A Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree can improve your career, but earning it requires you to put a lot of time and money into advancing your education. It’s important to consider how in-demand an MBA degree really is before you commit to furthering your education. While not strictly required for most business jobs, MBAs may be the key to moving up into specialized, managerial and senior-level roles. This degree can help you secure jobs with fierce competition and, in the areas of business where jobs are growing the fastest, it can make you more likely to have multiple job offers to choose from, and better pay and upward mobility as a result.

The Fastest-Growing Business Jobs

Many MBA graduates go on to find work in fields such as management, business development, operations, finance, marketing, logistics and consulting. It’s no surprise that jobs in these fields are among the fastest-growing business and finance occupations.

For example, jobs for financial analysts should grow by 11 percent, or 32,200 new opportunities, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Loan officers have a similar job outlook, with the BLS anticipating an 11 percent growth rate that will lead to 36,300 new jobs. In the financial planning arena, the occupation of personal financial advisor is growing at an even faster rate of 15 percent, with the BLS predicting a 40,400 gain in job opportunities. The BLS expects high-level financial manager roles to jump by 19, or 108,600 jobs.

What Is the Demand for an MBA?

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Outside of finance, many other business roles are also growing rapidly. The fastest-growing job in business and finance is market research analyst, in which the predicted 23 percent rise should create 138,300 new jobs, the BLS reported. Job opportunities for management consultants, also called management analysts, will increase by 115,200 if the 14 percent job growth rate predicted by the BLS proves to be accurate. Other non-management jobs that should see rapid job growth include fundraiser, at a 15 percent growth rate; real estate appraiser and assessor, with a 14 percent growth rate; and event planner, with an 11 percent growth rate.

Among management occupations, both marketing and advertising manager and public relations and fundraising manager occupations should see a 10 percent increase in opportunities. Healthcare executives and healthcare administrators must have a more specialized MBA to do their job, but their career prospects are excellent, with the BLS anticipating a much faster than average growth rate of 20 percent.

All in all, the BLS expects the business and finance field to add 773,800 new jobs over a decade, while jobs in management occupations should grow by 807,300 over the same timeframe.

Do You Need to Go to Graduate School for a Business Career?

According to the BLS, a bachelor’s degree is the required education for nearly all business, finance and management job roles. You may not technically need your MBA to get a job, but even when it comes to jobs that don’t list a graduate degree as a requirement, having the qualification can enhance your resumé and make employers more likely to consider you for a promotion or a senior-level job role. That’s because earning your MBA is about more than checking off a requirement for certain jobs or employers. The graduate-level business administration coursework allows students to develop in-demand skills and knowledge – which is what makes the degree so sought-after to begin with – and to develop essential soft skills in leadership and communication.

What makes MBA graduates such valuable job candidates? Employers cite more complex challenges and a need for a greater breadth of skills as reasons for the growing demand for MBA graduates. However, employers also look for a depth of knowledge and expertise in specialized areas, which is why many of today’s employers expect MBA graduates to have concentration or specialization under their belts. Choosing an in-demand concentration can help you command a higher salary, according to U.S. News & World Report.

The MBA is in especially high demand in the health care industry, where there’s a shortage of health care managers with the graduate-level degree.  MBAs also are in unexpectedly high demand in the criminal justice and entrepreneurship career fields.

Graduate Options Beyond the MBA

The MBA is the conventional graduate business degree. Although the degree option remains popular today, it’s no longer the only choice for business professionals who want to improve their careers by going to graduate school. Specialized master’s degree programs and certificate programs can equip students with the advanced skills they need to fill niche job roles in the business world. Some of the most popular specialized master’s programs in business include the Master of Finance degree, Master’s in Human Resources degree and Master of Science in Supply Chain Management degree.

Specialized master’s degree programs tend to be faster to complete than MBA programs, which often require you to complete more college credits in order to fit in a broad curriculum of business studies.

Additional Resources

What Kind of Job Can You Get With an MBA?

What Is the Salary Potential for Someone With an MBA?

What Should You Know When You Interview for a Job With an MBA?

What Is the Difference Between an MBA and a Master of Finance Degree?