Whether it’s a promotion, a position with more responsibility or a whole new career you are looking to embark on, sharpening the breadth and depth of your professional skills will play an important role in your success.
Recent research emphasises the importance of complimenting vocational strengths and knowledge with strategic business, finance, personnel and marketing skills. These ‘business administration’ capabilities form the basis of one of Australia’s most respected and sought after postgraduate degrees – the Master of Business Administration (MBA).
Now, more than ever, an MBA qualification is in high demand and provides the framework to achieve your career goals.
You’re not alone if you’re looking to change roles – according to the Australian Government more than one million Australians change jobs every year and more than half move to a different industry or career. Looking ahead, the results of the ABS’s Labour Force Survey found that there will be continued demand for higher skilled jobs across these four industries, which are predicted to boom over the next five years:
- Health care and social assistance
- Education and training
- Professional scientific and technical services
As these industries continue to grow, demand for the strategic administrative roles required to manage and oversee the sectors will grow with them. If you’re thinking about an MBA and where it might take you, consider one of these popular career paths:
1. ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE
An account executive manages and nurtures client relationships and acts as an important conduit of information between the company and its clients. A good account executive will come to truly understand his or her clients’ business goals, challenges and opportunities and use this knowledge to help support their growth, as well as feed information to the sales team to help them expand/extend the clients' spend with the company.
Is this role right for you? If you are a skilled communicator and have well-developed interpersonal skills, then this role is a good fit. An MBA can strengthen your communication skills and extend your knowledge of business growth and strategy, ensuring you are ready to hit the ground running as an account executive.
2. PROGRAM MANAGER
A program manager is responsible for a discrete program of work outside an organisation’s ‘business as usual’ remit. It has a defined set of objectives, milestones and a budget. Leading a program of work draws on strong leadership skills, knowledge of resourcing and general day-to-day management with a focus on delivering a set of measurable outcomes.
Is this role right for you? MBA graduates who are driven to lead outcome-driven projects will be drawn to program management roles. You should also relish the opportunity to resource and manage teams and motivate others while leveraging strong financial management skills. It’s all about communicating the vision, inspiring your team to perform at their best and maintaining focus on goals and deliverables. Think technology programs, organisational change programs and programs that help companies/teams meet regulatory or compliance goals.
3. SYSTEMS MANAGER
This strong leadership role often serves as the ‘beating heart’ of an organisation as companies rely more and more on IT business systems to deliver products and services to their internal and external stakeholders. Systems managers provide strategic leadership including planning, coordinating, directing and designing the IT-related activities of an organisation. Equally, if not more, important than this manager’s technical knowledge is their administrative and business acumen - providing administrative direction and support for daily operational activities of staff, and leading their work to identify and develop best practice and cost-effective technology solutions and services.
Is this role right for you? Systems managers, also referred to as business systems manager or IT systems manager (with some variance in each roles, or employer’s, requirements) is the ideal role for an MBA graduate who has successfully complemented significant career experience in IT systems or computers with the discipline, leadership, communication and organisational skills learnt during an MBA qualification. You will no doubt be an analytical thinker and apply logical reasoning. But as with all ‘manager’ roles, the ability to recruit, train, mentor, evaluate and plan the systems team’s employees are just as crucial to success in this important and rewarding role. Systems managers, also referred to as business systems manager or IT systems manager (with some variance in each roles, or employer’s, requirements) is the ideal role for an MBA graduate who has successfully complemented significant career experience in IT systems or computers with the discipline, leadership, communication and organisational skills learnt during an MBA qualification. You will no doubt be an analytical thinker and apply logical reasoning. But as with all ‘manager’ roles, the ability to recruit, train, mentor, evaluate and plan the systems team’s employees are just as crucial to success in this important and rewarding role.
4. FINANCE MANAGER
A finance manager is responsible for running the finance function of a business or company. The size of the role and responsibility is relative to the size of the company. But the responsibilities typically remain the same and can include:
End-to-end financial control
- Lead and grow the finance function for a large firm
- Lead and develop a direct team
- Partner with the business to improve processes
- Monthly, quarterly and yearly finance tasks
- Statutory and regulatory reporting along with reconciliation
- Liaising with clients
- Partner with senior leadership on process improvement and system enhancement.
Is this role right for you? It goes without saying that most MBA graduates attracted to this type of role will have a background in finance, bookkeeping, accounting or have similar financial career experience. The finance industry is heavily regulated, requiring certain positions with related responsibilities to be performed or overseen by employees with the required finance or accounting qualifications. Successfully completing an MBA has helped thousands of graduates take their finance career to the next level, overlaying their vocational experience and qualifications with the strategic, planning and communication skills to manage the finance function end-to-end.
5. MARKETING MANAGER
Taking on a marketing management position can be the ultimate step in a rewarding marketing career. This leadership role requires taking a bold vision and combining it with the discipline of strategic thinking and strong budgeting skills. Central to the marketing manager’s role is the ability to inspire and lead others to greatness, overseeing the development of campaigns that support sales and business goals.
Is this role right for you? With a creative flair and a passion for connecting products with people and vice versa, the typical marketing manager knows what makes the buying public ‘tick’. But at this level, there is less ‘doing’ and more ‘leading’. MBA graduates are ideally suited to marketing management positions as marketing is a key component of any quality MBA program, together with the development of planning, budgeting and business leadership skills. Bringing marketing plans to life with inspirational campaigns across multiple user channels is a rewarding role for those graduates at the more creative end of the scale.
There are so many more roles that are open to the MBA graduate – a data analyst, general manager, business consultant, investment banker, operations manager and entrepreneur – to name but a few. Whether you’ve set your sights on Wall Street or a window seat, an MBA is a powerful qualification and the best investment you can make in yourself, and your career.
Learn more about Victoria University’s (VU) postgraduate courses. Get in touch with our Enrolment team on 1300 043 531.