There are many reasons why students might pursue an MBA, whether it’s to start their own business or to change careers. Often, one of the reasons is the pay bump that comes with the degree. MBA graduates on average have a starting salary of $92,000, and they work in fields as varied as finance, marketing, and consulting. In this article, we’ll break down some of the high-paying jobs for MBA graduates and the entry-level opportunities that are available after students graduate.
Consulting is one of the most common career paths after an MBA. In fact, more than half of respondents in one MBA survey said they were interested in consulting as a career. That’s because many of the concepts taught in the program are applicable to management consulting, which involves looking at inefficiencies within a company and solving them. Courses such as supply chain optimization and managerial economics teach concepts that are directly related to the work of a management consultant. Firms tend to hire from MBA programs, and the role to look for is business analyst. This is the entry-level consultant role that firms such as McKinsey will recruit for at business schools. Aside from consulting firms, large tech companies such as Google might also look for business analysts to act as internal consultants within their company.
Finance, especially investment banking, is another common post-MBA career path. Roughly a third of graduates pursue finance careers. Most investment banks have a role specifically dedicated to MBA students: investment banking associate. The role typically takes the form of a summer internship after the first year of an MBA. The programs are competitive because succeeding in the summer internship means potentially getting a full-time job offer in the second year. Many finance professionals begin their careers in investment banking because of this pipeline. Investment banking also exposes young professionals to every aspect of dealmaking, from analyzing a company’s financials to pitching for their contract. Many investment bankers eventually go on to work in other aspects of finance, such as asset management and private equity.
The glamorous world of advertising and marketing is another popular option for MBA students. Increasingly, MBA programs are teaching digital marketing and analytics, which prepares students to work in roles beyond traditional advertising. Most agencies now practice what’s called integrated marketing, which combines creative advertising with digital strategy. Business students who choose to pursue a career in marketing usually start as an account executive at a marketing agency or in-house at a company as a brand executive. Don’t be fooled by the “executive” title — while it might sound like a senior role, the position is actually derived from the word “execution,” meaning you’ll handle communications with clients, liaise with designers, analyze the performance of ad campaigns — whatever it takes to get the job done. After that, marketers often move up the career ladder to become consultants managing their own client accounts or become brand managers taking care of a specific brand.
Aside from consulting, finance, and marketing, MBA students might pursue general management positions. This could entail project management in a tech company, supply chain management at a manufacturer, or operations in the service sector. While every industry has its own quirks, the general principles of management taught in an MBA program are applicable across the business world. For graduates who aren’t sure what industry they want to work in but want managerial experience, the entry-level position to watch out for is management trainee. Many companies offer this role to business students as a way to teach them about their specific industry and learn the ropes while taking ownership of individual projects. Trainees are typically rotated between different business divisions, such as strategy and human resources, to gain a broad understanding of the company’s operations. After the program ends, they might be offered a full-time role within a specific division.
If you’re interested in applying for an MBA and deciding on the right program, Crimson can help. Don’t hesitate to reach out to one of Crimson’s expert advisors. We can’t wait to meet you!