An MBA Opens Doors to a Variety of Careers

May 26, 2016
Tags: Business School, Career, Find a Job

There is a misperception among some observers that an MBA is only for a certain type of person, looking for a certain type of job. The reality is that earning an MBA appeals to a wide array of candidates—running the spectrum between the analytical and the creative, the extroverted and the introverted, and those with business and non-business professional backgrounds.

Reflecting the diversity of the inputs are the variety of career paths MBA graduates chart after earning their degree. Equipped with a solid grounding in the fundamentals of business and management, the skills to be an effective leader, and the support of a robust alumni network, graduates go on to have successful careers across a wide array of industries and job functions.

There’s no one thing MBA alumni do

GMAC recently surveyed more than 4,750 alumni of full-time two-year MBA programs and found that they are employed across eight different industries, with no more than 1 in 5 currently working in any one particular industry. The largest share of full-time two-year MBA alumni work in the products/services, tech, and finance/accounting industries. Additional alumni work the government/nonprofit, consulting, manufacturing, healthcare/pharmaceuticals, and energy/utilities industries.

The job functions of full-time two-year MBA alumni also vary widely. About half of alumni have marketing/sales or finance/accounting roles at their companies, and the other half are spread across general management, consulting, operations/logistics, human resources, and IT/MIS roles.1

2016 Official GMAT Careers Graphic

This diversity speaks to the wide applicability of the MBA curriculum to all types of businesses, and the desirability of the MBA skillset among employers seeking new management talent. GMAC’s most recent survey of corporate recruiters found that across all industries, 95 percent of recruiters agree that hiring recent business school graduates creates value for their companies.2

Through their MBA programs and the professional guidance provided by their business school career services office, MBA students are able to identify the job opportunities that appeal to their interests and are a great match for their individual talent and aspiration. Across all industries and job functions, 96 percent of full-time two-year MBA alumni say their degree has been professionally rewarding, and 92 percent report being satisfied with their current job.3 

An MBA can help you make a career change

Are you considering an MBA because you want to take your career in a new direction? You’re hardly alone. More than 2 in 5 prospective MBA students (43%) plan to use their management education to pursue opportunities in industries or job functions they have not worked in before. These MBA candidates outnumber those who want to continue down their current career path (27%) and those who want to start or continue their careers as entrepreneurs (29%).4

About half of full-time two-year MBA alumni report that making a career change was a key factor that motivated them to invest their time, money, and effort to earn an MBA. This includes alumni that wanted to change job functions (51%), and alumni that wanted to change industries (46%).

Nine in 10 of these alumni say earning their MBA met their initial investment expectations to change careers. Ninety percent of those who wanted to change job functions report being satisfied with their investment to do so, and 89 percent of those who wanted to change industries report the same.5

An MBA gives you flexibility

The business world changes rapidly, and organizational change experts predict the rate of change in business will only accelerate in the future. That means your ability to adapt to a changing marketplace will be critical to your long-term career success.

Because an MBA is so greatly valued across different industries and disciplines, it can help you adapt to changing circumstances in the economy. For example, if shifts in the market negatively impact your career trajectory in a given industry or job function, having your MBA—not to mention your MBA network—will enhance your ability to deftly pivot your career path in a direction that will enable your continued professional development.

There’s no limit to what you can accomplish with an MBA. To discover which MBA program is a great match for your talent and career goals, begin your search by using the School Finder tool.


[1] GMAC (2016) Alumni Perspectives Survey Report.
[2] GMAC (2015) Corporate Recruiters Survey Report.

[3] GMAC (2016) Alumni Perspectives Survey Report.
[4] GMAC (2016) mba.com Prospective Students Survey Report.
[5] GMAC (2016) Alumni Perspectives Survey Report.

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