- How are MBA Programs Accredited and What are the Main Accrediting Bodies?
- What is the Difference Between an MPA and an MBA?
- What are the Top-Paying Careers in Business Administration?
- How Do I Find the Best Online MBA for Me?
Laypersons might think that MBAs are all made alike. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Online MBA programs are as varied as they come with concentrations in a wide range of subjects.
This variety is to your benefit. Rather than having a degree that’s made to be one-size-fits-all, you can instead pursue an education that primes you to be a leader in your selected field.
The sheer popularity of MBA programs is one reason for the diversity of concentrations. As the National Center for Education Statistics reports, over the ten year period between 2005 and 2015, the number of graduates with MBAs increased by nearly 40,000.
Another factor that has led to a diversification of MBA concentrations is the rapidly changing workforce. Not only are economies becoming more and more globalized, but new and emerging fields are requiring that online MBA programs develop new concentrations to meet demand for educated workers.
Below, we’ve outlined some of the most popular concentrations available within online MBA programs.
Table of Contents:
- Highly Searched Concentrations
- MBA in Healthcare
- MBA in Management
- MBA in HR Management
- MBA in Finance
- MBA in Accounting
- MBA in Marketing
- MBA in Business Analytics
Highly Searched Concentrations
With hundreds of MBA concentrations, there have to be some that are more popular than others. Indeed, Princeton Review notes that there are five specializations that are most popular year in and year out:
- MBA in Strategy
- MBA in Corporate Finance
- MBA in Operations
- MBA in Entrepreneurship
- MBA in Management
But what makes these MBA concentrations more highly searched and sought after than others?
As noted earlier, economies are becoming more interdependent and globalized. And with that brings the need to have workers that can manage the dynamics of rapidly changing economic landscapes. An MBA in Strategy can help you help businesses thrive by outlining long-term goals, objectives, and policies that will improve the company’s bottom line.
MBAs in Corporate Finance, Operations, and Management are all about preparing you for managing huge sums of money, organizational structures, workers, and information. These specializations are widely applicable, too. Workers with these degrees are found in niches like health care, finance, accounting, human resources, and more.
An MBA in Entrepreneurship is a widely searched option primarily because of the lure of being one’s own boss. Having the appropriate skills to plan your business and get it off the ground is exactly what will help you sustain the business for years and years of growth.
So, whether you want to tap into a niche of the global marketplace for yourself, help manage a multi-national corporation, or be a consultant for businesses seeking to expand, any one of these highly searched MBA concentrations will be a solid choice.
MBA in Healthcare
As the name indicates, an MBA in Healthcare combines the business curriculum of an MBA with studies of the modern healthcare system. This being the case, you learn essentials like accounting, marketing, and business leadership. But you also take coursework in healthcare-specific topics like informatics, health systems, and health law.
This is a highly attractive area of concentration because some of the fastest-growing careers are in the medical and health services fields. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that jobs for healthcare managers will grow by 18 percent through 2028, compared to just 5 percent predicted growth for all occupations.
Furthermore, with an MBA in Healthcare, you can command an excellent salary. The BLS notes that the median yearly salary for medical and health services managers is nearly $101,000 per year. With some experience, you could find positions that pay nearly $190,000 per year.
This MBA specialization can prepare you for a variety of healthcare jobs, too. Many graduates of MBA in Healthcare programs go on to be hospital directors and administrators, healthcare CEOs, health services managers, and nonprofit directors.
MBA in Management
As noted earlier, one of the most highly searched MBA concentrations is Management. This area of study prepares you to be a sound decision-maker and manager in the workplace.
Studies in management include the typical business administration courses, like accounting, business strategy, human resource management, and information systems. These courses are combined with concentration-specific classes like business ethics and organizational management to help you develop the analytic skills and corporate strategies you’ll need to find success in this field.
You can take your education in management in any number of directions in the business world. Some graduates with an MBA in Management pursue careers in operations management, in which their primary duty is to help businesses improve efficiency in order to maximize potential profits.
Though operations management isn’t expected to grow as rapidly as other areas (the BLS estimates its growth at seven percent through 2028), there are still plenty of jobs to be had in this field.
Another career path you might take with an MBA in management is in the nonprofit sector. Nonprofits are often run by directors with an MBA, and an MBA in management prepares you to oversee a large budget, expenditures, staff and volunteers, and pursue grants and other funding for the organization.
Work in the nonprofit sector isn’t as lucrative from a salary standpoint – usually less than $100,000 per year – but working for a cause in which you believe can lead to very high job satisfaction.
Work in the global management sector is also a popular option for people with MBAs in this specialization.
Businesses at home and abroad are seeking to expand their footprint into new territories as globalization continues to reshape economies around the globe. To spur that growth and continue it for the long-term, businesses need visionary managers that can outline tangible and attainable goals for business growth.
What’s more, workers in this position need to have the critical expertise of understanding how to manage finances, workers, technology, and so forth if the company is to meet its goals.
Positions in global management come with excellent pay, usually around $100,000 per year, though that figure can be much higher as the years of experience increase.
MBA in HR Management
An MBA in Human Resources Management might be for you if you want to be part of the leadership team that oversees the processes of recruiting and interviewing potential employees. Likewise, human resources workers hire new staff members, help resolve workplace conflicts, and manage the firing process as well.
Additionally, an MBA in this specialization prepares you to be the “bridge” in a business, one that connects employees with management. As such, programs in this field have significant coursework in interpersonal communication, behavioral science, organizational theory, and organizational design, to name a few.
According to the BLS, the job outlook for human resources managers is good, with an estimated growth rate of 10 percent through 2028. Pay for these positions is good as well. The BLS notes that the average annual wage for all human resources managers is $116,720, which makes this specialization one of the most lucrative.
There are other common positions in human resources to consider as well. Some companies have training and development managers. Others have benefits managers that work solely in the realm of managing employee salaries and benefits.
Regardless of the path you take in human resources, it can be a highly rewarding job. Businesses can’t survive without people, and as a manager of those people, you have a real opportunity to effect positive change in the workplace.
MBA in Finance
If you’re interested in jobs in the banking and financial services sectors, a concentration in Finance is a top pathway to consider.
Finance can be a very high paying line of work, and with an MBA, you’ll be equipped for many different finance jobs, including cash management, corporate finance, investment management, and forecasting, among others.
Since this concentration is one of the oldest and most popular, there is stiff competition for spots in these MBA programs. However, there are dozens of online MBA programs in finance, so you can find a quality program that’s a good fit for you, and that prepares you for a long career in the financial sector.
You don’t have to work for a hedge fund or on Wall Street if you have an MBA in Finance, either. Some finance graduates pursue careers in adjacent fields, like the energy sector or healthcare. Whatever the case, you can look forward to the potential for a very high income – according to Monster.com, with an MBA you can expect a yearly salary of $103,000, on average.
Of course, with an MBA in Finance, you’re on the right track to pursue executive positions. Chief Financial Officer, for example, comes with an average salary of $183,000 per year.
MBA in Accounting
Many MBA students opt to pursue a concentration in accounting. This is for many different reasons, not the least of which is that having an accounting background gives you a plethora of options when it comes to employment.
Businesses large and small, domestic and international, public and private have a need for competent workers with experience in accounting. With an MBA in accounting, you can work in a variety of positions, including financial controller, budget analyst, or benefits manager.
Like many of the other concentrations on this list, accounting has excellent income potential. The BLS estimates that the average annual wage for accountants is nearly $72,000. With experience and promotions to higher-level positions, the average annual salary is much higher.
There is always a demand for workers with accounting experience as well. While the BLS predicts average growth for jobs in this sector, it’s worth noting that as globalization continues, and taxes and regulatory standards become more complex, accountants will continue to be in high demand.
MBA in Marketing
If you pursue an MBA in Marketing, you’ll learn core business administration ideas like finance, business communications, business law, and entrepreneurship, among others. Courses in the marketing concentration, however, focus your attention on topics like marketing management, brand development, communication, and public relations.
But focusing on a marketing concentration doesn’t mean you have to go into advertising. Instead, an MBA in this specialization can lead to all sorts of jobs in marketing, from being a marketing director to media relations to sales management.
The BLS notes that many careers in marketing are very lucrative. For example, marketing managers make $136,850 per year on average. Advertising managers make $135,900 on average. Sales managers make slightly less at $128,870.
Generally speaking, growth for jobs in this field isn’t expected to be robust. However, the BLS estimates a growth rate of eight percent through 2028, so it is predicted that a higher-than-average number of jobs will be available should you choose this concentration.
One area that is expected to have explosive growth is market research analysis. According to the BLS, this occupation is predicted to grow by 20 percent through 2028. This is primarily due to the ever-increasing use of market research and market data by companies that are trying to better understand what consumers want. If you want excellent job security and income potential, market research is where it’s at.
MBA in Business Analytics
Business Analytics is a newer MBA concentration. It is interdisciplinary in nature, combining the typical MBA coursework with classes that focus on analytics. This includes courses like financial reporting analysis, econometrics, and marketing intelligence.
Because Business Analytics is an interdisciplinary field, getting a degree in it prepares you for work in a wide range of environments. Some graduates choose to work for government agencies while others elect to go to work for banks or other financial institutions. Yet others work in insurance, finance, and manufacturing.
Furthermore, this interdisciplinary approach means you might meet the educational requirements for any number of manager-level positions. This includes marketing manager, finance manager, or management consultant.
Similar to many of the other concentrations on this list, Business Analytics comes with excellent income potential. For example, with an MBA in Business Analytics, you could be hired as a financial manager. That occupation has an average annual salary of $129,890.
Of course, money isn’t everything, so you should review the online MBA concentrations thoroughly and select one that really speaks to you. While making a lot of money is nice, it’s also important that you choose a field in which you are interested and in which you can envision yourself working for many years to come.
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