As an MBA graduate, you can position yourself for a successful career in business leadership. According to the national employment site ZipRecruiter, the average salary for MBA graduates is over $135,000 per year.1 If your schedule precludes taking on-campus classes or you want to attend a prestigious program without relocating, you may have considered earning your MBA online. Online MBA students experience the same curriculum, academic quality, and educational benefits as on-campus students do, but the schedule is more flexible, which makes it easier to earn your degree on your own time.2
Further, many online MBA programs routinely partner with companies that can strengthen your network and help advance your career. Read on to explore the framework of online MBA programs and the partnerships that can present opportunities for your professional ascent.
Understanding Online MBA Programs
Like on-campus MBA programs, online MBA programs are designed to develop your business acumen and leadership skills. In many cases, universities offer classes through their own online portals, which allow teachers and students to post assignments and facilitate discussions. As a student, you can complete coursework when you need to, making it easier to fit these programs into a busy schedule.
Online MBA programs can take as little as a year to complete or as long as two.3 Depending on your career goals, you may choose a broad-based, generalized MBA or an MBA concentration or specialization, which focuses your coursework in a particular area such as finance, marketing, data science and business analytics, leading innovative organizations, or entrepreneurship and new venture creation.4
Even if you choose to pursue a specialization or concentration, your online MBA curriculum will include core business courses. You’ll build foundational knowledge of areas such as corporate finance, human resource management, and ethics before delving into your specific line of study.5
The Significance of Industry Partnerships
Many organizations, from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, use MBA industry partnerships as part of their job placement strategy. They rely on these relationships to find talented MBA students who can fill open positions after graduating.
Business owners have long recognized the benefits of partnering with local universities and those providing high-level business training.6 Each company can be sure that newly minted MBA graduates are adept at tackling problems that may arise on the job. They recognize that it’s easier to train new hires who already have the right skills for each open position. Some startups may also partner with online MBA programs to recruit students for research and development projects or other initiatives that can help jumpstart their businesses.7
MBA students benefit from these partnerships by developing contacts and experience that complement and enhance their academic gains. Before applying to an online MBA program, carefully review the university’s website to find a list of its industry partnerships. Most programs will showcase the companies they regularly partner with in their promotional materials. If the information isn’t readily available, ask an admissions outreach advisor for details.
Job Opportunities for Online MBA Graduates
As an MBA graduate, you’ll be qualified to pursue executive-level positions within companies in various industries. Following school, you may start out in a project management role if you’ve got prior experience as an intern.8 If you’re interested in marketing and communication, you might start out as a public relations or marketing manager. If you’re a numbers person, you may look for companies hiring financial analysts.
As of late 2023, MBA prospects are in high demand for various positions in tech, consulting, finance, government, engineering, information technology, energy, and manufacturing.9 The top-earning jobs for MBA grads in 2023 continue to be positions such as management consultant, senior project manager, private equity associate, and marketing manager.10 The data analytics field continues to grow, with more students enrolling in tech programs and more jobs requiring data science skills being posted.11
In addition, forward-thinking companies are interested in environmental sustainability and other social issues, and they’re beginning to establish social impact departments. Social impact refers to how an individual’s or company’s actions affect the surrounding environment.12 Social impact managers evaluate company initiatives to make sure they aren’t harming people or the environment, and they create and implement plans to offset such harm. If a company wants to work with a manufacturing plant in a developing country, for example, the social impact manager would research local wages and working conditions to make sure the manufacturers are being treated ethically.
If you want to branch out from core business pursuits in finance, marketing, or legal roles, you are in luck: Openings for jobs such as these are on the rise.13
How Industry Partnerships Enhance Job Opportunities
You can benefit from MBA industry partnerships in multiple ways. If your online MBA program requires an internship as part of its curriculum, there are likely to be resources in place to match you with a company whose pursuits and needs align with your interests and skills. If you’re close to graduating, you might take advantage of work placements.
In addition to experience and leadership development, industry partnerships offer networking opportunities with experienced professionals from diverse backgrounds at partner companies. The chance to learn about a company from the inside—its processes, approach to business, and leadership personalities—can give you an advantage when applying and interviewing for post-graduate jobs. It may also give you access to job postings that aren’t available to the general public.
Interning with an online MBA industry partner helps you build skills beyond what you’re learning through your program. It can also position you for a higher position in the company once you have graduated.
Overcoming Challenges in Industry-Linked Online MBA Programs
Businesses often hire MBA graduates because they’re seeking applicants with the right, company-specific mix of technical and soft skills. The coursework and professional experience in your MBA program will develop your business acumen in preparation for this.
According to a recent survey, however, many online MBA applicants prefer to work at their own pace instead of focusing on attending lectures or collaborating with other students.14 This solo approach to coursework may deter these students from developing soft skills such as communication, collaboration, and decision-making. In choosing and completing your online MBA program, make sure that you’re getting leadership training that enhances your soft skills—either through your curriculum or via outside classes.
MBA industry insights also show that students in online programs may miss out on some traditional resources, including building MBA industry connections or participation in job fairs.15 If you’re an online student in a program based in a state other than your place of residence, you may not be available to meet with potential employers when they’re on campus.
Fortunately, online MBA programs usually offer their students extensive digital networking resources and access to school-specific job boards. You can attend webinars and other virtual events without leaving your home, and you can join alumni groups or build relationships with industry partners on social media. Again, in choosing your program, learn what networking opportunities are available for online students through the program itself, what job placement support is offered through the university at large, and how they both support the growth and strength of your network.
Claim the SCU Advantages
In the Online MBA program from the Leavey School of Business, you’ll gain the connections, experience, and expertise to become a Silicon Valley Professional. Build your professional network as you collaborate with your cohort and form relationships with alumni leaders and members of our prestigious faculty.
The robust curriculum gives you the choice to pursue a broad-based MBA or complete a concentration in data science and business analytics, marketing, finance, entrepreneurship and new ventures, or leading innovative organizations.
The flexible online structure and frequent start dates accommodate the busy schedules of working professionals, so you can balance your education with your professional and personal commitments.
Don’t wait to advance. Schedule a call with an admissions outreach advisor today.
- Retrieved on November 8, 2023, from ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/What-Is-the-Average-MBA-Salary-by-State
- Retrieved on November 8, 2023, from learn.org/articles/How_Does_an_Online_MBA_Program_Work.html
- Retrieved on November 8, 2023, from allbusinessschools.com/mba/online/
- Retrieved on November 8, 2023, from onlinemba.com/mba-careers/specializations/
- Retrieved on November 8, 2023, from fortune.com/education/articles/these-fortune-500-companies-will-help-pay-for-employees-mba/
- Retrieved on November 8, 2023, from files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1123994.pdf
- Retrieved on November 8, 2023, from usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/articles/2019-03-14/how-b-school-partnerships-in-the-business-community-can-land-you-a-job
- Retrieved on November 8, 2023, from indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/mba-jobs
- Retrieved on November 8, 2023, from associationofmbas.com/app/uploads/2020/09/Careers-Report-final.pdf
- Retrieved on November 8, 2023, from businessbecause.com/news/mba-jobs/7696/highest-paying-mba-jobs
- Retrieved on November 8, 2023, from bloomberg.com/news/newsletters/2023-09-18/jobs-for-recent-mba-grads-include-tech-media-ai-data-analysis
- Retrieved on November 8, 2023, from socialenterprisebsr.net/2017/11/social-impact-what-does-it-really-mean/
- Retrieved on November 8, 2023, from mbagradschools.com/mba-jobs/popular-industries-for-mba-graduates-2023
- Retrieved on November 8, 2023, from aacsb.edu/insights/articles/2023/03/how-mba-programs-are-changing-with-the-market
- Retrieved on November 8, 2023, from fortune.com/education/articles/how-do-online-mba-students-network/