Unlocking your potential: Top MBA careers for today’s graduates

Oct 27, 2023 | Online MBA

In today’s competitive job market, professionals are constantly seeking ways to enhance their career prospects or increase their annual salary. One qualification that has consistently proved to be a valuable asset in the job market is a Master of Business Administration (MBA). 

According to Statista, 92 percent of employers reportedly plan to hire MBA graduates across a variety of industries. While this is just a projection, nearly 97 percent of those employers did hire MBA graduates back in 2021. 

If you are wondering how attending business school can unlock your professional potential, here’s an overview of what jobs you can get with an MBA, the top job market trends affecting graduates, and what you can do to ensure your degree positively impacts your career.

Experience the Northeastern Online MBA firsthand

What Jobs Can You Get With an MBA?

Perhaps one of the most common questions students and business professionals ask when pursuing additional education is, “what jobs can I get with this degree?” However, it’s important for prospective MBA students to fully understand the professional takeaways of an MBA. 

“I think most people don't understand that an MBA is meant to build your confidence and business acumen to be successful in any industry or role,” says Robert Towner, Assistant Vice President of Northeastern Edge.

Business professionals in nearly every industry and field can rest assured that an MBA will enhance their career path. “An MBA degree is incredibly unique in that it's applicable to any industry that you're in,” continues Towner.

For example, while Towner was earning his MBA, he solidified his passion to go into higher education leadership, while others pursued a degree working in a variety of industries such as healthcare and technology. “It’s one of the few credentials in the marketplace that’s not specific to a role,” says Towner.

As a result, Towner encourages prospective MBA students to think more about how a business education will advance their careers, rather than obtaining a specific job title or role.

Top Job Market Trends Affecting MBA Graduates

Since an MBA is not specific to a particular job title or industry, it is important to understand today’s job market and how it can affect your career path as an MBA graduate. Here are the top three job market trends you should be aware of.

1. Increasing Technology Use

Largely driven by the emergence of remote work since the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has become an increasingly important tool in business. Not only that, according to a report conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 86 percent of small business owners attributed their use of technology as the main reason their businesses survived the pandemic. As a result, business professionals in nearly every industry feel a newfound pressure to upskill and adapt to new technologies.

According to Towner, an online MBA can be an effective way for professionals to fill these gaps while also working on other skills and competencies. Towner assures that prospective MBA students will become more familiar with technology related to business analytics and decision-making “that will naturally give you confidence working in whatever space you are in.”

2. Decreasing Company Loyalty

Historically, earning a promotion has been a common goal of business professionals pursuing an MBA degree. However, Towner has observed a recent shift in these motivations, citing that “more people are open to new roles and opportunities, while less people are just looking for a promotion.”

While there are many reasons for this change, Towner thinks the pandemic and a decreasing sense of company loyalty are huge factors. “I think people stopped feeling the same level of loyalty to their employer than previously,” continued Towner. The Pew Research Center backs up this claim, reporting that November 2021 reached a 20-year high “quit rate.”

With this in mind, it is important to remember that an MBA degree does not have to be a stepping stone to a higher role at your current organization, but also a way to create a new lens when examining your current company and role. “An MBA really broadens your awareness of what's going on in your own company and its daily operations,” concludes Towner.

3. Accepting Attitude Toward Online Programs

One of the biggest concerns of online degree holders has been employers’ attitudes toward virtual education. Before the pandemic, many online degrees did not offer the same curriculum or rigor expected in a traditional degree program. 

However, since COVID-19, more institutions are offering highly effective online MBA degree programs that have boosted their reputation in the job market. Towner notes that reputable institutions, like Northeastern, have also added to the credibility of online MBA degrees.

Not only that, Towner notes that almost every student who attended school between 2020 and 2022 took online classes in some form. “I think online education is just assumed nowadays,” says Towner. “Some components of your schoolwork today are going to be done online.”

5 Ways to Ensure an MBA Is Right for Your Career

Earning an MBA can be incredibly beneficial to your job prospects, but it’s important to consider how your degree can optimize your career opportunities. Instead of wondering what jobs you can get with an MBA, consider how you can make an MBA degree count.

1. Consider Industry Trends

Industry trends are important to consider before pursuing any additional education; this is especially true for an MBA. If you’re hoping to move up within your organization with an MBA, find out whether that industry has a high demand for this qualification. 

“I think one of the biggest areas that we continue to see high demand is in the technology sector,” says Towner. This is largely due to the fact that many professionals, like engineers, have highly technical skills that don’t necessarily translate into the leadership skills needed to move up to middle management.

“An MBA is a pathway to no longer stay behind a desk, but rather to be somebody who's involved in the decision-making and strategy of the company overall,” says Towner.

However, not all industries are conducive to internal upward movement. While there is a huge demand for leadership roles in healthcare, the shortage of clinical workers in hospitals has led to leadership’s hesitation in transitioning healthcare workers into administrative roles. As a result, Towner urges MBA graduates outside of healthcare who want to change industries to apply to these types of leadership positions. 

2. Take Ownership of Your Educational Experience

Just like everything in life, many times you get out what you put in. This is particularly true when it comes to advancing your education. 

“Online MBA students need to be prepared to own their own educational experience,” says Towner. This means that all professionals—from entry-level positions to C-suite executives—need to continually push themselves to reap the benefits of the networking opportunities, skills development, and experiential learning in an MBA program. 

“You have to want it, and you have to have that internal drive,” says Towner. “If you just want to check a box and get the degree, then you are not going to get the same experience when it comes to employment outcomes,” says Towner.

3. Understand Your Employer's Reimbursement Programs

Many employers invest in their staff through tuition reimbursement programs. These programs are intended to help employees cover the cost of advancing their education. However, there are often stipulations to these benefits. 

“If you are using your employer to pay for your education, you need to understand what their policies and rules around reimbursement are,” says Towner.

This is very important to your professional success because some reimbursement policies can be incredibly strict and prevent you from taking the next step in your career–especially if that means leaving the company. For example, if you decide to leave your organization three years after you earn your degree, consider asking the following questions: 

  • Are you going to have to pay your company back?
  • How quickly do you need to pay them back?
  • Can you afford paying back this amount?

“You need to know that these policies can have an effect on your career success,” says Towner. Since networking is a huge component of an MBA degree, it’s very possible that a connection you make with faculty or fellow professionals could lead to new job opportunities. If an offer is too good to pass on, you need to ensure you can afford to pay your company back for your education.

“This is where online MBAs can really help individuals because they tend to be affordable programs,” says Towner. “If you have to pay back your employer, wouldn’t you rather be paying it back on an online tuition rate price rather than an in-person tuition rate price?”

4. Identify the Right Time to Enroll

Even though professionals can always go back to school to improve their skills and competencies, “you only get to do one MBA in your lifetime,” says Towner.

While an MBA can be an excellent tool that will serve you well in your future career, Towner admits that “you probably get a lot less out of it than an individual who says something like, ‘I'm an engineer and I want to transition into a management role at a top 50 technology company.’”

This means you should have a clear understanding of your career path before enrolling in an MBA program. “I think it has to do with professional confidence and your ability to identify your desired career path,” says Towner.

5. Pick the Right School

Picking the right school is perhaps the most important step in ensuring your MBA degree has the greatest impact on your career. While MBA programs cover similar topics and help to develop similar skills, there are differences between institutions that you need to consider before enrolling. 

For example, “one of the best things about our online program at Northeastern is the ability to quickly refresh and change content to ensure it is still applicable to the industry-driven market,” says Towner. 

Instead of creating a stagnant curriculum that quickly becomes outdated, schools like Northeastern leverage their professional connections and expert faculty to ensure content matches industry expectations. Not only that, graduates can always earn newly created certificates to stay ahead of the curve.

“We want our students to say ‘I'm receiving a curriculum that's validated by today’s industry, but I can always go back as more content is added and add those kinds of tools to my tool belt for my career,” says Towner.

Consider an Online MBA for Your Career

When you are thinking about what jobs you can get with an MBA, it is important to determine what programs meet your personal and professional goals. As technology continues to reshape business, earning an online MBA has become a crucial step in enhancing career outcomes. 

In many ways, Northeastern's Online MBA stands out as the best option for professionals seeking to propel their careers to new heights. Its online MBA program offers a comprehensive and dynamic learning experience that equips professionals with the essential business acumen and technological proficiency required in today’s competitive job market. 

Take the first step toward a rewarding and fulfilling career transformation by choosing Northeastern's Online MBA. By doing so, you will embark on a transformative journey that will unlock your professional potential and position you for success in today’s digital age.

If you're ready to take the next steps in your career, check out the program page. You can also experience the Northeastern Online MBA firsthand by exploring the online video resource library.

Online Video Library CTA