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What Can You Do with an MBA? 7 Career Paths in the Business World

Business Administration

A Master of Business Administration, or MBA, is an advanced degree that verifies an advanced skill set for business. For individuals pursuing high-level business careers, the cachet of an MBA is worth pursuing. Yet, while an MBA carries clout, one fundamental question needs to be asked: “What can you do with an MBA?”.

The Allure of an MBA

Students earning an MBA gain access to a variety of job opportunities, including those previously unattainable without this advanced degree. Positions typically include high-level roles that allow persons to take an active role in shaping and overseeing a critical business aspect. Companies perceive MBA-accredited employees to have greater competency in skills considered crucial for the company’s success and growth, such as leadership and critical thinking.

An MBA program, such as Norwich University’s Master of Business Administration, enables students to cultivate these fundamental skills at an optimal level and develop a global perspective on business, both instrumental in advancing careers. In addition to the general MBA curriculum, these degree programs offer concentrations that enable students to hone their skills in a specified business area such as construction management, finance, or technology.

A Look at Various MBA Career Paths

Graduates can pursue numerous careers once earning an MBA ranging from Project Manager and Procurement Specialist to Construction Manager and Marketing Director.

Project Manager

Project Managers typically oversee specific company projects. They govern the project from start to finish, creating project strategies and supervising individuals charged with completing specific project tasks within specified deadlines. Based on the responsibilities of the position, leadership skills and soft skills, such as organization and communication, are important to efficiently manage the project and team to keep it on track through completion.  According to PayScale, the average salary for a Project Manager is about $72,500. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an 8% increase in employment of professionals who work in management occupations, including Project Managers, between 2016 and 2026. This projection is slightly higher than the 7% growth anticipated for all professions.

Procurement Specialist

Often known as purchasing specialists, Procurement Specialists commonly purchase materials needed for business operations. Companies in service-oriented industries, such as hotels, medical facilities, and construction firms, commonly employ individuals in this role. Persons in this position usually forecast trends and manage inventory-based business needs - duties requiring well-honed analytical skills. PayScale lists the average Procurement Specialist salary at approximately $49,900. The BLS predicts a 3% decline in the Procurement Specialist field between 2016 and 2026. Earning an advanced degree such as Norwich University’s Master of Business Administration degree can give students interested in the role a competitive edge as they seek a career in the field.

Construction Manager

Construction Managers oversee construction projects from beginning to completion. The role involves a wide range of responsibilities including worker supervision, budget planning, and collaboration with engineers and architects. The eclectic nature of this job requires a broad skill set including leadership, business, technical, analytical, and time-management. According to the BLS, the 2018 median pay for Construction Managers was approximately $93,300. The BLS also reports a projected 11% job growth in the position between 2016 and 2026.

IT Manager

IT Managers, also known as information systems managers, oversee the computer-related functions in a company. They’re instrumental in helping a business identify and execute specific tech-related goals such as implementing new hardware and software systems.  In addition to being tech savvy, IT Managers must constantly learn new technologies and system innovations. In addition, they need strong communication skills to discuss complex technical information in easy-to-understand terms for employees and executives with limited tech knowledge. The BLS reports the 2018 median pay for IT managers was around $142,500, and projects 12% job growth in the industry between 2016 and 2026.

Marketing Director

Marketing Directors usually govern corporate marketing strategies. Key tasks include building campaign concepts and budgets, connecting with customers to better understand their needs, and conducting data analysis to optimize the business’s marketing reach. The role requires individuals to possess strong problem-solving and multi-tasking skills, as well as solid analytical acumen. PayScale lists the average pay for a Marketing Director at approximately $85,000. The BLS places the role of Marketing Director under the advertising, promotions, and marketing managers umbrella, which is expected to see a 10% increase in employment between 2016 and 2026.

Supply Chain Manager

A Supply Chain Manager primarily oversees product logistics that includes devising market delivery and return strategies. As the main objective of this role is ensuring that multi-faceted logistics processes operate efficiently, effective Supply Chain Managers must have strong project management, technology and communication capabilities. According to PayScale, the average salary for an entry-level Supply Chain Manager is approximately $68,200, while a senior-level Supply Chain Manager averages a salary of roughly $109,200. The BLS projects a 7% increase in employment of Supply Chain Managers and other types of logisticians between 2016 and 2026.

Chief Financial Officer

Chief Financial Officers, or CFOs, preside over a company’s day-to-day financial operations, ensuring all matters of corporate finance and accounting run smoothly. CFOs typically possess advanced competencies in accounting and analysis as well as a deep understanding of how software and technology can organize and process corporate financial data. They also must have strong presentation and communication skills to clearly present various financial information to other company executives. According to PayScale, the average salary for a CFO is about $130,300. The BLS projects an 8% job growth between 2016 and 2026 for all types of executives, including CFOs.

An Advanced Degree Can Lead to Career Success

Earning an MBA from Norwich University provides graduates with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in one of many high-level business management positions. Norwich University’s Master of Business Administration online program can help students develop into strong business leaders through a concentration in construction management, finance, organizational leadership, project management, supply chain management and logistics, energy management, or technology management. Learn how this dynamic program can provide you with the skills you need to make a significant impact in the world of business.


Recommended Readings

Return to Norwich for Your MBA

5 Key Tactics of Successful Project Managers

Career Outlook: Chief Executive Officer



Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Average Chief Financial Officer Salary, PayScale

Average Entry-Level Supply Chain Manager Salary, PayScale

Average Marketing Director Salary, PayScale

Average Project Manager (Unspecified Type / General) Salary, PayScale

Average Purchasing Specialist Salary, PayScale

Average Senior Supply Chain Manager Salary, PayScale

Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Investopedia

Computer and Information Systems Managers, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Construction Managers, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Director, Sales and Marketing, PayScale

Job Description and Salary: Supply Chain Management, Investopedia

Logisticians, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Management Occupations, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Master of Business Administration (MBA), Investopedia

Master of Business Administration, Norwich University

Purchasing Managers, Buyers, and Purchasing Agents, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

7 Must-Have Project Management Skills, CIO

Top Executives, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What is Supply Chain Management (SCM?) Definition and Examples, CIO

Why People Still Want an MBA Degree, Forbes

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