What careers can you pursue with an MBA? Paths illustration

We explore the types of jobs, salaries, and opportunities that come with your MBA degree.



The proof is in the payoff

When it comes to careers for MBA graduates, your options are only as limited as your imagination. Popular career choices include executive leadership positions, director roles, product managers, marketing managers, data and systems analysts, accountants, non-profit managers, healthcare consultants … the list goes on and on. Your MBA will open doors to opportunities far beyond a bachelor’s degree.

David Chivers

“The Iowa MBA program reinforced the idea that I could be in the C-suite, that I could be at the highest levels and that was exciting.”

What type of job can I get with an MBA? So many options to choose from …

Interesting, well-paying careers abound for MBA grads. We’ve put together a list of both traditional and non-traditional MBA jobs to help illustrate the point. This list is not all-inclusive but intended to show the scope of opportunities across industries.

Executive Roles

  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
  • Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)
  • Chief Operating Officer (COO)
  • Chief Information Officer (CIO)

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  • Investment Banker
  • Funds Manager
  • Financial Consultant
  • Financial Planning Manager
  • Wealth Manager
  • Auditor
  • Accountant
  • Financial Quantitative Analyst
  • Budget Analyst


  • Creative Director
  • Brand Manager
  • Marketing Manager/Director
  • Art Director
  • Marketing Specialist
  • Sales Manager
  • Purchasing Manager

Analytics, Operations and Strategy

  • IT Analyst
  • Business Analyst
  • Operations Analyst
  • Compliance Specialist
  • Product Manager
  • Process Improvement Manager
  • Logistics Manager
  • Human Resources Manager


  • Non-profit Director
  • Lawyer
  • Start-up Founder
  • Computer Engineer

You can find additional career options, interview tips, and more in the Tippie Career Guide.

Will an MBA get me a job? The forecast looks sunny.

While an MBA is no guarantee of a great job, it certainly helps. Statista.com1 reports that MBA hiring in the U.S. rose from 59% in 2008 to 91% in 2022. According to the GMAC 2023 Corporate Recruiters Survey,2 MBAs are most in-demand in the global, consulting, and technology sectors, with 90% of employers planning to hire MBA degree-holders in 2023.

Over 50% of employers in 2023 are looking to grow their employee pool, with the biggest increases expected in consulting, products/services, and energy/utilities. Forty-seven percent of employers plan to place their MBA hires in strategy and innovation roles, 45% in consulting jobs, and 44% in marketing. 

“The top competencies we look for in leaders at the company are: leading change and transition, comfort in uncertainty and ambiguity, growth mindset, developing others, critical thinking, and vision and strategy formulation.”

Jan Kraus, Senior Director, People Teams, Fortune 5 Company

Dollars and sense: Can you make a lot of money with an MBA?

Yes, you can!

A 2023 survey by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC)2 projected an MBA jobs median starting salary of $125k.

MBA grads not only see salaries of up to $50k more than those with a bachelor’s degree alone,3 they’re also on the fast-track for promotions. 67% of Iowa MBA graduates received a promotion during or after their program.

The two full-time MBA programs with the highest MBA starting salary in the U.S. are Harvard University at $198,180 and Stanford University at $153,900.4 The top part-time MBA starting salary belongs to the University of Chicago (Booth) at $165,887.5

While earning an MBA doesn’t ensure an automatic salary boost or promotion, the crucial insights and skills you’ll gain from your program can provide leverage when negotiating for raises and role changes. As the saying goes, “you get out what you put in.” This rings as true for MBA programs as it does for real life.

If you commit yourself to truly growing your understanding of business, leveraging the networking opportunities your program will afford you, engaging in classroom discussions, and creating a plan for your career growth, then you’ll be set up for success post-graduation.

John Hanson Portrait

“An MBA can help both personally and professionally by providing additional business knowledge and concepts, confidence to communicate with individuals at various organizational levels, and a much broader understanding of the factors that impact decision-making. These factors also contribute to upward career movement and provide more choices in terms of career paths.”

John Hanson, Assistant Director of Recruiting, Tippie College of Business

Put me in coach: What do most MBA graduates do?

In a post-COVID world, some of the best jobs for recent MBA graduates fall within the technology, pharmaceutical, and finance sectors.6

These industries have so far weathered the storm of the “great resignation,” remote work, and workforce reductions, and offer interesting, well-paid careers for MBA degree-holders.

Reliably, MBA graduates can also find work in marketing, consulting, analytics, and operations. As you continue to ask yourself “Why should I get an MBA?”, don’t neglect to consider the advantages of the enormous range of career options and opportunities available to MBA grads.

If you’re in the market for MBA jobs that pay $200k or more, look to the C-Suite. A recent report shows CEOs averaging a take-home salary of $821,000+ and CFOs earning around $213,000 per year.7 While it may take time to reach these lofty positions, the work will be well worth the payoff.

Dee Hurst

“Employers hire MBAs for short-term value, but more importantly, long-term potential for higher leadership roles.”

Dee Hurst, Senior Associate Director / Career Coach,  Tippie College of Business

Ready to explore all the benefits of a top-ranked, Big Ten MBA? 

Start right here

Related articles

  1. Percentage of companies that hired MBA graduates from 2008 to 2022.” Statista.com, Aug 7, 2023.
  2. Andrew Walker, et al. “Corporate Recruiters Survey – 2023 Summary Report.” Graduate Management Admissions Council, July 2023.
  3. MBA Degree Salary: 2023 Guide.” Coursera, June 15, 2023.
  4. Ilana Kowarski and Cole Claybourn. “Find MBAs That Lead to Employment, High Salaries.” U.S. News & World Report, April 25, 2023.
  5. Best Part-Time MBA Programs.” U.S. News & World Report, 2023.
  6. Jonathan Moules. “A Sellers Job Market for MBA Grads.” Financial Times, February 6, 2022.
  7. Martin Mascali. “13 of the Highest Paying Jobs for MBA Graduates to Pursue.” Monster.com.