MBA in Project Management: Salary and Career Facts

Earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in project management can improve your skills in helping businesses achieve their goals. To learn more about the opportunities available to project managers with MBA degrees, read on. Schools offering Business Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are Career Options for an MBA in Project Management Graduate?

Candidates who hold an MBA in Project Management can find leadership and supervisory roles in a number of different industries depending on their background and experience, such as business, construction, healthcare or education. They may find employment in corporations, firms, non-profit organizations and other businesses. Project managers can be an integral part of a company's information technology department as its IT project manager. With experience, they can be promoted to chief technology officer and oversee an entire IT department. Also, project managers can supervise construction crews as a construction manager. They oversee various types of projects, such as roads, bridges, public and residential structures and more.

Of the various careers available in project management, you might be work in industries like industrial production, construction, IT or healthcare. The following chart provides an overview of the education, job outlook and median salary for a few of these positions.

Construction ManagerComputer and Information Systems Managers
Degree Required Bachelor's degree Bachelor's or master's degree
Certification and Licensure Optional PMI certification Optional PMI certification, computer systems certifications
Key Responsibilities Negotiate with vendors, purchase inventory, hire and train personnel Study organizational structure and operations, advise management on cost effective procedures
Job Growth (2014-24)* 5% 15%
Median Salary (2015)* $87,400 $131,600

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is an MBA in Project Management?

An MBA in project management is a master of business administration degree with a focus on project management. Project management is an important aspect of any business operation. With an MBA in project management, students learn about starting, planning, controlling and delivering a project that meets a company's overall goals and success strategy.

What Do I Need in Addition to My Degree to Advance My Career?

Some project managers seek certification to enhance their skills and expand their employment opportunities. The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers five autonomous certification credentials for working professionals seeking career advancement, including the Project Management Professional (PMP) and the Certified Associate of Project Management (CAPM). While certification is not a requirement for most positions, the PMI states that a credential can lead to greater earnings and career advancement (www.pmi.org). Candidates with advanced degrees in project management must fulfill work experience requirements to be eligible to sit for an exam.

What Would My Job Duties Be?

Project managers are primarily responsible for overseeing all aspects of a project from initiation to completion. This may involve establishing the scope, requirements, resources, budget and timeline of projects. You may also be in charge of locating project resources, such as people, technology and finances. Project managers often use a scheduling software application to keep track of ongoing projects and ensure they are completed on time and within budget.

The specific job duties of project managers can vary by industry. For instance, those working in the technology or science industry may be in charge of developing new technologies and programs. Project managers in online businesses may be responsible for launching new websites and applications, as well as monitoring page views and other user information. In some cases, project managers travel and meet with clients to procure new projects and partnerships.

What Skills Will I Need to Succeed?

Because project managers are responsible for handling multiple aspects of a project and oftentimes manage several projects at once, they must possess excellent multitasking skills. As with most management positions, good leadership and communication skills are also essential. Project managers must be able to communicate each individual's role in a project and coordinate tasks between departments to ensure projects run smoothly and efficiently. You may often work under tight deadlines and budget constraints, requiring keen organization and planning skills. Project managers must also be resourceful and quickly adapt to unexpected obstacles, since any issues with the project generally fall back on them. Project managers should thrive in fast-paced, demanding environments.

What Can I Expect to Earn?

Salaries of project managers can vary considerably by industry. Overall, wages tend to be linked to job performance. For instance, project managers may receive greater compensation in the form of bonuses for projects completed successfully, on-time and within budget. On the other hand, their eligibility for a bonus or promotion can be affected if projects are late or over budget.

In 2016, graduates of Harvard Business School with an MBA in project management reported a median base salary of $130,000 three months after graduation (www.hbs.edu). The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median annual wage of computer and information systems managers, including IT project managers, was $131,600 in May 2015 (www.bls.gov). In addition, the median wage of salaried construction managers was $87,400.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Industrial production managers oversee the daily activities of manufacturing and other types of plant operations. They need to be skilled at directing work needed to manufacture a variety of goods, such as cars, computer accessories or paper products. Employers often look for workers who have an MBA. Architectural and engineering managers is another career that could use workers with MBAs. These managers work in industrial production plants or construction sites managing projects at architectural and engineering firms. Many of these professionals learn management skills by earning an MBA.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:

Popular Schools

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. Next »