The 10 Best Careers with an MBA

In a nationwide survey performed by U.S. News & World Report, an average of 75.7 percent of the 2010 MBA graduates from 119 schools found a job within three months of graduation.

Great news! But what type of MBA should people pursue and what type of job should they seek?

In order to help, we put together a list of what we think are the 10 best careers for those with an MBA.

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We based our list on a combination of median annual salary figures, employment growth projections, and job satisfaction reports. Employment growth forecasts are provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Salary information comes from either the BLS or from PayScale.com.

These attractive careers are listed alphabetically.

Chief Technology Officer

Job description: Chief technology officers establish a company’s technical vision and oversee all aspects of technological development. They manage the technology team. They also oversee research and development and special projects. Chief technology officers establish technical standards and ensure adherence to the standards.

Education: Many companies prefer candidates who have an MBA with a specialization in information technology management.

Employment outlook: Steady job growth in the coming years. There’s a demand for people with an MBA with a focus on technology.

Median annual salary in 2010: $155,809

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Computer and Information Systems Manager

Job description:  Computer and information systems managers plan and manage:

  • Computer-related activities of an organization
  • Implementation of Internet and intranet sites
  • Installation and upgrading of software and hardware
  • Development of computer networks

Computer and information systems managers are also involved with the maintenance and security of networks.

Education: Many companies hire people who have an MBA with a concentration in information systems. Business management experience is a big plus.

Employment outlook: Seventeen-percent employment growth from 2008 to 2018, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Fastest job growth is projected for the areas of computer systems design establishments, data processing and hosting companies, software publishing firms, healthcare organizations and management, and scientific and technical consulting services.

Median annual salary in 2010: $115,780

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Financial Manager

Job description: To thrive in a competitive environment, companies worldwide rely on the expertise of financial managers. Basically, financial managers oversee the financial activities and transactions of companies. They oversee cash management and investment activities, create financial procedures, and oversee the budget process. Financial managers help companies meet their fiscal objectives. Financial managers are also involved in activities as varied as raising capital, handling mergers and acquisitions, and assessing global financial transactions.

Education: People with a master’s degree such as an MBA with a concentration in finance and certification will likely have the best prospects.

Employment outlook: Eight-percent employment growth from 2008 to 2018, which is about as fast as average for all occupations.

Median annual salary in 2010: $103,910

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Health Services Manager

Job description: The expanding and diversifying healthcare industry requires knowledgeable managers to help ensure healthcare businesses run smoothly. Health services managers make sure companies adhere to government reforms to healthcare delivery. They oversee the work of doctors, technicians, and clerical workers. In small facilities, they may oversee or co-manage an entire healthcare facility, whereas in large facilities they typically manage a department, such as patient care services or finance.

Education: A master’s degree is required for many positions. These days some candidates acquire an MBA with a concentration in health services management. These degree programs provide a thorough understanding of the nation’s largest and fastest growing industry. People who already have a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration should consider acquiring a complementary degree such as an MBA with a concentration in finance.

Employment outlook: Sixteen-percent employment growth from 2008 to 2018 for medical and health services managers, which is faster than the average for all occupations.

Average annual salary in 2010: $84,270

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High-End Management Consultant

Job description: High-end management consultants provide the focused direction companies require to stay relevant and competitive. They typically specialize in a specific industry. They help companies and government agencies solve management problems, and they help companies control costs, maximize profits, increase worker productivity, and increase efficiency.

High-end management consultants help companies adjust to new business regulations or establish an online business. They provide advice to chief executive officers, chief operation officers, and chief financial officers and other top executives.

Education: Some employers prefer to hire those with a master’s degree in business administration who have relevant experience.

Employment outlook: A substantial 24 percent employment growth from 2008 to 2018.

Median annual salary in 2010: Management analysts made $78,160, but the pay is significantly higher for high-end management consultants. According to glassdoor.com, IBM management consultants earn an average of about $114,000 a year, while Deloitte pays an average of almost $127,000.

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Information Technology (IT) Director

Job description: IT directors manage computing resources for organizations in just about every industry. They ensure a company’s information technology is continuously available and secure. IT directors are responsible for the management, strategy, and execution of IT infrastructure for a company.

Education: Individuals with a MBA with a specialization in information technology management have opportunities in this field.

Employment outlook: Employment growth is expected to be faster than average for all occupations in the coming years.

Median annual salary in 2010: $104,644

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Investment Banker

Job description: Investment bankers help companies, organizations, and government agencies raise money in the capital markets (equity and debt). Investment bankers also provide strategic advice regarding mergers and acquisitions and other types of financial transactions.

Education: Investment banker positions typically require very strong educational backgrounds such as an MBA. An MBA with a concentration in finance is preferred by some employers.

Employment outlook: Jobs in the securities, commodities, and other investments industries are forecasted to increase by 12 percent from 2008 to 2018, compared to an 11 percent increase across all industries.

Median annual salary in 2010: It’s difficult to establish the average salary of investment bankers; however, it ranges from $100,000 to millions. Bonuses are a big factor regarding earnings.

Investment Fund Manager

Job description: Investment fund managers provide financial advice and direct the investment of money for organizations and individuals. Investments are made in stock markets, real estate, and other markets. Investing involves many complex aspects such as:

  • Specification of investment objectives and constraints
  • Choosing the asset mix
  • Formulating a portfolio strategy
  • Selecting securities
  • Portfolio execution
  • Portfolio revision
  • Performance evaluation

Education: Some investment fund management firms look for candidates with an MBA with a concentration in finance.

Employment outlook: It’s difficult to come up with an employment growth percentage for this field; however, jobs in the securities, commodities, and other investments industries are forecasted to increase by 12 percent from 2008 to 2018, compared to the 11 percent increase across all industries. Successful investment fund managers are in demand.

Median annual salary in 2011: $134,797 for portfolio managers. However, total earnings can be substantially higher because of bonuses.

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Marketing Manager

Job description: Marketing managers help companies expand into new markets and obtain new customers. Their objective is increasing sales and profitability. They research trends, identify opportunities, estimate demand, and develop marketing campaigns. They also identify a company’s competitive advantage and seek to sustain it.

Education: An MBA with a specialization in marketing is preferred by many employers. In high-tech industries, some employers prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in engineering or science who also have a master’s degree in business administration.

Employment outlook: Twelve-percent employment growth from 2008 to 2018.

Median annual salary in 2010: $112,800. The top salaries typically go to marketing managers with advanced education, such as an MBA who also has extensive experience.

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Sales Manager

Job description:

  • Identify and recommend improvements in sales procedures
  • Create new promotions to improve sales performance
  • Develop training programs for sales people
  • Set objectives and quotas
  • Analyze market trends
  • Create sales promotions
  • Evaluate the needs of customers

Education: Many employers hire those with an MBA with an emphasis on marketing. In highly technical industries, employers usually prefer candidates who have a business and a technical degree.

Employment outlook: Fifteen-percent employment growth from 2008 to 2018.

Median annual salary in 2010: $98,530

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