7 Top MBA Jobs in 2021

7 Top MBA Jobs in 2021
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By Stephen Gaffney

Published on August 3, 2021

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Project Manager | Accountant | Financial Manager | Management Consultant |
Operations Research Analyst | Business Intelligence Analyst | Product Marketing Manager


There's no question that earning an MBA can lead to higher rewards in the workplace. Those with MBAs generally possess better management and communication skills, can access a greater number of high-paying jobs, are often paid more than their counterparts, and are given more opportunities for advancement.

Most business schools offer numerous MBA concentrations — including accounting, analytics, finance, entrepreneurship, healthcare management, and many others — that provide students with a comprehensive real-world education in a variety of business practices.

Most business schools offer numerous MBA concentrations that provide students with a comprehensive real-world education in a variety of business practices.

Although an MBA is not required for most entry-level business-related careers, advancement opportunities often favor those who have one. In some careers and industries, you won't even get your foot in the door unless you have an MBA.

Demand can be very strong for good MBA talent in the technology, consulting, and healthcare sectors. According to the MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance, tech companies like Amazon, Google, and Zoom are aggressively recruiting MBA-holders.

Earning an MBA takes commitment, but the payoff is usually well worth the effort. Here, we look at some of the best jobs you can get with an MBA.

Top 7 Jobs for MBA Graduates in 2021

Project Manager

These expert facilitators are responsible for planning and directing complex projects from inception to completion. Project managers ensure that all major product rollouts are completed on time, on budget, and according to established criteria.

In today's virtual and outsourced work environment, more organizations are relying on remote teams and project-based methods to get tasks done. The need for effective project managers to oversee the project life cycle is critical to businesses' success.

true Job Outlook

According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), the project management labor force is projected to grow a whopping 33% between 2017 and 2027, significantly faster than the average growth rate for all occupations. Job growth is expected to be driven by demand in the technology sector and the growing adoption of remote work.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a median annual salary of $77,420 for project management specialists and business operations specialists.

Educational Requirements

Many project manager jobs require a combination of education — at a minimum, a bachelor's in business administration, business management, or a related field — and experience. Although an MBA in project management is not always required for entry-level positions, it is preferred by many employers. Advancement opportunities are far more common for MBA-holders.

Professional certification as a project manager is also often required. PMI offers two certifications related to project management: project management professional (PMP) and certified associate in project management (CAPM).

Accountant

These financial experts prepare and examine financial records for individuals and businesses, making sure that all financial transactions are accurate and that taxes are paid on time. Accountants can specialize in many areas, including tax accounting, forensic accounting, and auditing.

Despite what some may think, accounting isn't all just spreadsheets and long hours during tax season. Accountants may also analyze profits and losses, provide investment advice, file legal documents, and manage budgets.

true Job Outlook

The BLS projects that jobs for accountants and auditors will grow 4% from 2019 to 2029, or about as fast as the average growth rate for all occupations. Demand is expected to come from continued changes to industry standards and regulatory policies, as well as from overall economic growth.

Accountants earn a median annual salary of $73,560, with the top 10% making more than $128,000 per year.

Educational Requirements

A bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field is generally the minimum requirement for landing a job as an accountant. Many top employers prefer candidates to have a master's in accounting or in business administration with a concentration in accounting.

Accountants who choose to earn certification as a certified public accountant (CPA) are licensed by their state and allowed to perform duties that regular accountants are not allowed to do, such as preparing audited financial statements. Becoming a CPA requires passing a national exam and meeting other state requirements.

Financial Manager

These highly trained professionals oversee finances and ensure the financial stability of the organization they work for. A financial manager's work may include financial planning, analysis, strategy development, managing budgets, assessing risks, projecting profits, and establishing regulatory compliance protocols.

true Job Outlook

The BLS projects strong 15% growth in jobs for financial managers between 2019 and 2029. This growth is expected to be fueled by advances in financial technology, along with economic growth and globalization.

The median annual wage for financial managers is a hefty $134,180, with the top 10% of managers earning more than $208,000.

Educational Requirements

A bachelor's degree in business administration, accounting, finance, or economics, combined with several years of relevant work experience, is typically needed to land a job as a financial manager. Many employers prefer candidates with a master's in finance, business administration, or economics. Certification is also available for those seeking to advance their careers.

Management Consultant

Management, or business, consultants work with company leadership to help improve various complex business processes and issues associated with efficiency, profitability, technology, company perception, and more.

Depending on the industry and field of specialization, work may include conducting research, developing strategies, introducing new systems and software, and organizational restructuring.

true Job Outlook

Grouping management consultants with management analysts, the BLS projects 11% growth in jobs for these professionals from 2019 to 2029. Demand is expected to be particularly high in the fields of healthcare and information technology (IT).

While salaries for business consultants vary widely by industry and employer, PayScale puts the average annual base salary for management consultants at around $88,000.

Educational Requirements

Many entry-level management consultant jobs require a bachelor's degree in business administration, business management, economics, marketing, finance, accounting, computer and information science, or a related field. The majority of top management consulting firms actively seek out candidates who have an MBA.

Industry experience is sometimes required, and certification is available through the Institute of Management Consultants for those aiming to advance their careers.

Operations Research Analyst

These highly valued statistical experts must possess superior critical thinking and math skills in order to transform raw data into useful business intelligence assets. Finding solutions to complex business problems, operations research analysts use analytical models, data mining, and other qualitative and quantitative techniques to help businesses efficiently manage allocation, production, pricing, labor, and more.

true Job Outlook

Jobs for operations research analysts are projected to grow a staggering 25% from 2019 to 2029, according to the BLS. Job growth is expected to come from advancements in technology that will make it easier for businesses to access and interpret larger volumes of data. Healthcare and IT are leading the way for growth in this field.

The median annual income for operations research analysts is $86,200, with 1 in 10 workers bringing home more than $144,000 a year.

Educational Requirements

A bachelor's degree in business administration, engineering, analytics, mathematics, computer science, or a related field is normally the minimum requirement to find work as an operations research analyst. Many employers prefer candidates with a master's degree and/or several years of industry experience.

Business Intelligence Analyst

Similar to operations research analysts, who also analyze complex sets of data, business intelligence analysts target data that relates to finances, sales, performance management, and marketing.

These business experts produce financial and market intelligence reports to develop insights about competitors and the marketplace. By identifying trends and patterns in the market, businesses can better project growth, roll out new products and services with more confidence, and stay one step ahead of the competition.

true Job Outlook

Although the BLS does not report employment growth specifically for business intelligence analysts, it does project strong 11% growth for management analysts (a closely related occupation) from 2019 through 2029. Demand in this field is expected to remain high due to growth in both the health and IT sectors.

Business intelligence analysts earn an average salary of around $70,000 a year, according to PayScale.

Educational Requirements

To land a job as a business intelligence analyst, it's best to have a bachelor's in computer science, engineering, business administration, information systems, economics, or a closely related field, as well as industry experience.

Many employers prefer candidates with an MBA, especially if they lack relevant industry experience. A master's degree in IT or a similar field may also suffice.

Product Marketing Manager

Responsible for leading businesses' go-to-market strategies, these marketing professionals must possess a thorough understanding of the product, the customers, and the competition.

Product marketing managers often work closely with product managers and the product development team through the entire life cycle of a product. Duties may include conducting competitive research, developing a comprehensive communication strategy, and determining product price and positioning.

true Job Outlook

The BLS projects jobs for marketing and advertising managers will grow 6% between 2019 and 2029, or 2% faster than the average for all occupations. Business-to-business marketing professionals — which include product marketing managers — are currently in high demand, especially in high-tech markets in Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, and Austin.

Marketing managers earn a high median salary of $142,170, according to the BLS.

Educational Requirements

Industry experience, along with a bachelor's degree in marketing, business management, communication, or a closely related field, is generally required for product marketing managers. Many top employers prefer candidates who have an MBA with a concentration in marketing.


Feature Image: Zak Kendal / Cultura / Getty Images

Declining MBA enrollment is changing business education. Students want flexible and affordable MBAs, and schools need to adapt to these trends. Should you choose a full-time or part-time MBA program? Learn more about the pros and cons of each. Elevate your career with a convenient and affordable online MBA. Browse our ranking of the top online MBA degrees of 2021.