software from to analyze more than 490,000 job postings from the last year that listed a Master of Business Administration as a requirement.1 There are countless other options, but these seven careers are among the most common. This lineup should help you gain a better sense of the types of jobs for MBA graduates.

1. Marketing manager

You can think of marketing managers as the leaders who bridge the gap between customers and an organization’s products or services. Their work includes developing pricing strategies, identifying opportunities to reach new audiences and monitoring trends in their industry. They also have to work closely with sales, public relations and product development teams to make sure they’re satisfying customers. Because of the integral role marketing managers play in their organizations, they tend to be well-compensated. The median annual salary for these professionals in 2018 was $134,290. On top of that, employment of marketing managers is projected to grow 10 to 14 percent through 2026, which is faster than the average for all occupations.

2. General and operations manager

General and operations managers are a group of professionals with titles that range from business manager to production manager to operations director. They plan, direct or coordinate an organization’s operations. That can include creating policies, managing day-to-day operations and planning resource use. Though the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) groups general and operations managers together, there are some differences. General managers have a broader leadership role. Operations managers, on the other hand, are responsible for driving production efficiencies. In 2018, general and operations managers earned a median annual salary of $100,930. Keep in mind that industry plays a huge role in earning potential. General and operations managers employed in the finance and insurance sector, for example, stand to earn the highest salary. Employment of these professionals as a whole is expected to grow at an average rate of 5 to 9 percent through 2026.

3. Branch or department financial manager

These managers are responsible for directing all financial activities of employees working in a branch or department at banks, brokerage firms and similar establishments. Typical tasks include preparing risk reports, evaluating data to plan budgets, recruiting staff and preparing financial or regulatory reports. Branch and department financial managers also work directly with customers. They review and approve lines of credit and various types of loans. They also work with companies to determine how different investments could impact the business. The median annual salary for financial managers in 2018 was $127,990. These positions are in demand, too. Employment of these professionals is expected to grow at a rate of 15 percent or higher through 2026, which is more than double the average rate for all occupations.

4. Financial analyst

Most of the work financial analysts do is intended to help businesses make smart investment decisions. They study economic and business trends, evaluate financial data and make recommendations regarding investment portfolios. Financial analysts typically start out as individual contributors. Supervisory positions become available as you gain more experience, especially for those who obtain an MBA. Some common managerial roles include portfolio managers and fund managers. In 2018, financial analysts earned a median annual salary of $85,660. And employment of these professionals is projected to grow 10 to 14 percent through 2026.

5. Sales manager

Whether they’re in a business-to-business or business-to-consumer environment, sales managers have essentially the same responsibilities. They prepare budgets and approve expenses, monitor customer preferences, analyze sales statistics and make future projections, set quotas and develop plans to attract new customers. While sales managers are obviously responsible for making sure they meet goals, that doesn't mean they have to do everything themselves. The best people for this role are those who can communicate effectively with their teams and guide without micro-managing. Pay can vary quite a bit among sales managers since not all employers use the same compensation model. That said, most companies use a combination of base salary and commissions. Some employers also offer bonuses. The median annual salary for sales managers in 2018 was $124,220. Employment of sales managers is projected to grow between 5 and 9 percent through 2026.

6. Medical and health services manager

Commonly called health care administrators, medical and health services managers work to keep hospitals and similar health care facilities running smoothly. These professionals’ duties include improving efficiency and driving quality outcomes for services, managing finances, creating work schedules and keeping records on the facilities. It’s also essential for them to stay up to date on health care laws to ensure the facility they manage is compliant. Health care administration is becoming increasingly complex, so good managers who know how to lead a team are essential. These managers recruit, hire and train staff, after all. And they often collaborate closely with physicians and other providers. There’s reason to feel optimistic about pursuing this type of role from a financial standpoint as well. The median annual salary for medical and health services managers in 2018 was $99,730. And employment of these professionals is projected to grow at a rate of 15 percent or higher through 2026.

7. Management analyst

When organizations need advice on how to run more efficiently, they seek the expertise of a management analyst. These analysts gather information about the problem the organization is trying to solve, observe day-to-day work, develop solutions and make recommendations to leadership members. Management analysts also follow up with organizations to ensure implemented changes are achieving the desired impact. While management analysts are sometimes employed by an organization, many of them are consultants. This can be useful when a business thinks an outside opinion is necessary. The median annual salary for management analysts in 2018 was $83,610, but this will vary depending on whether you work for an organization or operate as an independent consultant. Looking ahead, employment of management analysts is expected to grow 10 to 14 percent through 2026.

Start leading the pack

It’s easy to see that obtaining an MBA can open a lot of doors. Regardless of your specific interests, an advanced business degree could help you achieve your professional goals. And keep in mind that the roles featured above are just a sampling of the available positions. There are many other jobs for MBA graduates out there. If you’re interested in advancing your career and taking on more responsibility, it might be time to start thinking about next steps. Furthering your education could help you develop the skills you need to succeed. To learn more about how you can prepare for a role as a leader in the business world, head to Midway University’s MBA degree page. *Source: (analysis of 490,719 job openings requiring an MBA, July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019)