Online Master's in Business Administration

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Types of MBA Concentrations

Across all industries, many employers view the MBA as a required credential for top leadership positions. According to Forbes, 29 of the top 100 best-performing CEOs in 2017 had a Master of Business Administration (MBA). There are many types of MBA concentrations, such as accounting, cybersecurity, financial services, information technology, marketing, and management. Students can personalize their degrees these specific areas of interest to gain the most out of their experience. Each MBA concentration provides students with the additional education and experiences that increase their potential for success.

A lady standing in a busy office

MBA in Accounting Concentration

An MBA in Accounting can start a student on the path to a rewarding accounting and financial career. Along with eight core MBA courses, students receive a behind-the-scenes look into business processes through coursework in tax planning, decision-making, financial statement analysis, strategic accounting issues, and forensic accounting. By the end of the program, students have had opportunities to improve the following skills, which may help them to succeed in an accounting role.

  • Investigation and analysis
  • Analyze financial information
  • Technical proficiency
  • Effective communication and networking

After graduation, students with an MBA in Accounting often pursue careers as accountants or auditors. To become accountants, professionals must attain the title of Certified Public Accountant (CPA). In fact, the law requires that all accountants who file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) be CPAs.

In addition to passing an exam, becoming a CPA requires a specific number of semester hours. Aspiring accountants usually obtain these hours through bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. That said, according to the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) the specific criteria can vary by state. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also reports that CPAs who want to become auditors will need additional certifications, such as the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certification or the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) certification.

MBA in Cybersecurity Concentration

Businesses are continually challenged to keep company data and employee information secure. In fact, 2017 had bigger losses and more security breaches than any previous year, which created more opportunities for information technology (IT) professionals, according to Business News Daily. IT professionals with an MBA in Cybersecurity should be well-versed in the areas of effective cyber defense, penetration testing, and forensic examination and analysis, as well as legal aspects of privacy and compliance. Through rigorous coursework, graduates are prepared for real-world applications, such as leading efforts against cyber crime. Students develop the following skills during their degree programs to move into upper levels of management:

  • Risk assessment and analysis
  • Problem-solving
  • Attention to detail
  • Creative thinking

Cybersecurity MBA graduates have a chance to start their careers working as computer network architects, project managers, information security analysts, or software developers. Specific roles may require additional accreditation, such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification, according to BLS.

MBA in Financial Services Concentration

During an MBA in Financial Services program, students are prepared to lead financial institutions and direct client investments. Building on the core MBA framework, students study advanced topics, such as financial institutions, the economy, investment alternatives, portfolio construction, and integrated marketing communications, along with preparing for financial industry exams. Through their coursework, students develop the following skills to succeed in their financial roles:

  • Data-based decision-making
  • Effective communications
  • Financial management
  • Trending and forecasting

Many graduates pursue analyst or manager roles in financial institutions or organizations. A license through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is required to sell financial products, according to BLS. Some employers may need other certifications, such as the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification from the CFA Institute, for roles such as portfolio or fund manager.

MBA in General Management Concentration

For professionals who aren’t sure which of the MBA concentrations to choose, a great option to build advanced business skills is an MBA in General Management. Students are prepared for top company positions through focused coursework in human resource management, interpersonal management, project management, and leadership. As they complete an MBA in General Management curriculum, students develop the following sought-after qualities:

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Creative problem-solving
  • Effective time management
  • Clear writing and presentation skills

Graduates commonly pursue management and leadership roles such as business operations specialist, management analyst, and administrative services manager. BLS notes that professionals who wish to move into consulting may need to attain the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) accreditation.

MBA in Health Administration Concentration

An MBA in Health Administration is an excellent option for healthcare professionals looking to move into leadership roles. Each student studies the U.S. health system through coursework in healthcare industry, practice management, medical law, risk management, quality and population health management, and healthcare practice management. Graduates learn the following skills, which are necessary to lead health and medical practices:

  • Data analysis
  • Attention to detail
  • Leadership
  • Healthcare technology application

Many MBA in Health Administration graduates have the chance to attain positions as medical and health services managers. According to BLS, the need for medical and health services managers is expected to increase by 20 percent between 2016 and 2026. Most states will require candidates to pass national and state exams or have previous work experience in a healthcare facility to work as a manager.

MBA in Human Resources Management Concentration

Changing workforce demographics and new job technologies are rapidly altering the way people work. Graduates with an MBA in HR Management are prepared to handle these challenges and opportunities by completing advanced coursework in human resource and workforce management, employment law and compliance, and compensation and benefits. To succeed in an HR management role, students develop the following skills during their programs:

  • Decision-making
  • Presentation preparation
  • Organizational
  • Leadership

After graduation, students have the opportunity to pursue leadership roles such as HR specialist, labor relations specialist, and HR manager. While employers hiring for executive-level jobs may require a master’s degree, additional certifications aren’t typically needed. However, according to BLS, professionals who wish to establish further credibility in their fields can attain certifications through associations such as the HR Certification Institute (HRCI).

MBA in Information Technology Concentration

IT professionals looking to combine their technical and business knowledge will often find that an MBA in Information Technology (IT) is the right fit to progress their careers. Students examine advanced topics, such as IT management, agile analysis and design, database design, and data analysis. This MBA concentration builds the following skills that professionals need to succeed in IT leadership roles:

  • Business strategies
  • Analytics
  • Effective communication
  • Leadership

After graduation, students may begin their careers as market research analysts, marketing managers, sales managers,  accountants, or auditors. According to BLS, most higher-level roles in IT, such as data processing manager and IT management consultant, require professionals to have at least five to 10 years of work experience. However, professionals with previous work experience and an MBA can potentially decrease the time needed to move into these higher roles.

MBA in Marketing Concentration

Qualified marketing professionals are in high demand by employers, with an expected growth of 23,800 jobs between 2016 and 2026 for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers, according to BLS. Students with an MBA in Marketing prepare for this competitive industry through advanced coursework in consumer behavior, social networking and search engine optimization, branding, and integrated marketing communications. Each student focuses on developing the following skills to succeed after graduation:

  • Creative thinking
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Decision-making
  • Analytics

In addition to advertising, promotions, and marketing managers, graduates may also pursue market research analyst and public relations manager positions. Marketing professionals are not required to complete additional certifications; however, companies such as Google and HubSpot offer classes specific to advertising and email marketing, according to CIO magazine.

MBA in Project Management Concentration

According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), there are a large number of vacant positions for project-oriented professionals. With an MBA in Project Management, graduates are prepared to lead projects in any industry through advanced coursework in project management, process and operations management, supply chain management, and enterprise planning and control. Students develop the following skills to implement business initiatives:

  • Leadership
  • Decision making
  • Planning
  • Budgeting

After graduation, professionals have the chance to seek out project manager roles in their preferred industries. Healthcare, manufacturing, construction, information services, and publishing are just a few of the industries looking for project management graduates to deliver innovative and effective projects. These jobs could include managing daily operations, planning HR and material uses, and creating policies. Many professionals pursue a certification from the PMI  to increase their credibility and work opportunities.

Learn More About Maryville University’s MBA Concentrations

Whether a professional is looking for a career change or requires updated credentials for a promotion, each type of MBA concentration can open the door for potential career advancement. With customizable options to match each student’s career goals, an MBA from Maryville University can possibly propel you to the next professional level. Start today and learn more about how Maryville’s online Master of Business Administration concentrations can help move you forward.



American Institute of CPAs, “What Does It Take to Become a CPA?”

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accountants and Auditors

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Computer and Information Systems Managers

Bureau of Labor Statistics, 11-021 General and Operations Managers

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Financial Analysts

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Human Resources Managers

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Information Security Analysts

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Management Analysts

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Medical and Health Services Managers

Business News Daily, “Best Information Security Certifications 2018”

CFA Institute, CFA® Program

CIO, “7 Hot Marketing Certifications and How They Pay Off”

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Qualification Exams

Forbes, “The Best-Performing CEOs in the World 2017”

HR Certification Institute, Our Certifications

Maryville University, Master’s in Business Administration Online

Maryville University, Online Master of Business Administration in Accounting

Maryville University, Online Master of Business Administration in Cybersecurity

Maryville University, Online Master of Business Administration in Information Technology

Maryville University, Online Master of Business Administration (MBA) Curriculum

Maryville University, Online MBA in Financial Services

Maryville University, Online MBA in General Management

Maryville University, Online MBA in Health Administration

Maryville University, Online MBA in Human Resources Management

Maryville University, Online MBA in Marketing Degree

Maryville University, Online MBA in Project Management

Project Management Institute, Certifications

Project Management Institute, “Project Management Job Growth and Talent Gap 2017-2027”