MBA Concentrations

  • Marketing Management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Corporate Finance
  • Operations Management
  • Information Systems

One of the biggest decisions when entering graduate business school is which of the MBA concentrations you'll select to tailor your courses. Master of Business Administration programs are known for developing well-rounded global managerial acumen, but they also give business grads the opportunity to specialize in a certain industry. Choosing to earn an MBA is smart since the GMAC reported that nearly one in eight businesses will hire master's graduates in 2017. A study from Harvard Business Review found that 95 percent of B-school alumni rated the value of their MBA as good or outstanding too. Let's take a look at five excellent concentrations where students can find their passion and maximize their MBA's worth.

1. Marketing Management

MBA in Marketing Management programs focus on the creation, delivery, and exchange of optimal communications that attract quality leads to the business. Courses like B2B marketing, brand management, SEO, consumer behavior, and market research instill the promotional skills to craft visionary marketing campaigns. MBA would likely become advertising, promotions, PR, social media, or digital marketing managers or the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). Ranked America's 14th "Best Paying Job" by the U.S. News, marketing management offers faster-than-average job growth at 9 percent and a mean yearly salary of $144,140.

2. Entrepreneurship

Small businesses employ 56.8 million Americans, so it's no surprise that many MBA programs inspire innovative thinking with entrepreneurship concentrations. Courses could include new ventures discovery, strategic planning, digital marketing, and venture capital with actual startup business plans to develop the entrepreneurial spirit to grow successful companies. Besides an entrepreneur, MBA grads could become management analysts, business consultants, R&D manager, sales director, recruiter, business reporter, and more. Entrepreneurship majors start off low with a beginning salary of $70,300, but surge to a median mid-career wage of $138,000.

3. Corporate Finance

MBA in Corporate Finance degrees open doors for graduates to oversee companies' investment and transactional activities to boost revenue streams. Courses like business valuation, financial modeling, managerial accounting, derivatives, and fiscal policy build the quantitative skills needed to handle cash flows in compliance with SEC guidelines. MBA alumni could work as controllers, portfolio managers, investment managers, treasurers, corporate strategy managers, and Chief Finance Officers (CFOs). Corporate finance careers are expected to grow by 7 percent through 2024 and keep providing a healthy average wage of $139,720 yearly.

4. Operations Management

Operations management concentrations allow MBA students to nurture the leadership skills for planning, coordinating, and supervising a company's production cycle. Courses delve into procurement, logistics, supply chain management, and process engineering with an emphasis on enhancing efficiency to deliver client goods or services quickly and safely. MBA recipients could excel as logisticians, sales distribution managers, general managers, manufacturing directors, facility managers, and Chief Operating Officers (COOs). Operations managers reap a high average yearly salary of $122,090 and will benefit from decent 10-year job growth by 8 percent.

5. Information Systems

MBA in Information Systems programs will build on the business core with IT knowledge to produce managers who can direct their company's tech development to meet their digital needs. Courses like data analytics, cybersecurity, network administration, and eCommerce technologies will promote the technical skills for coordinating computer systems. MBA graduates could become IT directors, information security managers, information architect, tech project manager, and Chief Information Officer (CIO). Master's-level information systems jobs are expected to rise rapidly by 15 percent through 2024 for a median annual pay of $135,800.

Investing in a Master of Business Administration degree won't come cheap. Top AACSB-accredited schools like NYU Stern and UPenn Wharton advise enrollees to budget up to $200,000 for their advanced study. However, Poets & Quants reported that MBA holders earn $1 million more on average over a 20-year career than their bachelor's colleagues. Some other high-paying MBA concentrations to consider are healthcare administration, strategy, economics, international business, engineering management, and organizational leadership.

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