Most popular career options after pursuing an international MBA

A quick look at the employment reports of the top 3 US MBA programs, reveals that the starting median salaries for MBA grads are in the $150K to $158K range.

Manish GuptaUpdated: Wednesday, October 26, 2022, 09:06 PM IST
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Most popular career options after pursuing an international MBA | Representative pic

It is no mystery as to the allure of a top international MBA. When quizzed about this, most aspirants will say things ranging from geography change to change in function or industry. For nearly all, a big part of the attraction comes from the top bucks one stands to earn in careers after MBA. A quick look at the employment reports that the top 3 US MBA programs (read Harvard, Stanford and Wharton), reveals that the starting median salaries for MBA grads is in the $150K to $158K range (upwards or INR 1.2Cr)! And that’s not all, they also end up earning nearly $67K (another half Cr) in performance and sign-on bonuses.

While an MBA can open doors for several types of jobs and industries, it can be argued that it does so for some more than others. Looking at the same data as above, one can find three type of jobs/industries emerging as clear winners – Consulting, Finance and Technology. Let’s take a closer look into what these roles are. We will also give a glimpse of other popular roles towards the end of this article. So if you have been wondering how to choose a career, read on.

While an MBA can open doors for several types of jobs and industries, it can be argued that it does so for some more than others. Looking at the same data as above, one can find three types of jobs/industries emerging as clear winners – Consulting, Finance, and Technology. Let’s take a closer look at what these roles are. We will also give a glimpse of other popular roles towards the end of this article. So if you have been wondering how to choose a career, read on.

Consulting

Management or Strategy Consulting as it is more popularly known has been the top choice of MBA grads for decades now. In a nutshell, as a consultant, you are typically solving CxO level business problems. The biggest employer names in this sphere that are globally well known are known as the MBBs – McKinsey & Co, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Bain & Company.

The reason for this career path’s popularity is both the moolah you make but also the kind of exposure and learning it can offer. From a very early stage, you can get to be part of boardroom discussions at the biggest organisations and rub shoulders with the best and the brightest minds in the professional world.

Financial Services

Under this umbrella term, there are a variety of roles and jobs. The most popular and arguably the biggest recruiter is investment banking; a close second could be investment or asset management. Broadly speaking, investment banking entails providing financial services to organisations (and individuals in some cases) through investment strategies and risk management, among other services. A few top names in this area would be the likes of Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and more.

A big pull for this career choice comes from the top dollars one stands to earn, arguably the highest among the popular career choices on offer. It also gives you the ability to discern the financial numbers that drive most decisions in the world of business. The world of business revolves around money and this career choice is all about managing money (wealth) correctly.

Manish Gupta

Technology

The first few images that come to mind when one hears technology are likely of software engineers that make our modern world go around. What is it doing in the world of MBAs one might wonder. While the core technology and innovation are critical, one can argue that it is equally critical to bring the said technology or innovation to the millions and billions. That is the purview of the world of business. In the past decade or so, technology management-related jobs have become one of the most sought-after and among the highest-paying ones on top MBA campuses. The most popular career choice in this area is Product Management. In simple terms, a product manager works with a cross-functional team (comprising engineers, marketing, sales, finance, and others) to bring technology products to life. The cycle from a product’s conception to its launch is popularly known as the product development life cycle (PDLC). Like MBBs in Consulting, the top firms in this industry too have come up with their own version – FAANG which stands for Facebook (now Meta), Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google (now Alphabet).

The attraction for this role stems from its ability to get you in a position where you ride the world of technology and can literally transform millions/billions live or interact or so much more. The fact that it pays big bucks is all the incentive needed to drive this right to the top when it comes to career choices after MBA.

Others

Some of the other popular career choices that an MBA opens up are General Management, Sales & Marketing, Private Equity/Venture Capital, and Operations Management. A small proportion of grads also pursue careers in slightly more niche areas such as Healthcare Management, Manufacturing, Media, and Social Impact.

The moral of the story (or at least this article) however is this. An MBA can open doors for you no doubt. But as an MBA aspirant, never take admission blindly, meaning not knowing or having a clue of what kind of career you’ll want to pursue. It is important to plan your career and then decide to put in your hard-earned money into an MBA which can be a pretty expensive degree. If you are unsure, seek career counselling through networking, from your mentors and with experienced career counsellors.

Remember, the right ‘answer’ for you may mean not pursuing an MBA at all!

The author is the Chief Consulting Officer at MBA Crystal Ball, an MBA Admissions and Career Counselling service provider.

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