Best MBA Degree Concentrations for CEO’s & Executives

Reading Time: 6 minutes
Posted On: May 3, 2018 by Henry R. Steele

If you are a CEO or executive of a company and want to earn your MBA, it is a good idea to carefully consider your concentration. Some MBA concentrations lead to better opportunities and pay than others.

According to Poets and Quants, the strategy MBA is one of the most revered MBA for CEOs and others who occupy or wish to occupy the C-suite. This is because business strategy in the end really touches all parts of a business operation.

Strategy is vital to the growth of a business because it comprises the endless task of redesign so a company can align its many activities and properly deploy resources. Strategy also is important for a company because it is used to identify limits, risks and tradeoffs that all companies must consider as they move forward. Corporate strategy also is concerned with how major corporations, such as Disney, for example, are able to create value and enhance profits across many different businesses in its portfolio.

The strategy MBA is one of the most popular these days for training new CEOs. Strategy MBAs teach students how to obtain buy in at all levels of a company, and also the importance of follow through and flexibility. Strategy at the executive level is about the roles, vision and tactics that ultimately will separate successful from unsuccessful companies.

Strategy Also Pays More

The responsibilities that come with leading a company’s strategy are heavy ones. That is why CEOs and other executives with an MBA with a concentration in strategy often make more than their peers. reported in 2018 that MBAs with a strategy concentration earned a median salary of $94,800 when they chose a strategy concentration. That was $14,000 better than any other concentration. By mid-career, strategy MBAs were making at least $150,000 per year. The strategy MBA has been topping concentration based pay in data for four years in a row.

How A Strategy Focus Can Propel Your Executive Career

Understanding corporate strategy is important to be a successful CEO. That is why the online MBA program at the University of North Carolina, for example, offers corporate strategy courses in its AACSB-accredited program.

Courses in corporate strategy introduce the student to the major decisions, tools and concepts that make for successful corporate strategy. They improve your understanding of how decisions of executives will influence the economic performance of their companies. Some of the most important learning objectives that are covered in strategy classes can include:

  • How multi-business companies can both create and destroy value
  • How to engage in discussion about corporate strategy with other executives and managers
  • Identify opportunities to enhance corporate strategy to meet long term company goals
  • Understand various economic and organizational realities, and be able to analyze and identify major synergy opportunities
  • Understand alliance and how they affect corporate strategy
  • Grasping major trade offs between acquisitions and alliances

Understanding strategy in business also is about understanding and leveraging many competitive dynamics with a strong focus on making above average and persistent profits. A complete understanding of business and corporate strategy has been shown to be vital for CEOS, consultants and high level managers to succeed over the years of their careers.

Other Valuable Online MBA Concentrations for CEOs

Other MBA concentrations also have been shown to have more economic and opportunistic value over time, according to the data. Innovation management leads to a $62,000 pay increase early in the career, and more than double earnings later in the executive career.

Entrepreneur MBAS also on average have a $70,000 pay increase soon after graduation, but by mid career, they are making almost as much as strategy MBAs.

Top-Paying MBA Concentrations for CEOs

According to data, these concentrations led to to the best mid-career pay and opportunities for CEOs and other high level executives:

  1. Strategy: $150,000
  2. Entrepreneurship: $139,000
  3. Corporate finance: $138,000
  4. Innovation management: $134,000
  5. Economics: $132,000
  6. Business finance: $130,000
  7. Finance: $130,000
  8. Marketing: $123,000
  9. Information Technology: $122,000
  10. Strategic management: $122,000

6 Best Online MBA Options for Executives

Now that you have an idea about the best concentrations for CEOs in terms of pay and opportunities, review some of the best online MBA options for experienced, executive business professionals:

Arizona State University

The W. P. Carey Online MBA is designed to provide the ability to obtain a master’s degree from an AACSB-accredited, top-30 business school no matter where you live. Focused and flexible, the highly ranked program delivers the knowledge and skills you need to advance your career, whether you travel for work or simply prefer learning whenever and wherever it’s convenient for you.

  • ASU Online MBA is Ranked Top 5 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report
  • ASU is ranked #2 for Best Online Graduate Business Programs by U.S. News & World Report
  • ASU is ranked the #1 university for innovation in the country by U.S. News & World Report, ahead of both MIT and Stanford

This flexible, 100% online program from an AACSB-accredited business school allows you to study the same curriculum taught by the same world-renowned faculty as the on-campus program.

Grad Tuition: Inquire
Application Deadline: Multiple
School Type: Non-Profit
Accreditation: AACSB
Delivery: 100% Online
Degrees Offered: MBA/Bachelors

Inquire Direct with

Online Master’s Degree
  • Master’s in Business MBA

For more information about this program visit the school direct.

Inquire Direct with

#1 Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University and the Carey Business School offer a part time, online MBA program that is designed to develop business executives and leaders to tackle the most difficult business and societal problems. Students in this two year program can choose concentrations in leadership and management, healthcare and finance. Online courses are offered in eight week terms and are mostly asynchronous so you can take them on your schedule. Some courses in business communication, leadership and negotiation require some in person coursework in Baltimore.

  • Campus: Baltimore MD online
  • Type: Private, non-profit
  • Accreditation: AACSB
  • Minimum time commitment: 24 months
  • On campus requirements: Yes
  • Tuition: Inquire
  • Programs: Master of Business Administration

#2 American University

American University and the Kogod School of Business offers a two year, AACSB-accredited online MBA that will provide you with the critical thinking and problem solving skills you need to serve as an elite business executive. The program is delivered live online and features two immersions that take place in various business capitals around the globe. Concentrations are in marketing, finance, cybersecurity, international business, business analytics, and consulting. Each year, at least one immersion takes place in Washington DC and will have the opportunity to hear from business and policy leaders in their group assignments.

  • Campus: Washington DC, online
  • Type: Private, non-profit
  • Accreditation: AACSB
  • Minimum time commitment: 18-24 months
  • On campus requirements: Yes
  • Tuition: Inquire
  • Programs: Online Master of Business Administration

#3 Washington State University

Washington State University and the Carson School of Business offer an online, AACSB-accredited MBA with concentrations in general business, marketing, finance, hospitality business management and international business. It is a 100% online MBA program with no GMAT required and students can graduate in 22-29 months. As of 2018, the program is ranked the #12 online MBA according to US News and World Report.

  • Campus: Pullman WA, online
  • Type: Public, non-profit
  • Accreditation: AACSB
  • Minimum time commitment: 22 months
  • On campus requirements: Yes
  • Tuition: Inquire
  • Programs: Online Master of Business Administration

#4 Villanova University

The online MBA from the Villanova School of Business is accredited by the AACSB and currently is ranked as a top online MBA by US News and World Report, and also is ranked as a top online MBA program for veterans by the same publication. Available concentrations are finance, strategic management, international business, marketing, and analytics. The program is fully online and its faculty are well known as leaders in their respective fields. The program is 21 courses in length and is typically completed within six semesters.

  • Campus: Villanova PA, online
  • Type: Private, non-profit
  • Accreditation: AACSB
  • Minimum time commitment: 24 months
  • On campus requirements: No
  • Tuition: Inquire
  • Programs: Online Master of Business Administration

Earning an MBA with a strategy concentration is one of the best ideas for CEOs who want to increase their knowledge base to be more successful, better paid and adept business professionals. But there also are other concentrations worth your consideration as well.

#5 University of North Carolina

The online MBA at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School is ranked as a top online MBA by US News and World Report. It is a 66-credit program accredited by the AACSB. It can be completed in 18 to 36 months, with a focus on strategic leadership. Students also can develop their industry-specific expertise in these concentrations: entrepreneurship, corporate finance, global supply chain management, marketing, investment management, data analytics and management consulting. According to the university, 79% of students most recently were promoted or changed jobs while enrolled, and students had a 24% average salary increase after they graduated.

  • Campus: Chapel Hill, online
  • Type: Public, non-profit
  • Accreditation: AACSB
  • Minimum time commitment: 18 months
  • On campus requirements: Yes – global immersions available
  • Tuition: Inquire
  • Programs: Online Master of Business Administration

#6 University of Maryland

The online MBA at the Robert H. Smith School of Business and the University of Maryland has a strong global reputation for developing highly skilled and ethically sound business executives. The Smith MBA is currently ranked the #9 best online MBA by US News and World Reports. Students can complete the online MBA in as few as 24 months and can specialize in accounting, finance, information systems, business analytics, marketing or supply chain management. The university’s proximity to Washington DC means the Smith School can often recruit speakers and educators from among the top policy makers and professionals in the country.

  • Campus: College Park MD, online
  • Type: Public, non-profit
  • Accreditation: AACSB
  • Minimum time commitment: 24 months
  • On campus requirements: Varies
  • Tuition: Inquire
  • Programs: Online Master of Business Administration


  • Corporate Strategy Course. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  • The Highest Paying MBA Concentrations of 2017. (2018). Retrieved from
Henry R. Steele
Henry R. Steele
Managing Editor
Henry is Managing Editor of He is a seasoned business professional who regularly consults with local business's throughout Southern California. Henry pursued his undergrad in Business and Economics at the University of San Diego and gained valuable life changing experience through a unique internship upon graduation.Follow on

As Seen On provides students of business with the opportunities to get ahead in their career.

“It doesn't matter how many times you have failed, you only have to be right once.” - Mark Cuban