Top 25 MBA Concentrations [2021 Ultimate Guide]

Compare MBA Concentrations based on salary, job growth, career satisfaction, and long-term prospects. Make an informed choice: Start here!

Compare MBA Concentrations based on salary, job growth, career satisfaction, and long-term prospects.

MBA Concentrations

Not all MBA concentrations are created equal. While a traditional or online MBA program can 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.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

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.

What Are the Best MBA Concentrations?

Choosing an MBA concentration in an area that sparks your interest can help provide you with more specific job prospects upon completion of the course, but what type of career could you expect to find yourself in afterward, at what level of seniority, and with what type of salary?

Methodology: The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides the annual median salaries and job growth statistics for a wide-range of professions. The MBA concentrations included below are ranked from the highest median salaries to the lowest median salaries for the occupation listed as indicated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

These are all important questions to consider when choosing a concentration to ensure you make the best decision for your future.

  1. Information Technology
  2. Management Information Systems
  3. Internet Marketing
  4. Marketing
  5. Finance
  6. Agri-Business
  7. Human Resources
  8. Management
  9. Economics
  10. Healthcare Administration
  11. Business Administration
  12. Forensic Accounting
  13. International Business
  14. Business Analytics
  15. Small Business
  16. Retail & Sales Management
  17. Supply Chain and Logistics
  18. Sports Management
  19. Entrepreneurship
  20. Accounting
  21. Environmental Management
  22. Nonprofit Management
  23. Real Estate
  24. Project Management
  25. Hospitality Management

Our ranking of the best MBA concentrations is based on the median annual salary of the selected occupations as indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

1. Information Technology

IT manager working on his computer

  • Annual Median Salary: $184,460 per year
  • Projected Job Growth: 15%

As well as working on core business skills, an MBA in IT is designed to provide training in information security, technology management, and systems development.

This is a sector that is growing year on year, as more businesses increase their online presence and transfer their operations to computer systems.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

If you have a strong technological background with a desire to advance your career in IT management, then an MBA with a concentration in information technology might be a good match for you.

Job prospects in this field include roles such as systems managers, IT managers, and chief technology officers.

2. Management Information Systems

system analyst checking data in control room

  • Annual Median Salary: $146,360 per year
  • Projected Job Growth: 10%

An MBA with a focus on management information systems is designed to give graduates an edge over their competition, with a practical skillset based on both experience and theory.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Course topics may include system analysis, resource management, corporate finance, and strategies. This course can offer great versatility to graduates, with potential careers in systems analysis, information and data analysis, and systems development.

If you have a strong foundation in IT that you can build on, an MBA in management information systems may work for you.

3. Internet Marketing

marketing director having a meeting with his team

  • Annual Median Salary: $136,850 per year
  • Projected Job Growth: 6%

This course aims to develop skills in digital media marketing, strategic product placement, and online customer engagement.

Completion of an MBA with a concentration in internet marketing can help a graduate pursue a career in improving brand growth via online platforms.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Those with an MBA earn on average $30,000 a year (Bureau of Labor Statistics) more than those who only have a bachelor’s degree in marketing. Course topics may include social media optimization, customer relations, and online branding.

Career opportunities suited to this type of MBA include roles as social media manager, digital marketing manager, and marketing director.

4. Marketing

marketing manager encouraging his team to share their ideas during a meeting

  • Annual Median Salary: $136,850 per year
  • Projected Job Growth: 7%

An MBA in marketing is designed to provide students with the core skills of business administration, as well as covering marketing topics in detail. Course modules may include digital content marketing, brand awareness, consumer relationships, and marketing research methods.

Following completion, graduates may secure positions such as marketing manager, communications officer, or brand manager.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

This is a sector that is undergoing rapid expansion, with a growth in demand for employees with a strong knowledge of marketing and business practices.

This MBA may be a wise choice for anyone with an interest in brand or marketing management who wants to develop into a senior professional role.

5. Finance

financial manager working on her laptop in a cafe

  • Annual Median Salary: $127,990 per year
  • Projected Job Growth: 16%

An MBA in finance focuses on budgeting and financial best practices while still covering a broad business-based topic range.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

This degree is designed to give students the skill set they need to find senior-level careers in professional roles, including potential job titles such as financial manager, financial advisor, and financial analyst.

As every business, big or small, relies on good financial practices to perform well, graduates can pursue financial jobs in almost any sector. This type of MBA may appeal to those with a mathematical mind who enjoy problem-solving.

6. Agri-Business

agribusiness owner checking on his plants in a botanical garden

  • Annual Median Salary: $125,290 per year
  • Projected Job Growth: 3%

The agricultural industry is huge, so an MBA in agricultural business can help prepare you for a future career in farming, the food industry, or within the government.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Your roles may include agribusiness owner or manager, agricultural operations specialist, financial officer, or agricultural sales manager, to name a few.

An MBA with a focus on agri-business typically has a curriculum based around farm finances, leadership, food marketing, and best business practices. It may be well suited to anyone with an interest in food production who wants to gain a more agricultural specific skill set.

7. Human Resources

human resource managers interviewing a job applicant

  • Annual Median Salary: $116,720 per year
  • Projected Job Growth: 6%

An MBA in human resources may benefit those who want to fast-track their career to a senior level of human resources.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Modules in this program usually cover areas such as business ethics, operation management, and employee development, with an emphasis on practical business skills within the workplace.

After completing an MBA in human resources, graduates typically go on to take up roles as human resource managers, relationship managers, human resource consultants, and directors of human resources.

8. Management

office manager having a meeting with her team

  • Annual Median Salary: $105,660 per year
  • Projected Job Growth: 5%

If you are naturally drawn towards leadership roles and exhibit good people management qualities, you may be well-suited to an MBA with a concentration on management.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Similar to a one year executive MBA, this type of MBA can help you develop your leadership skills, hone staff management skills, and prepare you for practical life as a business manager or high-level executive.

Topics commonly covered are conflict management, building customer and employee relations, developing staff, and effective communication, among other things.

9. Economics

economist working in his office

  • Annual Median Salary: $105,020 per year
  • Projected Job Growth: 14%

Economics programs teach business skills from a financial perspective, with modules concentrating on economic theory, economic principles, economic trends, and best practices.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

You may learn about consumer behaviors, pricing, supply and demand, local economies, and the global marketplace, as well as gain skills surrounding quantifying and analyzing data.

After accomplishing an MBA in economics, most people typically secure jobs in financial roles, such as a behavioral economist, a market research analyst, or a data scientist. Careers in this sector often carry attractive wages, with average salaries being over $100,000.

10. Healthcare Administration

health services administrator assisting a patient in the reception area

  • Annual Median Salary: $100,980 per year
  • Projected Job Growth: 31%

More healthcare business managers are in demand since an aging population is causing an increase in medical occupations. Therefore, an MBA in healthcare administration may be a wise concentration choice if you want job security on completion of your degree.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

This course typically looks at business management from a healthcare perspective, incorporating modules on handling budgets, policies, and finance at hospitals, hospices, and residential healthcare facilities.

Upon completion of this MBA, you may land a career as a director of health services, a medical services manager, or a health services administrator.

11. Business Administration

business administrators meeting in a conference room

  • Annual Median Salary: $100,780 per year
  • Projected Job Growth: 6%

A master’s in business administration it designed to give students a broad scope of knowledge to further establish themselves as serious business professionals.

Topics covered typically include financial analytics, strategic decision making, and leadership development. Career prospects for this MBA are wide-ranging, and after accomplishing this course, many graduates are fast-tracked to senior roles in their chosen sectors.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

If you are looking for a prestigious degree to give you a good grasp of all areas of business administration, helping you further your professional career, then this may be a viable option. After completing this MBA, people typically go on to occupy roles in finance, analytics, or management.

As a non-sector-specific MBA, this degree offers endless possibilities in terms of future careers.

12. Forensic Accounting

forensic accountant checking documents and working on her laptop

  • Annual Median Salary: $74,260 per year
  • Projected Job Growth: 4%

A career in forensic accounting involves investigating financial crimes, including money laundering, tax fraud, and online fraud.

With the rise in computer-related financial crimes on the rise, it’s no surprise to see that employees with expertise in forensic accounting are in high demand.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

You may be drawn to forensic accounting if you have excellent attention to details, an inquisitive or suspicious nature, and an analytical thought process. An MBA in forensic accounting will also require you to have integrity, and a strong grasp on data and statistics processing.

Topics you are likely to cover in a forensic accounting MBA include information security, fraud detection, and business ethics.

13. International Business

global trade managers meeting in a conference room

  • Annual Median Salary: $94,560 per year
  • Projected Job Growth: 3-4%

International business MBAs are designed to prepare students for professional careers on a global level.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Course modules typically focus on international finance, import and export regulations, the global finance market, as well as global supply chains. Practical skills are usually developed over theory, which can give graduates a step up into the world of international business.

Career opportunities following completion of an MBA in international business include roles in various sectors as global trade managers, international sales managers, and in global marketing.

14. Business Analytics

business analyst working on her computer in an office

  • Annual Median Salary: $85,260 per year
  • Projected Job Growth: 11%

Business analytics is an attractive concentration for many MBA students because of how rapidly the market is expanding in this area, with job growth increasing at a projected rate of 14% each year.

This degree focuses on business skills and data analysis, teaching students how to effectively process and predict data. Other common topics of study are finance, leadership, and developing business in the global marketplace.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

An MBA in business analytics can help you pursue a job in an analytical career, such as systems analyst, business analyst, solutions architect, and data processing.

This degree is often a good match for those with an analytical mind who enjoy working with data, IT systems, and number crunching.

15. Small Business

small business owners checking inventory on his clipboard

  • Annual Median Salary: $84,390
  • Projected Job Growth: 11%

An MBA in small business is designed to equip students with the core essentials required in business administration, as well as help them develop their business knowledge from a small business perspective.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Common topics covered include small business finance, leadership, planning, marketing, and development strategies.

This is a course that typically suits those looking to invest in their own small businesses or start-ups, as well as those currently running small businesses who feel they would benefit from a specific improved skill set.

16. Retail & Sales Management

retail managers checking their supplies

  • Annual Median Salary: $76,540 per year
  • Projected Job Growth: 3%

An MBA in retail and sales management may be a good option for those already in the retail and sales management sector who want to fast-track their career to a more senior level.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

As well as covering the core subjects of business administration, this MBA focuses in detail on leadership in a retail environment, staff management and development, finance, budgeting, and customer relations.

Emphasis is placed on practical skills over theory, helping graduates move into managerial roles within retail.

17. Supply Chain and Logistics

supply chain manager giving instructions to his staff

  • Annual Median Salary: $74,750 per year
  • Projected Job Growth: 6%

As well as providing students with a solid foundation of business principles, an MBA in supply chain and logistics focuses on manufacturing, marketing, logistics, purchasing, warehouse management, and quality control.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Potential careers to pursue after completing this course include supply chain manager, logistics engineer, warehouse manager, and logistics planner.

Those selecting an MBA in supply chain and logistics need to have good organization skills, be good at problem-solving, and have a keen interest in the subject matter.

18. Sports Management

sports manager talking to soccer players

  • Annual Median Salary: $73,740 per year
  • Projected Job Growth: 11%

An MBA in sports management approaches business concepts that are sports industry-specific, covering management skills and leadership, finance, marketing, and business strategy.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

If you want to excel in the sports management industry, an MBA in this field can help give you the skills you need to increase the number of job prospects for you in this industry.

This course may be ideal for sports fans who want to work in the sports management field.

19. Entrepreneurship

young entrepreneur working on her laptop

  • Annual Median Salary: $73,570
  • Projected Job Growth: 6%

This MBA is designed to give proactive self-starters a foundation of knowledge from which they can go on to fulfilling careers in senior professional roles, or start up their own businesses.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Common course topics include leadership skills, financial management, statistics, strategies, marketing, communication, innovation, and business planning.

This course may be suitable for those in business who want to work for themselves, or who wish to escalate up their professional ladder at an accelerated speed.

20. Accounting

accountant working in her office

  • Annual Median Salary: $71,550 per year
  • Projected Job Growth: 4%

An MBA in accounting is designed to cover a broad scope of business practices, but also focuses on the details of accounting and teaching students the skills they need to take on an accountancy-based employment role.

Unlike a master of science in accounting, an MBA in accounting covers a wider business topic range, which can help provide the student with more opportunities and job possibilities upon completion. Common topics covered include cost management, leadership skills, and marketing.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Graduates of an MBA in accounting typically go on to occupy careers in bookkeeping and accounting, or secure roles as financial analysts, business executives, or financial advisors.

You might want to consider an MBA with a concentration on accounting if you enjoy mathematics and statistics.

21. Environmental Management

environmental engineer installing solar roof panels

  • Annual Median Salary: $71,360 per year
  • Projected Job Growth: 8%

With an increased awareness of climate change, businesses around the world are focusing on their environmental impact and policies, which is leading to a greater demand for employees with an environmental background.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Many with careers in this area find them to be significant and rewarding, both financially and personally. An environmental management MBA can help prepare students for careers in environmental science, environmental engineering, and sustainability roles.

Modules typically focus on environmental regulations and standards, sustainable business practices, and corporate responsibility. This degree may be well-suited to anyone conscious of climate change who wants to make a positive impact while also building themselves a potentially lucrative career.

22. Nonprofit Management

directors of nonprofit organization in a meeting

  • Annual Median Salary: $67,150 per year
  • Projected Job Growth: 17%

An MBA with a focus on nonprofit management focuses on preparing graduates for senior roles within the social sector, with a plethora of skills designed to implement strategies to increase productivity and maximize resources.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Just like businesses, non-profit organizations require knowledgeable professionals to navigate budgets, strategies, and management.

With an MBA in nonprofit management, you can pursue opportunities to have a positive impact on social campaigns or social services, while also enjoying a potentially lucrative and rewarding career. Potential job roles include director of fundraising, NPO program organizer, and NPO executive director.

23. Real Estate

Real Estate broker closing a deal with a senior couple

  • Annual Median Salary: $59,720 per year
  • Projected Job Growth: 3%

An MBA in real estate is designed to equip the student with skills in leadership, communication, investment, finance, and risk management. If you have an interest in the business side of property, you might find this MBA appealing, with an increased likelihood of achieving a high earning career upon completion.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Other common topics that are taught in this program are negotiation techniques, property appraisal, and legal contracts.

The career outlook following an MBA in real estate can include job roles such as real estate agent, real estate broker, and real estate appraiser, though some positions may require additional licenses.

24. Project Management

project manager preparing their notes before the meeting

  • Annual Median Salary: $57,970 per year
  • Projected Job Growth: 14%

An MBA with a concentration in project management is designed to help students develop a broad set of skills with an emphasis on practical project management.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

The curriculum may include modules on finance management, project management strategies, and product development. It may suit a focused individual with good organizational skills and an interest in problem solving and leadership.

Typical job roles you might employ with an MBA in project management are project leader, project manager, and senior project manager.

25. Hospitality Management

hotel manager welcomes guest in the reception area

  • Annual Median Salary: $50,600 per year
  • Projected Job Growth: 8%

An MBA in hospitality management focuses on the practicalities of managing a hospitality service, including leadership, finances, and operations.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

As the travel and tourism industry is growing, careers in the hospitality sector are on the rise, making hospitality management a fairly safe choice in terms of future career prospects.

Upon completion of a hospitality management MBA, you might secure a position as a hotel manager, an events coordinator, or a travel agent.

Does an MBA Have a Focus?

Yes, many MBAs do have a focus, concentrating on a specific subject or industry while also providing a foundation of the core principles of business administration. MBAs offer numerous concentrations which appeal to a broad spectrum of professionals.

What Is an MBA Concentration?

First, it would be best to answer what is an MBA.

An MBA is a Master’s in Business Administration degree whereas a concentration is a specialty area within the business field 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.

What Are the Different MBA Concentrations?

MBA concentrations include a range of topics, from skills-based subjects such as accounting or marketing, which could be applied to almost any industry, to more industry-specific concentrations such as nonprofit management and hospitality management.

Do MBA Concentrations Matter?

Yes, MBA concentrations do matter. The concentration you choose for your MBA can greatly impact the career path you follow on the completion of your MBA.

It can help prepare you for employment in your chosen field, and therefore should be considered carefully. Choose a concentration you are interested in, and that your personality is suited to. This can help you to thrive in your profession, and ensure that you enjoy it.

Choosing Your MBA Specialization

Choosing a concentration for your MBA can help give you the edge in a sea of job applications and may help improve career prospects in a given field.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Joy Cromwelle
WRITTEN BY
Joy Cromwelle
Joy is pursuing her Ph.D. in Public Policy & Foreign Policy and holds a Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management, as well as a Bachelor's in Business Administration. Joy's focus is helping non-traditional students find accelerated degree options and credit for prior learning opportunities.