Change is inevitable in today’s global workforce. New technology, regulations, and industries continue to emerge. How can business leaders keep up with this dynamic future?
Learning new skills and staying current with the latest research can be crucial for long-term success. A PwC survey across five countries — the US as well as China, Germany, India, and the UK — found 74% of those in the workforce are willing to develop new abilities or completely retrain to maintain employability in the future.
Professionals have turned to an internationally recognized Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree for decades to sharpen their leadership skills, access job opportunities, and build a more robust network. The many MBA career paths available can support efforts to align career plans and goals with new and substantial developments across the workforce.
Let’s take a closer look at the workforce of the future, the valuable skills required, and how completing Suffolk University’s MBA Online can support a variety of careers for MBA graduates even in an uncertain and rapidly changing future.
What do career paths for future MBAs look like?
The foundational concept of the workforce won’t drastically change in the future. We will always need people to take on important tasks, lead teams, make complex decisions, and generally put their knowledge and experience to use.
What has already and will continue to change are the specifics: how, where, and when professionals participate in the workforce.
Flexible, remote work options are increasingly popular.
The concept of working in an office won’t disappear completely, but it appears that more flexible remote options are here to stay.
Citrix, a cloud computing company, surveyed knowledge workers and HR directors to learn more about how businesses are being “rebuilt, reshaped, and reimagined.” They found nearly 9 in 10 employees would seek out companies that offer complete flexibility in working hours and location. Almost 7 in 10 human resources directors surveyed in the same report agreed that providing such flexibility is a priority for attracting and retaining high-performing employees.
If you’re interested in one of the many MBA careers focused on management and leadership, recognizing this change can be especially important. Leadership strategies and best practices for your team or department can shift based on where members are located and the tools they use to interface with their colleagues.
AI and new types of collaboration
Implementation and use of artificial intelligence (AI) is now a realistic proposition for various businesses. It offers opportunities to automate time-consuming work, contribute to better processes, and generally support staff in their daily duties.
The 2020 “Human Global Capital Trends” report from consultancy Deloitte highlighted how companies that proactively incorporate emerging digital tools into their operations are exploring and identifying opportunities to do exactly that with AI. The creation of “superteams,” which brings AI into teams of employees to support positive and transformative results, is a top priority for the businesses that use it.
How will AI influence jobs in general and MBA career paths specifically? A Deloitte survey conducted as part of the 2020 report indicated a widespread preference for using AI as a tool to support, assist and empower workers. When asked for the primary reason why their companies use AI, a substantial majority, 60%, said they use AI to support employees. Though 12% indicated their organizations use AI to replace staff, the majority of respondents anticipate the workforce size to either stay the same or increase due to AI technology.
Automation will affect some traditional job categories.
A 2019 study by McKinsey & Company projected that 40% of US jobs could shrink by 2030 due to the widespread implementation of automated tools and systems. The affected positions largely involve routine or physical tasks, like the type commonly seen in production and food service, that may become popular targets for automation.
This substantial change likely won’t have a severe, direct impact on careers for MBA graduates. After completing an MBA program, you will likely seek out roles that involve leadership, high-level problem-solving and complex communication, none of which are easily automated. However, AI may influence the makeup of the teams you lead, the duties of your staff, and other key considerations. A strong grasp of the changing nature of the working world and its uncertain future is crucial for success.
MBA careers: Tackling an uncertain future in the workforce
With various changes influencing the nature of the workforce domestically and across the globe, you may be wondering how your own professional prospects can be affected. In light of these major developments, which career is best for MBA graduates?
The nature of the work performed by graduates of such programs will be shaped and influenced by continual developments related to the workforce. Still, the positions themselves are unlikely to be broadly displaced by those emerging trends.
The more relevant and increasingly timely question for prospective MBA students, those currently in programs and recent graduates, is “How can I develop enduringly useful and applicable abilities?”
The importance of lifelong learning in careers for MBA graduates
An undergraduate degree is the cornerstone of a career in business management. The combination of theory and practice offered in such programs provides a valuable introduction to key concepts in operations, leadership, and so much more.
However, education shouldn’t stop when you complete a bachelor’s program. Advanced knowledge and skills, built through a hands-on and highly interactive program, can prove to be especially valuable in a rapidly changing workforce and economy. Suffolk University’s MBA Online program exposes you to real-life business challenges and calls on you to craft effective solutions to them. That means plenty of opportunities to hone existing abilities and build new ones.'
Graduate education and potential for increased compensation
Compensation is a crucial part of every career, and advanced education can support more earning potential. A 2020 survey of corporate recruiters conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council discovered MBA graduates enjoy a clear advantage when it comes to salary.
According to the survey, professionals with an MBA had the highest median salary for new hires ($115,000) in 2020 compared to median compensation for various other business-focused graduate degrees.
Developing enduringly valuable skills for MBA career paths
What are MBA jobs? There are many potential roles in leadership and management for MBA graduates across the modern workforce. Graduates might lead a team of six or six dozen, and work in industries ranging from manufacturing to finance and biotech. When you take common MBA careers (like those on this list compiled by Indeed) and less-traditional paths into account (such as the roles on this list from Online MBA), it’s clear that there’s plenty of variation.
These diverse positions have the importance of highly relevant and continually useful soft skills in common. The following talents have been, are, and will continue to be broadly applicable in the workforce:
- Critical, strategic, and analytical thinking: Considering all sides of an issue, assessing risk and reward, thinking through consequences, and building an evidence-based case for a specific strategy is valuable regardless of any particular MBA career paths you want to follow.
- Change management: Change is inevitable as the workforce and economy rapidly develop and diversify. Recognizing, adjusting to, and anticipating relevant changes supports agile teams and businesses.
- Global perspective: A broader understanding of how businesses operate worldwide can help you see the bigger picture and build more valuable and sustainable solutions.
Finding a future-proof MBA career path
How can you future-proof your career? Taking advantage of opportunities for advanced learning and prioritizing the development of soft critical skills can go a long way.
The right online MBA program can support those goals and offer valuable opportunities for specialization.
Effective specialization with room for career flexibility
If you have a specific career path in mind, completing a concentration as part of your MBA program can help you build both broadly applicable skills and more targeted ones as well. Suffolk University offers six concentrations, allowing students to customize their MBA online program and gain in-depth knowledge that translates immediately to the workplace.
Whether you stay in your chosen field during your entire time in the workforce or eventually move into a different one, you’ll have the well-rounded background needed to perform in business leadership roles effectively.
What is the future after completing an MBA? While there’s plenty of uncertainty in the future of work, these concentrations can help make the next steps in your career a little clearer:
- Health Sector Management: Healthcare will always be needed throughout society. With this concentration, you can develop healthcare-specific knowledge that supports managerial and leadership positions in provider organizations, pharmaceutical companies, health insurance firms, and more.
- Business Intelligence: Data is increasingly accessible to businesses and consistently valuable in decision-making. A Business Intelligence concentration can empower you to manage data, generate reporting, and effectively communicate results to key stakeholders.
- Accounting Principles: A focus on accounting and financial concepts can be broadly valuable in the workforce, as they apply to every industry and business. In this concentration, you can learn how to prepare financial records, review budgeting processes, address financial compliance needs, and much more.
- Finance: Corporate finance, investment banking, portfolio management, and related concepts are all focus areas in this concentration. As a student, you will learn how to address financial issues and opportunities and set priorities, and weigh options appropriately from a financial perspective.
- Forensic Accounting: Gain the skills necessary to protect your business from loss due to fraud, theft, and malfeasance. The concentration in forensics takes a three-pronged approach. First, you will learn about white-collar crime in general, and financial statement fraud in particular. You will explore the definition of fraud, how we prevent it, and how we detect it. Then, you will learn how to protect your company.
- Corporate Accounting and Finance: In this concentration, you will learn how to interpret the world around you through numbers. The curriculum is designed to build a strong background in both finance and accounting that is required for senior and executive positions such as CFO. You will develop an understanding of financial analysis and forecasting, capital structure, capital budgeting, and corporate valuation, which will help you determine where and how to invest corporate funds.
Future-proofing a career isn’t an exact science. Still, you can put yourself in a position to become more resilient and agile by developing a mix of generally valuable and specifically applicable skills and knowledge.
Advancing your MBA career on your terms
Whether you want to sharpen your skills in a specific business area or understand the landscape holistically, the Suffolk University MBA Online is sure to help you. Our courses are delivered entirely online, so you can balance your existing commitments by logging in anywhere, at any time. Far from a traditional and asynchronous online MBA program, our MBA Online puts you in live classes and meetings with world-class faculty, fellow students, and business leaders from premier companies located in Boston and across the globe. A high degree of collaboration and interactivity throughout the curriculum means you’ll do more than just learn about what it takes to be a business leader — you’ll take on real-world issues facing companies and work cooperatively to craft compelling and practical solutions.
This immersive and holistic approach leads to exceptional outcomes: More than 90% of our graduates are employed within six months of graduation. With career-long job-search consulting and resources available, as well as an alumni network with more than 80,000 members, you can access many opportunities to build a future-proof career. Our career center staff organize personalized meetings, small coaching groups, and other networking events to empower you to land your dream job or work on your promotion strategy.
Contact an Enrollment Advisor to learn how to build a sustainable and broadly useful set of business leadership competencies with an MBA Online from Suffolk University.