You’ve decided you want to pursue an MBA to expand your career opportunities in the business world, but the choices of concentrations can be so overwhelming.
Not all MBA concentrations are created equal.
The concentrations on this list made the top 10 for a variety of reasons, including career and earning potential, demand, popularity, and availability.
While an MBA program will provide some basic training in these sub-fields, it’s usually best to choose a concentration that you have some prior experience with, even if it’s minimal. Plus, some may require that experience before you can pursue a specific concentration. At the very least, this list can open your eyes to all the possibilities that are out there.
All salary data is provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Payscale.com.
1. MBA in Finance
At #1 on this list of top 10 MBA concentrations is Finance because of career potential and popularity. According to PayScale, Finance is the highest paid concentration of the options with an MBA degree.
The average pay for someone with 10 or more years of experience (mid-career) with an MBA in Finance is $120,000 per year. The starting pay is over $62,000 per year, which is well over the national average. In an MBA in Finance program, you’ll learn how to manage, direct, and analyze finances for companies.
This concentration is in high demand. Lookup any list (other than this one) of the best paying, most in demand, or most popular MBA concentrations, and you’ll likely find Finance sitting at the top. It consistently ranks high, because it is a concentration that will prepare graduates to advise companies financially, an essential and extremely important role within a company. Getting an MBA in Finance will never go out of style, which is why it’s the #1 MBA concentration.
2. MBA in Information Systems Management
Having someone on their team who knows how to work with people and understand computers is essential to the productivity of a company. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer and information systems managers make about $121,000 per year.
The BLS also reports that this field is growing faster than average, so the need for graduates with an MBA in Information Systems Management is definitely there. Within this concentration, students learn about data management, information systems consulting and strategy, and business process analysis. They can work at a variety of different types of companies, including car manufacturing, software development, and even for colleges and universities.
3. MBA in Technology Management
An MBA in Technology Management is similar to an MBA in Information Systems Management, which is why it appears just below it on this list of the top 10 MBA concentrations.
Someone earning an MBA in Technology Management will focus more on research and product/brand development. Think of this concentration as a mix between Information Systems Management and Marketing, as it combines both of those skills and interests.
4. MBA in Healthcare Administration
Any type of degree in Healthcare Administration is hot right now. And rightfully so, since healthcare administrators and managers can make upwards of $90,000 per year. Plus, the field is growing at an impressive 23 percent rate. MBA holders who understand the ins and outs of the medical sector are in high demand right now.
This concentration will teach students about the technologies and systems used in the healthcare field, how to manage them, and how to work with others to collaborate on developing and implementing innovative approaches to healthcare administration and management.
5. MBA in Marketing
This concentration focuses intensely on how to market brands and products. Marketing managers are in charge of marketing their company, including planning advertising campaigns, analyzing website design and other company media, developing strategies for effective marketing, and hiring marketing analysts who will work with them.
Marketing managers can make over $115,000 per year, on average. While it’s not the fastest growing field on the list, it will maintain average growth over the next 10 years, making it an attractive choice as an MBA concentration.
6. MBA in International Business
Learning about international and global business markets is essential in today’s world. Many American companies have ties overseas and an MBA in International Business will teach students the ins and outs of these relationships as well as about global markets.
Graduates with an International Business concentration can go into sales, marketing, finance, leadership, and other business paths that involve the international arena. It’s a really flexible concentration and perfect for students who have a desire to travel as part of their career.
7. MBA in Accounting
Accounting is one of the most stable sub-fields in business. This concentration is usually designed for students who already have their CPA licensure and are professional accountants by trade.
An MBA in Accounting will prepare students for managerial positions in Accounting such as a senior analyst, a financial advisor, a budget analyst, or even a CFO (Chief Financial Officer). The curriculum for this concentration will most likely include classes that prepare graduates to manage corporate finances in particular.
8. MBA in Business Management
This concentration is a basic degree in business management and will prepare you for a variety of management positions in the field. Graduates with this concentration will be prepared to work in the private and public sectors as HR managers or sales managers. They can get jobs as consultants or analysts as well.
It might be a good plan to tailor your internship or practicum component to the specific field you want to enter so that you’ll have some experience there before getting on the job market with your new degree.
9. MBA in Entrepreneurship
For those who are pursuing an MBA to learn what it takes to start their own business, an MBA in Entrepreneurship is an excellent choice. This concentration will teach students about new business organization, management, taxation, and budget. Students will also learn marketing concepts as they relate to new businesses.
Because starting a new business is always a risk, this concentration falls lower on our list of the top 10 MBA concentrations, but it is great foundational training to help you on your way to being a successful business owner. You’ll probably have a leg up over your competitors who never went to school for business.
10. MBA in Investment Management
This concentration is similar to an MBA in Finance, but a graduate with an MBA in Investment Management has specialized skills in investment analysis and counsel. Students will learn about portfolio distribution and growth, investment returns, and risk management. If you have an interest in finance but want to solely specialize in investments, an MBA in Investment Management might be a good option for you. It might be last on the list, but the salary of a financial investment advisor/manager is up there with financial managers at over $109,000 per year.
Highly specialized concentrations, like Sustainability and Environmental Management and Digital Marketing, didn’t make the list, because only a small number of MBA students pursue those concentrations, but they do exist. These top 10 MBA concentrations are the most easily accessible online and on-campus programs. They are also fields that employ the most MBA graduates. If what you’re looking for isn’t on this list, there’s still a great chance that you can find a program that offers it and secure a satisfying career once you graduate.
What is a Concentration?
A concentration is a specialty area within business that most MBA programs either require or allow their students to choose based on their interests and future career plans. Because an MBA degree is so flexible in terms of career options after graduation, there are almost countless concentrations available to MBA students.
Depending on the program, some programs offer 10 or more concentrations that their students can choose from in completing their degree, while some only offer a small handful of concentrations. Online programs offer a variety of MBA concentrations as well. In fact, you can find any of the ones listed below offered through fully online MBA programs.