An MBA with a concentration in strategy and leadership prepares you for senior management and top executive positions that require strategic, data-driven decision-making. With this advanced degree, you may be qualified to hold such positions as:
- Executive-level managers including chief executive officer (CEO), chief financial officer (CFO), chief operating officer (COO), and chief information officer (CIO)
- Director of operations
- Management positions across a variety of organizations and industries
Why is it important for businesspeople to develop leadership and strategy skills? The rapid pace of business today often traps leaders into making tactical decisions, rather than stepping back to develop a strategic view of the situation. Developing strategy skills allows for a more purposeful approach, enabling leaders to better understand the holistic view and devise ways to capitalize on trends. This article examines career growth in management and business occupations and what you can do with an MBA in Strategy and Leadership.
Career Outlook for Management and Business Occupations
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects solid job growth in both management and business occupations:
- Employment in management occupations is expected to increase 5% from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average across all occupations (BLS).
- Employment in business and financial occupations is also expected to grow 5% in the same time period (BLS).
What’s driving this growth?
“The primary reason is fairly simple,” says Patrick J. Sweeney, PhD, Executive Director, Allegacy Center for Leadership and Character at Wake Forest University. “The rapidly changing global market demands leaders who can anticipate potential future changes, create a path for their organizations to exploit opportunities, and motivate their people to continuously learn and adapt. Leaders who understand strategy, how to lead change, and how to shape an adaptive organization gain a competitive advantage. The concentration in Strategy and Leadership equips leaders with the essential mindset and skills to thrive in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world.”
What are some sample job titles for those who earn an MBA in Strategy and Leadership? We outline five of them below.
5 Careers to Pursue with an MBA in Strategy and Leadership
Your career path depends on your unique goals and interests. An MBA with a concentration in strategy and leadership is a versatile degree that you can use to pursue management roles across all types of companies and industries.
Below are five careers that a student earning an MBA with a concentration in Strategy and Leadership may wish to pursue:
1. Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers
The BLS projects that employment of advertising, promotions, and marketing managers will grow 6% through most of this decade, faster than the average for all occupations.
What does an advertising, promotions, or marketing manager do? Typically, these types of managers:
- Work with colleagues to set budgets, negotiate contracts, and build marketing plans
- Plan advertising and promotional campaigns
- Determine which media (online, radio, television, print, and billboards) is best to use to meet your goals
- Meet with clients to provide marketing or related advice
- Hire and manage support staff and oversee their daily activities
2. Market Research Analyst
The BLS projects employment of market research analysts will grow 18% through most of this decade, much faster than the average for all occupations.
What does a market research analyst do? Typically, a market research analyst:
- Gathers data on customers, competitors, and sales trends
- Analyzes data using statistical software
- Makes marketing and sales forecasts based on their research
- Prepares reports and presents results to clients and management
- Measures the effectiveness of their programs and strategies
3. Management Analyst
The BLS projects employment of management analysts will grow 11% through most of this decade, much faster than the average for all occupations.
What does a management analyst do? Typically, a management analyst recommends ways that a company can improve efficiency. In pursuit of this, they:
- Research the organization’s problems and procedures
- Analyze revenue and expenditures data
- Devise new systems, procedures, or organizational changes that will improve efficiency
- Make their recommendations to management through presentations or written reports
4. Sales Manager
The BLS projects employment of sales managers will grow 4% through most of this decade, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
What does a sales manager do? Typically, a sales manager oversees a company’s sales department. This includes:
- Developing plans to earn new customers/clients
- Assigning sales territories and setting sales quotas
- Coordinating training programs for sales staff
- Preparing budgets
- Analyzing sales statistics
5. Top Executive
The BLS projects employment of top executives will grow 4% through most of this decade, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
What does a top executive do? Top executives develop the plans and strategies that help a business reach its goals. Their job functions include:
- Directing the company’s financial and budgetary activities
- Consulting with other executives, staff, and board members about operations
- Negotiating contracts
- Appointing department heads and managers
- Identifying ways to cut costs and improve performance
The Value of an MBA in Strategy and Leadership
One of the main benefits of earning this degree is skills development. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, the business skills most needed in a post-COVID-19 world are:
- Managing strategy and innovation
- Managing tools and technology
- Interpersonal skills
- Learning/motivation/leadership skills
“Strategic thinking, the ability to adapt and innovate, and leadership are three key skills you’ll learn in the Wake Forest online MBA program,” says Sweeney. “You’ll understand that the external environment is always evolving, and you’ll learn how to anticipate changes and start making adjustments ahead of those changes.
“Companies are looking for people to diagnose a need, bring it to the senior leadership's attention, and, most importantly, start taking action to align people on the new objectives and lead them through the change in a positive manner.”
Earn an Online MBA in Strategy and Leadership with Wake Forest
Virtually every MBA program in the nation teaches a mix of traditional graduate business courses along with leadership training, but a concentration in strategy and leadership means you’ll receive further specialization beyond what traditional MBA students receive.
Wake Forest offers an online MBA with a concentration in Strategy and Leadership. In this program, you’ll build the management, strategic decision-making, negotiation, and change management skills needed to hold top leadership roles. The program is completely online, which means you’ll earn your MBA on your schedule, from virtually anywhere there’s an internet connection.
“The mission of the Wake Forest School of Business is to produce business leaders who get results with integrity,” Sweeney says. “We are focused on helping students develop as leaders of character who can transform organizations.”