5 Career Options for Strategic Sales MBA Graduates

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Strategic sales is a versatile specialization for an MBA student.

Today’s up-and-coming business managers find a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree essential for career advancement.

MBAs are not one-size-fits-all programs for graduate students, however. Each person can choose a concentration, such as finance or marketing, in addition to the core business classes. Although not as well known, strategic sales is one of the most versatile specializations for an MBA student.

Graduates with the skills gained from studying strategic sales, also known as sales leadership, can position themselves to work in a range of career fields from sales to public relations. Being able to execute strategies for sales and manage other sales-focused employees is at the heart of most businesses. After all, a company has to sell its product to consumers to make a profit.

Ohio University provides a clear path to a career in strategic sales through its online MBA program. This top-ranked business school offers a flexible schedule for people who work full-time and would like to earn their MBAs simultaneously. The program can be completed in less than two years.

“We know that over half of undergraduates will end up in a sales job, and those numbers are the same for graduate students,” said Dr. Adam Rapp, executive director of sales of the Ralph and Luci Schey Sales Centre at Ohio University.

Career Choices

Professionals with an MBA with a concentration in strategic sales have many options for careers in management. Among those choices are:

Marketing Professional: Marketing is a popular career choice for job-seekers with MBAs. A marketing manager plans and executes the strategy for promoting a company’s products or brands to help the company expand. Managers direct their teams to create campaigns and measure their effectiveness by analyzing data. They typically are responsible for creating and adhering to budgets as well as conducting market research.

Management Consultant: A management consultant identifies problems within a business that interfere with the company’s goals and proposes solutions. In other words, management consultants offer new ways of doing things to streamline a company’s systems and processes. Many management consultants are self-employed, but they also can work for large organizations in need of improvement. A management consultant must be adept at interpersonal skills such as team-building, as well as strategic planning.

Sales Manager: Sales managers direct and motivate teams of salespeople to maximize sales for an organization. To do so, they create sales strategies and meet sales targets for the company’s products. Necessary skills include analyzing sales data to determine what is not working and make corrections to the strategy. Sales managers also must maintain and improve relationships with the company’s clients.

Market Researcher: Market researchers analyze numerical data and research on consumer behaviors, opinions, and likes and dislikes to help a company make decisions about its products and services. These professionals create a plan for gathering the data or research and manage the necessary actors, tools, and methods to ensure its accuracy. They also evaluate the company’s past performance to predict future trends.

Public Relations Specialist: Public relations specialists create and maintain a positive public image for the company. The primary qualifications are a keen understanding of the press and the ability to communicate effectively. Job duties include drafting press releases, interacting with the media, and managing the company’s presence on social media.

Other Career Paths

MBA graduates with a concentration in strategic sales also could choose to strike out on their own and either start or purchase a business rather than work for an established company.

A franchise can be an option for newly minted MBAs who don’t want to start from scratch. In addition to working with a product that is already known in the marketplace, the new owner would have a proven business model to use. Another option for MBAs is creating a distribution company to sell another organization’s product through their own sales model.

Requirements for a Strategic Sales MBA Concentration

According to Rapp, MBA students do not need a strong background in sales to pursue a strategic sales MBA concentration.

“What a lot of people don’t realize is that as consumers we already have some of the fundamental skills that are required to build on this concentration,” he said about the Ohio University online MBA program. “For example, as consumers, we already understand how to communicate and how to negotiate, the importance of questioning and also the importance of value. So what this concentration is going to do is leverage those skills and knowledge base to put people at a more competitive advantage when they move into the marketplace.”

Ohio University’s Master of Business Administration Degree

Ohio University is among only 5 percent of universities accredited by the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The online Master of Business Administration degree program offers rigorous academic courses with seven business concentrations in an online environment that complements the busy schedules of working professionals. Ohio University MBA graduates are well prepared to advance to leadership positions in their careers, and they take with them the network of faculty and business leaders they gained during their studies.


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Should MBAs Become Sales Managers? – Metro MBA

Hot Jobs for MBA Grads – U.S. News & World Report

Five Career Paths and Job Opportunities for MBA Graduates – American Marketing Association

Roles and Responsibilities of a Sales Manager – Management Study Guide

7 Tips for MBAs Entering Sales Management Careers — TopMBA

Which Sales Career Path is Right for You? — Tenfold

Sales and Marketing Careers — The Balance Careers

5 Marketing Careers You Should Explore – The Balance Small Business