An MBA degree helps professionals differentiate themselves from their peers in an increasingly competitive job market. Advanced career paths open up even further for business professionals with specialized skills. Professionals who enter MBA areas of specialization dedicate their learnings to a specific field and transform from generalists to experts.
The MBA program allows professionals to enroll in particular MBA focus areas and enter specialized roles in finance, healthcare, accounting, business intelligence, and more. In addition, the best MBA concentrations teach students in-demand skills, open doors to higher salaries, expand career opportunities, and result in leadership roles.
What are some common MBA concentrations?
What is the best MBA concentration to have? Your answer will vary based on your desired career path, unique skills, and preferred industry. Learn more about six common MBA areas of specialization to determine which one is right for you.
Accounting Principles Concentration
The Accounting Principles Concentration is a pathway that teaches students to become proficient in Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), laying the groundwork for their CPA or CMA exam preparation. In addition, students who choose this MBA focus area will learn how to prepare and use financial statements, abide by regulatory requirements, and oversee compliance concerns.
Organizations hire candidates with an Accounting Principles MBA because they learn to manage budgeting processes, performance evaluation, assessment of operational expenses, and financial record preparation.
- Accounts Payable
- Accounts Receivable
- Credit and Collections Specialist
- Payroll Specialist
- Staff Accountant
- Cost Accountant
- Financial Analyst
Business Intelligence Concentration
Organizations operating in the information age have a surplus of data and need experts to translate raw data into meaningful insights. The Business Intelligence Concentration involves analyzing data and delivering actionable information to help leaders make informed business decisions.
Professionals in a Business Intelligence MBA focus area learn to examine data, build dashboards, and present results in a meaningful and intuitive way. Students also learn proficiency in relevant platforms such as MS Excel, Tableau, SAP Lumira, MS Access, SQL, ERP system, Data Warehouse, as well as security and privacy protection.
- Data Analyst
- Data Engineer
- BI Engineer
- Business Analyst
- Customer Insight Analyst
Corporate Accounting and Finance
Working at a large corporation with an MBA focus in Corporate Accounting and Finance is an entryway to C-suite leadership roles. Students who complete this dual concentration develop competencies for financial management positions, including the end goal of being a Chief Financial Officer. According to Salary.com, the median salary for a CFO with a Master's Degree or MBA is $367,767 - $423,279, that’s eight times higher than the average worker in the United States.
Those enrolled in the corporate accounting and finance concentration will learn how to interpret the world around them through numbers and prepare for careers that influence corporations’ internal operations. Students will have opportunities to understand topics such as financial analysis and forecasting, capital structure, capital budgeting, and corporate valuation, which will help them determine where and how to invest corporate funds.
- Corporate Accountant
- Senior Accountant
- Real Estate Development Accountant
Choosing a Finance Concentration is an excellent choice for portfolio managers, securities traders, and analysts. This MBA stream will deepen an understanding of corporate finance, portfolio management, investment banking, and international finance.
The program teaches students how to use advanced financial tools, including digital platforms and technologies, to enhance problem-solving skills. Additionally, students learn soft skills like accurately setting priorities, weighing appropriate options, and making strategic decisions based on data.
- Portfolio Manager
- Quantitative Analyst
- Securities Trader
- Financial Planner
- Financial Analyst
Forensic Accounting plays an essential role in the Risk & Compliance landscape. Amid the global pandemic, fraud and cybercrimes spiked as the masses moved online. Nefarious actors exploited the volatile environment to confuse and trick online users through email phishing, account takeovers, and other scams.
Organizations require professionals with the skills necessary to protect their business from fraud, theft, and misconduct. A concentration in forensics teaches students about white-collar crime and financial statement fraud. Students also learn how to identify, detect, and prevent fraudulent activity to protect a company’s customers, assets, and reputation.
- Fraud Investigator
- Internal Auditing Manager
- Financial Forensic Analyst
- Anti-Money Laundering Specialist
Health Sector Management Concentration
The health sector is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment is projected to grow 16 percent from 2020 to 2030, adding about 2.6 million new jobs, more than other occupational groups.
Professionals emerging from an MBA concentration in Health Sector Management play a role in developing strategies to improve healthcare services, patient experience, and safety. Students learn about the U.S. healthcare system, including its licensure, regulatory, accreditation, and compliance issues in this concentration. Modern programs also teach students to leverage big data and analytics for health and healthcare to arrive at data-driven decisions.
- Healthcare Department Manager
- Healthcare Finance Manager
- Quality and Improvement Manager
- Healthcare Administrator
- Physician Practice Manager
What are the benefits of an MBA concentration?
The job market values specialization. In 2021, 90% of employers planned to hire MBA graduates, and certain industries are hyper-focused on adding more MBA graduates to their teams, including those in consulting healthcare, and Big Tech. The top five MBA recruiters include large consulting firms like McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group, and Bain & Company, and renowned tech giants like Amazon and Google.
Students interested in a specific industry or profession can obtain a specialized MBA to gain targeted management experience. A specialized MBA can also give students a head start in a technical field compared to a general program and offer an array of advantages.
Advanced job opportunities
An MBA is recognized as the gold standard for business education. BLS projects employment in management positions will grow steadily through 2030. This growth is fuelled by the development of new companies and the expansion of existing organizations and will likely create 906,800 new jobs.
Students who pursue an MBA concentration go further in advancing job opportunities in their desired profession or industry. As of 2021, the highest-paying MBA concentrations include management, entrepreneurship, and finance. These MBA focus areas give graduates access to the following job opportunities.
- Chief Executive Officer
- Vice President, Operations
- Divisional VP, General Manager
- Chief Executive Officer
- Management Consulting Firm Partner
- Venture Capital Firm Associate
- Financial Director
- Financial Controller
- Vice President of Finance
An MBA degree can lead to higher lifetime earning potential. One study showed the average salary of an employee before they earned their MBA was $79,505. On average, their wage after obtaining their MBA increased to $116,248, a 46 percent increase overall.
Stand out to employers
Companies prefer MBA graduates because they demonstrate critical thinking skills, problem-solving, communication, and leadership skills. Researchers surveyed employers to gauge their perception of MBA graduates and found that employers polled in the research are “overwhelmingly positive about the value of an MBA from a reputable Business School when looking for senior managers.”
The study also found that when asked if MBA graduates have relevant skills to thrive in their organization, 30% ‘strongly agreed’ and 50% ‘tended to agree.’ In addition, 31% ‘strongly agreed’ and 49% ‘tended to agree’ that MBAs had the relevant skills to significantly contribute to the broader economy.
International networking opportunities
Research shows that professionals land 80% of jobs through networking efforts in the current era of hyperconnectivity and digital-first communication. Some of the top ways to engage in effective networking include LinkedIn, referrals, job fairs, networking events, and alumni networks. MBA programs allow students to connect with like-minded business professionals worldwide and expand social networks to realize job opportunities and international partnerships.
Explore MBA concentrations at Suffolk University
Through Suffolk University, located in Boston, Massachusetts, MBA Online students can choose from six concentrations: Accounting Principles, Business Intelligence, Corporate Accounting and Finance, Finance, Forensic Accounting, and Health Sector Management. Suffolk also offers MBA dual degree programs, including the MBA & MSA and the MBA & MSBA.
Suffolk University’s MBA Online program is accredited by the AACSB and designed to immerse students in real-world business. Choosing a concentration at Suffolk gives students a targeted area of specialization and a solid career trajectory. Students experience firsthand what it’s like to collaborate, communicate, and create actionable solutions to real challenges from top-ranked organizations.
Suffolk’s program is not the traditional asynchronous MBA where you learn independently. Instead, with Suffolk’s MBA, you meet with the professor, your classmates, and business leaders live and enjoy the following benefits:
- Flexible format Mentorship
- Tailored design
- Dual degree options
- Unparalleled support
- Robust connections
As a busy professional, joining a flexible 100% online degree will help graduates transition into the business world with ease. Suffolk’s online MBA program gives students a competitive edge, access to networking opportunities, and the opportunity to immerse themselves in an exciting business career or transition into lucrative leadership positions.
Contact an Enrollment Advisor to elevate your career with an Online MBA from Suffolk University.