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Not-So-Obvious Uses for an MBA

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The Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) is one of the most coveted and useful degrees available. The skills taught in areas such as business and product management, leadership, marketing, finance, analysis, problem solving, and decision-making can all lead to typical business- and management-based positions. These often include C-Suite appointments, upper management roles, business development work, finance and budgeting, and marketing. The general fields of employment for the MBA graduate include entrepreneurship, corporate strategy, finance, international relations, human resources, economics, real estate and health care.

But, in addition to these roles and fields, the MBA can also lead a student down some not-so-obvious paths. This is because the skill set tends to be commutable to different sectors and responsibilities. The ability to pull apart, scrutinize, and solve a business-related problem easily translates into the ability to break down, analyze, and solve many other kinds of problems in a variety of fields.

Following are some not-so-obvious fields and roles for the MBA graduate.


Rather than aiming for Fortune 500 boardrooms, an increasing number of MBA grads are turning to the non-profit sector. The non-profit world not only offers a place for the grad to have input in strategy, budget management, and marketing, but also gives the candidate a sense of supporting a worthy mission.


Many companies are happy to recruit trained MBA students to work internationally. But what goes beyond this is where these companies are sending new grads. We’re not talking just Europe or our neighbors to the south, but new, burgeoning markets like South Africa and Australia. Running companies in areas like this, which require a lot of adaptation, shows the employer the grad’s full range of skills.

Forensic Accounting

Forensic accounting is an established opportunity for many MBA grads- there are even specific MBA programs specializing in the area. However, not many entering students have heard about the opportunity, which involves analyzing financial transactions for use as evidence in criminal proceedings. Forensic accounting combines a financial expert’s knowledge of a balance sheet with a detective’s drive to uncover information.


The proliferation of charter, virtual and for-profit schools has opened up a previously untapped market. Sure, MBAs can be found in finance positions in some districts, but a wider variety of schools means an increase in different and new roles to fill. Think in terms of building-level jobs, strategy, or organization-level work (some schools are run by larger umbrella organizations).

On the secondary level, an MBA student could choose to teach at the college level, either for a junior college or a for-profit outfit, opting for a line of work that may be described by some as a little less cut throat and pressured than the typical MBA fare. Adjunct faculty generally only need a Master’s degree, although real-world experience is valued.


Get a degree and then join the military? Possible. Joining up after earning a degree means higher placement as an officer, along with some perks such as potential student loan payoff. Your MBA degree has prepared the student to provide administrative support to huge organizations. The military definitely falls under that designation.

Sciences and Green Jobs

This candidate would support scientific research and development and so-called “green” jobs by contributing at the administrative level. Whereas many MBA graduates are employed in science or green production or for-profit work, the not-so-obvious sector would focus on research, institutional work, or similar concentrations.

Obvious – But With a Twist

One last market includes the obvious fields for MBA grads – banking, consultancies – but with a new spin. For example, more MBAs are choosing to work in “safer” banking options (given the current market) such as private wealth management versus venture funding, whereas consultancies could focus on fields that are fertile for new growth, as opposed to the old standbys.

Overall, the degree bestows a series of skills and abilities that are highly usable across the board. Finding the perfect match might mean looking past the obvious.

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