5 Surprising MBA Career Paths

woman with mba career in a meeting at work

MBA career paths can take many different routes. Most people associate MBA degrees with high-level executive careers in business and finance. But employers from a wide variety of fields desire candidates with MBA-level education for a variety of roles.

Here are five MBA career paths that you might not expect to require an MBA.

1. CIA or FBI Spy

One MBA career that most people might not consider is becoming a government spy. While many spy positions don’t require an MBA, you may need one if you want to become a business spy. Business spies help the government uncover information about other businesses, conduct industrial espionage and perform other activities like uncovering money laundering operations.

Being able to understand and track corporate financials may require an MBA-level education. So, if you are looking for an exciting position with a government agency, then an MBA degree might be a great investment.

2. Non-profit Manager

Working for a non-profit can be a rewarding experience and many non-profit workers have bachelor degrees. Because non-profits focus on helping people and communities rather than growing a business, many people don’t think about the non-profit sector when it comes to MBA jobs.

However, many non-profits operate similar to businesses and have a lot of the same financial complexities. Having an MBA may be required to progress into higher management level positions in non-profit organizations.

Some non-profit positions you can get with an MBA include non-profit director, fundraising manager, and community manager. Starting salaries can range from $60,000 to $90,000 and up.  The non-profit arena also offers a wide variety of opportunities ranging from arts (like museums and zoos), education, environment, and social services.

3. Human Resource Manager

While managing finances and cash flow are important in business, managing people can be equally as critical to the success of a company. Anyone running a seven-figure or larger business knows that talented employees are difficult to find and retain.

The human resources field is growing, and lots of opportunities are available, but job seekers with an MBA will have an advantage over others. Some human resource positions that may require an MBA include training managers and HR managers.

MBA programs that focus on human resources teach students how to interact with people and stakeholders in other departments. They also learn important management principles and tactics for retaining top talent and keeping employees happy. A good program also allows students to form connections with others and this network can make it easier for HR professionals to find the talent and resources that they need to succeed.

HR and training managers with an MBA can make six-figure salaries.

4. Information Technology Director

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for IT and computer managers is expected to grow 15% by 2024. This growth rate is faster than most other occupations. Information technology strategy and planning can be critical for an organization’s growth and success. IT security is also important to protect sensitive information and avoid data loss.

While most people think of IT as a technical field, high-level managers also need to be able to understand and analyze the financial impacts of technology choices. Because of the impact technology can have on a company, higher-level IT positions like IT Director, chief technology officer (CTO) and even information security analyst positions can require an MBA.

5. Film Producer

Did you know that an MBA can help you launch a film career in Hollywood?

While film is often thought of as a creative field, people need to remember that it is still a business. And the ultimate goal of a successful film is to generate revenue for the film company.

MBA programs teach students skills like debt modeling, marketing, and financial analysis, which can all be applied to the film industry. Some schools, like New York University’s Stern School of Business, even offer entertainment-focused MBA’s.

Another good reason to get an MBA is to build a network with others in the industry. For example, Kevin Tsujihara became the CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment in 2013 and has an MBA from Stanford. Having other connections in the film industry among your alumni network can be helpful for success in this industry.

To Sum It Up

Not all MBA careers are in the business and finance sectors. In fact, an MBA degree and education can give you a stronger understanding and fundamentals in just about any type of business or organization.

Getting an MBA degree opens doors to a lot of possibilities, even outside of traditional roles. If you are looking for a high-level position, an MBA may be well worth the investment.



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