The MBA Graduate’s Guide: Career Options, Job Opportunities & Average Salaries

Considering an MBA? Check out the lucrative career opportunities and salaries that’ll transform your life. Yes, you too can be a business leader.

When you spend some time in the business world, you discover it’s pretty exciting. The stakes are high, the challenges are abundant, and the growth opportunities – both personal and professional – sometimes feel never-ending.


If that’s your experience, it might be time to explore a necessary journey to moving up the ranks – getting an MBA.


We’ve already helped you decide on whether you should get an MBA or an executive MBA, so today we want to focus on what’s on the other end. What are your career options when you finally obtain that MBA?


MBA Job Guide: Your Opportunity to Get to the Highest Positions in the Business World


Here you can find some of the top business positions an MBA can help you reach. We’re also including median annual US salaries, as listed in PayScale’s database.

Take under consideration that some actual salaries might vary depending on job performance and benefit packages.


Chief Executive Officer (CEO)


The Job: A Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is the position of the most senior corporate officer, executive, leader or administrator in charge of managing an organization.


CEOs create strategic visions for their companies, and those visions, when executed well, drive the direction of the company. That includes involvement in product development, creating the business model and deciding on values that influence the company’s operations, customer and employee relations.


CEOs need a deep understanding of all aspects of business, because they’re the ones ultimately responsible for the success or failure of their companies. They need to create the right positions and hire the most accurate people for the job. Therefore, they also need to be real good at finding revenue or funding resources to pay for their team and other operational costs


Annual US Salary: $72,897 – $323,941, median: $165,593



Chief Operating Officer (COO)


The Job: Often the second in command, COOs oversee companies’ operations, procedures, and executive team. They set goals, establish policies, develop strategies, ensure proper execution of work, and nurture critical business relationships.


Among others, they analyze data and review company resources, from human resources to machines to budgets. They make sure the company has everything it needs to succeed.


In addition, they work with executives and middle management to ensure that everyone on the team is working toward making the company more efficient and profitable, while carrying the vision the company’s founders or CEO set.


Annual US Salary: $68,958 – $233,334, median: $135,897



Chief Financial Officer (CFO)


The Job: CFOs work with CEOs and Boards of Directors to develop companies’ financial strategies – from making the company more financially efficient to making sure it complies with financial laws to making it more profitable.

They work with department heads to decide on salary ranges and resource allocations throughout the company. They’re often out there recruiting capital for the company and managing the financial risks their company takes.


Annual US Salary: $69,055 – $220,415, median: $128,129



Chief Technology Officer (CTO)


The Job: CTOs develop the company’s technology strategy, to make sure the company stays at the top of its tech game – and depending on the company, sometimes to make sure that the company becomes or remains the industry leader when it comes to technology. Of course, the CTOs must align the technology strategy with their company’s business goals.


CTOs are in charge of the product vision and product development. Depending on company structure and hierarchy, there may also be positions such as director of R&D and Vice President of Engineering whom the CTO interacts with or oversees.

The CTO is a customer facing role and is generally responsible for employing a technical strategy to improve the end product.


The CTO also needs a working familiarity with regulatory (e.g. Consumer Product Safety Commission etc) and intellectual property (IP) issues (e.g. patents, license contracts etc).


Annual US Salary: $86,806 – $227,091, median: $151,274


Chief Information Officer (CIO)


The Job: Often confused with CTOs, CIOs are responsible for making sure technology developments in the company are aligned with – and help the company achieve – business goals. Therefore, they play a key part in developing growth strategies for the company.


CIOs also play a key part in helping companies transition into a digital world. Among others, they transition the company into cloud computing, mobile team collaboration, and leveraging big data.


Compared to the CTO, The CIO is internally faced and focused on the company’s bottom line – how to improve internal communication.


Annual US salary: $89,315 – $230,036, median: $151,271


Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)


The Job:

The CMO is responsible for facilitating growth, sales, and marketing strategies for a company.


To do that, the CMO leads brand management, market communications (including advertising, promotions and public relations), market research, sales management, product development, distribution channel management, pricing, and customer service.


CMOs also work closely with other departments in the company. For example, they study the product so they’re able to communicate its value to the world and establish their company as the thought leader in its field.


Annual US Salary: $78,585 – $254,248, median: $163,961



Chief Customer Officer (CCO)


The Job: A newer position to the c-suite listed above are Chief Customer Officers who are in charge of creating better customer experiences. They do that by analyzing data the company collects, as well as by talking to the customers themselves.


The CCO is often responsible for influencing corporate activities of customer relations within the call center, sales, marketing, user interface, finance (billing), fulfillment and post-sale support.


CCOs build relationships with strategic customers and collaborate with every different department across the organization to build a non-traditional collaborative environment, where different departments align goals with one another and work together to benefit the customers.


Annual US Salary: $43,335 – $277,788  



Take the Leap to Enjoy the Job Opportunities, Career Growth and High Salaries an MBA Can Offer You


If you’re interested in moving up the ladder, an MBA is essential. It might not be a magic wand, and if you’re at a low-level position now, you won’t immediately be made second in command at a big company as soon as you graduate. However, an MBA does unlock doors and provides career growth opportunities and high salaries that most people without an MBA don’t have access to.


An MBA often requires a big time and money investment, but it doesn’t have to be this way. At the University of the People, you can earn an entire MBA for $2,460 (instead of $200,000+ we see some universities charge), and it includes classes by professors from top American universities and the ability to study online from home at your own pace.


But whichever university you choose, it’s important to take the leap and invest in your career development. You have the power to change the world and your own life. It’s time to set yourself to success.

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