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Which MBA Concentration is Right for You as an Entrepreneur?

By: Andrew Deen

 

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Getting your MBA is an enormous investment of both time and money. As a business person, you know that it’s only a worthwhile pursuit if you can somehow recuperate those investments. While the stats paint a pretty clear picture of how lucrative an advanced business degree can be, your outcome can vary significantly based on the concentration you chose.

Ideally, you will pick an educational path that suits both your interests and your career goals. In this article, we take a look at a few different MBA career paths that you might consider.

Knowing When an MBA is Worth It

Deciding on the value of an advanced degree can be complicated. On average, it takes graduates about twenty years to pay off their loans. As a business person, you understand that the interest in that arrangement is crippling.

Do you really want to weigh yourself down with five to six figures of debt that will follow you into middle age?

Probably not. But there are sensible ways to make an MBA work out. First of all, it’s important to note that many employers will cover some or all of the costs of getting an advanced degree. Obviously, it’s not hard to figure out the math on that one. Free degrees are good.

It’s also possible to find MBA programs that don’t cost an arm and a leg. While prestigious schools can help give you a leg up on the competition, all degrees are valuable career opportunities.

The general rule of thumb is to avoid borrowing more than you will make in the first year on the job. As a future MBA holder, that metric gives you a decent amount of wiggle room. As you will see, many of the concentrations on our list result in median salaries of more than $100K, making it relatively easy to justify the cost of the program.

Of course, to get the most value out of your degree, you do need to follow through with it from a career move perspective. If you get a degree in marketing but then decide finance is the life for you, it might not translate into a worthy ROI.

Still, under the right conditions, getting your MBA can be a profitable way to advance your career.

Management

Getting an MBA in management is a good option for people who would like to assume a leadership role at some point. Management degrees train you with the interpersonal skills needed not only to make the most out of company resources but also to bring out the best in the people you are working with.

It involves honing your communication skills, as well as other important factors of being a team leader. Delegation. Decision making. Big picture stuff. The median salary for someone holding an MBA in management is around $90K. Recent graduates frequently find that there are many options for employment, both in the wider world and at their existing place of work.

Entrepreneurship

Of course, one of the benefits of business ownership is that you don’t have to get any degree at all. The only qualification you need is a good idea and the willpower to see it through. Still, the moment you step into your role as a small business owner, you take on many jobs.

Many entrepreneurs find that they are the leaders of a one-person band. They handle the sales, the marketing, the finance. It’s a lot to take on all on your own but getting a degree can help you learn the ropes.

Marketing

Marketing has always been one of the most popular concentrations in the MBA world. It’s a great next step for marketers who want to assume a leadership role within their current company, or even strike out on their own and start a firm.

Marketing MBA programs teach you how to lead campaigns and also manage the interpersonal aspects of the job that are relevant to being a marketing leader.

Data Technology

Quite possibly the most lucrative MBA on our list, people with graduate degrees in data technology earn a median salary of more than $110K. This educational concentration is all about business planning and analysis as it relates to the data.

MBA candidates learn how to derive conclusions from large quantities of information while also being instructed on the ins and outs of the technology that powers modern data analysis.

Data-related jobs are fast growing and are only expected to grow in demand over the next decade, making this a very sensible MBA concentration for people who are interested in working with numbers.

Finance

Finance MBAs provide the degree holder with an opportunity to learn about banking, budgeting, and the structure of the global marketplace. Good stuff for small talk at a party, in other words. But while finance may seem dry to many people, it is a rewarding discipline both in terms of opportunity and compensation.

Finance MBAs go on to earn more than $100K on average and are met with a wide range of career opportunities when they graduate.

Strike While the Iron is Hot

Most experts agree that now is a great time to get your MBA. The post-Covid economy has left many businesses continuing to look for great new hires, and around 90% of those businesses have deliberately sought out MBAs in the last couple of years.

MBAs are in hot demand because they make valuable contributions to the team. You can use your degree to leverage advancement opportunities and salary increases at your current place of work, or strike out and look for something else.

Many opportunities come from getting your MBA and as digital technology and data continue to reshape the world of business in exciting and complicated ways, businesses continue to look for highly qualified professionals to lead their teams.

To put it plainly, if you want to improve your career advancement opportunities, there is no better way than to get an MBA.

Published: May 16, 2023
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Andrew Deen

Andrew Deen has been a consultant for startups in almost every industry from retail to medical devices and everything in between. He implements lean methodology and is currently writing a book about scaling up business. Twitter @AndrewDeen14.

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