What is the general industry outlook for MBA graduates?

View all blog posts under Articles | View all blog posts under Online Master of Business Administration

A Master of Business Administration degree is a key component of many management-level employment requirements and broader career paths. Students who join MBA programs tend to understand the value of such a degree on a basic level, but there is much more to understand in terms of how MBA graduates fare in their industry. An MBA online degree helps students develop a strong understanding of trends across the economy, preparing them to enter the job market and use their education to its fullest advantage.

Jobs for MBA graduates: What’s on the horizon?

The MBA degree offers students the chance to learn an effective, diverse mixture of management theory and applied strategies, from communication and supply chain management skills to financial and marketing needs. The ultimate goal of most students is to apply these newly cultivated abilities in a management-level position across a broad range of industries. Predictions from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates strong growth in management positions overall, with an 8 percent average increase in supervisory-level employment expected across all professions from 2016 to 2026, creating 807,000 jobs. Additionally, the BLS pegged the median salary for managers at $102,590, an important consideration for students considering a major investment in their education.

It’s important to recognize the divide between those who hold advanced degrees and those who don’t in the context of management-level employment. The BLS noted that most management roles across the economy require only a bachelor’s degree as a prerequisite for employment, and some only require a high school diploma. The exceptions are management positions at public schools and universities, which require a master’s degree. However, while a master’s degree may not always be required, the benefits of an MBA shouldn’t be ignored.

While entry into management positions in industries ranging from natural science to public relations requires only four years of undergraduate education, a significant number of the more senior and important roles in those fields either require applicants to have an MBA degree or will strongly value applicants who hold such a qualification. The dividing line is different for each industry, market segment, and individual business, but the advantage of holding an MBA degree when competing for high-level managerial positions is undeniable. Considering that the highest salaries tend to correlate with the most senior positions in a company and in the economy in general, the value of an MBA degree is clear.

Navigating the job market for MBA graduates

Focusing on a specific industry or market is a prudent decision for students seeking an MBA. Although some learners want the versatility that comes with a generalized education and shouldn’t force specialization upon themselves, a more targeted learning experience allows MBA program participants to hone skills related to a specific profession. Whether it’s due to interest, aptitude, or both, a more specialized MBA education can better prepare students for future growth in a specific field.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham offers four distinct concentrations in its MBA online degree program, alongside a general track option. The four concentrations are:

Finance: An emphasis on managing the funds used by business in both the short and long terms, this concentration includes a number of elective choices for students to focus on the aspects of the field they believe are most relevant. Courses including Portfolio Theory and Construction, Mergers and Acquisitions, Financial Risk Analysis and Management, and Treasury Management are available. This concentration tracks broadly with the financial manager field as defined by the BLS, which has a median salary of more than $125,000.
Marketing: MBA students who choose this focus may gain a deeper understanding of how to successfully define and appeal to potential customers, as well as related analytical processes and concepts. Elective courses as part of the marketing concentration include Marketing Analysis and Decision Making, Applied Marketing Research, and Health Care Marketing, along with a Directed Study course that allows students to emphasize specific topics in business that they believe will be most relevant to their needs as a professional. This concentration has strong ties to the advertising, promotions, and marketing managers category defined by the BLS, which has a median wage of $129,380.
Management Information Systems: MBA students who want to focus on the digital technology used by a wide range of businesses as a backbone of daily operations can benefit greatly from this specialization. Courses include Information Security Management, Social Media and Virtual Communities in Business, Web Analytics, and Introduction to Business Intelligence. This track often leads to positions in the BLS category of computer and information systems managers, with a median wage of $139,220.
Health Services: From small hospitals to health systems stretching across several states, there are many management needs in the world of health care. Students following this track can take courses in Health Care Marketing, Leadership, and Health Economics Online, as well as a broader Directed Study course that can be tailored to a student’s own interests in the field. According to the BLS, medical and health services managers have a median salary of $98,350.

Earning your MBA degree online with UAB

UAB recognizes the needs of modern professionals who can’t easily leave behind current careers or personal responsibilities for full-time study in Birmingham. Our MBA online degree program gives you a fully asynchronous online learning experience, enhanced with strong technical support and a widely respected and connected faculty. To learn more, get in touch with an advisor today.

Recommended Readings:
MBA or EMBA: What’s the Difference?
Top 5 Industries for MBA graduates

UAB Collat School of Business: Course Descriptions MBA
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Management Occupations: Occupational Outlook Handbook