Entry-Level Jobs for MBA Graduates: Career and Salary Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. Read on to learn more about career options along with potential salary and job outlook information. Schools offering Business degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a MBA Graduate Do?

A MBA degree can give you several career choices in industries such as banking, insurance, or manufacturing. A few entry-level jobs include financial analysts, actuaries and auditors. Financial analysts study markets and analyze businesses so that they may advise individuals on good investments. Actuaries run statistical analyses to determine financial risk. They may work for insurances companies to calculate the risk of losing money on a client, or work for investors to predict the success of an investment. Auditors look over financial records to check for accuracy, ensure proper taxes were paid and make financial recommendations. Read the table and descriptions below for more information on some of the options.

Financial AnalystActuaryAuditor
Key Duties Give investment advice, evaluate financial statements, analyze business data Assess financial risk, design insurance policies, produce financial reports Examine financial records and explain findings, suggest cost-cutting measures
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 12% 18% 11% (for accountants and auditors)
Median Salary (2015)* $80,310 $97,070 $67,190 (for accountants and auditors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Types of Jobs Will I Qualify for with a MBA Degree?

With a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, you have numerous career options in a variety of industries depending on your area of specialty. The area in which you choose to concentrate during your degree program generally dictates your career path. Some of the more common MBA specializations include economics, finance, accounting, operations management, marketing, and real estate. Other specializations can include hospitality management, project management, and entrepreneurship.

As a MBA graduate, you could work in the consulting, government, manufacturing, nonprofit, media, and technology industries. You may also find entry-level positions in several areas of business, such as sales, marketing, general management, and information technology.

You may begin your career working as a controller, business developer, associate consultant, investment banker, finance manager, or market analyst. You could also qualify for more advanced positions upon graduating, such as a senior business consultant, senior financial analyst, or director of finance and operations.

What Do I Need in Addition to My Degree?

It may be advantageous to complete an internship or summer work program while you are still in school to gain the practical experience employers value in the workplace. Earning a professional certification can also enhance your qualifications and give you an edge over other candidates. The particular certification you pursue will depend on your specialization and career interests.

You may consider obtaining the Certified Business Manager (CBM) credential issued by the Association of Professionals in Business Management. The CBM is a master's level professional credential that demonstrates your knowledge and skills of business management. To qualify, candidates must pass an exam that is based on topics covered in most MBA programs.

The International Certification Institute (ICI) offers the Certified MBA (CMBA) designation for MBA students and graduates. According to the ICI, the CMBA credential can enhance your employability by validating your knowledge of fundamental business skills and concepts (www.certifiedmba.com). To be eligible for certification, candidates must submit an application with an official college transcript and pass an examination.

How Much Can I Expect to Earn?

The starting salaries of MBA graduates vary according to job title, industry and geographic location. Many MBA graduates find employment before graduating or soon thereafter. According to Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, 90% of 2016 Stanford MBA graduates received a full-time job offer within 90 days of graduation (www.stanford.edu). The Graduate School of Management at the University of California - Davis (UCDavis) reported that 91% of 2016 MBA graduates accepted positions within three months after graduation (www.gsm.ucdavis.edu).

With a MBA, you also have the potential to earn a high salary following graduation. Stanford's MBA class of 2016 received a median base salary of $136,000, with a rather large salary range between $24,000 and $450,000. In addition to their base salary, many MBA graduates receive signing bonuses, the median of which was $25,000 (www.stanford.edu). In a placement statistics report from UC Davis, 2016 MBA graduates had an average total compensation, including salaries and signing bonuses, of $110,206 (www.ucdavis.edu).

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Another career you may want to look into includes financial management. As a financial manager, you would be responsible for making profitable investment decisions for business and organizations. Cost estimators hold another related career. They calculate estimated costs and resources need to produce a product so that executives can make informed production decisions. At the top of almost every company are top executives. These high-end managers create organizational goal and policies.

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:

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