5 MBA Career Options for Strategic Sales Graduates

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Close-up of a business team looking over statistics and paperwork at a conference table.

MBAs are not one-size-fits-all programs for graduate students. Individuals can choose a concentration, such as finance or marketing, in addition to the core business courses. Although not as well known, strategic sales is one of the most versatile specializations for an MBA student and may open up many MBA career options.

An Online Master of Business Administration (MBA) can help prepare graduates to pursue new opportunities in strategic sales. The degree program offers a flexible schedule for people who work full time and would like to earn an MBA simultaneously. Furthermore, students can typically complete it in less than two years.

Requirements for a Strategic Sales MBA Concentration

According to Dr. Adam Rapp, executive director of sales of the Ralph and Luci Schey Sales Centre at Ohio University, MBA students do not need a strong background in strategic sales to pursue it as a 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.”

Those considering the strategic sales concentration should be ready to learn many new skills and ways of thinking. Sales positions might require individuals to make quick decisions, study data, improve sales techniques based on observations and research, and always strive for improved sales efficiency. Students with the desire to improve and succeed can learn these skills.

Sales Management Careers

MBA graduates may go on to pursue a variety of sales management careers. Some may start their own distribution businesses or work independently. Alternatively, others may work for established companies or institutions. Some of the most common MBA career options in strategic sales management include:

Marketing Manager

Marketing is a popular career choice for jobseekers with MBAs. A marketing manager plans and executes the strategy for promoting a company’s products or brands to help it expand. They also 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.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that advertising, promotions, and marketing managers had a median annual salary of $141,490 as of 2020, with expected job growth of 10% between 2020 and 2030.

Management Consultant

A management consultant identifies problems in 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.

Management consultants, also known as management analysts, had a median annual salary of $87,660 as of 2020, according to the BLS. The projected job growth for the position is 11% between 2020 and 2030, which is faster than average.

Sales Manager

Sales managers direct and motivate teams of salespeople to maximize sales for an organization. To do so, they create strategic sales plans and meet sales targets for the company’s products. Necessary skills include analyzing sales data and making the appropriate corrections to sales strategies. Sales managers also must maintain and improve relationships with the company’s clients.

The BLS reports that sales managers had a median annual salary of $132,290 as of 2020. It also projects sales management positions to increase by 7% between 2020 and 2030.

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 plans for gathering the necessary data or research and manage the necessary actors, tools, and methods to ensure their accuracy. They also evaluate the company’s past performance to predict future trends.

Market researchers, also known as market research analysts, earned a median annual salary of $65,810 as of 2020, according to the BLS. The position has a projected job growth of 22% between 2020 and 2030, which is much faster than average.

Public Relations Specialist

Public relations specialists create and maintain a positive public image for the company. The primary skills for a public relations specialist 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.

According to the BLS, public relations specialists had a median annual salary of $62,810 as of 2020. The BLS projects the employment of these professionals to grow 11% between 2020 and 2030.

Pursue In Demand MBA Career Options

Studying strategic sales may lead to a wider variety of MBA career options, 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, so having sales management skills can provide more career opportunities for MBA graduates.

The Online Master of Business Administration program at Ohio University offers rigorous academic courses with nine concentrations, including Strategic Selling & Sales Leadership, in an online, flexible environment that complements the busy schedules of working professionals. This MBA program could be a productive step toward a career in sales management or a related field.

Explore Ohio University’s MBA curriculum and start down your career path today.

Recommended Readings

What Is Strategic Sales? Key Skills in Sales Leadership

Reasons to Get a Master of Business Administration

The Building Blocks of a Great Sales Leader


The Balance Careers, “Sales and Marketing Careers

Harvard Business Review, “4 Questions Sales Leaders Should Be Asking Right Now”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Management Analysts

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Market Research Analysts

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Public Relations Specialists

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Sales Managers