In a high-pressure business world, an MBA is essential for professionals who want to reach the top of their field and qualify for executive positions. Earning an MBA can pay off in more ways than career advancement; top positions come with top salaries.

Here’s a list of the 10 highest paid career positions that can be earned with an MBA:

No. 10: Management Consultant

Median annual salary: $88,000

When a company faces an obstacle, or lacks the professional know-how to chart its own future, professional management consultants help move the company forward. Issues might be contained within a single branch of a company, involve multiple branches, or be endemic to the entire corporate system. Management consultants need to see the entire picture and communicate clearly and effectively what the problems are and their solutions.

Management consultants can specialize as they see fit, but specialization might limit the number of potential clients. Aspiring management consultants with previous experience in a field, such as marketing or research and development, might begin their consulting careers by helping companies solve problems in those areas and expand to other areas as they develop.

Ultimately, a management consultant’s goal is making a company’s leadership and structure more efficient. Prospective management consultants should earn an MBA with a concentration in operations, global, or human resources management.

No. 9: Product Manager

Median annual salary: $100,000

A product manager is often described as being the “CEO of a single thing,” meaning oversee one thing through from start to finish. Product managers supervise the team responsible for a specific product as it goes through research and development, into prototyping, and then sales.

The ideal MBA concentration for a product manager can vary widely depending on the product, but a concentration in product management, brand management, or even technology management can be useful to someone in this field.

No. 8: Investment Fund Manager

Median annual salary: $104,000

Investment Fund Managers offer financial advice and direct the investment activities of organizations, companies, or individuals with high net worth. They are responsible for determining what to invest in, which can include the stock market, bonds, real estate, and other markets. Often, investment fund managers are responsible for handling a team of analysts and traders.

Investment fund managers must have a mastery of finance and accounting. An MBA with a concentration in finance would benefit someone interested in this career path.

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No. 7: Chief Compliance Officer (CCO)

Median annual salary: $113,000

Chief compliance officers function as corporate responsibility officers. They are not only charged with ensuring a company conforms to all laws and regulations concerning employers and employees, they often develop more stringent compliance codes for the company.

CCOs are common in heavily regulated industries like banking and healthcare. However, as corporate responsibility becomes more important, the number of CCO jobs is on the rise. Prospective CCOs should earn an MBA with a concentration in management or specific to the field they want to enter.

No. 6: Information Technology Director

Median annual salary: $184,000

Information technology is crucial in a changing world. Electronic communication has become the primary method for exchanging information. The importance of technology to modern business means that information technology directors, who oversee all that data and communication, are essential to the success and profitability of any company.

Information technology directors are responsible for managing a company’s IT staff and IT policies. Demand for IT directors is growing rapidly – far faster than the average – which makes this an ideal career path for MBA graduates. Aspiring IT directors should earn an MBA with a concentration in information systems management.

No. 5: Marketing Executive

Median annual salary: $229,000

In the business world, marketing is king. Top marketing executives are responsible for communicating directly to customers what a company does and how that can be useful. Marketing drives sales, which means marketing staff are integral to a company’s success.

On top of designing marketing campaigns, marketing executives are responsible for building and managing a team and ensuring the team works well together. An MBA with a concentration in marketing and personnel management would be beneficial to an aspiring marketing executive.

No. 4: Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

Median annual salary: $233,000

A company’s CTO is responsible for making sure that the company is taking full advantage of modern technology to support business operations. They need to be constantly assessing the risks and opportunities that come with ever-evolving technological changes. As members of the C-suite, CTOs are also responsible for participating in management discussions and blending technology with the company’s vision for the future.

Aspiring chief technical officers should earn an MBA with a heavy concentration in information systems management. Additional education in the realm of technology, computer science, and cybersecurity would be beneficial, as well.

No. 3: Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Median annual salary: $361,000

The goal of any business is ultimately to make money, and the CFO oversees that money. Whether analyzing past figures, controlling costs and revenues, or developing short- and long-term plans, they oversee it all. CFOs need a mastery of accounting, investing, and bookkeeping so they can take advantage of every opportunity to make or save money.

Many CFOs begin careers as accountants and earn their way to the C-suite. For business professionals who aspire to become the chief financial officer of a company, an MBA with a concentration in accounting is advised.

No. 2: Chief Operations Officer (COO)

Median annual salary: $454,000

The COO of a company is responsible for making the company works like a well-oiled machine. They must be knowledgeable of all the inner workings of a company and are responsible for managing and facilitating communication between upper-level managers across departments.

The core of the COO position is efficiency. To accomplish this, prospective COOs should have a working knowledge of all aspects of their industry, along with strong communication and management skills. Aspiring COOs would be well served by earning an MBA with a concentration in business or operations management.

No. 1: Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Median annual salary: $750,000

Occupying the final spot in our list is the position of chief executive officer, the highest management position attainable in many companies. Although the median salary is $750,000 per year, that number can go far higher depending on the size of the company and other factors.

As the top executive, the CEO is responsible for the success of the company and is the ultimate decision maker. CEOs must serve as a bridge between corporate management, the shareholders and the executive board.

A master’s in business administration is common for CEOs, and a concentration in management can be useful, as can a concentration in the prospective CEO’s desired field.

Advancing Your Business Career

Many careers become possible after earning an MBA, and our list offers just some of the highlights. Regardless of your career ambitions, an MBA may help your prospects.

Graduates of Malone University’s online MBA will understand how to manage organizations, navigate international commerce, effectively manage others, and resolve critical problems in business. Our program gives students the opportunity to advance in their careers and lives, and students will learn how to succeed in their careers in a way that honors their faith.