Best Paying MBA Degree Concentrations

Created by Henry Steele

By Henry Steele - November 8, 2017
Reading Time: 6 minutes
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Selecting the best school for your MBA education is not the only big decision on your plate. You also have to think about the best concentration to focus on in your graduate education. Some MBA concentrations have higher job demand and salaries than others, so it is important to choose wisely. Some business degree specializations can easily pay $50,000 more per year by the time you reach mid-career.

Below is more information about MBA salary breakdown according to specialization and job type.

Strategy MBA Concentration recently released its College Salary Report, and research shows that the strategy MBA specialization is one of the best in terms of early career pay and mid-career pay. In 2016, it was determined that MBAs in strategy were paying an average salary of $93,100 to start. At mid-career, professionals with this degree and concentration earned $148,000 per year.

Job options for professionals with a strategy concentration include:

  • Chief executive: $181,000
  • Financial manager: $121,000
  • Construction manager: $89,000
  • Financial analyst: $81,700

Finance MBA Concentration

All business and finance-related positions in the US are seeing healthy growth as there will be 9% job increases in these areas through 2026. This is about as fast as average when compared with other fields. There will be a total of approximately 750,000 jobs added in business and finance by 2026.

Poets and Quants states that earning a MBA in finance in the following specialities will result in these types of starting salaries:

  • Finance and real estate: $78,900
  • Finance and economics: $68,100
  • Finance: $67,800
  • Financial management: $60,200

Some of the positions you may work in with this MBA concentration include:

  • Financial analyst: $81,700
  • Financial examiner: $79,200
  • Budget analyst: $73,800
  • Management analyst: $81,300

In depth salary and requirements for these job titles:

Healthcare MBA Concentration

Healthcare reform in the US has caused a great surge in all types of healthcare jobs and companies. There are almost 12 million people working in healthcare today, and job demand in healthcare is expected to grow by 18% by 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). It is anticipated that this job sector will add at least 2.3 million jobs by that year.

One of the most popular jobs for MBA professionals with a healthcare concentration is a medical or health services manager. These skilled business professionals need to have the ability to manage new and growing healthcare facilities so that they are efficient and profitable. Job demand for these workers will increase by 20% by 2026, which is much faster than average.

The median salary for medical and health services managers was $96,500 in 2016. The top 10% with the most education and experience earned more than $172,000 per year. If you are looking for the highest salary with an MBA in healthcare, it is a good idea to work in a hospital; the median salary for these business professionals there is $104,000 per year.

Other job options for an MBA in healthcare include:

  • Hospital CEO: $166,000
  • Hospital CFO: $155,000
  • Health informatics manager: $85,000

In depth salary and requirements for these job titles:

Information Systems MBA Concentration

An MBA in information systems could be the ticket to a rewarding career. BLS states that employment for computer and information technology workers will increase by 13% by 2026, which is faster than average. In all, there will be 546,100 new jobs in this area by that year. Demand for IT workers is stemming from more emphasis upon cloud computing, information security and big data storage.

An MBA in this field can be a good path to moving into an executive level position in IT, if you have a strong interest in computers, software and programming.

A common career path for this specialization is computer and information systems manager. This profession will see rapid growth, with 12% increase in jobs by 2026. The median salary for this field is $135,800.

Poets and Quants states that the starting salary for information systems professionals with an MBA is $70,000 per year. Some of the other job possibilities with a Information Systems MBA concentration are:

  • Computer and information research scientist: $111,800
  • Computer network architect: $101,200
  • Information security analyst: $92,600
  • Network and computer systems administrator: $79,200

In depth salary and requirements for these job titles:

Marketing MBA Concentration

Employment in the marketing and promotions fields are expected to increase by 9% by 2024, which is about as fast as average. Job demand will be acute in the electronic media sector and much slower in the newspaper, magazine and legacy publishing industries. The median salary for marketing and promotions managers was $100,800 in 2016, and the top 10% earned more than $208,000 per year.

Poets and Quants states that the marketing MBA concentration has these starting average salaries:

  • Marketing and management: $63,800
  • Marketing management $59,500
  • Marketing and international business: $62,300
  • Marketing: $60,000

Other possible occupations with a marketing concentration are:

  • Sales managers: $117,900
  • Market research analyst: $62,500
  • Financial manager: $121,000
  • Advertising sales agent: $50,300

In depth salary and requirements for these job titles:

Accounting MBA Concentration

Accounting continues to be a popular concentration with an accounting MBA that can lead to lucrative jobs from CFO to company accountant. The accounting and auditing field is experiencing solid growth; there will be a 10% increase in jobs in this field by 2026, which is faster than average. Globalization, economic growth in the 3-4% range and a more complex regulatory and tax environment will increase the need for business professionals with excellent accounting skills.

The median pay for accountants and auditors was $68,100 in 2016, and the top 10% with the best education and experience earned $110,000 per year.

Other possible jobs for people with this concentration are:

  • Chief financial officer: $125,000
  • Financial controller: $90,000
  • Budget analyst: $73,800

In depth salary and requirements for these job titles:

Entrepreneurship MBA Concentration

The entrepreneurship specialty is becoming more popular because it can prepare you to start your own successful company. This specialization can help you to start a small business, open a franchise or even obtain venture capital.

Growth in the entrepreneurship field is very promising. According to Fast Company, a 2015 survey found that 310 out of 100,000 people were starting new businesses every month, which was an increase over the 280 per 100,000 people the year before.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not state what the possible salary is for an entrepreneur or an MBA that gets an entrepreneurship degree. However, according to Poet’s and Quants, mid-career MBAs who studied entrepreneurship earn a salary of $131,000 per year.

Some possible jobs that you can have with an entrepreneurship concentration are:

  • CEO or CFO: $181,000
  • Sales manager: $117,000
  • Marketing manager: $127,500

Human Resources MBA Concentration

Employment for human resources professionals, especially managers, is growing at a healthy clip, with 9% increase in jobs expected by 2026. HR managers are in greater need today because firms need to adhere to more complex laws and regulations related to occupational safety and health, equal employment, wages, healthcare and retirement plans.

The median salary for human resources managers is $106,900, and the top 10% with the most education and experience earn $193,500 per year. Also, reports that the median salary for HR managers with a Human Resources MBA is between $94,544 and $101,207.

In depth salary and requirements for these job titles:

Operations Management MBA Concentration

An MBA in operations management provides the student with skills that are extremely important to work as an operations manager or similar position. The position of operations research analyst is particularly popular with MBA professionals with an operations specialization. It is expected that jobs in this role will increase by an impressive 27% by 2026, which is being driven by companies wanting to increase efficiency and cost savings as the global market becomes more competitive.

The median salary in the role of operations research analyst is $79,200, and the starting salary for an operations management specialty is $72,500.

In depth salary and requirements for these job titles:

Sustainability MBA Concentration

Earning an MBA with a sustainability concentration will enable you to work in occupations such as environmental scientist or specialist. It is anticipated that employment in this field will grow by 11% by 2026. As more hazards are facing our environment, interest in protecting natural resources is growing on the part of the public.

The median pay for environmental scientists and specialists was $68,900 as of May 2016.

The above salary information shows that MBA graduates can earn various salaries at the beginning of and in the middle of their careers based upon their specialty. As of 2017, a strategy MBA seems to have the highest ceiling in terms of salary. However, getting a top MBA degree in finance or accounting will always be a safe bet. And, if you are interested in the medical field, there is very strong demand anticipated in the coming years for all types of healthcare professionals, which will lead to excellent job possibilities for business professionals with a healthcare background.


Henry 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.

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