By Sarah Stevenson
In the always-competitive business world, higher education can mean the difference between a rewarding career and a long, hard slog up the rungs of the corporate ladder. An online MBA program can not only lead to better job opportunities upon graduation, but also higher earning potential—the Graduate Management Admissions Council reports that an MBA degree can mean salary growth of 50 percent or more.
Online business graduate programs are available in a wide array of specialties, from accounting to information technology. If you're stumped about what to focus on in your online MBA program, here's an at-a-glance guide to several popular b-school specialties.
An online MBA program with a concentration in accounting will prepare you for managerial positions in the accounting field by providing general management training as well as requiring advanced accounting coursework.
- Career Overview: Some of the careers available to MBA graduates with an accounting focus include certified public accountant (requires CPA certification), senior accountant, financial controller and senior financial analyst.
Like other MBA degrees, the online MBA program in finance provides broadly applicable business training while also preparing graduates for management positions in financial services. Coursework usually includes financial concepts, information resources and corporate strategy.
- Career Overview: Advanced careers in financial services usually await those with an MBA in finance: financial analyst, finance manager, vice-president of finance and chief financial officer, to name a few.
Health Care Management
Health care management is a rapidly-growing field that covers the efficient delivery of health care in a variety of settings. An online MBA program with a concentration in health care management offers training in business administration and health care management practices.
- Career Overview: An MBA in health care management may prepare you to manage doctors' offices, hospital departments or entire health care facilities. Job titles include medical office manager, practice administrator, and hospital director.
If your goal is to work with the employee base of an organization, from staffing to benefits to payroll, then an MBA in human resources will teach you critical skills in leadership, organization, communication and other HR concepts in the context of corporate management.
- Career Overview: An online MBA program in human resources or HR management usually leads to employment as an HR manager, an HR generalist, or even VP of human resources.
Consider attending an online MBA program in information technology if your interests lie in the technological underpinnings of business. Besides fundamental business concepts, an MBA degree in IT teaches technological and project management as well as the applications of innovation to overall corporate strategy.
- Career Overview: An MBA in IT management or management information systems may lead to jobs such as IT consultant, IT specialist, or vice-president of information technology.
The field of international business is increasingly important to today's global economy. A degree in the subject usually covers trade theory and agreements; economic policy; accounting, environmental and labor standards; and foreign exchange, plus other more specialized concepts.
- Career Overview: An online MBA program in international business prepares graduates to work all over the world in a variety of settings and positions, including business development manager, marketing manager and financial controller.
Marketing covers the myriad of ways in which a business reaches its customers, including advertising, brand management and public relations. An online MBA program in marketing will teach you these skills as well as how to apply them to overall business strategy.
- Career Overview: A marketing MBA usually leads to a position as product manager, marketing manager, marketing director, or VP of marketing.