When you make the decision to continue your higher education beyond an undergraduate degree, you likely think about the payoff: Will the education, such as a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA), help you secure a well-paying job? Will you be able to quickly pay off your graduate loan?
If you’re wondering what you can do with an MBA, you’re not alone. While there are many different jobs for MBA graduates, the important thing is identifying which you’re interested in so you know you’ve got a promising career ahead of you on the other side of that MBA program.
What the MBA Prepares You For
Because an MBA exposes you to many different aspects of business, from finance to marketing to economics, it can help you qualify for a wide range of business-related MBA careers. Because you aren’t focused in a single niche, you can apply the leadership, accounting, and communication skills you have learned in your MBA program to your future career, no matter what industry it’s in.
Some prestigious MBA programs (that also come with a hefty price tag) may have an alumni network that can help you find a good job right after graduation. But even if you’ve opted for a more affordable MBA program, the simple fact of you possessing an MBA may be appealing to employers and could help you command a higher salary than you could have earned with just an undergraduate degree.
💡 Quick Tip: Private student loans offer fixed or variable interest rates. So you can get a loan that fits your budget.
The Current Job Market
Despite recent layoffs in a variety of industries, particularly in technology, there are still a lot of industries that are growing and even the ones doing the layoffs are still hiring MBAs. Finding a great job, however, may require using your networks to your best advantage. Human resource experts also advise MBA grads to highlight skills that are especially marketable today, including training in artificial intelligence, project management, business analytics, and supply chain management.
Recommended: Is Getting A Degree In Marketing Worth It?
The Best Jobs for MBA Grads
This leads us back to that question: What jobs can I get with an MBA?
The good news is, no matter what the economic climate and your particular skill set, there are typically many jobs for MBA graduates.
Jobs in Finance
If you aced your finance, statistics, and accounting courses, your future may lie in finance. For someone with an MBA, you’ve got several possibilities.
A financial advisor provides financial planning and advice for clients, and may specialize in certain niches, like estate planning or high net worth clients. Financial advisors may continue to pursue additional certifications or licenses. The median salary for financial advisors is approximately $94,170.
A financial analyst is attuned to the stock market and may make forecasts about the behavior or stocks and bonds for clients. The median salary for a financial analyst is around $81,730.
If you enjoy managing a business’ finances, becoming an accountant may be a good fit. You may be in charge of accounts receivable and payable, as well as filing taxes for a business. The median salary for an accountant is around $77,250.
If you have a little technical skill, a budget analyst might be a good fit. You’ll prepare financial reports, evaluate budgets, and help the business manage its finances. Median salary for a budget analyst falls around $79,940.
Recommended: 9 Top Online MBA Programs
Jobs in Marketing
If numbers aren’t your thing, but you love the idea of promoting a brand and connecting with its customers, a career in marketing could be up your alley.
A marketing manager is involved in overseeing marketing campaigns for a company. You may be involved in the strategy, and/or actual execution of tools like social media, content, and advertising. Median salary for marketing managers is around $135,030.
If you want to get more hands-on with digital marketing, consider applying to become a digital media strategist. This role taps into analytics and data to build marketing and ad campaigns to build relationships with customers. The average salary for a digital media strategist is approximately $62,947.
If you’re a born salesperson, being a sales manager may come naturally to you. They develop sales and promotions and oversee sales teams for a company. The median salary for sales managers is about $130,600.
Jobs in Management
If you’re highly organized and have leadership skills, a career in management might be a good fit, particularly if you also have technical skills.
Management consultants often work in technology fields, and help companies solve problems or facilitate transitions. The average salary for management consultants is around $99,655.
Or you could become an operations manager, who is in charge of making sure a company runs smoothly. This role could be involved in finance, supply chain, hiring, and overall strategy, and the median salary is roughly $97,970.
HR managers are also involved in the company’s operations, though from the human resources perspective. This role recruits, interviews, and hires employees, as well as onboards them and trains them. The average HR Manager salary is around $116,792.
If you like keeping projects running smoothly, you might make a great project manager. You’ll be involved in assigning tasks to team members, communicating with company leaders, and facilitating the success of a project. Average salaries fall around $87,129.
Another option is a product manager, who is involved in creating and marketing new products. The average salary for this role is $114,028.
Jobs in Technology
If your skill set lies in IT, there are several jobs to consider once you’ve graduated.
As IT manager, your role would be to manage and upkeep a business’ IT hardware and software, as well as build strategies and protocols for IT security. The median salary is around $159,010.
Business intelligence analysts assess business data and trends to find ways that a business can become more efficient and profitable. The average salary for a business intelligence analyst is around $87,267.
Recommended: Tips on How to Pay for MBA School
How to Stand Out from other MBAs
Now that you have a sense of your career options post-graduation, the question is how to get hired.
Start by networking. There likely are organizations in your community that cater to a general business audience, or even a specific niche, like IT professionals. Your university may have an organization to connect students with employers.
As you build relationships with people through these groups, you can put feelers out for potential jobs. Remember: Networking isn’t about what you can get out of it but rather what you can give. So contribute what you can and connect people when appropriate, and the favor may be returned.
Update your LinkedIn profile to reflect your education as well as any internships or organizations you have been involved with. It’s also a great place to search for jobs and connect with people who work at companies you’re interested in.
Finding a job will take time, so start early and have patience. Have a few versions of your cover letter that you can modify, and customize the letter you send specific to the job and company you’re applying with.
If you make it to the interview phase, send a handwritten thank you note to the person who interviewed you. This is not only polite, but might help you stand out, since few people send physical mail anymore.
After all your hard work, you will likely be rewarded with a career that allows you to utilize the knowledge you gleaned in your MBA program, and ideally offers a competitive salary that can help you repay any MBA loans you took out to finance your education.
💡 Quick Tip: Would-be borrowers will want to understand the different types of student loans that are available: private student loans, federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans, Direct PLUS loans, and more.
Getting your MBA can open doors for your career. MBA programs aim to teach students a broad range of skills that can help them thrive in a wide range of roles and industries, including tech, HR, marketing, and more.
MBA programs can be pricey. If federal aid, scholarships, and savings aren’t enough to fill the funding gap, private school loans could be one option to consider.
Private student loans are available through private lenders, including banks, credit unions, and online lenders. Loan limits vary from lender to lender, but you can often get up to the total cost of attendance, which gives you more borrowing power than with the federal government. Interest rates vary depending on the lender. Generally, borrowers (or cosigners) who have strong credit qualify for the lowest rates.
Keep in mind, though, that private loans may not offer the borrower protections — like income-based repayment plans and deferment or forbearance — that automatically come with federal student loans.
If you’ve exhausted all federal student aid options, no-fee private student loans from SoFi can help you pay for school. The online application process is easy, and you can see rates and terms in just minutes. Repayment plans are flexible, so you can find an option that works for your financial plan and budget.
SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.
SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility-criteria for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.