Many business students maximize their MBA experience by choosing a program concentration. For those pursuing a graduate business degree, there are often three major considerations:

  • The concentrations offered at a particular school
  • The candidate’s education, experience, and areas of interest
  • Future opportunities, whether in their current role or in a new career

Each of these factors is important in making the most of an MBA education. Examining the leading concentrations offered by top schools can help students best align their MBA program choice with their goals.

Most Lucrative MBA Concentrations

One of the main reasons students pursue an MBA education is the potential return on investment (earning potential), both immediately and over the course of a career. This can have a direct impact on the decision to specialize in a particular area.

If salary is the primary motivation, data available from indicates the following are some of today’s best-paying MBA concentrations:

  • Finance
    Median mid-career pay of $121,000 for MBA graduates
    High-salary positions within the finance concentration include median salaries of $168,000 for a chief financial officer, $151,000 for a financial director, and $85,600 for a senior financial analyst. Most portfolio managers and financial analysts have an MBA.
  • Marketing
    Median mid-career pay of $113,000 for MBA graduates
    High-salary positions within the marketing concentration include median salaries of $133,000 for a marketing director, $105,000 for a business development manager, and $102,000 for a marketing manager.
  • Business Management
    Median mid-career pay of $96,900 for MBA graduates
    High-salary positions within the business management concentration include median salaries of $114,000 for a sales director, $101,000 for an HR director, and $85,600 for a general/operations manager.

Students who are interested in these top concentrations can find educational opportunity in a convenient and flexible online format. Pepperdine University’s online MBA program is one such option, offering elective concentrations in the following areas, which can be completed in as few as six trimesters:

  • Finance
  • Leadership and Managing Organizational Change
  • Marketing
  • General Management

Job Satisfaction and Career Growth

Or course, money is not the only factor in choosing an MBA concentration. Personal interest and industry-applicable experience are also prime motivators.

It’s important to take an inventory of one’s skills and strengths, forecasts for job growth, and previous assignments that have provided the greatest satisfaction. A sense of purpose is perhaps the most important factor when thinking long term.

Students pursuing an MBA to change fields most likely have additional research to do to understand their post-MBA opportunities, especially as they relate to a concentration.

Why Choose an MBA Concentration?

All MBA degrees provide graduates with a comprehensive understanding of their foundational subject, but a concentration can really make a resume stand out. Visit Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business and Management to learn more about how its online MBA concentrations can open up new opportunities for business students like you.