Where will your advanced degree take you: MBA career paths and pitfalls

Whether you have begun your journey towards an MBA degree with a precise knowledge of what you want to do, or you intend to figure it out along the way, the chances are your options may be greater than what you’ve anticipated.

 A recent study of more than 4,650 MBA alumni conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) finds that MBA graduates “are employed across all sectors of the economy with no more than [20 percent] currently working in any one particular industry.”

Among the industries with the greatest share of MBA alumni are products and services, technology, and finance and accounting. However, 40 percent of MBAs are spread across government and nonprofit, consulting, manufacturing, healthcare and pharmaceutical, and energy sectors.

Similarly, when it comes to MBA job functions, no more than 25 percent of graduates work in any specific job role. Currently, nearly half of MBAs work in marketing and sales or finance and accounting functions, while the other half works in general management, consulting, operations and logistics, HR and IT roles.

Regardless of which career path you choose, planning ahead is critical in avoiding some of the common career pitfalls. In her interview with Forbes, Deb Lindenman, Deputy Director of Career Development at the Yale School of Management, shares career advice for prospective and current MBA students.

According to Lindenman, some of the common mistakes MBA graduates make when it comes to their career are:

  • Prioritizing ROI over passion
  • Not having a backup plan
  • Not networking
  • Following career choices their peers are making
  • Becoming too fixated on landing a “dream job” right out of school

Lindenman’s advice: “Research … short- and long-term career goals prior to arriving on campus. [Students] should approach the job/internship search in a way that shows commitment and passion for a particular path, while leaving some room for flexibility.”

To pick a career path that’s right for you, Lindenman suggests doing informational interviews with MBA alumni who are in positions that align with your long-term career ambitions.

For example, graduates of Limestone’s online MBA program have gone on to work in private, public, and nonprofit sectors both in South Carolina or other cities across the U.S. Some employers include Wells Fargo, Walmart, QVC, Coca-Cola Company, United States Army, U.S. Postal Service, Disabled American Veterans and more.