By Jong Eun Jung
Most prospective MBA students are looking to business school to make some sort of career transition. But if you’re new to the b-school search process, you might not know which careers are common jobs for MBA graduates and which ones are more niche. If you’re wondering what you can do with an MBA, here are six common functions and industries that many graduates start working in after commencement:
Consulting firms help companies increase their efficiency and profits by addressing various challenges, from implementing new enterprise software to acquiring the right talent. These firms seek people who look at problems from a unique perspective and can explain their solutions clearly to the clients. Presentation skills and teamwork are also valued in this industry. Usually, firms will recruit for a general management position, so most MBA consultants work across multiple industries and project types. However, some firms do hire specifically for consulting areas like human capital, supply chain, and healthcare if candidates have the right experience. To learn more, read this article about switching into a career in consulting.
There are two main functions for MBA careers in finance: corporate finance (financing, capital structuring, investment) and financial services (usually investment banking). Jobs in financial services can have extremely long hours, but the fast pace and competitive environment — not to mention the lucrative salaries and big-name clients — bring a sense of accomplishment. On the other hand, internal roles in corporate finance support the business by gathering and analyzing financial data; these roles tend to have more flexibility than financial services jobs. Other more niche jobs are available in fields such as private wealth management and equity research, but they are usually found in smaller businesses that don’t actively recruit from b-school graduates, so they take more independent work to pursue. To learn more, read this article about switching to a career in finance.
The marketing field offers a lot of MBA job opportunities. Many companies recruit MBAs for brand management (ensuring that a brands’ products are well-marketed and successful) or product management (helping to develop technology products and services). Other marketing MBA jobs include joining an agency on the account management side or becoming a marketing manager at a corporation in a variety of industries. While marketing does involve some creative talent, the work is becoming more focused on data analysis, and it requires strong quantitative skills as well. To learn more, read this article about switching into a career in marketing.
Operations employees strive to improve the processes of a business so that it runs as efficiently as possible. There are many operations MBA jobs available in external consulting firms, healthcare, and direct operations. Operations is multi-disciplinary, since employees need to understand how different functions of an organization come together. Knowing how to manage big data and understanding lean management approaches are also critical for the job. There are no standard titles for MBA operations jobs, so make sure to look carefully at the descriptions of job listings during your research. To learn more, read this article about switching into a career in operations.
An MBA allows you to choose from a variety of jobs in the healthcare industry, including finance, consulting, marketing, operations, and human resources. MBA graduates who successfully recruit for healthcare jobs unite their general management education with deep knowledge of the industry. Some big healthcare corporations have strong recruiting relationships at b-schools, and several offer leadership development programs. However, recruiting processes for MBAs may be more informal at hospitals and smaller companies, since these businesses only recently started to hire MBAs directly out of school. To learn more, read this article about switching to a career in healthcare.
While enjoying working with humans is a plus, Human Resources is much more than that: You’re aiming to improve an organization by effectively structuring and supporting the people within it. There are two broad HR roles: a generalist in charge of multiple HR areas, usually for a single team; and a specialist who concentrates on a specific area (such as people analytics) and works with multiple teams. For both roles, it’s important to understand how a business functions and be able to use quantitative tools like data analysis. Recruiting starts at the beginning of the academic year, so it’s important to engage with employers early if this MBA career is of interest to you. To learn more, read this article about switching into a career in human resources.