What Can I Do With a Master of Business Administration?

A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at AIU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.

The Master of Business Administration, or MBA, is one of the most popular graduate degrees, with the National Center for Education Statistics reporting that nearly one quarter of 2016 graduates (the last year with available data) were awarded in business.1 Given the increased prevalence of the MBA, you may be asking why this degree is so popular, and "What can I do with a Master of Business Administration?"

While the specific curriculum will likely differ from institution to institution, MBA programs often focus on a mixture of soft skills that can help students prepare for the challenges of middle and upper management as well as more specialized courses focused on particular career fields or sub-sections of the field. For this reason, an MBA can provide you with the opportunity to study a particular field and work to develop skills to pursue a diverse range of career paths.

Below we cover some of the common positions for MBA graduates within each of these major growth sectors.

Technology

Computer and Information Systems Manager – Most employers looking for a computer and information systems manager require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree in computer or information science, though many prefer a graduate degree.2 Job duties include managing a company's technology needs, including everything from IT support for employee technology to upgrading servers and cybersecurity. They may also be responsible for analyzing a company's changing technology needs and advising management on when to adopt new technology.3

Marketing

Market Research Analysts – Many market research analyst positions require a bachelor's degree, though many leadership and advanced research positions may require a master's degree.4 Market research analysts are responsible for helping companies understand what types of products and services are likely to be the most profitable for their target demographics. This can involve monitoring market trends, collecting data on consumer demands and buying habits, and researching competitors in a target area or brand sector. In addition to generating reports and performing statistical analysis, research analysts also commonly work with marketing and advertising teams to develop branding, sales plans and promotions.5

Operations

Operations Research Analysts – Most of these positions require at least a bachelor's degree, with some employers preferring to hire applicants with a master's degree.6 Operations research analysts combine a nuanced understanding of business operations and logistics with advanced analytical methods to help companies run more efficiently. Responsibilities may include studying the various processes through which a business produces and distributes its products, reporting to upper management on how to improve these processes, and even designing new production schedules or workflows as needed.7

Management Analysts – Some employers may prefer to hire MBA degree-holders, though this is not always a requirement.8 Management analysts also help advise businesses on how to be more profitable and efficient, but they do so differently than operations research analysts. Where the latter is primarily concerned with production and logistics, management analysts may focus on a number of different aspects of a company (such as inventory management or corporate restructuring).9

Finance and Accounting

Financial Analysts – Financial analysts advise individuals and companies on how to invest their earnings to maximize returns. This may involve managing an individual's retirement portfolio or evaluating an entire company's financial records in order to make recommendations to upper management. For this reason they must constantly stay updated on market trends and relevant financial regulations. Often financial analysts work with specific types of investments as portfolio managers, fund managers, ratings analysts and risk analysts.10

Securities, Commodities and Financial Services Sales – Like many other jobs on this list, an MBA may not always be required for an entry-level position but can help when advancing to upper-level positions.11

People in this field are responsible for connecting buyers and sellers in financial markets. Agents may sell directly to individuals, advise companies on investors, and even conduct trades. Specific job roles for an experienced professional could include monitoring markets and the performance of individual securities, as well as analyzing company finances to assist in determining the need for public offerings, acquisitions and mergers.12

Ready to learn more? Explore business degrees at AIU.

1. National Center for Education Statistics, "The Condition of Education 2018: Graduate Degree Fields," on the Internet at https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_ctb.asp (visited October 16, 2018).
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, "Computer and Information Systems Managers: How to Become a Computer and Information Systems Manager," on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/computer-and-information-systems-managers.htm#tab-4 (visited October 16, 2018). Conditions in your area may vary.
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, "Computer and Information Systems Managers: What Computer and Information Systems Managers Do," on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/computer-and-information-systems-managers.htm#tab-2 (visited October 16, 2018).
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, "Market Research Analysts: How to Become a Market Research Analyst," on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/market-research-analysts.htm#tab-4 (visited October 16, 2018).
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, "Market Research Analysts: What Market Research Analysts Do," on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/market-research-analysts.htm#tab-2 (visited October 16, 2018).
6. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, "Operations Research Analysts: How to Become an Operations Research Analyst," on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/math/operations-research-analysts.htm#tab-4 (visited October 16, 2018). Conditions in your area may vary.
7. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, "Operations Research Analysts: What Operations Research Analysts Do," on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/math/operations-research-analysts.htm#tab-2 (visited October 16, 2018).
8. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, "Management Analysts: How to Become a Management Analyst," on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/management-analysts.htm#tab-4 (visited October 16, 2018).
9. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, "Management Analysts: What Management Analysts Do," on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/management-analysts.htm#tab-2 (visited October 16, 2018).
10. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, "Financial Analysts: What Financial Analysts Do," on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-analysts.htm#tab-2 (visited October 16, 2018).
11. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, "Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents: How to Become a Securities, Commodities, or Financial Services Sales Agent," on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/sales/securities-commodities-and-financial-services-sales-agents.htm#tab-4 (visited October 16, 2018).

For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended these programs, go to www.aiuniv.edu/disclosures. AIU cannot guarantee employment or salary. Not all programs are available to residents of all states.
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