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What Are the Highest-Paid MBA Concentrations?

17 Feb
MBA with man using a laptop

An MBA can prepare you for a lucrative career, but which concentrations lead to the top salaries? This post examines the highest-paid MBA concentrations, including human resources, project management, business analytics, international business, and more. Find examples of potential job titles and average salaries within each concentration and discover which MBA focus aligns with your interests and has the greatest earning potential.

Advanced Education for Top-Dollar Careers

If you’re thinking about earning an MBA to advance your career, you may be wondering what your MBA specialization should be. What are the highest-paying MBA concentrations, and what type of work will you be doing in those specialized fields?

Earning your MBA is one of the smartest career decisions you can make, and there’s no better time than the present. The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) reported in their 2022 Corporate Recruiter’s Survey that 92% of corporate recruiters were expecting to hire new MBA graduates, and 95% of staffing firms agreed. Of the more than 500 corporate recruiters who completed the survey, 87% believed that MBA students had the necessary preparation to be successful at their companies.1 

According to ZipRecruiter, the average MBA salary for all fields in January 2023 was $83,397, but what if you specialize in a particular area?2 Keep reading to learn about the most popular MBA concentrations and which specializations have the highest salary potential.

The 11 Highest-Paying MBA Concentrations

First, what is an MBA? A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a graduate degree program that provides students with theoretical and practical training for careers in investment management or business management.3 Since this is such a wide-ranging discipline that spans virtually all industries, an MBA program can either have a more general, comprehensive focus or a specific focus— known as a concentration—on a particular area.

Following are the MBA concentrations that have the highest levels of compensation, according to the latest figures from Salary.com, Zippia, Indeed and the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Human Resources

A human resources MBA prepares students to oversee a company’s recruitment, hiring and staff onboarding. These MBA graduates are also prepared to work with company executives on strategic planning and serve as liaisons between upper-level management and employees.4

Human resources careers include:

  • Human Resources Manager—$126,2304
  • Compensation and Benefits Manager—$127,5305

Project Management

In a project management MBA specialization program, you’ll learn business functions, principles and company priorities so you can lead and manage projects. This will include analyzing complex business data and other information to make informed and holistic decisions for maximum success. Classes might focus on company resources, business operations and strategic planning.6

Project management careers include:

  • Director of Operations—$93,8537
  • Regional Manager—$83,1238

Business Analytics

If you study business analytics as part of your MBA, you’ll be learning how to analyze data to make informed business decisions. This will involve collecting, managing and interpreting complex data so that you can formulate long-term company strategy. Part of your job will be to make forecasts that help the business become more successful.6

Business analytics careers include:

  • Chief Executive Officer—$133,9569
  • Analytics Manager—$107,28810

International Business

When you earn an MBA with an international business concentration, you’ll be taking your business career to the next level, managing a corporation’s global accounts and interests. This will require that you learn the skills for your field while developing an understanding of world and regional markets and opportunities.11

International Business careers include:

  • Global Sales Manager—$98,41011
  • Global Program Director—$130,27912
  • Global Account Manager—$123,23313

Healthcare Management

A healthcare management MBA program prepares students to be healthcare executives, also known as healthcare administrators or medical and health services managers. They learn how to plan, direct and coordinate health services for medical practices, clinical departments or entire healthcare facilities.

Healthcare management careers include:

  • Medical and Health Services Manager—$101,34014
  • Chief Nursing Officer (CNO)—$249,31015
  • Medical Director—$313,28816
  • Hospital Administrator—$254,61017


If you earn your MBA with a concentration in finance, you’ll focus on financial planning, financial and account management, risk management and pricing. This requires strong data analytics and leadership skills that will enable you to help businesses improve their financial health by managing their finances. Financial managers and others involved in finance might work for corporations or for individual clients as consultants.6

Possible careers include:

  • Chief Financial Officer—$144,23218
  • Financial Manager—$131,71019
  • Senior Financial Analyst—$91,89320
  • Accounting Senior Manager—$152,54821
  • Controller—$240,82722  


With a marketing MBA concentration, you’ll be getting a multidisciplinary education, with a focus on marketing and sales. Classes might include topics such as management and leadership, consumer trends, market research and product knowledge. Professional marketing managers are ready to lead in fast-paced business settings, working to advertise, promote or be advocates for a company’s products and services.6

Possible careers include:

  • Vice President of Marketing—$155,88823 
  • Market Research Director—$186,56124
  • Product/Brand Manager—$140,28325
  • Marketing Director—$85,87226

Entrepreneurship, Corporate Strategy

With an MBA concentration in entrepreneurship or corporate strategy, you’ll learn how to manage and lead companies through today’s challenging business environment, from the startup phase to organizational maturity. You’ll have the necessary knowledge and skills to make big decisions to improve the business by updating business practices and creating upward growth.6 

Possible careers include:

  • Senior Product Manager—$133,32527
  • Management Consultant—$100,50928

Information Technology

With an MBA concentration in information technology, you’ll combine software management experience with business management skills so that you can manage technology and people. Topics may include project management, telecommunications and data security.6

Possible careers include:

  • Vice President of IT—$164,00029
  • IT Director—$119,84130
  • Senior Project Manager—$111,36331

Real Estate

This concentration will arm you with knowledge of real estate finance, asset management, investments and acquisitions. You’ll become an expert at buying, selling and managing properties—or you’ll lead a professional team in the real estate field.6

Possible careers include:

  • Real Estate Agent—$93,98432
  • Real Estate Project Manager—$74,96733  


With an MBA focus in economics, you’ll have a deep understanding of economic theory as it applies to today’s businesses. This is a broad topic; you’ll learn about current market trends and how to perform data analysis and conduct research. You’ll likely study both public and private markets.

Possible careers include:

  • Finance Director—$102,01834
  • Finance Manager—$103,23935
  • Financial Analyst—$95,57036

Optimize Your Earning Potential With an Online MBA from William & Mary

Not all MBA programs are created equal. The William & Mary Raymond A. Mason School of Business Online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program will prepare you to be a leader in the business world. Renowned for its rigorous, comprehensive Online MBA curriculum and one of the original “Public Ivies,” the William & Mary offers students a deep dive into many of the most in-demand business fields, with core courses and electives in business analytics, finance, integrated technology, strategy, managerial accounting and much more.

Speak to an admissions outreach advisor today to learn how an Online MBA from the W&M Mason School of Business can help you take your business career to a higher level, on your own schedule.

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