The MBA is one of the most popular graduate degrees in the United States.
A broad, business-focused curriculum and varied specialization options prepare students for careers in many industries. The degree provides skills in leadership, business management, finance, and interpersonal communication.
Some of the top-paying jobs for MBA graduates are in the banking, sales, and technology industries. Below are 10 of the best-paying MBA jobs, ranked from highest to lowest median salary rates according to PayScale data. Note that an MBA is not mandatory for these careers, but the degree can help candidates stand out in interviews.
Best Jobs for MBA Graduates
Chief Technology Officer $159,551
Chief technology officers are executives who lead technology development efforts within a company. Tasks include leading technology teams in day-to-day operations, conducting research and reviews, collaborating with other executives, and creating and implementing future plans. Chief technology officers must be skilled in leadership, project management, and information technology.
Earning an MBA allows mid- and senior-level IT professionals to supplement their technical knowledge with applied training in operations management, finance, and leadership.
Information Technology Director $119,152
Information technology directors manage a company's IT operations, provide departmental leadership, and develop business relationships with vendors to secure the best pricing options. Directors must present effective strategies, policies, and guidelines to company management for approval. Necessary skills include strategic planning, operations management, and interpersonal communication.
Director-level positions often require at least a bachelor's degree and prior management experience. Job candidates with an MBA bring additional credentials to the table, including applied knowledge of business operations and leadership.
Senior Database Administrator $107,600
Senior database administrators lead teams of computer engineers to create database architecture that meets company requirements and business needs. These professionals oversee database maintenance, configuration, and implementation. Senior database administrators must have thorough knowledge of programming languages, SQL, and/or Oracle.
Senior database administrators must frequently collaborate with others, manage and mentor teams, and delegate work. Earning an MBA can help professionals compete for these roles by providing vital soft skills in people management and communication.
Senior Management Consultant $103,525
Senior management consultants look for ways to improve organizational efficiency. In working with clients, these professionals supervise teams, gather information, analyze data, develop solutions to issues, and make recommendations to managers. Senior management consultants must have keen analytical, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills.
A bachelor's degree satisfies typical entry-level requirements for management consulting positions. Current professionals seeking senior-level advancement may benefit from the specialized training of an MBA.
Sales Director $99,772
Sales directors are responsible for leading regional or company-wide sales teams in pursuit of projected revenue quotas. Sales directors oversee product and advertising campaigns, collaborate with other departments to ensure efficient operation, and report results to executives. These professionals must be effective communicators, managers, and strategic planners.
An MBA curriculum provides students with knowledge of finance, marketing, and human resources. These skills come into play for tasks like approving sales projections, overseeing campaigns, and hiring and training.
Investment Banker $99,350
Investment bankers work at financial institutions, connecting businesses that need money with investors that provide funds. This process, known as "underwriting," requires strategy development, examination of financial information, and extensive communication with clients and investors. These professionals must have keen analytical, interpersonal, and statistical skills.
Four-year degrees in business or finance may satisfy entry-level requirements, but many employers prefer candidates with MBAs for investment careers. An advanced degree ensures specialized knowledge of finance and business operations.
Investment Manager $99,282
Sometimes called investment fund managers, these finance professionals plan, direct, and coordinate investment strategies for funds supplied by individual or institutional investors. Managing funds requires extensive communication with clients, buying and selling securities on a client's behalf, and monitoring portfolio performance. Investment fund managers must be skilled in strategic development, financial analysis, and research.
MBAs explore business operations and finance -- both areas of expertise that benefit investment professionals, especially those looking to work with companies rather than individuals.
Financial Manager $72,519
Financial managers provide guidance to help mitigate weaknesses and risks in an organization's financial situation. Responsibilities may include creating financial budgets and forecasts, researching competitors, and performing audits. These professionals must be skilled in computer use and research, strategic decision-making, and financial analysis.
Financial managers typically need a bachelor's degree and at least five years of financial experience. An MBA with a finance specialization provides relevant training in leadership, economics, risk management, and business law.
Human Resources Director $88,221
Human resources directors plan and coordinate all the administrative functions of an organization, serving as a link between an organization's management and its employees. Tasks include overseeing recruiting, interviewing, and hiring; organizing employee benefit programs; and mediating disputes. These professionals must have keen interpersonal, leadership, and decision-making skills.
Candidates with an MBA, especially those with a human resources management specialization, are better trained in organizational decision-making, leadership, and business management strategy than candidates with only a bachelor's degree.
Computer and Information Systems Manager $82,897
Information systems managers plan and coordinate computer-related activities within an organization, usually by overseeing a team of IT professionals. Tasks include analyzing IT needs and goals, assessing costs and benefits, researching new technology, and directing the installation and maintenance of software and hardware. This job requires analytical, communication, decision-making, and organization skills.
Candidates can pursue entry-level positions with a bachelor's degree and related work experience, but many computer and information systems managers also hold an MBA. This degree provides beneficial, broad training in business and management, which is especially helpful for professionals whose bachelor's degrees are in technical fields like computer science.