October 28, 2021

What Can You Do With an Online MBA

why an online mba
In today’s world, the most successful business leaders focus not only on improving the bottom line, but also on championing social responsibility.

After COVID-19, we saw a considerable shift in the labor market as people changed how they approached looking for work. Employees have started to expect more from employers, leading to talent shortages as professionals become more selective about where they work. With corporations facing more pressure to align with their employees’ values, along with rising expectations from their shareholders to give back to society, advocating for social change and working toward the common good will become increasingly important qualities in business leadership.

According to the Deloitte “2021 Millennial and Gen Z Survey,” these two generations are doing their part to drive change through activism, and they have the same high standards when it comes to the business world. Forty-four percent of millennials and 49 percent of Gen Zs said in the past two years, their values have impacted their decisions on where and what type of work they do.

“Respondents are channeling their energies toward meaningful action—increasing political involvement, aligning spending and career choices with their values, and driving change on societal issues that matter most to them. In turn, they expect institutions like businesses and governments to do more to help bring about their vision of a better future,” Deloitte analysts wrote.

Today, standing out as an effective leader requires competencies beyond the functional knowledge of key business areas like accounting, marketing, analytics, and finance. At the Clark University School of Management (SOM), we designed our online Master of Business Administration to cover the breadth of skills that today’s business leaders need, with a focus on ethical business decision-making and leadership in a globally connected business world.

In this article, we’ll discuss the major benefits of an MBA and highlight some of the common career paths for graduates. We’ll also highlight some examples of ways that business leaders can help to transform their organizations to operate more ethically and sustainably.

If you have questions about the Clark University Online MBA program specifically, please contact one of our enrollment advisers by filling out our form or using our chat feature.

Why an Online MBA

There are many positive online MBA outcomes and career benefits to earning the degree, and, with demand for online education continuing to grow, universities have found ways to incorporate more multimedia and practical exercises throughout virtual coursework.

In the Clark University Online MBA, you’ll have the opportunity to work with real clients. Our Sustainability Marketing course is one of few offered in the United States. Thomas Murphy, associate professor of practice who designed and teaches the course, has consulted with 40 companies and brought them in to work with students. In a recent year, students completed a study for Nestle to help them determine whether they should put Gerber baby foods in more sustainable packaging. Another recent project involved assisting IKEA in deciding how to upgrade their cafeterias based on sustainability best practices in quick service restaurants.

You’ll have the opportunity to build your network by connecting with other leaders across different industries in an online MBA program. Throughout the online MBA at Clark University, you’ll also be challenged to think about a broad range of business functions, as well as how they interconnect with each other. As you expand your skill set alongside other professionals, our courses give you numerous opportunities to practice and hone those skills with your peers. Below, we’ve provided additional details on each of these aspects.

Build Your Network

In an online MBA program, you can expand your connections with peers and faculty. Whether you’re currently in the market for a new job, or when the time comes to go a new direction down the line, having an alumni network can be invaluable for your post online MBA career path.

It’s important to select a program where the people you collaborate with share your values and understand your career aspirations after earning the degree. We’ve designed our online MBA with a focus on ethical and sustainable business woven into every course. Our program is well-suited for business leaders who are interested in enacting real change in their organizations, and who are passionate about improving the way we operate modern businesses.

Complete Your Degree While Working”

An online MBA offers the flexibility of completing coursework whenever you have the time, wherever you are, as long as you meet deadlines. Many programs are taught in an asynchronous format, with options to meet synchronously with faculty and peers during office hours.

Expand Your Degree While Working

Develop your business acumen while working with other professionals on real-world projects. You’ll gain advanced knowledge that you can immediately apply to your organization.

The Clark University Online MBA teaches students business fundamentals while stressing the importance of positively contributing to society and addressing ethical concerns when doing business. One of our core courses, Responsible Management in a Global Economy, prepares students for management decision-making in today’s global business environment, underscoring the significance of ethics, social responsibility, and sustainability. Each semester, the course focuses on a global issue identified by the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Students learn through simulations, scenarios, case studies, writing assignments, and readings.

In our Corporate Social Responsibility course, students gain a deeper understanding of CSR. They then apply their knowledge by working in teams to develop a CSR plan for a business, non-profit, or governmental agency.

Higher Earning Potential

Pursuing an MBA is a financial investment, but it pays off. According to results from the Graduate Management Admission Council™ (GMAC™) 2021 Corporate Recruiters Survey, Master of Business Administration graduates are poised to earn $3 million more over the course of their careers than those with only a bachelor’s.

Although we’ve already covered it, the benefit of professional networking is worth mentioning again, as it offers opportunities beyond getting a raise and promotion. As you connect with fellow business leaders, you’ll hear about the work they do and about interesting opportunities, which can help you evolve your own leadership style and can influence your career path.

Increased Demand

The GMAC™ survey also found that:

  • 91 percent of corporate recruiters plan to hire MBA graduates in 2021, and
  • Nine out of 10 recruiters expect demand for business school graduates to increase or hold steady for the next five years.

Organizations need professionals equipped with the leadership skills necessary to evolve with the changing business environment.

Across industries, recruiters identify the top three in-demand skills for business school graduates as interpersonal skills; learning, motivation, and leadership; and managing decision making processes. The Clark University Online MBA features collaboration with a diverse group of fellow students and professors, giving you practical experience you can apply to your professional interactions and communications.

Online MBA Career Paths

One reason professionals complete a Master of Business Administration program is to increase their job prospects: There is an incredible range of potential career paths for online MBA graduates. Given the breadth of information learned, MBA programs prepare students for leadership across different areas of business, including finance, health, marketing, research, and many more.

The average annual base salary for MBA graduates is $91,000, according to PayScale. And the job outlook is positive, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting an expected 8 percent increase in employment for business and financial jobs and 9 percent growth for management occupations from 2020 to 2030. In particular, employment of marketing managers and similar positions will climb 10 percent over the same time period, with over 31,000 new jobs each year. These professions are increasing at about the same rate as the national average.

There are many opportunities to make a difference in the business world, whether working in a corporate social responsibility (CSR) role or for a non-profit or mission-focused organization. Below are common online MBA career outcomes, including job titles, median salaries,* and a brief description of each position.

Job Title Popular Skills
Account Manager
  • Account management
  • Project management
Business Development Director
  • Contract negotiation
  • Strategic planning
  • Strategic sales
Chief Operating Officer
  • Leadership
  • Strategic planning
Consultant
  • Business strategy
  • Consulting management
  • Process improvement
  • Project management
Content Marketing Manager
  • Content management
  • Marketing communications
  • Strategic marketing
Corporate Social Responsibility Manager
  • Communication
  • Innovation
  • Value-think
Founder/Entrepreneur
  • Communication and sales
  • Focus
  • Openness
  • Perseverance
  • Risk taking
Vice President of Marketing
  • Digital marketing
  • Strategic marketing

Popular skills are pulled from Payscale, with the exception of Corporate Social Responsibility Manager and Founder/Entrepreneur.

Account Manager

Median salary: $55,893

Account managers maintain client accounts for their organization. They work in many different settings, including for tech companies and advertising agencies. For instance, they may choose to work for a cause marketing agency that represents purpose-driven clients. One such organization is The Cause Agency in Fort Worth, Texas, founded by the owner of another successful local agency working with for-profits. She saw that nonprofit organizations in her area were in need of marketing and PR assistance, and wanted to share her expertise with these clients by helping them promote their causes at a reduced cost.

It’s important that account managers have creativity, communication, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills, since a large part of the job requirement is to build relationships with and nurture existing customers. The role also involves upselling and cross-selling new products to continue to grow client accounts.

With experience and proven success, account managers can move to senior account management, where they’ll be entrusted with high-profile accounts and may mentor junior employees.

Business Development Director

Median salary: $105,917

Business development directors grow the business by forming relationships with new partners, as well as maintain relationships and expand opportunities with existing partners. Once they identify prospects, business development directors work with their team to develop presentations and proposals. This role can involve extensive travel as meetings are set. It’s a great position for people who have extensive professional networks, and who love the idea of forging unique business partnerships.

Professionals in this position typically report to the vice president of sales, and are held accountable for sharing their performance and how they are trending toward meeting sales goals. They are expected to have previous sales experience, and having a graduate degree in business can help applicants land the job. According to Salary.com, 47 percent of business development directors hold a master’s degree.

If you want to work as a business development director while making a positive impact, you can seek a position like the “compassionate business development director” role offered at Brave Road Entertainment. Based in Beverly Hills, California, the public-benefit corporation was founded by a seasoned executive in the entertainment industry who was inspired to make a shift in his career to create “content for good.”

Chief Operating Officer

Median salary: $145,131

The chief operating officer is responsible for leading operations for the entire organization and improving efficiency. Professionals in this position are known as the second in command at a company and report directly to the CEO. They are seen as the complement to the CEO, and since every CEO is different, there isn’t one specific set of responsibilities for COOs. In general, COOs assist in guiding the company toward its strategic vision. This includes managing department heads, improving systems and processes, and growing the business.

Maintaining an ethical corporate culture is not only good for employee retention, but also for business. According to Ethisphere, the company that annually releases the list of World’s Most Ethical CompaniesⓇ, the 2021 featured companies “outperformed a comparable index of large cap companies by 7.1 percentage points” over the past five years. COOs can look to these companies for inspiration on changes to make at their own organizations.

Consultant

Median salary: $88,628

Consultants share their expertise to help companies improve their processes and productivity. This role includes research, data analysis, and reporting to pinpoint issues and provide solutions. Travel may also be a requirement.

Consultants can work in many areas, including:

  • Strategy — Guiding the overall direction and business decisions of a company. Strategy consultants often specialize in a particular industry.
  • Marketing — Developing and executing marketing campaigns.
  • Human resources — Analyzing and developing HR policies and procedures. HR consultants may suggest socially responsible policies like increasing the amount of time given for paid parental leave. Not only was Spotify’s decision to offer six months of parental leave a positive benefit for current employees, it also resulted in a sharp increase in applications.

Other important skills for consultants include project management and communication. They may specialize in a particular sector, like energy or technology. An MBA is typically required or preferred.

Content Marketing Manager

Median salary: $68,989

Content marketing managers are in charge of developing content strategy for their organization. Individuals in this role not only produce short- and long-form content themselves, including ads, articles, and social media posts, but are also responsible for managing the team of content writers, assisting with projects, providing direction, and editing copy. They collaborate with other marketing team members to review performance of channels and specific campaigns and plan future initiatives to meet business objectives.

As companies’ contributions to society become increasingly important to consumers, with 77 percent noting that they are inspired to buy from organizations that are doing their part to make a difference, including CSR in your organization’s content marketing strategy is also becoming more and more essential. Writing about a company’s charitable activities is a likely aspect of the job for many professionals in this position.

After gaining experience in this role, content marketing managers can continue on their career path to become content marketing directors, and those who want to branch out into broader responsibilities can also consider pursuing VP-level marketing communications roles.

Corporate Social Responsibility Manager

Median salary: $81,284

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) jobs are on the rise as consumers demand greater transparency from companies. In 2020, 90 percent of S&P 500 companies published a CSR report, compared to only 20 percent in 2011, signifying the increasing importance of corporate beneficence.

Working as a corporate social responsibility manager is a great way to make a difference at an organization. While this is still a growing role, companies like Addleshaw Goddard understand its value and have built out teams of CSR professionals. And more companies are continuing to take notice and make changes. In 2019, Business Roundtable, an association of 181 CEOs from some of the biggest companies in the United States, released a new Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation, which says, in part, “Each of our stakeholders is essential. We commit to deliver value to all of them, for the future success of our companies, our communities and our country.”

Corporate social responsibility managers typically have a wide range of duties, including overseeing and implementing strategic CSR plans, coordinating cause marketing efforts, and assisting with communications and public relations tactics and content creation. They have the opportunity to work across departments and gain a variety of experience. Due to the changing nature of the CSR field, these individuals must also stay up-to-date on best practices.

Founder/Entrepreneur

Median salary: Varies

At almost 4.5 million, the number of new business applications submitted by the end of 2020 was the highest ever — over 24 percent higher than 2019 and more than 50 percent higher than the mean for 2010-19. While COVID-19 played a part in this rise in applications, there were other factors at play.

Among the reasons entrepreneurs may decide to start their own business is the desire to offer sustainable goods, as was the case with the founders of Beesential. The company specializes in natural hair, lip, and body products made from honey and beeswax. After getting a hive on their farm, the company’s founders discovered a passion for beekeeping, and wanted to do more. They chose to develop products made from ingredients that “are good for us and our world.”

Before starting your own company, you should have a solid business plan in place. From there, you have a springboard to build an ethical, socially-responsible start-up. A sustainable MBA can help prepare you to drive positive change in your business with courses like sustainability marketing.

Vice President of Marketing

Median salary: $149,849

The VP of marketing is responsible for overseeing the entire marketing function of an organization. They lead teams of content writers, designers, digital marketers, SEO experts, and strategists, regularly meeting with team managers to track performance of campaigns and plan for future initiatives. Marketing VPs typically contribute to the development and allocation of the department’s budget. Depending on the company’s structure, they commonly report to the chief marketing or chief executive officer, and may also be required to provide metrics and updates to a board of directors.

An important aspect of this role is making hiring decisions. VPs of marketing approve new hire listings to grow the team, and sign off on candidates in the final interview round. It’s essential to build a diverse team and maintain inclusive hiring practices so your organization can benefit from professionals’ unique perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences. Along with this, a research study from Accenture found that organizations that follow best practices for recruiting and hiring people with disabilities reported 28 percent higher earnings over four years. This spurred many companies to make positive changes to their own hiring processes.

*Salary data collected from PayScale.

About the Online MBA at Clark University

The Clark University Online Master of Business Administration prepares professionals for successful business leadership using data, analytics, and advanced business insights in a 100 percent online, asynchronous program. It places an emphasis on ethics, corporate responsibility, and sustainability — all crucial areas of knowledge for today’s business leaders. Students learn and collaborate with faculty and peers in small classes and a close-knit community. They also have the opportunity to tailor their degree with a management or marketing concentration. The Clark University School of Management is among the elite 5 percent of business schools with AACSB accreditation.

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