MBA Job Types: Entry Level v. Experienced
Contrary to popular misconception, choosing to pursue an MBA degree is a decision that can be made at any point in your career. From programs that allow students to jump right in to their degree after undergrad to those that require over ten years of work experience, the wide variety of degree programs means there’s no one way to get your MBA. Because of this, there are a large variety of MBA job types.
However, professional experience is still an important part of an individual’s career development, Even a group of MBAs—having the same foundational business education—will likely find differences in the kinds of jobs they can find after graduation, the levels of pay, and the kind of skills required for these jobs, based on their professional experience. Below, we break down some of the major differences you’ll find between MBAs just starting their careers and those with more professional experience.
MBA Job Types
One of the first major differences for MBAs (and non-MBAs) at the entry level versus those with more experience is the types of jobs available to them. Even though having an MBA degree often helps professionals accelerate their careers and reach higher level management positions, it is unlikely that an MBA with little experience will jump immediately into these senior management roles.
Below are some common entry-level MBA jobs:
- Accountant: an accountant is responsible for maintaining company and personal financial records. Typically, students who pursue accounting specializations within their MBA degrees are prepared to pass the rigorous CPA examination by the time they complete their degree and begin in entry or mid level accounting jobs.
- Medical and Health Services Manager: Healthcare Administration is a quickly growing career for many MBA graduates, with many schools now offering majors or specialization in the field. According to data Bureau of Labor data in 2016, openings in the medical and health services management field are expected to grow by 20% over the next ten years.
- Financial Advisor: Financial advisors are crucial for all types of organizations, which might be why finance is one of the most popular MBA majors. Most MBAs with a high GPA and internship experience already have the requirements needed to get started in a financial advisor position.
Below are some common jobs for experienced MBAs:
- Accounting Manager: accounting managers are responsible not just for overseeing the company’s finances, but also the daily activities of the accounting department. With more experience, certified CPAs have more opportunities to leverage their MBAs into senior management roles.
- Hospital CEO: MBAs with extensive experience, typically 8-10 years, in healthcare administration may take roles in high level positions like Hospital CEO, the highest ranking official in a hospital organization.
- Financial Manager: at least five years experience or more are required for jobs in finance management, which expects candidates to have a lot of hands on experience. Financial Managers oversee all aspects of company or personal finance.
Levels of Pay
It might go without saying that more experience probably means a higher salary. Even though MBAs do make, on average, more than those without an advanced business degree, that number will continue to climb the more experience you get.
- For a field like accounting, Accountants with an MBA degree will make an average of $51,022 per year, while roles that require more experience, like an Accounting Manager, will make close to $72,489 a year.
- In the healthcare management field, a Healthcare Administrator will make on average $74,188 per year while a Hospital CEO will make significantly more at $164,332
- For those in the field of accounting, there is also a significant difference depending on experience. For a role like Financial Advisor, employees make $58,652 per year on average, compared with $99,115 each year for a Financial Manager.
Skills and Experience Required
Another major difference for entry level and experienced MBAs is the type of experience and skills required for their particular roles. Research has often shown that an MBA education provides a number of so called “soft skills” which are often sought by employers, and are important for many entry-level jobs. These skills may include things like the ability to work in a fast-paced environment, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, the ability to communicate effectively, leadership potential, and the ability to take risks.
Conversely, those seeking higher level jobs that require more experience will likely find job posting that ask for specific, industry-related knowledge, and experience. These employers might ask applicants to demonstrate prior experience in the industry and show proven success within their field.
Different Types of Companies
Each year, top companies from around the world recruit MBA talent. Many major companies, like CVS and New York MetLife even offer MBA training/acceleration programs that hire recent graduates and fast track them to a management position within the year. Still, two companies—Apple and McKinsey & Company—which consistently make the list as top companies for MBAs to work for typically require anywhere from 7-15 years experience for some of their senior level MBA jobs.
For entry level MBAs, getting a foot in the door at these companies may mean starting with an internship or as part of a special MBA recruitment program, whereas those with both the degree and several years of experience may have an opportunity to jump right in at the senior level.