Landing a job that comes with a salary that just 20% of Americans enjoy and a mere 0.8% of the world enjoys is no small feat. And once you get your foot in the door, you face an even bigger mountain to climb. The hours for these $100K a year jobs are often long (typically nine or more a day, plus weekends and working at home), the work is demanding, and work-life balance is nearly impossible. While the average MBA student understands exactly what they're signing up for, what they may not understand is it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, there are a number of MBA jobs that still pay very well, but require fewer hours. This makes the healthy work-life balance people desire more attainable.
So where are all of these dream jobs? Just about anywhere if you know which career paths to target. Sales is one. This area offers an endless number of opportunities for MBAs to put their specialized skills in marketing, leadership, finance, and strategy to work. Savvy MBAs will have no problems reaching the upper levels of the salary range, while still maintaining more control over their schedules than MBAs working in other areas. Here’s why: jobs that pay a base salary plus commission typically offer more flexibility. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many sales representatives determine their own schedules.
All you have to do is make sure you are meeting your company’s sales goals (and your own, of course) to reach your desired income. According to the BLS, those who are successful have the potential to earn more than $153,940 annually. The median total pay for salespeople across all professions is $80,000, which isn’t too shabby either. Even better is the employment outlook is good as well. It’s seven percent for the 2014-2024 decade, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. Aim for sales management and you can expect to earn anywhere from $130,400 (mean) to $164,300+ annually, with an employment outlook of around five percent, which is as fast as the average for all occupations.
If you want to increase your chances landing on the higher end of the pay scale, consider industries that are known for doling out some of the most impressive compensation packages in the professional world. Just a few include technology, digital media, consumer packaged goods, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, outsourced services, startup business development, and consulting (more on this later).
While you can do very well in these areas and others, technology leads the pack. Just take a look at CBS Money Watch’s 10 Highest Paying Companies for Sales Jobs. Notice anything?
1. SAP -- $235,000 (salary: $110,000/commission: $100,000)
2. Cisco -- $211,000 (salary: $93,000/commission: $100,000)
3. CA Technologies -- $210,000 (salary: $110,000/commission: $100,000)
4. EMC -- $200,000 (salary: $100,000/commission: $100,000)
5. Symantec -- $197,500 (salary: $197,500/commission: $76,250)
6. Microsoft -- $191,000 (salary: $118,000/commission: $50,000)
7. Salesforce -- $173,500 (salary: $90,000/commission: $68,000)
8. Adobe -- $162,500 (salary: $90,000/commission: $50,000)
9. Avaya -- $160,000 (salary: $95,000/commission: $60,000)
10. IBM -- $150,000 (salary: $100,000/commission: $45,000)
Note: The gap between total pay and salary and commission are due to other compensation, such as stock options or bonuses. –CBS Interactive, Inc.
Next up is Marketing Management. According to the BLS, marketing managers estimate the demand for products and services that an organization and its competitors offer. They identify potential markets for the organization’s products and they also develop pricing strategies to help organizations maximize their profits and market share while ensuring that the organizations’ customers are satisfied. They work with sales, public relations, and product development staff. For example, a marketing manager may monitor trends that indicate the need for a new product or service. Then he or she oversees the development of that product or service.
Because the work of marketing managers directly affects a firm’s revenue, they typically work closely with top executives. A typical workweek is the standard 40 hours, with less than half of all marketing managers working more than 40 hours a week, says the BLS. The average salary for marketing managers is $140,660 (mean) per year, with top earners averaging $175,060 or more per year. At nine percent for the 2014-2024 decade, which is faster than the average for all occupations, the employment outlook for marketing managers is impressive as well.
Our last MBA career area worth considering is Management Consulting. Also called management analysts, management consultants can expected a 14 percent increase in employment for the 2014-2024 decade, which is double the average for all occupations. While consulting sales (locating customers who would purchase a company’s consulting services or other products and services) offers a nice base salary, typically around $150,000 plus unlimited commissions, salaried management consultants (those who provide professional or expert advice) who do not earn commissions can earn a comfortable living too. They average around $91,770 (mean) per year, with top earner’s averaging $109,670 to $150,220 per year, especially at major firms.
Take a look at the 20 of the Most Prestigious Consulting Firms for 2017.
1. McKinsey & Company
2. The Boston Consulting Group
3. Bain & Company
4. Deloitte Consulting LLP
5. Booz Allen Hamilton
6. PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory Services LLC (PwC Advisory Services)
7. EY (Ernst & Young) LLP Consulting Practice
9. KPMG LLG (Advisory)
10. Oliver Wyman
11. IBM Global Services
12. A.T. Kearney
13. Strategy&, part of the PwC network
14. L.E.K. Consulting
15. Mercer LLC
16. Gartner, Inc.
18. Lockheed Martin Corporation (IT Consulting)
19. Cisco Systems, Inc. (IT Consulting)
20. Oracle Consulting
For a list of other prestigious consulting firms, click here. Also worth exploring: 100 of the Best Companies for Flexible Consulting Jobs.
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Picchi, Aimee. "The 10 Highest-paying Companies for Sales Jobs." CBS News Money Watch. CBS Interactive, 17 July 2015. Web. 11 Sept. 2016.
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Smith-Barrow, Delece. "Target MBA Jobs That Pay Well, Require Fewer Hours." U.S. News & World Report Education. U.S. News & World Report L.P., 08 Aug. 2013. Web. 11 Sept. 2016.