Highest Paying MBA Degree Concentrations and Jobs

Highest Paying MBA Degree Concentrations and Jobs

We rank the highest paying careers for MBA graduates.

Key Takeaways

  • MBA graduates often hold among the highest paying business jobs.

  • Some MBA program concentrations can lead to higher paying jobs than others.

  • The highest paying MBA concentrations can lead to many jobs with a median salary over $100,000 per year.

MBA graduates typically earn more than business professionals with a bachelor’s degree. But every MBA program is unique.

Each MBA concentration comes with its own career trajectory and salary range. Many of the highest paying MBA jobs are concentrated in areas like healthcare management, project management, financial management, business analytics, and more.

This means that the MBA specialization you choose could have a direct impact on your salary potential. But which MBA concentrations pay best? And what is the best MBA specialization for your field?

Jump down to our list of top paying MBA concentrations to find out what you could do with an MBA in finance, business analytics, economics, and more.

Or read on to learn more about the online MBA and how to choose the best MBA concentration for your career.

About the Master’s of Business Administration

The MBA is the single most popular degree at the master’s level. One reason why is the 51.5% salary differential between business students with bachelor’s degree and MBA graduates.

While the MBA isn’t technically a threshold for a career in business management or leadership, many high paying career paths often begin with this advanced degree.

This is why the salary differential is so significant. Students who earn an MBA have a competitive advantage when it comes to career advancement opportunities and leadership roles.

This means that the highest paying jobs in business are often held by business school graduates. Top executives, chief financial officers, and project managers often reach these high paying roles only after earning an MBA.

Learn about online MBA admission requirements.

Do MBA graduates make more money?

Generally speaking, MBA graduates do make more money than their counterparts with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Earning an MBA can lead to more leadership opportunities and specialized roles. This often results in higher earning potential.

Students who earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration will qualify for many entry-level roles in high-paying areas such as the corporate, healthcare, and finance sectors. However, MBA graduates will be significantly more likely to advance to key leadership roles. One reason is the practical emphasis that MBA programs typically place on leadership skills and management training.

This is a major reason that the median annual wage is often higher for those with MBAs. While bachelor’s of business administration may, for instance, land starting roles as sales representatives or employees in the human resources department, those with a degree in management may be on a more direct trajectory to roles as sales managers, HR managers, operations managers, supply chain managers, and more.

Even more importantly, those who begin on a leadership trajectory may be first in line for chief executive roles within their organization. This may include opportunities to leap from business manager to chief executive officer, chief technology officer, and a host of other job titles associated with a high median annual salary.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the starting salary for graduates with a bachelors in business administration is $54,392 per year.

By contrast, the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the average MBA salary for those just getting started is $82,372 per year.

This is a starting salary differential of 51.4%.

Two women talking about online MBA degrees

What can you do with an online MBA degree?

One reason for the significant salary differential is that an MBA can be an extremely versatile degree. Regardless of your concentration, MBA students typically complete core courses in areas like strategic planning, financial analysis, human resource management, supply chain management, international business, and much more.

Graduate degree programs in business are generally designed to prepare students for leadership roles in various contexts.

But the context where you provide leadership can impact your earning power. For instance, getting an MBA in data analytics could lead to highly specialized and high paying job opportunities in technology management, information system management, and more.

An MBA with a focus on finance can lead to opportunities for financial analysts, personal financial advisors, management analysts, and market research analysts.

Focusing your MBA on human resources could lead to a wide range of opportunities for prospective HR managers, business managers, administrative services managers, compensation and benefits managers, and much more.

In each of these cases, a higher degree of specialization can lead to a higher median annual salary and excellent long-term leadership possibilities.

Learn how you can find accredited online MBA programs.

How to Choose Your MBA Concentration

You can generally improve your earning potential by pursuing an MBA concentration in an area with high job growth and competitive pay. Indeed, the highest paying MBAs are often associated with those in specialized leadership roles like health services managers, information security analysts, risk management specialists, and others with high-level responsibilities.

This means that choosing an MBA concentration in a specialized area like data analytics or human resources management can significantly improve your earning potential.

How We Identified the Highest Paying Business Management Jobs and Salaries

Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, we’ve identified and ranked the highest paying MBA concentrations using the median salary for 2021.

Career Outlook for Students with MBA Degree

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Business Administration And Management

Degree Level: Master's

  • Location: The U.S. (Private Schools)
  • Avg. Cost of Degree*: $11,530
  • Avg. Expenses*: $16,731
  • Avg. Starting Salary*: $77,404
  • Avg. Salary after 4 Years*: $95,349
  • Avg. Cost Recoup Time**: 4 years
  • Job Growth: 4.86%
  • Number of Jobs: 11,888,900
  • * denotes ‘annually’
  • ** denotes ‘at 15% of annual salary’

Career Salaries

CareerJob GrowthAvg. Salary
Chief Executives-8.21%$161,191
Computer and Information Systems Managers15.41%$134,192
Compensation and Benefits Managers1.71%$124,492
Purchasing Managers4.39%$118,521
Sales Managers4.06%$117,002

Average Career Salaries

Bottom 10%MedianTop 10%

Promising Job Markets

StateCost of LivingAvg. Salary
#2 New York5% higher than average$116,372
#3 Virginia5% higher than average$104,589
#4 Michigan15% higher than average$90,047
#5 Georgia13% higher than average$90,306
#6 Illinois7% higher than average$96,596

Top Industries

IndustryAvg. Salary
Chief Executives$161,191
Computer and Information Systems Managers$134,192
Compensation and Benefits Managers$124,492

The 10 Highest Paying MBA Degree Concentrations and Jobs

  1. MBA in Data Analytics

    • Computer and Information Systems Managers: 2021 Median Pay-$159,010

    The online MBA in data analytics can lead to a variety of excellent careers in data analysis, financial planning, business forecasting, and much more.

    Data analytics is a great career for people who like strategic planning, data science, and financial and economic analysis. Many MBA graduates with a data analytics concentration go on to become computer and information systems managers.

    Computer and information systems managers oversee the computing, networking, database management, and other information technology functions for a given organization. Information systems managers may work in a wide range of contexts including government agencies, private sector industries, the insurance industry, and more.

  2. MBA in Sustainability

    • Natural Sciences Managers: 2021 Median Pay-$137,900

    An MBA with a focus on sustainability can lead to excellent leadership opportunities in rapidly growing business sectors such as renewable energy, sustainable building, and green technology.

    Students will explore environmental topics like sustainable construction, renewable energy engineering, and sustainable product design. This can lead to leadership opportunities in the natural sciences.

    For instance, natural sciences managers provide oversight of organizations employing scientific professionals. This includes supervising, coordinating, and delegating the work of chemists, biologists, conservationists, physicists, and more. A growing demand in both the private and public sectors for natural sciences managers makes the MBA in sustainability among the highest paying MBA concentrations.

  3. MBA in Operations Management

    • General and Operations Managers: 2021 Pay (Top 25%)-$151,750

    An online MBA in operations management is perfect for business professionals looking for careers in quality control, project management, and architectural development.

    While many of the best online MBA programs offer closely related degrees in areas like strategic management and human resource management, there are only a few online MBA programs in operations management to choose from.

    Most students who earn an online master in operations management will seek roles in logistics, facilities management, and supply chain management. However, there are numerous related career paths that you could take including human resources management, financial management, and quality control.

  4. MBA in Marketing

    • Advertising Promotions and Marketing Managers: 2021 Median Pay-$133,380

    An online MBA in marketing is an excellent area of focus for business students interested in subjects like global marketing, consumer behavior, digital marketing, and more. The best online MBA in marketing programs can lead to well paying leadership roles in marketing management, marketing research, and even in global marketing strategies.

    There are numerous related career paths that you could take including public relations, business analytics, and general strategic management of your organization. However, the top paying roles are usually held by advertising, promotions, and marketing managers.

    Marketing managers play a key leadership role in planning ad campaigns, positioning new products, engaging target customers, and more. A marketing manager evaluates market trends, develops brand strategies, and much more. Most advertising, marketing, and promotions managers are MBA grads with a concentration in marketing or a related discipline.

  5. Young professionals working in an office

  6. MBA in Finance

    • Financial Managers: 2021 Median Pay-$131,710

    An online MBA in finance can lead to leadership roles in areas like wealth management, investment banking, international finance, and public sector finance. Although courses may vary depending on the design of your chosen program, courses will cover topics like negotiations, risk management, business ethics, and portfolio management.

    Many MBA grads with a concentration in finance go on to become financial managers. Financial managers preside over key financial and monetary dimensions for their organization including the creation of financial reports, decision-making around organizational investment priorities, and financial planning for the organization’s current and ongoing goals.

    As a financial manager, you may be in line to become chief financial officer for your organization.

  7. MBA in Human Resources

    • Human Resource Managers: 2021 Median Pay-$126,230

    An online MBA in human resource management is a valuable and versatile degree. Students enrolled in the human resource management MBA program will study core subjects like business strategy, corporate finance, labor and employment law, and more.

    Human resources is a great career for people who are interested in strategic management, business law, financial management, and more. Most students who earn an online MBA in human resources will find leadership opportunities in human resources departments. Many HR managers will hold an advanced degree.

    Human resources managers may be responsible for a wide range of organizational management tasks including recruitment, training, leadership development, compensation and benefits management, conflict mediation, and much more.

  8. MBA in Accounting

    • Accountants: 2021 Pay (Top 10%)-$128,970

    An online MBA in accounting is a great degree for those with an interest in managerial accounting, financial management, and business strategy. The online MBA program is not required to become a certified public accountant (CPA). However, the accounting MBA is a great option for those who wish to pursue leadership roles such as financial manager, financial analyst, or even chief financial officer.

    The accounting MBA program is a graduate degree for people who may already be accounting or business professionals with a chance for career advancement. Advanced accounting classes may also be valuable to those who conduct financial analysis, perform income tax preparation, or must engage in advanced financial reporting as part of their job responsibilities.

    Those who reach the management level in their respective financial departments or accounting firms will often be among the top earners in their field. MBA graduates with a concentration in accounting will typically be eligible for such leadership opportunities.

  9. Executive MBA

    • Sales Managers: 2021 Median Pay-127,490

    The Executive MBA is designed to prepare business professionals for managerial and leadership roles. Students in the executive MBA program will develop critical leadership skills, study corporate strategy, and master the fundamentals of team and project management. Depending on the nature of your executive MBA program, you may be able to drill down a focused executive MBA concentration such as finance, entrepreneurship, international business, or nonprofit management.

    Among the top paying roles for executive MBAs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is sales management. Sales managers oversee the work of organizational sales teams, often identifying priorities, setting sales quotas, delegating sales territories, and more. Many sales managers also earn commissions based on team-wide performance..

  10. MBA in Economics

    • Economists: 2021 Median Pay-$105,630

    MBA programs with an economics specialization are highly regarded. In most cases, a master’s degree is required to become an economist. The list of options for online MBA students with a business economics specialization is limited. However, prospective students who do pursue the economics concentration will be in line for some very well paying job opportunities.

    Many students who earn an online MBA in economics will become economists. However, there are numerous related career paths that you could take including strategic management, human resources management, and business and nonprofit management.

    MBA grads who do become economists may qualify to work in public policy development, economic research, investment banking, and more.

  11. MBA in Business Analytics

    • Financial Risk Specialists: 2021 Median Pay-$100,000

    An online MBA in business analytics is a great degree for business professionals seeking to combine leadership skills with technical knowledge. Business analytics, sometimes also referred to as data analytics, is a rapidly growing area of business. MBA students with a business analytics concentration often go on to well paying jobs in finance and business intelligence.

    Many students with an MBA in business analytics will pursue roles as financial analysts. Financial analysts produce and evaluate financial statements and often work alongside the chief financial officer to make core business decisions regarding both spending and profitability. Among financial analysts, risk specialists often earn some of the highest paying salaries.

    The online MBA in business analytics prepares students for roles as financial analysts and risk specialists. These skills can lead to a wide range of career opportunities in areas like healthcare administration, health services management, investment management, information technology management, and much more.

See what else you can do with an online MBA.

Interested in other high paying degrees? Check out our rankings of the highest paying accounting jobs or the highest paying business degrees. We even rank the highest paying jobs without college degrees.

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