A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a graduate degree that can help you qualify for a wide range of high-paying careers in business management. Earning an MBA can help boost your earning potential and open doors to higher-level positions. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, individuals with an MBA earned a median yearly salary of $87,966 in 2021. Of course, it’s important to remember that not all MBA concentrations lead to the same high-paying careers. To help you get the most out of your education, we found the highest-paying MBA concentrations and their associated careers.

Our Ranking Criteria

Using data from CareerOneStop and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we created a list of the 10 highest-paying jobs you can get with an MBA. These sources compile informative employment data including median salaries, job growth potential, and the highest paying states for different occupations. Not only did we gather the highest-paying jobs for MBA holders, but we also found the top programs in the country for each of these professions to help you start planning your education.

Fund Manager

The Highest Paying Jobs You Can Get With an MBA

Marketing Manager

Median Salary: $142,170

What They Do: Marketing managers are responsible for overseeing the marketing departments for commercial and nonprofit organizations. They develop pricing strategies, identify markets for products and services, analyze competitors, and oversee the implementation of new marketing strategies. Marketing managers work closely with employees in sales, product development, and public relations to develop marketing and advertising plans to help their organization maximize its profits and market share.

How to Become One: Entry-level marketing positions often only require a bachelor’s degree in marketing or communications, but to become a marketing manager or marketing director, you will likely need an MBA in marketing to stand out against other applicants. You should expect to take classes in consumer behavior, marketing, market research, and other similar subjects. Most marketing managers have a background in advertising, sales, or marketing. To gain this experience, students working toward their degrees often pursue marketing internships at advertising and marketing firms.

  • 2020 Median Annual Pay: $142,170
  • Job Outlook, 2019-2029: 7%
  • Highest Paying States: New York, New Jersey, California, Virginia, Colorado

Top Academic Programs for Marketing Managers:

School Tuition # Credits to Graduate
Emporia State University $11,550 total 33 credits
La Salle University $26,070 total 33 – 42 credits
Davenport University $906 per credit 39 credits

 


 

Financial Manager

Median Salary: $134,180

What They Do: Financial managers work to improve and maintain the financial health of organizations. They have a wide range of responsibilities, including preparing financial statements and forecasts, analyzing financial data, ensuring legal requirements are met, identifying ways to cut costs, finding expansion opportunities, and helping executives make major financial decisions. Their roles are often advisory in nature, and it’s important that they have extensive knowledge of tax laws and financial regulations. Larger organizations may divide these responsibilities between different types of financial managers, including risk managers, credit managers, and cash managers.

How to Become One: Financial managers often have either a bachelor’s degree or an MBA in finance, business, or economics. They also are often required to have extensive experience (5+ years) in another financial occupation, such as an accountant or financial analyst. In addition to your degree, you may also consider pursuing professional certifications to build your competency as a financial manager. Common industry certifications include the Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) for financial managers that work in government and the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification for investment professionals.

  • 2020 Median Annual Pay: $134,180
  • Job Outlook, 2019-2029: 16%
  • Highest Paying States: New York, New Jersey, District of Columbia, Delaware, Colorado

Top Academic Programs for Financial Managers:

School Tuition # Credits to Graduate
University of Texas Permian Basin Resident: $6,726 per year

Non-Resident: $14,088 per year

33 – 36 credits
La Salle University $790 per credit 33 – 42 credits
Stony Brook University Resident: $625 per credit

Non-Resident: $1,016 per credit

36 – 48 credits

 


 

Computer and Information Research Scientist

Median Salary: $126,830

What They Do: Computer and information research scientists solve computing problems for organizations in fields like business, medicine, and science. They design computer architecture to improve computer hardware, and they work with algorithms to create and optimize computer software. Computer scientists may also conduct experiments to test software, develop new programming languages, and create theories to address computing problems. Computer and information research scientists may choose from a variety of specialties, like robotics, in which they work to develop programs and software to control robots and machines.

How to Become One: Computer and information research scientists often hold a master’s degree in computer science, or for senior-level positions, an MBA in information technology. For entry-level government jobs, a bachelor’s in computer science may suffice. Depending on your field, you may also need to take specific courses to qualify for a position as a computer scientist. For example, courses in biology could be required if you plan to work in medicine. To advance into a position as a computer and information systems manager, you may need to continue your education and earn a Ph.D. in computer science or a related discipline.

  • 2020 Median Annual Pay: $126,830
  • Job Outlook, 2019-2029: 15%
  • Highest Paying States: California, Virginia, Washington, New York, Oregon

Top Academic Programs for Computer and Information Research Scientists:

School Tuition # Credits to Graduate
Western Governors University $4,530 per 6-month term 35 credits
Rivier University $629 per credit 36 credits
Maryville University $714 per credit 39 credits

 


 

Human Resources Manager

Median Salary: $121,220

What They Do: Human resources managers are responsible for planning and coordinating the administrative functions of organizations. This includes tasks like recruiting, interviewing, onboarding, resolving workplace disputes, advising managers on HR issues, establishing and overseeing disciplinary procedures, and coordinating teams. Human resources managers play an important role in maintaining a positive and productive workplace culture. Depending on the size of the organization, they may also be responsible for managing their company’s compensation and benefits program, training programs, and may be involved in strategic planning.

How to Become One: To become a human resources manager, several years of work experience as a human resources specialist are needed in addition to a bachelor’s degree or an MBA in human resources. While a bachelor’s degree will often suffice for entry-level positions and higher-level positions at smaller organizations, many larger organizations prioritize applicants with MBAs. Aspiring HR managers should also consider pursuing relevant certifications from professional associations, such as  The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the  International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, and the HR Certification Institute (HRCI). These certifications are not typically required but verify your expertise and credibility.

  • 2020 Median Annual Pay: $121,220
  • Job Outlook, 2019-2029: 6%
  • Highest Paying States: New Jersey, New York, District of Columbia, Rhode Island, California

Top Academic Programs for Human Resources Managers:

School Tuition # Credits to Graduate
Davenport University $906 per credit 39 credits
McKendree University $550 per credit 36 credits
Carlow University $902 per credit 36 credits

 


 

Fundraising Manager

Median Salary: $118,430

What They Do: Fundraising managers play a critical role in helping nonprofit organizations achieve their goals by coordinating campaigns that generate donations. They are responsible for developing fundraising strategies, contacting donors, applying for grants, and coordinating fundraising events. They often work with charities, political groups, and other nonprofit organizations that rely heavily on donations. Common fundraising strategies that fundraising managers oversee include annual campaigns, capital campaigns, and gift solicitation.

How to Become One: Many fundraising manager positions require an MBA in nonprofit management, or a master’s in communications, English, or another related field, though some positions will accept applicants with bachelor’s degrees and relevant experience. To enhance your competency, it can be helpful to take courses in advertising, public speaking, business administration, and marketing. Fundraising managers may also consider gaining certification through CFRE International’s Certified Fundraising Executive program. This is a voluntary certification that must be renewed every three years to remain valid.

  • 2020 Median Annual Pay: $118,430
  • Job Outlook, 2019-2029: 9%
  • Highest Paying States: District of Columbia, New York, Virginia, New Jersey, Rhode Island

Top Academic Programs for Fundraising Managers:

School Tuition # Credits to Graduate
Boston University $29,280 per year 64+ credits
University of Portland $1,376 per credit 36 credits
Brandeis University $56,506 per year 52 credits

 


 

Economist

Median Salary: $108,350

What They Do: Economists perform economic analysis to solve economic problems and understand trends by conducting surveys, collecting and analyzing data, creating market forecasts, and developing solutions to economic problems. They often serve as advisors to businesses and government agencies. Economists may focus their studies on a variety of subjects, such as the cost of goods, national employment levels, employment wages, or productivity. When working with commercial organizations, they often focus on studying market trends to help businesses maximize profits. When working with government agencies, they typically focus on studying national and local economies for the purpose of policy making.

How to Become One: While government jobs may accept applicants with bachelor’s degrees, most economists will need either an MBA or Ph.D. in economics. An MBA in economics typically takes two years or less to complete, making it much more attainable compared to other graduate degree programs. Economists need to have a strong background in mathematics, and to gain relevant work experience and skills, they often pursue internships while in school. Courses that teach students how to use statistical analysis software can also be helpful.

  • 2020 Median Annual Pay: $108,350
  • Job Outlook, 2019-2029: 14%
  • Highest Paying States: New York, District of Columbia, California, Maryland, Vermont

Top Academic Programs for Economists:

School Tuition # Credits to Graduate
University of Pennsylvania $83,230 per year 19 course units
Liberty University $565 per credit 45 credits
DePaul University $1,102 per credit 60 credits

 


 

Medical and Health Services Manager

Median Salary: $104,280

What They Do: Medical and health services managers plan and coordinate medical services for healthcare organizations and medical practices. Also called healthcare administrators, medical and health services managers may manage entire facilities or specific departments, depending on the size of the facility. Their responsibilities may include establishing departmental goals, creating work schedules, recruiting staff, maintaining records, and managing finances. Healthcare administrators typically do not interact much with patients, but they do work closely with physicians, surgeons, nurses, technicians, and other healthcare staff members.

How to Become One: A bachelor’s degree is typically the minimum requirement for medical and health services managers, though many employers prefer managers with an MBA in healthcare administration. Medical and health services managers also need to stay up to date with laws and regulations that relate to the healthcare industry. They should also be familiar with changing healthcare technologies to ensure their facilities are taking advantage of modern healthcare solutions. Medical and health services managers often begin their careers as registered nurses, administrative assistants, or medical records technicians before advancing into managerial roles.

  • 2020 Median Annual Pay: $104,280
  • Job Outlook, 2019-2029: 32%
  • Highest Paying States: District of Columbia, New York, Hawaii, California, Massachusetts

Top Academic Programs for Medical and Health Services Managers:

School Tuition # Credits to Graduate
Carroll University $720 per credit 33 credits
Tiffin University $700 per credit 32 – 36 credits
Western Governors University $4,530 per 6-month term 36 credits

 


 

Information Security Analyst

Median Salary: $103,590

What They Do: Information security analysts are IT specialists that plan and implement security procedures to protect organizations against security breaches. One of their major responsibilities is creating a disaster recovery plan to protect their organization’s data and restore its IT systems following an attack. An information security analyst’s other tasks may include monitoring networks for breaches, installing security software, conducting penetration tests, and recommending security improvements based on new and emerging IT trends.

How to Become One: While a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field may be enough for some jobs, many employers require an MBA in cybersecurity, information security, or information systems. MBAs in these fields typically require two years of study after completing your undergraduate program. Employers often prefer candidates with certifications that validate their skills and knowledge, such as the  Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). You may also consider pursuing more specialized certifications for job-related skills like penetration testing.

  • 2020 Median Annual Pay: $103,590
  • Job Outlook, 2019-2029: 31%
  • Highest Paying States: California, New York, New Jersey, District of Columbia, Virginia

Top Academic Programs for Information Security Analysts:

School Tuition # Credits to Graduate
St Thomas University $800 per credit 36 credits
Baylor University $25,116 per year 54 credits
James Madison University $900 per credit 42 credits

 


 

Administrative Services Manager

Median Salary: $98,890

What They Do: Administrative services managers plan and coordinate a wide range of services and activities that help organizations run more efficiently. Large organizations typically have several administrative managers for different departments, but in general, their responsibilities include managing records, supervising administrative staff, establishing procedures to maximize business efficiency, overseeing maintenance tasks, and ensuring the organization complies with industry regulations.

How to Become One: Depending on the organization and the specific roles associated with the job, educational requirements to become an administrative services manager vary. While a bachelor’s degree is often the minimum required, an MBA in consulting, corporate strategy, or public administration will open the door to more high-paying career opportunities. There are also several voluntary certifications available for administrative services managers. Organizations that offer these certifications include the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) and the Institute of Certified Records Managers (ICRM).

  • 2020 Median Annual Pay: $98,890
  • Job Outlook, 2019-2029: 7%
  • Highest Paying States: New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, District of Columbia, Delaware

Top Academic Programs for Administrative Services Managers:

School Tuition # Credits to Graduate
University of Washington $1,113 per credit 90 credits
New York University $78,700 per year 60 credits
Georgia Institute of Technology Resident: $29,508 per year

Non-Resident: $40,752 per year

54 credits

 


 

Construction Manager

Median Salary: $97,180

What They Do: Construction managers oversee construction projects from start to finish. They often work with engineers and architects to plan, coordinate, and set budgets for construction projects. A construction manager’s duties may include preparing cost estimates, establishing timetables for project progress, hiring and scheduling subcontractors, ensuring projects comply with regulations, and responding to emergencies and other issues as they arise. Ultimately, construction managers ensure construction projects are completed efficiently, on time, and within their allotted budgets.

How to Become One: Construction managers may have either a bachelor’s degree in construction or an MBA in project management. Construction firms often prefer to hire candidates that have experience working in construction as a trade. You should expect your coursework to include classes in project management, architecture, design, construction methods, and business. Construction managers are often required to train under an experienced manager for one or more years, with larger firms often requiring longer training periods. Some states require construction managers to be licensed, so be sure to contact your state licensing board for more information. To enhance your resume, you may also consider obtaining a relevant certification, such as the Certified Construction Manager (CCM) credential offered by the Construction Management Association of America.

  • 2020 Median Annual Pay: $97,180
  • Job Outlook, 2019-2029: 9%
  • Highest Paying States: New Jersey, New York, Delaware, California, Hawaii

Top Academic Programs for Construction Managers:

School Tuition # Credits to Graduate
Liberty University $565 per credit 45 credits
Carlow University $902 per credit 36 credits
Louisiana State University $416 per credit 30 credits

Construction Manager

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an MBA degree?

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a graduate degree that focuses primarily on business administration and management. There are over 1,000 MBA programs available in the United States, and these programs typically take up to two years to finish following the completion of an undergraduate program.

Who should pursue an MBA degree?

Most people who choose to pursue an MBA do so to advance their careers. MBAs are often required for professionals in business to progress into managerial roles. Not only does an MBA open up doors for advancement, but it can also significantly increase your earning potential.

That being said, it’s important to keep in mind that MBAs require a significant time commitment that can make it difficult to balance school and work. You might also consider delaying pursuing an MBA if you’re not sure yet what field you want to focus on.

What MBA degree pays the most?

As many MBA programs lend themselves to a wide variety of potential careers, the highest-paying MBA depends largely on the specific occupation you want to pursue. Per the data we pulled from CareerOneStop and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, marketing manager (MBA in marketing) and financial manager (MBA in finance) are two of the highest-paying jobs you can get with an MBA.

How much does an MBA degree cost?

Depending on the university you attend and the MBA program you choose, tuition rates can vary significantly. Most of the programs we looked at for our list cost anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 per year, with programs taking anywhere from one to two years to complete.

Students considering pursuing an MBA should file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and talk to their university’s financial aid department to learn more about their financing options.