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Career advancement with an MBA degree

November 29, 2023
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In today’s competitive job market, people are constantly seeking ways to stand out and advance their careers. One powerful route to career enhancement is pursuing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree online. An MBA from a respected business school can open up a world of new opportunities, from increased salary potential to valuable network growth. In this article, we will explore the many aspects of career advancement with an MBA, including salary potential, industry trends, professional development and return on investment (ROI).

Career options

One of the most significant advantages of earning an MBA degree is the vast array of career options it unlocks. MBA graduates are highly sought after in various industries, including finance, marketing, healthcare, technology and consulting.1 Whether you aspire to be a corporate executive, an entrepreneur, or a nonprofit leader, an MBA provides you with the versatility to pursue your passion.

For instance, an individual with an MBA in finance can explore opportunities as a chief financial officer, an investment banker or financial analyst. Meanwhile, an MBA in health systems leadership could help you on your way to the senior management level of a hospital, regional health system, or find other career opportunities related to the business of health care.

The flexibility of an MBA ensures that professionals are not confined to a single career path, enabling you to pivot and adapt to your evolving interests and goals.

Salary potential

One of the most enticing aspects of obtaining an MBA is the potential for a higher salary. According to a 2022 survey from the Graduate Management Admissions Council, the average MBA graduate earns $115,000 per year, which is over $40,000 more than the average starting salary for a bachelor’s degree.2

In fields like investment banking or management consulting, it is not uncommon for MBA graduates to earn six-figure salaries shortly after completing their degree. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for management occupations was $107,360 in May 2022.3

Industry trends and job outlook

To make informed decisions about your educational future it’s crucial to be aware of current industry trends and the job outlook for MBA grads. Currently, technology and sustainability are two major trends shaping the business landscape. The integration of artificial intelligence and data analytics into various industries has created a growing demand for professionals with expertise in these areas.4 Likewise, the emphasis on sustainability and corporate responsibility is driving the need for MBA graduates who can lead organizations in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.5

Luckily, MBA graduates are generally in high demand, particularly in leadership and management positions. As companies continue to expand and evolve, they seek individuals with the hard and soft skils including the strategic thinking and problem-solving abilities that an MBA affords.

Leadership skills

Leadership is a fundamental component of an MBA program. Through coursework, case studies and real-world projects, MBA students develop essential leadership skills, such as decision-making, communication and team management. These skills are highly transferable and applicable to a wide range of industries.

In many organizations, MBA graduates are often fast-tracked into leadership or project management roles. Their ability to lead teams, drive innovation and make critical business decisions positions them as valuable assets to their employers.6


MBA programs often provide students with opportunities to connect with peers, faculty and industry professionals. Building a robust professional network can be instrumental in securing job opportunities, gaining industry insights and accessing mentorship.

Alumni networks are also a significant benefit of earning an MBA.7 Many universities and business schools have active alumni communities that offer ongoing support and connections throughout your career.

Specialized skills

While an MBA provides a well-rounded business education, it also allows for specialization in specific areas of interest. Many MBA programs offer concentrations or electives in entrepreneurship, healthcare management, or supply chain management. Specialized skills can make you highly attractive to employers in niche industries.

For example, an MBA that focuses on healthcare management can lead to roles in hospital administration or pharmaceutical industry leadership, while an MBA with a concentration in entrepreneurship can prepare you to start and grow your own business.

Career change

An MBA can serve as a bridge to a career change. If you find yourself in a profession that no longer aligns with your interests or goals, pursuing an MBA can provide the skills, knowledge and experience you need to transition into a new field. This transition may require a bit of patience and persistence, but an MBA provides numerous opportunities to explore new fields and new roles in class, at events and through extracurricular activities.8

Professional development

Continuing education and professional development are essential for career advancement. An MBA degree is not merely a one-time educational achievement; it signifies a commitment to lifelong learning and growth. The skills and knowledge gained during an MBA program can be continually honed and applied throughout your career.

Many MBA graduates choose to engage in executive education, attend workshops and earn additional certifications to stay updated on industry best practices. This dedication to professional development sets MBA holders apart to potential employers and contributes to their ongoing career success.

Return on investment

One of the most critical considerations when pursuing an MBA is the return on investment (ROI). The cost of an MBA program can be substantial, including tuition, books and the opportunity cost of not working during the program.

The ROI of an MBA varies based on factors such as your career goals, the program you choose and the industry you enter. In general, MBA graduates can expect a positive ROI, thanks to the increased earning potential and career advancement opportunities the business degree provides.9

Apply to a world-class online MBA program

Attaining an MBA can open up diverse career options, the potential for increased salary and the development of leadership skills. Marquette University offers a cutting-edge online MBA program with an ethics-driven curriculum designed to equip business school graduates with the skills to address societal and business-related challenges. To explore Marquette’s world-class online MBA program, schedule a call with an admissions outreach advisor today.

  1. Retrieved on October 10, 2023, from fortune.com/education/articles/mba-grads-reliably-earn-a-six-figure-salary-in-these-6-industries
  2. Retrieved on October 10, 2023 from nerdwallet.com/article/loans/student-loans/business-school-salary-statistics
  3. Retrieved on October 10, 2023, from bls.gov/ooh/management/home.htm
  4. Retrieved on October 10, 2023, from cio.com/article/641589/how-ai-is-reshaping-demand-for-it-skills-and-talent.html
  5. Retrieved on October 10, 2023, from greenbusinessbureau.com/business-function/executive/corporate-social-responsibility-and-sustainability-whats-the-difference/
  6. Retrieved on October 10, 2023, from princetonreview.com/business-school-advice/why-get-an-mba-leadership
  7. Retrieved on October 10, 2023, from hbr.org/2010/10/the-power-of-alumni-networks
  8. Retrieved on October 10, 2023, from usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/articles/how-an-mba-can-lead-to-career-change
  9. Retrieved on October 10, 2023, from cgsm.org/mba-degree-roi-extends-far-beyond-salary/