Highest-Paying MBA Specializations

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Highest-Paying MBA Specializations

In today’s competitive business world, an MBA can help you supercharge your career. But not all MBA degrees are created equal.

A key aspect that can make your MBA degree stand out from the rest is specialization. Specialized MBA degrees provide a specific set of skills that can lead to career growth and enhanced earnings.

“There is a growing desire to have an MBA from a world-class institution while also having knowledge in x, y and z,” Brad Killaly, associate dean of the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, says.

US News recently rounded up some of the highest paying MBA specializations using data from Payscale.

Strategy MBAs saw the highest pay among specializations with an average early career pay of $100,000 and mid-career pay of $164,000. The lowest paying early-career was Operations Management at $84,500. The lowest paying mid-career was Information Technology at $128,000.


Consulting jobs are in high demand nationally. Consequently, MBA specializations in strategy, finance, and management will be highly sought after.

“If companies are doing really well, they pay for consultants," Rebecca Cook, executive director of career services at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business, says. "Or if they’re failing, they pay for consultants."

Additionally, experts say leadership and change management are also in-demand specializations. These specializations are a good fit for a number of careers, including consulting.

"I do think this is a good trend of students looking at both their first job, but also their second, third and fourth jobs after their MBA and thinking about how they prepare themselves for the rest of their career,” J.P. Eggers, professor of management and organizations and vice dean of MBA and graduate programs at New York University's Stern School of Business, says.


Analytics is another MBA specialization that is seeing high demand. Employers—big and small—need MBAs who have a background in data analysis and visualization.

“In a digital world, we have so many more opportunities to collect and analyze data," Dan Moshavi, dean of the Fowler College of Business at San Diego State University, says. "Whether that’s consumer data or supply chain data, there’s just so many more data points that now can be collected through this digital transformation that you’re seeing firms willing to get savvier about utilizing the data they have.”


The data sample spans from June 1, 2018 to June 1, 2023 and includes more than 2,900 salary profiles from Payscale’s Employee Reported Salary Survey. Early career is defined as zero to five years of experience, while mid-career is defined as 10 to 20 years of experience.

Sources: US News, Payscale

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