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  • Writer's pictureTrudy Horsting

The Most Popular and Most Lucrative MBA Concentrations

According to a report by Poets & Quants, there are five MBA concentrations which lead to the highest-paying salaries, on average. These are consulting, management, operations, marketing, and finance.

However, some other popular concentrations include strategy, entrepreneurship, information technology or technology management, healthcare management, real estate, and international business or international management.

In this piece, we break down the MBA concentrations deemed the most lucrative and the most popular. However, there are a plethora of other options out there and some unique offerings by different programs. Additionally, the most lucrative concentrations are ever-changing as the needs and desires of businesses change. We recommend doing careful research to see which concentration may be best suited for your career goals. For more insight into how to choose which concentration is right for you, check out this blog post.

Most Popular

1. Consulting

Those who study consulting gain skills to help clients improve operations, navigate change in their companies, and improve their management generally.

The field of management consulting is expected to increase by 15.3% by 2030 according to EMSI. Increased demand means increased salaries for those with high knowledge and expertise in the field.

The average salary in this field is around $100,000.

2. Management

Students who are natural-born leaders or who eventually hope to gain a leadership position, may want to consider a concentration in management. This concentration is deemed one of the most versatile and flexible as management skills are so necessary to so many aspects of business. Money, people, information, and operations all need to be managed within a business. Additionally, management skills are transferable to many different industries.

The field of management is focused on optimizing productivity and ensuring the resources of all team members are used effectively and efficiently. Managers must have strong skills in decision-making, problem-solving, communication, delegation, organization, and more.

Students who earn a concentration in management tend to earn an average salary of around $92,000 across many industries.

3. Operations

A concentration in operations is perfect for those striving to be a top executive in an industry focused on production. For instance, if you are interested in manufacturing, retail, consumer goods, supply chain management, or logistics, this may be a great option.

Skills in operations are also transferable to other fields such as education and healthcare.

This concentration teaches students how to maximize efficiency and productivity, turning goods into products faster.

Those who choose a concentration in operations may earn an average salary of around $90,000.

4. Marketing

Marketing is critical for corporations. A concentration in marketing will provide skills surrounding target customer acquisition, how to create marketing campaigns, product promotion, advertising, market research, and more. Additionally, students will learn leadership skills in order to lead marketing departments. Students may become marketing specialists, marketing managers, or even vice presidents of marketing.

Since marketing is a vital component of sales at so many companies, it is a high-paying field. Students may earn an average salary of around $94,000.

5. Corporate Finance

Choosing a corporate finance concentration is perfect for students who are very analytical and work well with statistics and accounting. This concentration is focused on learning different ways to manage corporate finance through both theoretical and quantitative approaches. Students may learn corporate budgeting, investment banking, corporate restructuring, and insight on international markets.

Corporate finance is a competitive concentration as it is relevant to many different industries and departments. Students will learn best practices for making financial decisions for individual departments and companies as a whole.

Those who study corporate finance may earn a position as a finance director, chief financial officer, financial analyst, and many other positions. The average salary for those who choose this concentration is around $100,000.

Other Common Concentrations


Students who have an entrepreneurial spirit and hope to start their own business may choose to major in entrepreneurship. This concentration teaches resource acquisition, fundraising, opportunity assessment, successful versus unsuccessful cases, how to develop business proposals, leadership, team building, how to navigate global markets, how to achieve financial success, business planning and more.

An entrepreneurship concentration may lead to a position in a government organization, large corporation, nonprofit, or the development of a new startup.

Students who choose a concentration in entrepreneurship may earn an average salary of around $102,000.

Information Technology or Technology Management

Students working on a concentration in IT will learn data management, data analytics, business intelligence, product design, information technology, communication, computer science, project management, and team management. They will be taught how to balance simultaneous projects, how data moves within and across companies, and how to lead teams.

These students may pursue a career as a senior analyst, IT manager, IT director, or chief information officer.

Students who have earned a concentration in IT can expect an average salary of around $112,000.

Healthcare Management

For students who want to pursue an administrative role in healthcare, a concentration in healthcare management is extremely beneficial. Students in this concentration will learn the basics of healthcare operations, coordinating health services, patient care outcomes, managing healthcare professionals, financial management, and more.

Students who complete this concentration may earn an average salary of around $81,000 in a position such as business operations manager, practice administrator, or chief strategy officer.

Real Estate

Students earning a concentration in real estate may seek a career as a real estate analyst, real estate development manager, vice president of real estate acquisitions, or an asset manager.

During courses for this concentration, students will learn market analysis, property management, resale, investment strategies, development, and more.

A concentration in real estate may lead to an average salary of around $105,000.

International Business or International Management

A concentration in international business or international management allows students to gain skills in global economics and market analysis. This concentration teaches students about foreign markets, consumers, and multinational companies.

For those who want to work abroad or conduct business globally, this concentration is ideal. Graduates may enter a career as a business development director, chief executive officer, director of operations, or project manager.

Those who choose an international business concentration may earn an average salary of around $97,000.

In Sum

It is important to explore your concentration options carefully. Each school offers unique options, and some programs may not have your concentration of choice. Examine the curriculum offered for different concentrations you are interested in, talk to professionals in the field, and choose an option that excites you.


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