Deciding between which type of graduate degree you want to pursue can be difficult. Between an MBA, MS, MA, and more it can be tricky to choose what’s best for you. However, according to Johnson & Wales University’s Karen Silva Ed.D., the MBA is the “gold standard” when it comes to graduate degrees related to business. “It covers all areas of business-operations; decision making, marketing, leadership, finance, accounting, ethics, etc, therefore individuals obtaining this degree have a well-rounded approach to business management,” she said.
Which MBA Concentration Should You Choose?
You’ve decided to get your Master of Business Administration. Now, it’s time to figure out which concentration will best help you achieve your career goals.
Silva urges those deciding between which concentration to look a few years down the line into their careers. “I would suggest they consider their ultimate career goal,” she said. “Where do they see themselves in five or more years? What is their area of interest? How will a particular concentration assist them in achieving their objectives?”
Professionals with an MBA have a 38% advantage in pay over those with just a bachelor’s in business, according to a report from the National Association of College and Employers. The report found the salary for someone with an MBA started around $78,332, while the average entry-level salary for a hire with only a bachelor’s degree in business was $56,720.
It’s clear that earning your MBA can lead to better compensation and a wider range of career opportunities. But with so many MBA concentration options, it can be tough to decide which degree track to take. Here’s a look at the various MBA concentrations JWU has to offer to help you make an informed decision.
MBA Concentration Options
If you are looking for a career in business, then a general MBA degree will provide you with the skills to assess businesses on their operational, functional and interactive aspects. You will have the tools and knowledge needed to start or lead businesses at a local, national or international level. With a general MBA, you will gain expertise that applies to a very wide range of industries.
If you are looking to jumpstart your career, then you can streamline your program with an accelerated Master of Business Administration from JWU. This slashes the program in half, requiring 12 months of intensive work at the rate of four courses each semester—including the summer semester.
This is an important option for those that are skilled students and want to take a leadership position in their careers faster. The course still requires the same number of credits as the general MBA, just in a much more condensed timeframe. Due to the higher demands placed on your time and your life throughout this program, the accelerated MBA is not recommended for everyone.
Job demand for event leadership is expected to grow at a rate of 7% over the next eight years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Companies need leaders that are able to make financially smart choices for events that bring in solid revenue without overpaying for the return. Event leadership requires a deep understanding of collaboration and on-the-spot problem-solving. You will learn about sustainable management, event risk, operations, planning and more. From hotels to nonprofits, there are a number of different employers looking for professionals that are skilled at helping run events with a focus on business strategy.
Communication is in high demand—especially at the higher levels of any given company or organization. This MBA focus takes a much deeper look at effective messaging to achieve business goals.
If you need to elevate your communication, then a concentration focusing on high-level interactions will help you shift into a leadership role. Learn how to gather and analyze research to support key decision-making strategies. Understand how to approach high-level business problems in a variety of settings to meet demand in the midst of complicated situations, like those you will face as a leader.
The bottom line of the company comes down to money management and finances. In order to maintain growth and avoid disaster, a deep understanding of financial strategies is crucial for business leaders. Earning an MBA with a concentration in finance is a smart step towards a better understanding of the inner workings of any business you work for and the ethical parameters that come with handling corporate money. This will move you into a solid position for careers that deal with financial leadership, from financial analyst and financial manager to CFO.
If you love design and fashion, then getting your concentration in this area could open a number of doors to opportunity. You will still have an MBA that focuses on cultivating major business expertise, but you will add in an understanding for fashion concepts, ethics, sustainability and management. You will learn how to work within the fast-paced world of fashion. This educational path is ideal for leaders in retail sectors or companies that handle fashion. It is ideal for positions such as fashion merchandiser which require an understanding of industry trends and style, all while making financially sound business calls.
This highly industry-specific concentration helps you prepare for a leadership role in the hospitality industry. This degree is going to be a good fit for professionals working within real estate, technology, international business, marketing, hotels, event planning and other hospitality-based business. Your hospitality MBA will open the door for jobs like guest experience manager, hotel director, tourism coordinator, senior loyalty strategist, director of sales and marketing and director of financial planning.
If you like working directly with fellow associates and employees, a top role in HR may be a good fit for you. As you get your MBA, a human resources management concentration will help you understand employee motivations, business policy, recruiting strategy, industry regulations and more. You will gain knowledge about hiring requirements and compensation offerings to help attract top talent.
The current drive for data collection is like nothing ever before. Companies are striving to gather more information on consumers to better target their needs and personalize appeal. But that same data also presents a huge potential for risk. In order to have a firm grasp on collecting and securing that data, information security specialists are needed. With your MBA and concentration in information security/assurance, you will have a firm grasp on various aspects of cybercrime, cybersecurity, risk management and corporate ethics.
The nonprofit sector has a number of different demands and challenges that the for-profit business sector doesn’t need to address. With an MBA nonprofit management concentration, you can hone your skills to better address the requirements of a nonprofit organization. If you want to become a director, VP or CEO of a nonprofit, then you should have a deep understanding of business along with specific strategies for nonprofit. While this program typically takes two years to complete, there is an accelerated option for completion in 15 months. Learn program evaluation, financial reporting, nonprofit budgeting and more with a concentration in nonprofit management from JWU.
For companies that deal with manufacturing or tangible products, supply chain management is crucial. Getting an MBA with your concentration in supply chain management opens the doors towards leadership roles that help with logistics, management of operations, corporate policy, systems analytics and more. You will gain a deeper understanding for global logistics, supply chain management, corporate budgeting, quality control and more. This is a good degree for supply chain consultants, industry analysts, purchasing managers, warehouse managers, transportation directors and more.
Leadership is changing and needs to fill a much broader definition within the company or organization. More companies and nonprofits are seeking leaders who can help with coordinating their programs and get everyone on the same page. This program teaches management skills, effective leadership, project management and more. An MBA with a concentration in organizational leadership is a good launching point for a career as a principal, instructional coordinator, HR manager, management analyst, top exec and more.
When getting your MBA, the organizational psychology concentration will help educate you on the scientific study of workplaces. This will better help you understand the hiring process, employee performance, training strategies and building corporate culture. You can get a job as an organizational behavior consultant, recruitment manager, HR leader, employee consultant and industrial psychologist.
Project managers are responsible for guiding and leading teams to meet deadlines and please clients. With an MBA, a concentration in project management offers a more intensive look at working team dynamics, effective leadership, strategic marketing and more. As a project manager, you will need a strong sense of budgeting resources in order to meet project guidelines within a given time-frame and to the specifications of your client. This educational path will help develop you into a strong leader that is able to assess and meet high expectations while guiding a team under pressure.
If you love athletics and want a role within the industry, then an MBA with a sports leadership concentration could open those doors. You could become a Sports marketer, agent, publicist, retailer, facility manager, operations executive, PR manager and more. With a strong focus on leadership and communication, this concentration will offer a specialized education that focuses on various aspects of team management, operations and strategy. This MBA concentration program is designed to prepare students to lead their team to organizational victories with strong internal leadership to guard the bottom line.
If you’re interested in earning your MBA online, explore the many different MBA concentrations JWU Online has to offer. For more information on the business school or our programs, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].