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Best MBA Concentrations: Top-Paying and Popular MBA Specializations

An MBA is a critical tool for career advancement, giving you versatile skills that will help you excel in nearly every area of business. Now, as MBA concentrations become increasingly popular, you can take those skills a step further in specialized practice areas.

An MBA concentration is a way to gain the management and leadership skills MBAs are known for, while further tailoring your degree to a career niche. Getting an MBA with a concentration requires students to take additional courses in a specific subject on top of the core MBA curriculum. MBA programs may have different variations on concentrations, instead calling them areas of focus or specializations. 

A concentration is a great way to benefit from the broad-based MBA core curriculum, which spans all major business disciplines, while also gaining deeper expertise in a specific area. Unlike a specialized master’s program—in an area like marketing or finance—a specialized MBA elevates your skills while also preparing you to lead in a cross-discipline managerial or executive position. 

Should you consider taking the additional step to get an MBA with a concentration? With over 20 different concentrations with various names, curriculum and availability by university, it can feel overwhelming to decide. We’re here to help you navigate the decision. Let’s dive into some of the top-paying and most popular MBA specializations available today.

5 of the Top-Paying MBA Concentrations

An MBA is valuable—with or without a concentration. However, a concentration can make it easier to enter specific fields, work at top companies and compete for high-paying positions. 

According to Poets & Quants, a highly-regarded publication focused on the graduate business education market, on average, the top-paying MBA specializations are consulting, general management, operations, marketing and finance.


Within these fields is a wide-variety of career opportunities. Let’s take a deeper look at these MBA concentrations and some of the top-paying jobs they will prepare you for.

Consulting

Management consulting is an incredibly valuable skill set in today’s business landscape, which is evident in the job growth trends in the field where a 15.3% increase in jobs is expected by 2030 (EMSI). The result of this demand? Highly-qualified consultants can expect to earn top salaries. 

An MBA with a concentration in consulting will help you enter this lucrative industry, giving you the tools to help clients better manage their companies, navigate change and improve operations to benefit the bottom line.

Job TitleAverage SalaryTop 10% Salary
Management Consultant$83,6101$152,760+1
Change Management Consultant$110,1522$167,000+2
Operations Consultant$82,1173$108,000+3

1Balance Careers | 2Zippia | 3Zippia

General Management

Of the many MBA concentrations, general management is one of the most versatile. If you pursue an MBA in General management, you will gain a diverse set of management skills and insights that are applicable across industries. Because of the flexibility of this degree, you will qualify for top-paying positions that will be found in nearly every major industry.

Job TitleAverage SalaryTop 10% Salary
General Manager$100,7761$232,3351
Chief Executive $184,4541$366,080.321
Director of Business Development$187,1422$232,5562

1EMSI | 2Salary.com

 

What matters most when choosing a master’s program? Compare features, benefits and cost to find the right school for you.

 


Operations

An MBA with a concentration in operations focuses on maximizing productivity and efficiency. It’s often most applicable to industries with a heavy emphasis on production, including retail, consumer goods and manufacturing. This concentration is ideal for professionals who want to advance their career in high-paying fields like supply chain management or logistics.

Job TitleAverage SalaryTop 10% Salary
Business Operations Manager$92,4001$123,3491
Logistics Manager$114,4662$137,8912
Supply Chain Manager$108,7653$140,9703

1Salary.com | 2Salary.com | 3Salary.com

Marketing

Marketing is the top revenue driver at many organizations, making it a high-paying field for skilled professionals. If you are—or want to be—in marketing, advertising or public relations a specialized MBA in marketing can help you accelerate your advancement. In addition to the core MBA curriculum, you’ll also gain skills in product and service promotion, marketing campaign creation, and target customer acquisition. 

Job TitleAverage SalaryTop 10% Salary
Marketing Manager$136,8431$281,7481
Market Research Director$164,2852$213,2292
Brand Manager$111,5953$144,9703

1 EMSI | 2Salary.com | 3Salary.com

Finance

For those with an accounting or finance background who want to advance in the field, a specialized MBA in finance is a great choice. Many top executives choose to pursue finance because of its relevance across industries and internal departments. An MBA with a finance concentration will help you dive deeper into subjects like statistics, analytics and accounting—in addition to the core MBA curriculum—to pave the path to lucrative leadership positions.

Job TitleAverage SalaryTop 10% Salary
Financial Manager$129,8961$278,6061
Corporate Controller$202,2932$280,1072
Accounting Manager$107,6283$133,7593

1 EMSI | 2Salary.com | 3Salary.com


3 Specialized MBAs for In-Demand Industries

There are many MBA concentrations that can help you get ahead in your career. Here are five MBAs that are in demand for professionals in specialized and growing industries.

  1. International Management: An MBA with a concentration in international management is ideal for professions who desire to work abroad or at multinational companies who do business across borders. You'll learn the critical skills of an MBA in an international context, giving you the tools needed to conduct business across the globe.
     
  2. IT or Technology Management: A specialized MBA in IT or Technology Management puts you at the forefront of user experience, product design, and enterprise-level information technology. If you want to take advantage of the growing need for data-based decision making, this specialty can teach you how data moves within companies, between organizations, and into industries.
     
  3. Healthcare Management: Healthcare is a rapidly-changing and complex industry. A specialized MBA in healthcare management is ideal for professionals who want to advance their careers by learning innovative approaches to healthcare operations, financial management and patient care outcomes.

Best MBA Specialization for Aspiring CEOs

The MBA is an important credential for c-suite executives, as a master’s degree is almost mandatory in today’s business landscape. CEOs can especially benefit from the broad-based curriculum of an MBA, giving them insight into all of the primary business functions. 

When it comes to MBA concentrations, these are specialties that can be particularly valuable as a CEO:

  • An MBA in Strategy is a popular path for new CEOs who need to gain skills in creating a strategic vision, gaining buy-in from major stakeholders and implementing an actionable plan for achieving your vision.
  • An MBA in Entrepreneurship is an ideal choice for aspiring CEOs who want to start their own company or work at a fledgling startup. 
  • An MBA in Leadership can help you develop the skills to inspire and develop others. As a CEO, this degree can help you build an executive team, delegate responsibilities and build an inspiring corporate culture.

These are just some of the most popular options. Many concentrations can be valuable to the aspiring CEO. If joining the c-suite is your long-term goal, consider the industry you want to work in and the specialized skills you need to gain before becoming an organization’s top leader.

5 Reasons to Consider an MBA Concentration

Is an MBA concentration right for you? That depends on your specific career goals. Here are some of the primary motivations for getting a specialized MBA.

  • You know exactly what they want to do in your career and the field or industry in which you want to work long term.
  • You want to help your resume stand out from other candidates with MBAs, especially at competitive companies.
  • You want to deepen your skillset in a particular specialty, while also benefiting from the broad-based business curriculum of an MBA.
  • You want to change career paths into a new specialization within business in which you aren’t currently working.
  • You have the time and financial resources to take additional courses on top of the core MBA curriculum.

Find the Right MBA Program For Your Career Aspirations

The best MBA program is the one that meets your specific needs. If you’re a working professional who doesn’t want to take time away from your career to get your MBA, Franklin University’s accredited Online MBA is designed to teach you the core MBA curriculum in as few as 12 months. 

Franklin also makes it easy to specialize your MBA, allowing students to take additional courses in practice areas like marketing, finance and more to gain in-depth skills in their desired field. Our Online MBA in Healthcare is a great example of gaining broad-based MBA skills within the context of a specialized and growing industry.

Learn more about our MBA programs to see if they can help you reach your goals and advance your career. 

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