As a newly-minted graduate of a Master’s program in Business Administration, it can be difficult to decide on a career path if you don’t already have one in mind. With a graduate degree, especially one in such a general field with a wide range of possibilities, the number of opportunities can appear daunting, to say the least. That being said, the most important step in choosing a career is making sure that the environment and type of work are well-suited to your own interests and talents. Here is a quick and by all means not exhaustive list of some of the more popular career paths for MBA holders.
Consulting is a great way to hone your skills as a manager in a variety of different environments. Like a temp agency for management positions, consulting firms provide in-house expertise to external clients, usually for a specific project or a set period of time, requiring a higher level of knowledge and experience or simply a fresh outside perspective. Businesses may be trying something new, taking on a contract of their own, or simply re-evaluating their existing practices, and want or need some management advice without the expense and long-term commitment of hiring new management personnel who may become redundant or unnecessary after the project’s completion. For the consultant, it’s also a great way to make connections with a variety of clients that can continue to pay off in the long term – not an opportunity to be passed up lightly.
Tech is one of the fastest-moving careers in the current business climate. With Silicon Valley’s legendary reputation and the ever-expanding horizon of possibilities offered by new technologies, the ubiquity of technology is assured, as well as the need for Information Technology services. Whether they offer cable deals or food delivery, every business in the modern era needs IT services, and working in the tech sector is another great way to expand your horizons and make enduring business connections.
Becoming an entrepreneur is best suited for MBA graduates with some work experience and, more importantly, a concrete idea of the kind of business venture they’d like to create and the customer base they intend to serve. Fewer than 10% of Harvard Business School MBA graduates go on to become entrepreneurs, and the figures are even smaller for other business schools, which means the field is less competitive than the market for more traditional management positions. The trick is that entrepreneurship is riskier and can be more demanding than other career paths for business graduates, but it can also be immensely more rewarding.
In addition to the tech sector, healthcare is another field that is growing exponentially and shows few to zero signs of slowing down any time soon. The upsides to working in healthcare management, other than the sector’s impressive growth, include reliability and prestige as well as a wealth and diversity of companies to choose from for the prospective job-seeker. Healthcare is also an excellent crossover industry, allowing adroit managers to make connections with executives in technology, finance, and even government and lobbying. If handled intelligently, a stint in healthcare management could become an excellent jumping-off point into an even more ambitious career.
Money is important. Therefore, managing and investing money skillfully is also important. Even though it’s not exploding like the healthcare or technology sectors, the financial sector is still one of the oldest and most well-respected fields for managers and executives. Not only is the compensation nothing to sneeze at, there are a wealth of other benefits, including easy access to several other growth industries and plenty of opportunities to network with clients and build your resume.
Marketing is a good choice for graduates who are looking to build some diversity into their experience but still want a relatively stable career choice with plenty of perks and benefits. Like a consultant, a marketing executive can have the opportunity to work with a diverse collection of clients and businesses, as well as manage a diverse team of both creative and logistical workers, giving you the benefit of exposure to a wide variety of different disciplines. Marketing and advertising also encourage a mindset that will be beneficial to you when marketing yourself to future prospective employers and hiring agents.
Last but certainly not least, non-profit work can be excellent for graduates who want to feel more personally or ethically involved in the work that they do. Like most of the other options on this list, it can be a great way to make connections and gain experience, and while many will recommend volunteering as a way to stay busy between jobs or during or after school, working for a non-profit doesn’t mean working for free – most non-profits will pay top dollar for talented and well-connected executives, understanding the hire as an investment into the efficacy of their company, and as a result, the work that they do.