Open Search
Open Navigation

What Can You Do With an MBA? 6 Career Paths

Shaking Hands
Reviewed By
Published on: 03/14/2024
Last Updated: 03/14/2024
8 minute read

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is widely considered the gold standard in business, functioning as a terminal degree and potentially opening doors to a host of thrilling opportunities.1

While many are curious to know how hard it is to get an MBA, the focus should be on the doors it opens in the world of business. Yet, obtaining an MBA requires diligence, determination, time, and energy. This begs the question: What can I do with an MBA?

In a word: Plenty. Unlike some graduate degrees typically applied to a single profession or sector, an MBA aims to supply graduates with highly refined, transferable skills that can be employed in numerous roles across multiple industries.

So, what can that look like for MBA graduates?

Explore Our MBA Programs

Diverse Career Paths After Obtaining an MBA

What does an MBA teach you? From leadership to strategic thinking, from team management to enriched communication, the skills accrued in an MBA graduate program can be valuable in various industries. In fact, the sheer number of MBA program concentrations—and the diverse professions they prepare you for—are two of the primary reasons students pursue a business education at the graduate level.2

Traditionally, students went after an MBA to secure a role in finance or management. While these remain alluring options (and at the core of many MBA grad programs’ curricula), they’re merely a slice of the possible career paths you might discover.3 Today, hopefuls and alums have an impressive number of concentrations and industries from which to choose, such as:

Additionally, several emerging, “hot” jobs might be viable for MBA grads—such as an operations research analyst—as well as roles in nontraditional settings like the FBI and even yoga.4,5  Read on as we peer at these industries and positions more closely.

#1 Leadership and Management Roles

Some of the most revered power players at work today—including Elon Musk, Michael Bloomberg, and Phil Knight—hold MBA degrees and coveted positions in leadership and management.6

These may be extraordinary cases, but the point is that an MBA may help to pave the way for a leadership and management role within companies large and small. A handful of the most common positions in this sector boil down to:7

  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
  • Chief Operating Officer (COO)
  • Chief Information Officer (CIO)
  • Fund Manager
  • Senior Product Manager
  • Director of Human Resources
  • Sales Manager
  • Executive Director

Each of these roles is distinct, and yet they have a common thread: They require the capacity to look at an organization from a high-level perspective and are often ideal for MBA grads who excel at comprehending the big picture.

#2 Entrepreneurship and Business Ownership

Flexibility, independence, autonomy, control, and the opportunity to focus solely on your passions—the benefits of entrepreneurship and business ownership are significant.8 While starting a snowboarding brand or opening a Pilates studio doesn’t require an MBA, the degree may benefit you.


Because an MBA equips graduates with the fundamental skills, hands-on experience, and in-depth knowledge required for running any business, such as:

  • Accounting 
  • Marketing
  • Strategy 
  • Financial management
  • Communication
  • Collaboration

Learning soft and hard skills is most advantageous among the many benefits of an MBA degree. With these talents in your toolbox, you may grow the confidence to chart your own course—and gain an edge over your competition.

#3 Consulting and Advisory Roles

MBA programs can help you discover (and hone) your creative problem-solving skills, digital fluency, social literacy, financial acumen, and organizational thinking—the attributes that benefit consultants and advisors across many industries and sectors, including finance, strategy, and operations.9

A management consultant's exact role and responsibilities will naturally depend on the industry you’ve chosen and your experience level. Generally speaking, you may have the chance to make a substantial impact on an organization as a management consultant through:

  • Maximizing business processes
  • Revamping marketing tactics
  • Pinpointing cost-saving strategies
  • Improving employee satisfaction
  • Creating and overseeing deep organizational changes

Sounds exciting? It may be one of several reasons why consulting and advising are among the most popular roles for MBA grads: Data indicates that over 24% of recent MBA graduates (from 21 out of 23 programs) accepted positions in management consulting.10

Explore Our MBA Programs

#4 Finance and Investment Careers

Strong analytical skills, powerful (and timely) decision-making expertise, negotiating prowess, and a comprehensive understanding of statistics are vital to those in finance and investing. Fortunately, these are also traits you may attain in a quality MBA program, particularly if you specialize in finance and pursue a role as a financial analyst, financial advisor, or financial manager.

Within this, you may be able to explore positions in both timeless and novel roles within the realm of finance, such as:11

  • Corporate finance
  • Fintech
  • Investment banking
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Risk management
  • Portfolio management

#5 Global Opportunities

US MBA grads aren’t restricted to jobs within the nation. Indeed, one of the biggest perks of earning an MBA is the opportunity to acquire a wide, global view of business theories, principles, and practices (especially if you choose to concentrate on international business). By gaining knowledge in subjects such as international corporate ethics, international business culture, and global markets, you may prime yourself well for roles like:12

  • Supply chain manager
  • Global project manager
  • Chief marketing officer
  • Economist

Our MBA program encourages international students to apply and offers candidates the practical training required for domestic and international business through cooperative education and internships.

#6 Social Impact and Nonprofit Leadership

Social responsibility has gone from a scattered practice to a common business imperative as consumers increasingly choose brands and organizations committed to positively impacting the planet.13

Luckily, MBA grads may have the chance to make a valuable contribution to the world as well—not only by securing a role in a nonprofit but also by examining avenues within the social impact sector, such as:14

  • Impact investing
  • DEI
  • Sustainable sourcing 
  • Corporate social responsibility (CSR)
  • Cleantech

Continuous Learning and Advancement

“What can you do with an MBA?” should be rephrased as “What can’t you do with an MBA?” As you can see, the roles that may be feasible for an MBA grad are vast and varied.

And yet, while an MBA is a terminal degree with ample opportunities across industries, your education shouldn’t stop once you’ve completed your program. Ongoing learning and professional development are key to advancing in your chosen field and remaining enthusiastic about your career.

This may be accomplished by attending seminars, workshops, and network events, while also obtaining additional certifications. Some of the most valuable post-MBA certificates include:15

  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
  • Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA)
  • Project Management Professional (PMP)
  • Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM)
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

Naturally, the type of certification you might elect to pursue will depend on your specialization and long-term aspirations. But with a degree that can be successfully utilized in many ways and places, you’re bound to find the right fit.

Uplevel Your Career with Alliant International University

There are few savvier ways to upgrade or jumpstart a career in business than earning an MBA, as it doesn’t just open one door, but many. The breadth of skills and experience you’ll gain aren’t just sought after in most industries: They’re paramount.

Whether your ultimate goal is to ascend to the top of a tech company, build your own fashion label, or work in hospitality management, Alliant International University can provide the education and support system you need to help prepare you for the dynamic world of business.

The MBA program in San Diego equips its pupils with the business fundamentals, training, and insights that often equate to success in roles like a management analyst, financial manager, or project manager—all of it helmed by bright, nurturing instructors in on-campus and online settings. Alliant International University offers specializations in various fields, including Management and Leadership, Information Systems and Technology, and Marketing and Digital Trends.

Explore our business programs today to discover what awaits in the exciting world of business.


  1. “What Is a Terminal Degree?” CORP-MAT1 (TEACH), October 6, 2021.…. Accessed February 13, 2024.
  2. Kirkpatrick, Liza. “Is an MBA Degree Really Worth It?” Harvard Business Review, December 7, 2020. Accessed February 13, 2024.
  3.  Kagan, Julia. “What Is a Master of Business Administration (MBA)?” Investopedia, August 3, 2023. Accessed February 13, 2024.
  4. Kowarski, Ilana, and Sarah Wood. 6 hot jobs for MBA graduates | Top Business Schools | U.S. news, April 25, 2023.… February 13, 2024. 
  5. Kowarski, Ilana, and Cole Claybourn. 7 nontraditional jobs for MBA graduates, July 12, 2023.…. Accessed February 13, 2024. 
  6. Hopper, Brian. “Top 5 Entrepreneurs with Mba Degrees.” Access MBA, November 19, 2020.…. Accessed February 13, 2024. 
  7. 17 jobs for people with an MBA in management and ..., June 24, 2022.…. Accessed February 13, 2024. 
  8. Schooley, Skye. “The Pros and Cons of Owning a Business.” Business News Daily, October 24, 2023. Accessed February 13, 2024.
  9. “The Benefits of an MBA for Consulting.” Menlo Coaching, January 24, 2024.…. Accessed February 13, 2024. 
  10. Ingram, Eliot. “From B-School to MBB: Consulting Jobs Placement at Leading Mba Programs.” Clear Admit, June 15, 2023.…. Accessed February 13, 2024. 
  11. Garner, Bethany. “Is an MBA in Finance Right for You?” Start Your MBA or Business Master’s Journey Here, June 28, 2022.…. Accessed February 13, 2024.
  12.  Top jobs for professionals with an MBA in International Business ..., June 24, 2023.…. Accessed February 13, 2024. 
  13. Heyward, Chastity. “Council Post: The Growing Importance of Social Responsibility in Business.” Forbes, November 18, 2020.…. Accessed February 13, 2024. 
  14. Richardson, Kate. “Social Impact Careers and Programs for Aspiring Mbas.” mbaMission, December 2, 2022.…. Accessed February 13, 2024.
  15.  “27 Courses after MBA You Can Consider to Upgrade Your Career.” Crackverbal, December 12, 2023. Accessed February 13, 2024. 

You might also like

Back to Blog
Learn More
two women shaking hands

Does it Matter Where You Get Your MBA?

It’s a valid question. It’s true that some employers value MBAs from prestigious business schools and may give preferential...

Learn More
business people talking together

A Guide to Business School Accreditation

When it comes to choosing a business school and MBA program, one of the most important factors to consider is whether the school...

Learn More
man showing two women a paper

6 Benefits of an MBA Degree for Students & Professionals

C-suite executives, investment bankers, and fund managers may have wildly different responsibilities. Still, many top...