What Can I Do With a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA)?

What Can I Do With a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA)?

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is by far the most popular graduate degree, accounting for a quarter of all the advanced degrees earned by graduate students each year. The MBA is popular for a reason. The MBA degree provides the opportunity to learn critical leadership skills, focus on a particular area of business that interests you, and significantly improve your earning potential.Given the MBA’s popularity, you can be sure that you’ll be competing for job opportunities with a number of candidates who hold advanced degrees as well. At the very least, earning your MBA can place you on equal footing with the competition.

Today there is even more good news: many top flight colleges and universities offer MBA degrees online. For people looking to move up in their career while they maintain a day job, online MBA programs provide the most flexible path to degree obtainment.

Related: The 50 Best Online MBA Programs

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What’s the Difference between an Online MBA and Traditional MBA?

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Why Get a Master’s Degree in Business?

The primary reason to earn a master’s degree in business is to improve your appeal to prospective employers while simultaneously enhancing your skills and leadership capabilities. Because the MBA is such a popular degree, you will be competing with many other masters as you apply for jobs and seek opportunities for career advancement. Earning your MBA from a well-regarded school will place you at least on equal footing with other job candidates.

It can also be a great way to deepen your skills in a specific area of business. Whether you’re interested in accounting, human resources, supply chain management, or organizational psychology, a master’s can help you transform a general undergraduate degree into a highly-valued specialization. The great thing about a master’s in business is that your specialization will be applicable in an almost limitless range of professional settings. Indeed, top business influencers have cast an exceedingly wide cultural shadow in areas such as social media, personal computing, finance, and more.

Learn more about these and other top influencers in the field of business today!

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How Can I Qualify To Get a Master’s Degree in Business?

Many, but not all, MBA programs require you to pass an admission exam called the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). The GMAT is an entrance exam for business students that tests aptitude in writing, data analysis, mathematics, and verbal reasoning. Though not all programs require the GMAT, a high score on this exam can significantly improve your chances of getting into the graduate program of your choice.

If no GMAT is required, the primary requirement for gaining eligibility into a Business master’s program is completion of a bachelor’s degree from a properly accredited undergraduate school. While programmatic accreditation is not specifically required in this field, most regionally-accredited graduate schools will require that your bachelor’s degree be granted by a regionally-accredited college or university.

Some colleges may offer accelerated bachelor’s to master’s degree programs (also sometimes called accelerated 4+1 degree programs), where you could earn your advanced degree in one continuous five-year program. This option could save you time and money if you already know that you’ll be pursuing your advanced degree. However, the accelerated pace of such a program may make this a challenging way to earn both degrees. Find out if your school offers this bundling option and ask about eligibility requirements. But be sure you’re up to the added challenge!

For any additional questions about eligibility, refer to your intended program and learn more about application requirements and any additional requirements such as work experience, academic performance thresholds, and referrals. If you’re still working on building your qualifications, check out our look at the business major to find out how you can get an undergraduate degree in business.

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What Kinds of Advanced Business Degrees Are There?

In addition to opening numerous career pathways, majoring in business as an undergraduate can help prepare you for pursuit of an advanced degree. Many business majors will go on to pursue a graduate degree, which provides the opportunity to dive more deeply into a specific area of study while improving employment and earning potential.

  • Master of Business Administration (MBA): Typically a 2-year program, the MBA is designed for students interested in management and organizational leadership opportunities. An MBA can make you a more competitive candidate for leadership roles and improve your opportunities for organizational advancement.
  • PhD in Business: The doctoral-level degree in business is largely reserved for those interested in conducting research or pursuing professorship in business topics such as human resources, account, or organizational psychology.
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What are Some Popular Business Specializations?

Your MBA will provide some opportunities to explore general business theories and leadership strategies. But you’ll also have the chance to hone in on a specialization within this broad field. Many of these specializations are designed to provide you with practical skills that will be of value as you advance into a career. Top specializations include:

  • Accounting
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Finance
  • International business
  • Human resources
  • Health services administration
  • Management information systems
  • Business administration and management
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What Courses Will I Take as a Business Master?

Your specialization will determine many of the courses you’ll take as a business master. Likewise, you will be required to take a number of requisite courses on foundational topics such as Finance and Marketing. But you’ll also have the chance to select from an array of courses based on your personal and professional interests.

Common Business courses include:

  • Accounting
  • Organizational Leadership
  • Negotiation Tactics
  • Economic Statistics
  • Operational Logistics
  • Business Ethics
  • Brand Management
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Is a Master’s Degree in Business Worth It?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the MBA is perhaps the most worthwhile of all advanced degrees, especially if you choose a fast-growing area of specialization such as securities, commodities and financial services. The BLS notes that MBAs in finance earned a wage that was nearly 90% higher than that of bachelor’s with the same area of focus! In fact, in most roles-from market research analysts and marketing sales managers to real estate managers and distribution managers, those with advanced degrees enjoyed a wage premium of between $20,000 and $30,000 over their undergraduate counterparts.

Career Outlook for Students with Business Administration 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
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What Are The Top Jobs With a Master’s In Business Degree?

Though a bachelor’s degree in business will qualify you for most jobs in the field of business, the MBA truly enhances your appeal to employees, expands your opportunities for career advancement, improves your earnings, and can generally place you on a path toward leadership in your area of specialization. Your MBA can lead to a wide range of career opportunities, including these top jobs:

Curious how far you could go with an MBA? Start with a look at the top influencers in the field today!


Now that you know how to earn a master’s degree in business, check out:

Check out the full list here and get started on your path to an MBA.

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Student Submitted Questions on Master’s Degrees in Business Administration

Aaron asks, “Can you provide examples of recent internship placements for MBA students?”

Dr. James Barham’s answer: Many MBA programs partner with local businesses and companies and can provide connections for students who are interested or required to complete internships. With that being said, internship partnerships and placements will vary greatly depending on the university the student goes to. Keep in mind that if you have a specific field of business you want to pursue, it might be worth it to see which schools are partnered with well known companies in that field. Some programs might require students to find their own internships, but they should provide support and guidance on how to go about that process.

Klaaske asks, “What percentage of graduates secure employment within three months of graduation?”

Dr. Jed Macosko’s answer: While employment rates for MBA graduates can vary widely depending on factors such as the institution they go to, economic conditions, and individual student efforts, top MBA programs tend to report employment rates of 80% to 90% within a three-month timeframe. However, remember that this figure can fluctuate. It’s always best to check with specific MBA programs for their current employment statistics.

Jake asks, “How do MBA programs support career changers transitioning into the business field?”

Dr. James Barham’s answer: MBA programs will most likely offer career coaching and advising, internship opportunities, and alumni networking. Some programs will offer specialized tracks or concentrations for students who have specific fields of business they are interested in.

And if you’re still shopping for the right college, be sure to bookmark our Resources on critical issues like Accreditation, Scholarships, Financial Aid, and more!

See our complete guide to MBAs for more information.

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