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5 Non-traditional MBA Roles, and Why You Should Consider Them

At the start of business school, consulting attracts the highest interest from MBAs – some report this number as high as 34%. The reality is though, consulting isn’t for everybody. Long hours and constant travel can be incredibly draining, not to mention the fast-paced work environment.


We explored 5 less-traditional MBA paths, for those that might want to do something besides working in consulting.


1.Analytics & Data Science

Note: FT Offer is full time offers, Int Offer is internship offers

Median Comp: $114,500

Average Hours: 43.2

Average Satisfaction: 6.9

You know here at TransparentCareer, we’re all about data.The field is growing rapidly, and some even consider it the sexiest job of the 21st century. Analytics and Data Science also reports the lowest average work hours/week on this list.


Companies of all sorts are hiring data scientists or analytically-minded MBAs under the category “business intelligence” to dive deep into data for both creative problem solving and new innovations. Data isn’t just limited to tech anymore – everyone is hiring for analytics, from Capital One to Wal-Mart.


2.Venture Capital

Median Comp: $131,650

Average Hours: 46.4

Average Satisfaction: 7.1


Venture capital – a perfect way to satisfy your love for both finance and a love of startups. The job of a VC firm is to identify companies with high growth, or high growth potential, and invest in these companies in exchange for equity. Think private equity, but for startups.


Recruiting for VC is notoriously difficult though, and to get onto any sort of advancement track, some firms expect experience working at an investment bank or startup prior to your start. One reader on Quora went so far as to say you need to work at a consulting firm or attend Stanford to break into VC, though that isn’t the experience of everybody. As with most niche recruiting, though, it’s more about who you know, so MBAs need to network heavily during school.


3.Human Resources

Median Comp: $123,250

Average Hours: 53

Average Satisfaction: 7.4


Don’t let Michael Scott fool you, people in HR aren’t actually the worst. Human Resources is seeing a recent boost in interest, as companies are increasingly looking to attract and retain top talent as a major strategic differentiator.


It has been questioned before whether an MBA is even necessary for a position in HR, but some argue that with the increasing difficulty top companies experience in retaining talent, an MBA for HR professionals is more valuable now than ever before. By getting an MBA, an HR professional is exposed to many different fields, making them better at providing services for  employees across many disciplines.



Median Comp: $166,000

Average Hours: 50

Average Satisfaction: 6.4


There’s actually quite a bit of stigma around MBAs pursuing careers in sales. The typical argument revolves around sales not being strategic, being somewhat of a lower-level position within the company, and not a department with much room for advancement.


Will Price, GP of Next Frontier Capital, argues that sales experience is incredibly important for  leadership positions – since as a CEO, he’s selling all day. He sells his company to employees, he sells his product to customers, and sell his vision to other leaders on his team. Several top companies hire MBAs in sales, like Microsoft and Google. Sales might be right up your alley, particularly if you plan on starting a company one day –  there’s nothing more important to a startup than selling your product (as we can attest to here at TransparentCareer).


5.General Management

Median Comp: $162,000

Average Hours: 51.8

Average Satisfaction: 7.1


General management, in broad strokes, provides you with the education to be a manager at a company (was the name “general management” not a dead giveaway?) Managers excel at supervising a team, and may lead a department or group to make sure everything’s running smoothly.


A popular development at top companies involves recruiting top talent and putting them through some sort of  rotational program. Rotational programs give people a chance to try a bunch of different functions across a fixed time period, both to see what they like, as well as to provide employees with a broad understanding of all of the moving parts of the company.


Rotational programs are available for both internships as well as full-time positions post graduation, where often companies will whisk away talent and put them into leadership programs to groom them into leadership positions within the company. You can read more about some of the most popular rotational programs here.


Looking for info on more traditional roles? Read about the top industries and their recruiting timelines here.


Questions? Comments? Reach out.


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