non-traditional-business-degree-careersThere’s an untrue stigma about those who have earned their MBA: that they’re destined for a stereotypical life on Wall Street or at an accounting firm. Yes, that happens to many who have their MBA, and given the money, those sorts of jobs are nothing to laugh at. But perhaps you are searching something that offers a little bit more. Maybe you got your MBA because you want to apply smart and strategic business principles into other areas of the working world. Maybe you got your MBA so you would have an easier time finding employment, but are hoping to not get stuck in the rat race.

If this is the case, you’re in luck. Contrary to popular belief, an MBA has morphed into a very diverse master’s degree. Equipped with an MBA—and all the knowledge you learned in your program, be it an online institution or a traditional college setting—you have a virtually limitless range of careers to choose from. Here are five of the less traditional career paths for those who have graduated with a degree in Business Administration:


On the surface, a non-profit seems to be the antithesis of a big business. Really, they operate with many of the same principles, and thus require many of the same skills. Because a non-profit is, well, a non-profit, you aren’t likely to make as much taking your MBA to one as you will to Wall Street. However, the reward of working for a truly great and helpful cause that you are passionate about more than makes up for the pay (which is usually still good). The median salary for an executive director of a medium or large small profit is currently around $147,273.

The majority of the successful non-profits in the world have founders or directors with strong strong backgrounds in the business world, be it as CEO’s, or simply as fellow MBA graduates. There’s simply no denying that the skills you learn in a business program are essential to the success of a non-profit.

Even further, most MBA programs offer courses that are very applicable to non-profits, such as ethics, philanthropy, and board governance. If what you wish to do with your MBA is help the world, a non-profit is the perfect career path for you.

United States Government

If you want to put your MBA to a good cause, but a non-profit is not for you, you can consider working for the US government. The government is always on the search of great business workers at the federal level, such as for the Treasury Department, Commerce Department, Labor Department, and IRS. The CIA also seeks financial analysts to help with their work.

The government is a good way to escape the monotony of Wall Street, and also make an impact by helping your country.

Public Service (Healthcare and Education)

Just like working for the government, a career in public service offers an MBA graduate the rewards of helping others, while also allowing them to truly work in the business world. Hospitals, pharmacies, universities, and educational companies are just like any other business at their core. Many people find a rewarding career in these fields, because they are interested in the subject, but better suited on the business side of things.

For instance, you may have wanted to be a doctor growing up, only to realize you get queasy around blood; working as, say, a hospital executive, allows you the best of both worlds: you have the impact in the field you are passionate about, while flexing your personal strengths and comforts. MBAs still have to take a slight pay cut when working in public service, but the pay is still very good. As this becomes a more trendy option, MBA programs have shifted their curricula to even better prepare their graduates, and jobs have become even more available.


If you have a passion outside of business, an MBA can help you find a career in it. Whether you’re infatuated with children’s toys or organic sodas, you can join—or form—a start-up that is directly in line with your interests.

This can be the most exciting thing to do with your MBA, because it essentially allows you to do what you love, while getting paid well, and putting your education to work. Remember: all businesses need business people, so don’t let yourself be confined to traditional MBA jobs on Wall Street, when there are fascinating companies popping up everywhere in need of people like you, who have innovative, exciting, and transcendent ideas. The myth that MBA graduates must have “boring” jobs is simply not true anymore. These days, your MBA can find you work for a number of fun, unique, and innovative businesses that are just getting started.


We don’t mean travel as in using your MBA in the travel industry—we mean utilize how diverse your degree is, and travel! Companies all across the world (especially in big cities like Berlin and Tokyo) are in constant need of smart business minds like your own. If you need a change of pace, or are having a difficult time finding a job stateside, your MBA can surely get you an opportunity overseas, where you’ll get to meet new people, experience new cultures, and see new places, all while doing your job, and getting paid well. What’s not to like about that?

The important thing to remember, is that in this day and age you don’t need to take a “traditional” job with your MBA. Instead of simply taking a job in business, you can pair your knowledge of business with your other interests, hobbies, or passions, and find the job that’s right for you.