In the popular consciousness, an MBA is synonymous with management. It’s a way to climb the corporate ladder, join the C-suite, and grow earnings beyond what they might otherwise be. The jobs you can get with an MBA are virtually limitless, and going to business school does not lock you into a management career. The skills you master are applicable in a wide range of roles, even if you have no interest in a buttoned-down executive position. Here are some surprising and lucrative options for MBA graduates.
Information Systems Manager
An information systems manager oversees information systems and networks to help them better accomplish organizational goals. This role is ideal for someone with an interest in technology or a background in IT. And the good news for MBA graduates is that it doesn’t require programming experience. Instead, information systems managers focus on the big picture. They may oversee teams that are working to design or implement new processes. Some also opt to become consultants.
CareerBuilder points to an average salary of $139,000 for this job, though a person’s actual earnings vary with their location, expertise, years on the job, and other individual factors.
Healthcare is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projected job growth of 1.6 percent between 2018 and 2028. Healthcare systems are working hard to improve health outcomes, integrate new technologies, remain compliant with rapidly changing innovation, and recruit and retain exceptional health workers.
If you’re interested in healthcare, have a background in medicine or nursing, or want to improve health for a specific population, a career in health administration could be the perfect fit. Health administrators run health systems, such as hospitals and insurance companies. They manage teams of healthcare providers, propose and implement new policies, and make decisions that affect patients and entire communities. For example, a hospital administrator might oversee the oncology or obstetrics department of a hospital, or even become the hospital’s CEO.
Salaries and bonuses vary a lot depending on the health system in which a manager works, the size of the health system, and whether the organization is private or public. The average administrator earns $87,731 per year. Hospital CEOs can earn anywhere from the low six figures to a million dollars or more.
Aspiring MBAs who know they want to go into healthcare can pursue healthcare-specific programs. SNU’s MBA in healthcare management is a perfect fit for people who want to become healthcare executives.
If a career in finance sounds enticing, a securities analyst role could be a perfect fit. Securities analysts evaluate market trends to help investors—including both individuals and corporations—make sound investments. Some analysts work for securities or brokerage firms. Others are in-house experts for large corporations with numerous investments. And some opt to start their own advisory firms.
Salary.com says that securities analysts earn an average of $119,011 per year. In the right role and with the right experience, these experts can earn even more.
In 2019, nearly 10,000 pieces of legislation went before the 116th U.S. Congress, with 454 making it to a vote. Local and state governments also consider thousands of pieces of legislation each year. Policy is complex, demanding expert insight. It’s also big business. Lawmakers rely on policy experts to educate them about potential legislation, and businesses may lean heavily on policy analysts to understand how new laws affect them.
An MBA can prepare you to become a policy analyst, especially if you have a background in a specific policy sector, such as healthcare, or experience and knowledge in politics. For example, you might pursue an MBA if you already have a background in lobbying or politics but want to transition to policy work for nonprofits or political action committees.
As a fast-growing sector of the economy, healthcare offers significant job stability to healthcare policy analysts. These experts fill many roles. They might work for a hospital or insurer advising about the effects of pending legislation or offering insight about policies that could improve healthcare outcomes. Some are consultants or healthcare management experts, and many work in policymaking with legislators, lobbyists, or political action committees. On average, these analysts earn $62,637 per year, but with the right experience in the right sector, a person’s salary may double or even triple this figure.
Logistics managers oversee many different aspects of business operations. For example, a supply chain manager works with suppliers and vendors to streamline a business’s access to the raw materials it needs. They may manage imports and exports, negotiate new deals, or supervise other logistics workers.
Lower level logistics workers often hold a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s in business administration. SNU’s bachelor of science in business administration can prepare you for a wide range of careers, including in logistics. If you already work in this field, business school may remove career ceilings and increase your salary. With an MBA, you can climb the corporate ladder and potentially manage an entire team or department. Some logistics managers found their own logistics consulting companies or work on a freelance basis. According to salary.com, the median salary for a logistics worker with an MBA is between $107,371 and $114,270.
If you love sports, you might think that there’s no way to join the industry without becoming a professional athlete. A career in sports management is the ideal way to give back to a sport you love in a career that will outlast your physical abilities or injuries. Sports managers serve in sports organizations in a variety of roles. They might be team managers, a member of a team’s executive board, or help market a sports business, such as an activewear company or fitness startup.
Some sports managers eventually start their own athletics businesses. For instance, you might found a startup selling an athletic app or open a sports marketing firm. For MBA graduates who prefer close relationships working with individuals, a sports management degree could train you to become an agent for professional and aspiring athletes.
Salaries vary widely in this field because there are so many different roles available. For people in the upper echelons of sports management and consulting, earnings routinely top six figures—and sometimes even higher. Agents, for example, can earn $100,000-$500,000 or more.
If you love innovation and have firm roots in tech, a product manager position could be the ideal choice. Rather than managing a company or team, product managers oversee the creation, marketing, implementation, and life cycle of a new or evolving product.
GlassDoor lists average product manager salaries of $126,658 per year. With the right company, however, earnings may be much higher. Consider that products as big as the iPhone and Alexa needed a team of product managers, and it becomes clear how important—and lucrative—this job can be.
If you have specific expertise in a thriving field, a career in consulting could be a strategic next move. For instance, a person with an undergraduate degree in network management or a background in tech might become a consultant for tech startups after graduating from business school. It’s also possible to become a management consultant who offers insight and suggestions about more effective corporate practices.
Consultants sometimes work in-house as full-time employees. But many choose freelance work instead, partnering with a wide range of clients. This strategy can boost a freelancer’s earnings well above what they could earn with a single company. Independent consulting can also be a great choice for people who want more control over their schedule, a chance to work from home, or the option to learn about many different businesses.
Consulting fees and salaries vary depending on the type of consulting and the geographic location. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that management analysts—one type of consultant—have average earnings of $83,610 per year.
No matter what you love, no matter what you have done or plan to do, an MBA unlocks new doors with in-demand skills. SNU’s innovative business school employs industry leaders to help students master creative thinking and management skills that will serve them no matter how the economy shifts in the coming decades. Students can earn an MBA with just one night of classes per week, ensuring you can integrate your program into an already busy professional life. Contact us to learn more!