5 highest-paying MBA concentrations to consider in 2021

An MBA concentration allows learners to deep dive into specific areas of study, such as marketing, finance or human resources.

By U2B Staff 

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An MBA is still seen as an asset in today’s competitive world for employees who want to stand out. Regardless of the economic climate, MBA programmes have shown to equip learners with leadership skills, increase their prospects of earning higher salaries, and help them climb the corporate ladder, to name a few. 

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) salary survey – which contains annual salary projections for the Class of 2020 college graduates in the US – projects this year’s average salary for MBA graduates to stand at about 79,043 US dollars.

This is more than US$20,000 higher than the projected salaries of business undergraduates at US$57,939. The figure is considerably higher for MBA graduates from elite institutions.

The benefits of an MBA have contributed to its popularity, in addition to leading to a wide number of MBA-related programmes which now include concentrations in finance, entrepreneurship, Islamic finance, and sustainability, among others. 


While the monetary benefits of pursuing an MBA are well-documented, a common question on the minds of many MBA aspirants is, “what concentration should I choose?”

An MBA concentration allows learners to dive into specific areas of study, such as marketing, finance or human resources. These specialisations are ideal for those who want to gain more expertise and learn leadership skills in the industry of their choosing.

If you want an MBA that will give you the best ROI or that are highly coveted by multinationals and recruiters, here are five MBA concentrations to consider, with key salaries from Payscale: 


A concentration in management introduces advanced, widely-applicable business concepts and prepares students to plan, supervise, and make decisions for organisations of all types and sizes. 

The programme produces graduates with the expertise to assume leadership roles — such as chief executive officer  — with attractive salaries. An early career salary could fetch you some US$112,000 that could go up with experience to US$160,000. 

Vice presidents could expect to earn around US$97,000 while general managers typically enjoy an annual salary of US$103,000. 


Entrepreneurship concentrations focus on strategies and the best practices used to start fast-track the development of new business ventures. These programmes often have an emphasis on innovation, planning, and forecasting. 

Businesses have a lot to gain by hiring graduates with this knowledge. Management consulting firm partners earn an average salary of US$140,000. Venture capital firm associates could earn between US$91,000 and US$113,000.   


A finance concentration trains students to analyse financial outcomes to aid in decision-making practices and ensure organisations remain profitable. 

Financial directors could earn up to US$80,000 a year, while chief financial officers and vice presidents of finance earn US$100,000 and US$119,000 respectively. 

What’s more, the BLS projects careers for finance managers to grow 16% from 2018-2028, with particularly high growth projected for fields such as cash management and risk management.


Every business relies on effective marketing practices that raise customer awareness and generate interest in products or services. From advertising, promotional strategies, to social media and public relations –– a role in the field could take many forms. One thing they all have in common? Demand. 

The BLS projects the job outlook for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers to grow 8% from 2018-2028, which is higher than the national average.


Those who decide on an MBA with a concentration in marketing have a lot to look forward to post-graduation. Marketing directors could earn anywhere between US$59,000 and US$102,000 annually, depending on their experience. 

Chief marketing offers with years of experience could earn up to US$178,000, and advertising or promotion directors could earn up to US$83,000. 

Information technology

Those with an MBA in information technology can merge their knowledge in business management with modern computing concepts. This combination gives graduates the upper hand with skills in management, organisation, and other broadly applicable business concepts. 

Skills in network administration, information security, and software architecture are a bonus. 

Those who assume the role of chief technology officer could earn approximately US$108,000 in their early years, and US$159,000 after a good amount of experience. A director of information systems or an information technology manager could earn US$100,000 and US$79,00 respectively, after four to five years of experience.