5 Lucrative MBA Specializations

Lucrative MBA Specializations - featured image

MBA specializations are becoming more popular as students realize they are the best way to secure a lucrative career with excellent stability and growth. According to the AACSB, the gold standard in business school accreditation, among its member schools, MBA programs offering specializations or concentrations saw a 19% increase in enrollment in 2021. In contrast, MBA programs without concentrations only saw a 13% increase in enrollment in the same year.

Lucrative MBA Specializations - fact

If you’re looking for affordable online Executive MBA programs with lucrative concentrations available, you may want to look into the programs at Florida Atlantic University with concentrations in Finance, Marketing, and Operations Management, among others, and the University of Arkansas with concentrations in General Business Administration, Finance, and Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Benefits of Choosing an MBA Concentration

Keep in mind that choosing an MBA concentration isn’t compulsory, even in MBA programs that offer specializations. It’s usually your choice to pursue a generalist MBA or a specialist MBA.

Featured Programs

Did you know that not all MBA programs require you to pass a standardized entrance exam? You can choose online MBA programs without a GMAT requirement! Take advantage of this as you choose a concentration with your MBA degree.

Career alignment

Your choice in an MBA concentration will match your career goals, personal interests and business education.  You gain the skills that are specific to the industry or occupations you’re planning on pursuing after earning your specialist MBA degree.

Development of industry-specific knowledge and skills 

You can better demonstrate your suitability for specific leadership positions, such as finance manager or sales director, because of your chosen MBA specialization. You can show your ability to identify, evaluate and solve occupational issues.

Take advantage of the market demand

There are good reasons for the increasing popularity of specialist MBA programs including a strong demand for business specialists in the public and private sectors. The five lucrative MBA specializations with their high earning potential are proof of it.

Employers in specialized niches, such as financial technology, e-commerce, and small business management, are more likely to look for professionals with specialist MBA degrees, too. You can stand out from the generalist MBA holders by highlighting your specialist knowledge and skills and, thus, increase your employability factor. 

Increased earning potential

Among the most cited reasons for pursuing an MBA degree, with or without a specialization, is the increased earning potential – and the primary criterion for our five choices of the most lucrative MBA specializations. According to Bloomberg Businessweek. The median gain in salary between pre-MBA and post-MBA among professionals is $85,000 (2022)! The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) agrees – according to its studies, MBA graduates earn 75% more than their bachelor’s degree-only counterparts and MBA graduates enjoy a $125,000 median annual starting salary. 

It can be safely assumed that specialist MBA degree holders can also anticipate the perk of increased earning potential! The five featured specializations in this article open doors of opportunities for leadership positions, many of which have six-figure annual salaries.

Tips in Choosing an MBA Concentration

Have you decided on a concentration and want to earn your MBA within a short period? Start by checking the country’s top accelerated online MBA programs. You can earn your specialist MBA degree in a shorter period and, thus, enjoy the increased earning potential that comes with the coveted credential. 

But you must carefully think about your choice in a concentration since it will have a significant influence on your future. Here are tips that you can consider in this regard. 

  • Identify your skills, strengths and interests as well as your background, professional experience, and career goals first. These aspects must be aligned with the learning outcomes of the concentration that you will choose. For example, if you’re passionate about the finance industry, then your best choice in a concentration is finance. 
  • Research about the job market demands and industry trends to determine which concentration offers the best salary potential. But take note, too, that it isn’t just about the monetary benefits either – you must also consider career progression, job satisfaction, and work-life balance. 

You should discuss your options with your trusted family and friends as well as with your mentor, professors and peers. You will be surprised at the aspects of your personality and professional goals that you’ve overlooked. 

On another note, if you choose to enroll in a cheap online MBA program, your MBA degree becomes even more lucrative! You can quickly recoup your investment in the MBA degree and enjoy high returns on investment.

Highest-paying MBA Concentrations

Below introduces five MBA specializations that guarantee a rewarding career in any industry.

Finance

The finance MBA specialization is designed for students who want finance jobs in non-financial corporations, as CFOs and treasurers, or one of the many careers in the financial services industry, such as in hedge funds, private equity, financial analysis, money management and investment banks. This specialization helps students to advance their knowledge of key financial topics related to global banking, capital structure, corporate finance, risk and asset management and financial markets and regulations. Students become familiar with the main financial concepts used by senior bankers, financial analysts, corporate executives and asset and risk managers. Students learn to solve business problems using financial models, analyze the rationale for M&A transactions and evaluate financial performance through managerial reports.

The common job positions with an MBA in Finance are:

  • Finance manager 
  • Finance director 
  • Financial analyst 

Finance professionals earn between $62,000 and $120,000 depending on experience.

Marketing

An MBA marketing specialization is designed for students who want to take on upper-level marketing responsibilities. This could include jobs related to brand, category, advertising and market research management. There are potential careers in novel marketing roles, such as e-commerce and social media), as well as general roles, such as business development and customer relationship management positions. By focusing on key business processes, such as value chains, relationships and market activities, students learn how to solve real world problems while learning to analyze competitive environments and make strategic marketing decisions. Students will learn how to predict how different marketing strategies affect consumer behavior and how behavioral data can be used to evaluate alternative marketing strategies.

The popular career paths for MBA in Marketing include: 

  • Marketing director
  • Marketing manager
  • Market research director
  • Advertising manager
  • Product manager or brand manager

Salary for marketing professionals are between $55,700 and $116,000, according to data from PayScale. Meanwhile, advertising, promotions and marketing managers earn a media of $127,830 to $140,040 annually, says the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

Strategy

The MBA strategy specialization is designed for students who want to become business and management consultants. This specialization combines recent theoretical frameworks with insightful insights from industry experts to help students acquire the basics of strategy formulation, implementation and evaluation. Students learn about big data, competition analysis, market dynamics, risk uncertainty, technology development and business analytics. They learn to analyze the key drivers of performance in dynamic environments, to develop step-by-step innovation tactics and to predict the adoption probability of new products or technologies. They also learn how to measure environmental uncertainty in order to conduct structured decision analysis and scenario planning.

An MBA in Strategy qualifies you for these positions: 

  • Management consultant
  • Business development manager
  • Government policy analyst

These occupations pay within the $115,050 and $155,850 range, based on Payscale’s latest data.

Entrepreneurship

The MBA entrepreneurship specialization is targeted at students who are interested in starting their own business, taking over an existing business or working in entrepreneurial units of corporations. Students learn to be an entrepreneur through working on teams that develop and present real business projects. Students will experience what it takes to become an entrepreneur, learn how to commercialize an innovative idea and acquire entrepreneurship knowledge and team-based skills through working on projects. They will take classes related to intellectual property law, technical product development and business strategies for early stage companies.

MBA in Entrepreneurship degree holders usually thrive in these careers: 

  • Business owner
  • Innovation and change manager
  • General and operations manager
  • Director of operation

The BLS says top executives and general and operations managers make between $98,100 and $189,520 annually.

Management

A MBA management specialization offers a balanced education that targets students who want to gain a broad set of managerial skills necessary for general management positions. Graduates are ready to work in organizations like corporations, non-profits and entrepreneurial ventures. This program will develop leadership, creativity, decision-making and social influence competencies. Students will learn how to lead multicultural and virtual teams, how to link business strategies to employee performance and how to make effective long-term strategies. Classes cover topics related to game theory tools, strategic thinking techniques, risk analytic frameworks and decision models for business decisions. There may also be classes in advanced financial, competition, consequence and performance analysis.

Another one of the popular MBA specializations is brand management, which covers advertising, price policies, consumer behavior, customer analytics, and the science of persuasion.

Management as a specialization can lead to different work types in project management, healthcare administration, and technology management areas. Project managers make $95,370 per year, on average, while medical and health services managers are paid $104,830 annually.