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Highest Paying MBA Concentrations

14 Dec
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Master of Business Administration degrees, widely referred to as MBAs, are popular for good reason: they unlock lucrative career opportunities, increase earning power, and boost lifetime earnings potential while imparting the skills that make degree holders highly sought after by today’s recruiters.1

According to a 2021 hiring projections and salary trends study conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC):

  • 90% of recruiters expect demand for MBA degree holders to remain steady or increase in the next five years2
  • The average starting salary for MBA graduates is at an all-time high of $115,0002
  • A higher proportion of recruiters looking to hire MBA graduates expect their companies to grow in 20211
  • Today’s MBA graduates can earn $3 million more in their lifetimes compared to those with only bachelor’s degrees2

In light of such positive career projections and degree popularity, MBA concentrations are the proverbial “cherry on top” of an already strong hiring outlook for degree holders. To help alums further capitalize on these optimistic trends and stand out from their job-seeking peers, top MBA programs now offer students a variety of concentrations, or specialized areas of study within the major, to choose from.

Which concentration is best for you? Read more to learn which of today’s MBA concentrations provides the best return on your educational investment, and explore, in-depth, a few top concentrations to discover which specialization best suits your career aspirations.

Top-Earning MBA Concentrations: A Closer Look

Today’s highest paying MBA concentrations cover leading business subjects that are valuable for businesses both large and small.

With the number of concentrations on the rise, it’s imperative to know which ones are worth investing your time and hard-earned education dollars into. The highest paying MBA concentrations are more likely to help you offset degree costs and open inroads to a more lucrative job market with higher-paying roles.

The top ten highest paying concentrations are:

  • Management
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Information Technology
  • Information Security
  • Human Resources
  • Healthcare Management
  • Real Estate
  • International Business3

Of these top ten concentrations, a few stand out as great selections for MBA students who are looking to become high power earners in the growing job markets:


A management concentration teaches MBA students the skills they will need to manage and lead business organizations of all types in all sectors of the industry. Students are prepared for certain executive positions including well-known, high-paying roles such as chief executive officer (CEO), chief operations officer (COO), and general manager (GM). These notable roles require expertise in organization, ethics, and the key leadership skills that a management concentration provides.

When considering which specific skills within the management field would be best to evolve in order to increase your earning potential, keep in mind recruiters are looking for hires who will be able to:

  • Manage decision-making processes
  • Manage strategy and innovation
  • Manage task environment
  • Manage human capital1


There is expected to be an especially high demand for MBA graduates who have financial expertise.1 Additionally, finance jobs are expected to grow 8% between 2020 and 2030 while finance managerial jobs, an ideal role for those with an advanced MBA degree that includes up-to-date financial knowledge, show even more promise with 17% expected growth during this same ten-year time period.4,5 Both positive conditions are likely to create tremendous opportunities for those who have earned a business administration degree with an emphasis in financial skills, putting finance concentration holders in a plumb position for lasting career growth. It’s also worth mentioning financial skills, as a whole, are prized for their relevance and earning potential and play a vital role in business organizations and can open many doors in multiple work environments.3 These factors make finance one of the highest paying MBA concentrations.

Example roles for MBA degree holders with a concentration in finance include chief financial officer (CFO), finance director, and VP of finance. Jobs in the field are expected to grow in a number of leading sectors:

  • Consulting
  • Healthcare and pharmaceuticals
  • Services and products
  • Technology
  • Finance and accounting1

According to GMAC, the most sought after finance-related skills recruiters look for from today’s MBA graduates include:

  • Operations skills
  • Knowledge of general business functions
  • Managing administrative activities1


Marketing concentrations are also on the list of the highest paying MBA concentrations.3 Job growth in the area of marketing, advertising, and promotion for managers is expected to increase by an impressive 10% by 2030.6

Marketing managers are responsible for the design, implementation, and analysis of marketing efforts a company makes and are therefore a vital part of the promotion, sales, and a company’s overall success. In reputable MBA degree programs, like Santa Clara University’s top-three Online MBA, marketing concentrations teach students how to:

  • Understand marketing trends
  • Understand consumer behavior
  • Lead effective marketing strategies1

Prized roles that are available to marketing-savvy graduates of leading MBA programs include chief marketing officer (CMO), marketing director, and advertising director.3

Top marketing-related abilities sought after by MBA recruiters that MBA marketing concentration students should consider studying include:

  • Managing strategy and innovation
  • Knowledge of tech, product design, and production
  • Knowledge of human behavior
  • Knowledge of media communications and delivery1

Build Top Skills in an In-Demand MBA Concentration

With four in-demand Master of Business Administration concentrations to choose from, Santa Clara University’s top-three Online MBA program delivers a leading curriculum and the #1 best career outcomes in the nation.7 Pursue your SCU Online MBA—with a concentration in marketing, finance, management, or business analytics—and thrive in innovative organizations in nearby Silicon Valley and around the globe. Learn more about our faculty of accomplished business leaders, and explore the networking opportunities exclusively available to online students at SCU.