What Is an MBA? Seven Different Concentrations Support Greater Career Opportunities
A Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree with its expansive scope helps business professionals accelerate their careers or move into new fields. Today’s MBA programs, such as Norwich University’s online Master of Business Administration, offer a range of specialized concentrations. This versatile degree can support careers in arenas as diverse as the field office of a construction site to the high-rise headquarters of a major bank or insurance company.
What Makes an MBA Alluring?
An MBA is a graduate degree that provides the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in advanced business and management roles. The MBA definition is broad because it encompasses a range of fields such as finance, technology, and organizational leadership.
Professionals can pursue this program to forge greater career and networking opportunities. Students learn current trends and key strategies in business and develop important leadership and entrepreneurial skills essential to pursue leadership positions such as chief executive officer (CEO), director of finance, and project manager.
In fact, the top reason people apply to MBA programs is to acquire new skills and knowledge about business, according to a 2018 survey by the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants. The second reason is gaining access to job prospects and resources for career transitions. Over 80% of companies planned to hire recent MBA graduates in 2018, according to a survey from the Graduate Management Admission Council. The emerging fields of technology and energy have a strong demand for MBA graduates.
An MBA can arm students with business competencies such as leadership, problem-solving, analytical, and project management skills. The degree program also prepares professionals for the challenges associated with emerging business trends such as:
- Alternative lending options. Startup companies like Kabbage are making it easier for small businesses and entrepreneurs to receive loans, pulling business from traditional finance institutions. MBA students interested in becoming finance and technology managers must understand these new alternative lenders and its value to the business.
- Personalization. According to a 2018 survey by Epsilon, customers want personalized experiences from brands. Leaders in management positions must understand how to execute strategies that put the customer first such as providing relevant content on preferred platforms so customers can communicate on their timetable.
- Subscription services. Netflix isn’t the only subscription service to upend its industry. Subscription packages from food, beauty, and lifestyle brands are growing in popularity. As Entrepreneur reports, subscription-based businesses see 5.5 times faster revenue growth than other businesses. CEOs, finance directors, and supply chain managers must understand this trend and its relevance to the business to grow market share and revenue.
The Power of MBA Concentrations
Norwich University’s online Master of Business Administration program offers a general MBA curriculum as well as the seven distinct concentrations. The general MBA track helps students build a foundation of business knowledge and skills through in-depth management courses. Then, students can choose a concentration to deepen their knowledge in a particular targeted career path including:
The Organizational Leadership concentration examines the theories and best practices associated with leading a company. Students develop analytical and problem-solving skills through courses in strategic organizational behavior and leading change.
Graduates of this concentration program may pursue a role as a CEO. Individuals in this role are responsible for managing an organization’s operations and leading teams toward overall company goals. other responsibilities include implementing policies, coordinating operations, strategizing with stakeholders, and overseeing a range of internal departments. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), chief executives earned a median annual salary of $189,600 in 2018.
The Finance concentration explores the practices and theories behind finance and financial management, both from a national and international perspective. Students develop the skills needed to operate in foreign exchange markets and manage investment portfolios.
Students in this concentration may prepare for a director of finance position. In this role, finance professionals oversee budgets, reports, and business evaluations. They work with stakeholders and other internal leaders to build finance strategies for execution within an organization. According to September 2019 data from PayScale, directors of finance earn a median annual salary of $112,484.
Supply Chain Management
In the Supply Chain Management concentration, students cultivate the advanced skills needed to manage supply and demand across companies. The courses cover strategy, planning, logistics, and optimization to prepare graduates for roles such as supply chain manager.
Supply chain managers oversee an organization’s resources, including teams of personnel and materials. As leaders, they can coordinate employee schedules, monitor productivity, and build relationships with vendors. According to September 2019 data from PayScale, the median annual salary for project managers is $81,641.
The Project Management concentration focuses on various management theories to enable students to develop key project management skills that align with their personal management styles. The courses cover areas such as tools, practices, and strategies for leading teams.
These skills can prepare a graduate for a career as a project manager. Professionals in this position build and supervise corporate projects across an organization. Responsibilities include setting goals, planning budgets, allocating resources, and reporting progress to key stakeholders. According to September 2019 data from PayScale, the median annual salary for project managers is $73,555.
The Technology Management concentration helps students develop and strengthen the knowledge and skills required to become effective business leaders, with a focus on technology management. Curriculum from this concentration combined with courses in project management, supply chain management, and strategic planning prepare students for roles such as chief information officer (CIO).
A CIO maintains the technology framework of an organization, leading teams of information technology professionals in upgrading and implementing IT systems and business processes to continually optimize business operations to remain competitive in their market. CIOs should possess both the communication and technical skills to manage technology networks and teams that support the business. According to September 2019 data from PayScale, the median annual salary for CIOs is $162,000.
The Construction Management concentration focuses on essential project management concepts, such as scheduling, accounting, contract management, and resource management. Students also develop skills in finance and insurance.
Construction managers plan and coordinate building projects. Responsibilities include setting budgets, maintaining contracts, and leading teams of specialists and personnel through the building process. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for construction managers was $93,370 in 2018.
The Energy Management concentration examines the strategies and solutions for reducing the energy consumption of a corporation or institution. This concentration is increasingly relevant with the growing global conversation and regulations concerning energy efficiency and sustainability.
Energy managers monitor and maintain an organization’s energy consumption. They also prepare energy reports and data analysis to ensure that energy use complies with laws. Besides, energy managers may negotiate with executives and partners to build sustainable, cost-effective energy programs. According to September 2019 data from PayScale, the median annual salary for energy managers is $79,284.
Choose Your Business Career Path
Norwich University’s online MBA program helps students develop the in-demand skills to accelerate an already successful career or move into a new role or field. This accredited program builds a new generation of business leaders who can apply key concepts across primary areas of business management. Norwich MBA graduates have moved into executive roles such as CEO, chief financial officer (CFO), CIO, and project manager at organizations such as AT&T, Bank of America, IBM, and the U.S. Department of State. Learn more about how you can leverage the power of an MBA and its concentrations by attending a Norwich University online MBA program.
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Master of Business Administration, Norwich University
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Average Chief Information Officer (CIO) Salary, PayScale
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Average Energy Manager Salary, PayScale