Prospective careers in business administration

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is one of the most versatile postgraduate qualifications you can study for and is a great way to fast-track your career. There are numerous options open to you across a diverse range of sectors when you have completed your online MBA.

The MBA is highly respected as an indicator of excellence and competence. For some leadership and senior management roles, an MBA may be a prerequisite. This is because recruiting managers are keen to hire candidates who have the skills and ability to handle challenging roles competently from the outset.

This postgraduate qualification also gives you considerable negotiating power when it comes to salaries and benefits. In 2021, the median starting salary for MBA graduates was $115,000, and the employment rate for MBA graduates in the US is 95%.

Business administration is a broad field that covers the supervision of operations for a company and the management of its resources to deliver on goals and objectives, but also encompasses many other aspects of running an organization.

Your business administration degree will comprise a range of components, which may include:

  • Accounting
  • Business analytics
  • Change management
  • Economics
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • Global business
  • Human resources
  • Information technology
  • Marketing
  • Operations management
  • Project management
  • Sales
  • Supply chain management

In addition to the business and industry knowledge and skills that you will acquire on your program, you will also gain and build on a range of soft skills that will be useful in any career. These will include:

  • Analytical skills
  • Communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Problem-solving
  • Time management

Best industries for MBA graduates

One of the advantages of an MBA qualification is that it presents opportunities in every sector. So, whether you want to work in healthcare, finance, consumer goods, a government department or a start-up, there will be a career option for you where you can put your MBA skills and knowledge to good use.

Different MBA graduate careers

Chief executive officer (CEO)

The CEO, the most senior executive in an organization, works with the board of directors to define long-term goals. Duties include making strategic decisions, and managing the organization’s operations and resources. The CEO determines, plans and implements the vision and direction of the organization. The CEO will act as the key contact point between the board of directors and the operations teams. Excellent interpersonal and presentation skills are required for the role, as the CEO will represent the organization and speak at senior-level events, and will meet with shareholders.

Chief financial officer (CFO)

The CFO is responsible for overseeing the financial operations of an organization. The role includes financial planning, monitoring cash flow, and managing the accounting and finance departments.  The CFO is also responsible for ensuring that the organization complies with financial reporting requirements. Other duties include analyzing the financial strengths and weaknesses of the organization, and determining risk management strategies. The CFO works with departmental managers to collect data that can be collated and analyzed and used in reports for company executives and other stakeholders. The CFO will report to the CEO or chief operating officer.

Operations director

An operations director oversees the daily activities of the organization, including the production of goods or delivery of services, distribution and customer service. The operations director is responsible for overseeing purchasing, ensuring that the company has the goods it needs of the required quality standards and within the agreed budget. Duties also include the development of health and safety policies and procedures. The operations director also needs to keep up to date with the latest developments in production and supply chain, in order to ensure that the company remains competitive in the market. Other responsibilities include helping to set strategic goals and promoting the growth and profitability of the organization.

Logistics manager

A logistics manager is responsible for organizing the efficient and safe storage and distribution of goods for a company. Duties include coordinating the transportation of goods, the management of stock inventory, and the general flow of goods. A logistics manager may also have responsibility for managing customer service and warehouse employees, including shift management, and for on-site health and safety. The role will also involve negotiating contracts with third parties, data analysis to identify logistical problems and areas for improvement, and contingency planning. There are opportunities for logistics managers in a range of sectors, including manufacturing, specialist distribution companies, the military and retail.

Human resources manager

A human resources manager has responsibility for recruitment and all other personnel-related functions. This includes screening, interviewing, hiring, training and retaining staff, as well as managing payroll and administering benefits. Managing employee engagement is also part of the role – for example, through effective communication and training and workshops. A human resources manager will need to ensure that workplace rules are enforced, and that the organization is compliant with federal and state labor regulations. Expertise in diversity and equality will be required. This role serves as an intermediary between management and employees, and involves the handling of disputes – for example, relating to workplace health and safety, or sexual harassment claims. There are opportunities for human resources specialists in all sectors.

Financial analyst

A financial analyst gathers and analyzes business data, using financial models to forecast performance and make recommendations. The role involves analyzing historical financial information, economic trends and business news. There are roles in a wide range of sectors, including banking, insurance, pensions and manufacturing.

Market research analyst

A market research analyst reviews market conditions to assess the potential sales for a product or service. Duties include researching what members of a particular target audience or demographic want, identifying potential customers for a product or service, and establishing ideal price points.

Marketing manager

A marketing manager is responsible for planning and coordinating marketing and promotional activities for a company. Duties include working with senior management to develop the long-term marketing strategy for the organization, designing and executing marketing campaigns, and monitoring the performance of campaigns. Other responsibilities include training marketing staff and organizing promotional events.

Information technology (IT) manager

IT managers are responsible for ensuring that the organization’s technological infrastructure, including hardware and software, is fit for purpose and is kept up to date so that the company has the technology it needs to deliver on its goals and objectives. IT managers are responsible for managing the troubleshooting of systems issues. Other duties include ensuring that resilience is built into the organization’s IT infrastructure, as all companies are now so reliant on IT and automation. Companies need to be protected against hackers and cyberattacks as well as other potential IT failures.

Management consultant

Management consultants, or business consultants, are employed to solve problems that companies experience. They may be employed by a large corporation, or they may work independently. Clients can range from small start-ups to international corporations. Management consultants usually specialize in a particular area of business where they have developed expertise.

Project manager

A project manager oversees projects end to end, from concept and design through to implementation and post-implementation review. They are involved in project design, identifying measures of success, and the ongoing monitoring and reporting of project progress to senior managers and other stakeholders. They manage resources, and supervise teams, which often comprise people from a range of departments or divisions, to ensure that projects are delivered on time and to budget.

Senior business analyst

A senior business analyst uses current data to find ways to improve future operations. This involves reviewing business processes to identify risks and opportunities for improving efficiency in delivering organizational goals. Duties include gathering and analyzing data and producing strategic reports to inform the decisions of directors and senior management.

Sales manager

A sales manager has responsibility for developing and overseeing the sales strategy for the organization, setting sales territories and sales goals, and growing the customer base. A sales manager will also be involved in the recruitment and training of salespeople. The role will also cover analyzing sales figures to assess the profitability of products and services, tracking customer preferences to feed into the sales strategy, and managing sales-related complaints. Depending on the size of the organization, the sales manager may be involved in making calls and visits to clients or prospects. Roles may be in a business-to-business (B2B) sales environment, or they may be in the business-to-consumer (B2C) sector.

Health services manager

A health services manager runs a medical facility such as a hospital or medical center, with responsibility for making sure that the facility runs as smoothly as possible. Duties include recruiting, retaining and managing staff, managing budgets and maintaining records. A health services manager will also need to ensure that the healthcare delivered is of a suitable quality and that the organization is compliant with regulations and meets required accreditation standards. The role demands strong people skills as well as operations management skills, as the health services manager will need to liaise with patients, staff, directors and other parties, such as insurance providers.

Investment banker

The role of investment banker can include advising businesses on how to achieve their financial goals and implement their financial plan. Other duties include ensuring that financial transactions are conducted and recorded in accordance with regulatory requirements. When a company is considering a merger or acquisition in order to increase its profits or to diversify for long-term growth, investment bankers assess the proposals and advise the company’s board on the merits of the proposed merger or acquisition. Investment bankers are responsible for negotiating the detailed terms and structure of the deal and making sure that it complies with the HSR Act as well as state legislation.

Financial advisor

Financial advisors help individuals to make decisions on getting the best use of the money they have. They usually carry out a financial health check on new clients to assess how well prepared they are to achieve their financial goals. They use the information from the health check to develop a personalized financial plan that aims to deliver on the client’s goals. Financial advisors will advise clients on more than just savings and investments. Many clients also seek help from their financial advisor with debt management, tax planning, retirement planning, and solutions for long-term healthcare and insurance. The role of a financial advisor can also include educating clients so that they have a better understanding of how to meet their financial goals. They will usually have regular update meetings with a client – for example, annually – to assess whether the client’s finances are still on track to achieve their goals, or whether changes need to be made to the client’s portfolio.

Once you have decided that you would like to join an MBA program, you will need to consider whether to study on campus or online. You will need to choose an MBA degree course that you feel is best suited to you and your lifestyle.

Kettering University’s Master of Business Administration online degree course develops the leadership skills of its students, preparing them for managerial positions and other senior roles. The MBA online course can be completed in just 18 months. The program, which is fully online, consists of seven core components, and a graduate certificate that is selected from the following options:

  • Global leadership
  • Lean principles for healthcare
  • Management and leadership
  • Operations management
  • Supply chain (levels I/II)

Studying for an MBA online gives you a high level of flexibility regarding your career options. Whether you wish to progress more rapidly on your current career path, or would like to change direction in your career, an MBA will open up new opportunities for you to develop and move forward. Many schools will offer guidance to support you in finding your next role when you complete your MBA. The careers teams at MBA schools have connections with potential employers, and if you are planning a career shift once you have graduated, this can be particularly helpful.

Many MBA programs are fully online to enable students to work through the duration of the course, rather than having to put their career on hold. Continuing to work while you study has many benefits, such as avoiding loss of earnings and not having to commute or relocate for your course. It also means that you can make use of your new knowledge and skills as you acquire them. Putting your learning into practice is a great way to reinforce the knowledge and demonstrates to your employer your readiness for new challenges and responsibilities.

Whether you would prefer to work for a corporation, public institution or non-profit organization, your MBA will allow you to explore a range of opportunities. It also presents opportunities for networking that you might not otherwise experience. Many MBA programs have students from overseas as well as from across the US, and from a variety of backgrounds. The network of contacts you develop during the MBA program is something that you may draw on throughout your career.

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