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What can you do with an MBA?

Find out what you do with an MBA by exploring the many different concentrations and postgraduate paths you have access to.
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Written by Doug Wintemute, Contributing Writer on

Knowing what you can do with an MBA is essential information for both prospective and current students. These advanced business programs offer many different specializations, which can greatly influence the postgraduate opportunities available to you. 

On this page, we explore some of the most common MBA tracks and the career paths they can lead to. 

Career benefits of earning an MBA

The true value of an MBA degree depends on the individual student, but these programs offer benefits that many learners can enjoy, including:

  • Advancement opportunities
  • Better pay

  • Access to new industries

  • Professional networks

  • Entrepreneurial advice

  • Practical training

  • Innovation support 

  • Incubators and accelerators

  • Business plan preparation 

Along with the benefits of a general MBA, you can pursue an MBA concentration to add more value to your training. Concentrations allow you to focus your training in a specific field of interest, leading to specialized career opportunities.

MBA career options, by specialization

The following sections examine some of the MBA specializations available. These tracks can also provide some insight into what you can do with an MBA, both during and after school.

Accounting

In this specialization, students learn to apply accounting techniques and principles to the business world. They study financial, management, and cost accounting, along with income taxation and auditing.

Some of the career opportunities include:

  • Public accountant 
  • Corporate finance

  • Financial analyst

Consulting

Students in this concentration learn how to analyze large-scale operations and implement organizational change. Learners explore how consultants evaluate performance and effectiveness from data and observations, communicate effectively, and solve problems using various methods. 

Some of the career opportunities include:

  • Budget analyst
  • Management analyst

  • Strategy consultant

Cybersecurity

This concentration highlights some of the leading technologies, threats, and policies in organizational cybersecurity. Students learn how to evaluate system vulnerabilities, develop and implement protections for various information systems, and respond to and recover from threats and attacks.

Some of the career opportunities include:

  • Information security analyst
  • Computer and information systems manager

  • Computer systems analyst 

Entrepreneurship

In this specialization, students examine the process of starting a business. Students learn to identify entrepreneurial and innovative opportunities, create and implement value, develop business plans, and secure support and financing. 

Some of the career opportunities include:

  • Business owner
  • Facilities manager

  • Marketing director

Executive

While most MBA programs aim to develop future managers, executive MBAs are more suitable for professionals with extensive business experience. These programs provide extensive leadership and analytical training, along with executive-level management studies. 

Some of the career opportunities include:

  • Top executives
  • Management analyst

  • Director of operations

Finance

In a finance specialization, students learn various financial management and decision-making processes and techniques. They explore the various financial tools available to them, along with market analysis and computer simulation strategies. 

Some of the career opportunities include:

  • Financial analyst
  • Financial manager

  • Chief financial officer

Healthcare management

This concentration prepares students for management roles in various healthcare facilities and organizations. Students learn to apply their business management expertise to a healthcare environment. Learners look at financial operations, evaluation techniques, healthcare policy, and specialized communication strategies. 

Some of the career opportunities include:

  • Health information manager
  • Facilities manager

  • Hospital administrator

Human resources

In this specialization, students learn how professionals manage an organizational workforce. They pick up skills in training, communication, conflict resolution, and mediation. Students also develop the ability to run interviews, understand and improve organizational behavior, and implement health and safety protocols.

Some of the career opportunities include:

  • Human resources manager
  • Compensation and benefits manager

  • Training and development manager

Information technology

This concentration focuses on the application of information technology to improve business operations and processes. Students learn how to manage, implement, troubleshoot, and improve various information systems and applications. They also learn how to identify technological needs and find adequate solutions based on different factors.

Some of the career opportunities include:

  • Information systems manager
  • Information systems analyst

  • Information security analyst

International business

Students in this concentration learn how multinational organizations operate and differ from domestic organizations. They examine some of the cross-border issues, along with how different cultures, languages, and foreign markets influence businesses. Learners pick up skills and knowledge in imports and exports, communication, and exchange rates. 

Some of the career opportunities include:

  • Top executive
  • Financial manager

  • Business development manager

Management

While most MBA programs focus on management training, this specialization emphasizes leadership techniques, decision-making strategies and processes, and management tools that lead to more effective problem-solving. Some programs may offer specialized industry training. 

Some of the career opportunities include:

  • Top executive 
  • Marketing manager

  • Management analyst

Marketing

In this specialization, students learn how to develop effective marketing strategies and campaigns. They explore methods for market analysis, including examining consumer behavior and building pricing and branding strategies. 

Some of the career opportunities include:

  • Marketing manager
  • Market research analyst

  • Management consultant

Nonprofit business management

Students in this specialization learn how to manage nonprofit organizations and initiatives. They examine targeted marketing strategies, financial management methods, and leadership techniques. Learners may also develop skills in budgeting, public relations, and policy adherence. 

Some of the career opportunities include:

  • Fundraising manager
  • Financial manager

  • Human resources manager

Operations management/supply chain management

This concentration focuses on leadership and management strategies for professionals involved with production, manufacturing, and supply chains. Students learn how to deploy an organization's strategy on the front lines. They develop skills in organization, project management, and process design and implementation.

Some of the career opportunities include:

  • Operations manager
  • Production manager

  • Distribution manager

Organizational leadership

In addition to the standard management training from a general MBA, students in this concentration acquire specialized leadership skills. They learn how to evaluate performance and organizational behavior, communicate effectively, and develop teams appropriately. 

Some of the career opportunities include:

  • Human resources manager
  • Training and development manager

  • Management analyst

Project management

This specialization explores the technical and social elements of project management. Students learn how to plan, budget, and schedule projects depending on scope and organizational goals. They also acquire teamwork, leadership, and communication skills to better manage the people involved.

Some of the career opportunities include:

  • Project manager
  • Director of operations

  • Top executive

Public administration

In this concentration, students learn how to lead public service organizations and analyze policies. The training can cover topics in public finance, human resources management, and governance in the public sector. Learners may also acquire communication and project management skills. 

Some of the career opportunities include:

  • Human resources manager
  • Administrative services and facilities manager

  • Management analyst

Public relations

Students in this specialization learn how to create effective and consistent communications for various organizations and purposes. Learners develop skills in communication and multicultural awareness. They learn to analyze and understand their target audience and the goals of the communication campaign to deliver the most impactful messaging.

Some of the career opportunities include:

  • Director of public relations
  • Marketing manager

  • Fundraising manager

Real estate

This specialization provides training in the development, financing, and management of real estate. Students learn about the real estate project lifecycle and the legal and regulatory frameworks in the field. They also develop skills in valuation, investment management, and leadership. 

Some of the career opportunities include:

  • Real estate development manager
  • Real estate acquisitions manager
  • Facilities manager

Strategy

In this specialization, students learn how to lead with an organizational purpose or goal in mind. The training examines strategy development and analysis, market and organizational analysis, and resource and environment management. Learners also acquire skills in finance, human resources, and marketing management. 

Some of the career opportunities include:

  • Management analyst
  • Chief strategic officer

  • Business development manager

Sustainability

Students in this concentration learn how to develop and adhere to sustainability goals and initiatives. They study responsible business practices and policies, along with methods for meeting sustainability goals. The training may include topics in sustainability commerce, marketing, and social innovation.

Some of the career opportunities include:

  • Sustainability consultant
  • Facilities manager

  • Director of compliance

In conclusion

Many prospective students ask, what can you do with an MBA? Due to the enormous selection of concentrations and study options, your postgraduate opportunities may be quite numerous. Your choice of MBA concentration allows you to control the direction of your training and your career.

This article was reviewed by Krystal Covington, MBA 

Krystal Covington, a woman with medium-length, curly hair, smiles at the camera.

Krystal Covington, MBA, is a business growth strategist with 15 years of experience in marketing and public relations. Her company, Go Lead Consulting, provides clients foundational tools to build new client and customer relationships. 

Covington founded Women of Denver, one of the largest privately held membership organizations in Denver, Colorado. Her program helps women increase their business acumen, sharpen leadership skills and connect with other high-achieving women. Covington received her MBA from Western Governors University in 2012.

Krystal Covington is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education freelance review network. 

Page last reviewed January 6, 2022

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