Summary: MBA careers undergo changes to survive a transforming economic climate. Find out which careers could position businesspeople for an economic upswing.
MBA Careers Attract the Ambitious During the Economic Downturn
MBA careers aren’t built like they used to be, which many people consider a positive change after the economic downturn that saw many U.S. business models fail. After President Obama’s election, the business world became optimistic about taking a more global approach to creating sustainable business models in the country, and many have speculated that MBA programs would need to be reshaped in order to respond to this demand (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/41a49c8e-51ea-11de-b986-00144feabdc0,dwp_uuid=e43dfb7a-4551-11de-b6c8-00144feabdc0.html).
People are usually drawn to MBA careers because they seem to be the natural next step in their current line of work. Because most MBA programs require some work experience as part of the application process, they encourage those who are feeling stagnant in their current positions to expand their future opportunities through education. One of the most appealing options for MBA seekers who don’t wish to quit their jobs to pursue their degrees is online education, like the MBA in Sustainable Business offered by Marylhurst University, which has responded to the growing need for businesses to be environmentally conscious.
Types of MBA Careers
Because most industries involve a business component, the diversity of disciplines learned during an MBA program can be applied to many different industries. The most popular types of employers for MBA degree holders are companies, non-profits, universities, government and schools; however, healthcare providers have recently seen a spike in the concentration of MBA degree seekers who wish to work in that industry as well. Other possible industries include media, insurance, legal and self-employment options.
While pursuing the MBA degree, students focus on core classes to learn accounting, marketing, operations management, finance and human resources. For the latter part of the degree, many students elect to focus on a specific discipline in order to be better suited for the MBA careers they wish to pursue.
Some of the most popular MBA careers are Financial Controller, Project Manager and Financial Analyst, although the range of possible careers includes everything from an accountant to a civil engineer to a marketing director to a social worker. Depending on the ultimate goals of the individual, any number of untapped job markets could become available.
Just as the number of potential positions covers a wide array, the salaries that go along with those positions also vary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are the median pay rates for popular MBA careers:
Marketing Director $118,000
Art Director $90,000
Financial Controller $80,000
Civil Engineer $78,000
Financial Analyst $50,000
Social Worker $45,000
To see what the average salary is in a specific area of the country, employees can use salary calculators like the one featured at Salary.com.
Is a Degree Necessary For All MBA Careers?
Unbridled ambition is always prized in the workforce, but unfortunately, some employers simply don’t give the consideration to new applicants without MBA degrees that they do to those who have the certification. For many businesses, the MBA requirement is mainly a way to weed out the best applicants from the large pile of applications. In an economy where unemployment is still at 9.7 percent (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm), that pile has grown even larger.
What’s more, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the unemployment rate of non-degree holders in 2008 was at 5.7 percent, while overall median weekly earnings came in at $618 if the individual had a high school degree. Compare that with a 2.4 percent unemployment rate for those who have a master’s degree while those who were employed enjoyed a weekly salary that averaged $1,233, and the value of an MBA becomes more apparent.
MBA Careers in Today’s Economy
During an economic downfall, business professionals take solace in the fact that things are sure to turn around sooner or later, and when they do, they want to be prepared to thrive alongside the growing economy. With educational stimulus packages and increased student grants, education may become an even more affordable and attractive option for those who wish to actively prepare for that upswing.
Possibly some of the best-positioned MBA programs are those that deal with sustainability and environmental issues, as President Obama recently proposed a spending plan to put $150 billion during the course of the next 10 years toward alternative energy solutions. Programs that focus on providing this service are likely to see increased funding and better implementation of their goals.
Options seem to abound because of the diversity of MBA careers available, but it’s important to keep in mind which industries are likely to hire first as the economy struggles to make a comeback. By aligning interests with economic demand for certain skill sets, students could find the transition back to the business world to be just as personally rewarding as it is potentially lucrative.