MBA Career Options: What to do After Graduation?

Career Paths for MBA graduates

More than half of the employers (58%) plan to increase starting salaries at or above the rate of inflation in 2017.

Getting a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree can be highly challenging. There is a large investment in this field, both in money and time. MBA degrees rank high in terms of expenses and most programs are 2 years long, depending on the type you select. Because of this investment, graduates usually look for opportunities with large returns.

In their 2016 report GMAC states that 8 in 10 employers (79%) are expecting to hire MBA graduates in 2017 compared to 68% in 2016.

If you are curious about your prospects of the MBA career path, the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) conducts a yearly survey to evaluate opportunities for business students.

As for salary predictions the polls show that many jobs pay in excess of $100,000 with possibilities to earn additional income in the form of bonuses. This indicates an upward trend in MBA graduates employability and salary options.

Some graduates are fortunate enough to know and find what to do after MBA, but some others might be asking themselves what can I do after an MBA graduation, so they are looking at MBA career options.

What can I do with an MBA?

There are various MBA career paths that you can pursue so if you are wondering “What can I do with an MBA” here are some tips which can help guide you in finding opportunities:

Apply your research skills

MBA programs are seen as skill-based, so they teach you a vast number of skills that you can use in the labor market. Most importantly, an MBA will have you develop superior research skills. These can come in handy when you are looking for MBA career opportunities and they can lead you to interesting and lucrative career paths.

Treat yourself as a brand

If you treat yourself as a brand, you will notice that much of the same concepts implemented in business will also apply to individuals.

Just as you are taught how to turn an unprofitable business into a money making machine by improving its strategy, operations, and marketing, so can you turn your image around to become more employable and find new opportunities.
Get yourself out there by updating your resume and LinkedIn profile and increasing your visibility through taking advantage of your alumni relationships. You will definitely see that businesses and employers will notice you more.

Be resourceful

People often make the mistake of waiting for opportunities to come their way. In an MBA classroom, you are taught self-initiative, so put that to practice. Constantly seek new jobs and ideas and do not wait around for people to come to you, you should go to them.

Resourcefulness and networking are key in the highly competitive labor market, and those who have them will profit.

Build your resume

If you have just graduated with an MBA, but your resume does not show a lot of work experience, you can take a few months to update and add to it by attending conferences, workshops, or volunteering. These will definitely impact your level of employability and present more chances for jobs.

Continue education

If you have just graduated and are still unsure of what to do after MBA or you want to gain additional knowledge, you can opt to continue your education. A good option in this case is to enroll in distance learning through online courses or become certified in a specific field.

Internationally recognized certifications exist for many fields such as:

  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Financial Risk Manager for Finance
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) for Information Technology
  • Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA) for Risk Managers and Auditors
  • Certification in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) for Operations and Supply Chain Management, etc.

MBA career options

Depending on your personal interests and goals, there are several MBA career options that you can take such as:

  • Teaching
  • Starting your own Business
  • Freelancing
  • Working in fields in existing companies

Teaching

For people who are interested and good at conveying knowledge to others and building their capacities, teaching is a great MBA career path. With this degree, you qualify to become an adjunct professor in different colleges and universities, and you can start there and work yourself up to obtain tenure.

Teaching is a highly respectable and stable profession, and you can choose your field of expertise such as:

  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Accounting etc.

In addition to teaching at colleges or universities, you can become a trainer for different companies, hold workshops or other different programs for which you will be well compensated. You can also treat teaching as a second job which gives you additional income, and engage in other activities.

Starting your own Business

MBA programs concentrate on giving students skills to manage businesses, so the most likely MBA career path is becoming an entrepreneur. Starting your own business can be challenging, and the likelihood of failure is high, but in case of success the benefits are immense.

The MBA coursework prepares students for high-intensity work, managing people and resources, so these skills will be extremely useful in whatever field or industry you choose to establish your business in.

Your business can be a profit or nonprofit organization, offer services or manufacture products, and it all depends on your vision and the current business environment you are operating in.

A good tip to follow before starting your own business is conducting a study or finding secondary sources which tackle what sort of businesses are most demanded in your field of expertise. This will help you in tailoring your business to match the demand and will increase the likelihood that it will succeed.

Freelance

Another great opportunity in the ever increasing global business network is to freelance. You can offer your skills and expertise to various businesses across the globe, and for some of it, you might not even be required to leave your house.

You can become a consultant, mentor, or coach, give online lectures and help businesses in different countries turn themselves around to become more profitable.

There are no constraints to what a freelancer can do, and having an MBA degree will definitely qualify you for a wide range of services. The only downside is that it is a highly volatile line of work, so you will most likely have to add to it by taking other job opportunities.

Different fields you can work

If you feel like teaching, starting your own business, or freelancing are not for you, there is always the possibility of being hired in an existing company to work full time. With your degree, the MBA career options are many and you can choose to work in:

  • Information Technology
  • Finance and Accounting
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Operations and Supply Chain Management
  • Business Analytics

Information Technology

With the ever evolving technological landscape, tech companies and start-ups make up a substantial part of job opportunities and MBA career paths.

In this field, MBA graduates will be tasked with:

  • working with tech projects
  • supervising teams
  • managing information systems
  • developing computer networks

To work in this field, you will need to have at least some basic knowledge about such systems, so if you already know you want to be involved in this industry, it is advisable that you take a few courses in Information Technology Management or similar ones. These courses will familiarize you with the concepts and the skills needed to succeed. An even better option is to have a specialization in Information Technology.

Some common positions for MBA graduates seeking to work in Information Technology companies are:

  • Chief Technology Officer
  • Project Manager
  • Computer and Information Systems Manager
  • Information Technology Manager
  • Research and Development Managers, etc.

Finance and Accounting

Graduates who are seeking to go into finance and/or accounting as their MBA career path can develop their skills by taking courses and specializing in it or getting certified. They can work in the public or the private sector and they have to be good at managing financial information with high accuracy.

Their tasks will include:

  • Analyzing budgets
  • Managing transactions
  • Consulting businesses on their finances and statements, etc.

The job positions are diverse and can include:

  • Financial Planner
  • Investment Banker
  • Investment Fund Manager
  • Accounting Manager
  • Financial Accounting Consultant

Sales and Marketing

The fields of Sales and Marketing are highly popular MBA career paths. These services are needed by virtually any existing business; therefore graduates can take advantage of them and build their career after MBA.

A person engaged in this line of work can expect to work in:

  • Branding products and services
  • Devising promotions and marketing plans
  • Managing sales teams
  • Compiling public relations and consumer relations strategies

Job positions for the Sales and Marketing field include:

  • Marketing Manager
  • Branding Specialist
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Sales Manager

Operations and Supply Chain Management

The field of operations and supply chain management is highly important for the well-being and profitability of any business. Any student who has attended business school has been faced with case studies where the company was not making any profit due to its mismanagement of operations and its supply chain.

Because of this, people who focus on this field should expect to be well compensated and valued.

Their job includes:

  • Quality control
  • Process Improvement
  • Procurement
  • Logistics Management
  • Warehousing and inventory management etc.

Possible job positions for this field are as follows:

  • Supply Chain Manager
  • Purchasing Manager
  • Logistics Manager and Engineer
  • Warehouse Operations Manager, etc.

Business Analytics

An emerging field in the business world with high growth potential is analytics. The ever increasing availability of data generated by business processes has increased the demand for skilled people who can analyze and report trends and patterns in this data. The field of business analytics encompasses the analysis of data for different business fields.

These people work to:

  • Manage analytics teams
  • Use software to compile and analyze data
  • Report findings through technical and visual means
  • Plan and monitor strategies based on the data findings

Besides the other concentrations mentioned above, universities are now offering separate Business Analytics concentrations which equip students with the skills needed to complete such jobs.

Different job positions include:

  • Marketing and Sales Analyst
  • Financial and Accounting Analyst
  • Planning and Evaluation Manager
  • Business Analytics Engineer
  • Business Analytics Consultant

As outlined in this article, graduates have many MBA career options and paths that they can take. The MBA career opportunities are constantly growing and as research shows, the demand for such graduates is at an increasing trend.

This indicates that the jobs you can get with a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) are different and present an ever growing range of subjects.

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