The modern economy coupled with the demands of the modern workplace has made work-life balance seem more elusive than ever before — especially if you need a competitive salary. But with an MBA, it’s possible to have a great career offering both a great salary and a flexible schedule.
Traditionally, MBA grads have achieved flexible work hours and a high salary by becoming entrepreneurs, but these days, that’s far from the only option. Thanks to our increased connectivity, MBA grads can now turn to an ever-larger number of industries for flexible and telecommuting positions that offer a high salary without long,demanding hours. An MBA can open the door to many flexible career options in consulting, marketing, sales, business analysis, project management and beyond.
An MBA is the perfect preparation for a lucrative career in sales — in fact, this is one of the first recommendations career consultants make for young college grads looking for reasonable hours and competitive pay. Choose a sales job that offers a base pay plus commission — though your base pay might be less than $50,000, the possibility of bringing home commissions on sales will give you the opportunity to earn much more while maintaining control over your own hours.
You’ll be responsible for keeping your sales figures steady and your commissions high enough to add up to the income you want. If you’re comfortable with a little financial uncertainty but don’t desire entrepreneurship, a career in sales could be perfect for you.
If you want that guaranteed paycheck, consider a career in marketing instead. A typical work week in marketing is 40 to 50 hours long, leaving you plenty of time to spend with your family or pursue your own interests — and you’ll still bring home a hefty salary of $80,000 to $90,000 depending on your experience. You can prepare for a career in marketing by adding some marketing strategy classes or market research courses to your course load while studying for your MBA.
If you think a career in marketing is for you, but work-life balance is a concern, research the company before you agree to take a position. Global companies may not require long hours, but they may require you to make business calls to clients across the globe at four in the morning, for example.
More and more companies are becoming aware of the benefits of allowing workers to telecommute from home or work part-time. After all, a fully engaged, happy employee working part-time or from home is more productive than a distracted, dissatisfied full-time on-site employee.
Some positions that are becoming more home-based and flexible include project manager positions, which earn around $85,000 a year on average. As a project manager, you’ll plan, organize and supervise projects, and evaluate each project’s overall success.
As a business analyst, you could score a flexible schedule or work-from-home position earning $74,500 a year or about $36 an hour if you choose to go freelance. This is a great option if you have experience in finance but want to get away from the pressure and long hours of traditional finance jobs. As a business analyst, you’ll gather data about and find solutions to your client’s or company’s business problems.
Many companies now give account managers the option to work from home. As an account manager you could earn $98,500 a year in a full-time position or $47 an hour as a freelancer. You’ll work with clients to help them maintain their accounts. You’ll offer new options when available and help clients with account upgrades. Even if you don’t score a work-from-home position, you’ll have much more scheduling flexibility than you would in other finance roles.
If you’d like an executive-level career but aren’t sure you can manage the time commitment, never fear — there’s a flexible option for that, too. Many companies are now hiring part-time executives for roles like operations director, regional vice president, executive director and communications director. You can earn $40 to $42 an hour on a part-time or flexible schedule. Nonprofits in particular are known for hiring executives on a part-time, hourly basis; it allows them to get the administrative help they need without blowing the budget.
If you thought work-life balance was incompatible with a high salary, think again. With an MBA, you’ll have access to a range of well-paid positions in fields like sales, marketing, finance or administration that offer both a fat paycheck and reasonable work hours.
Contributing blogger Natalie Manack holds an MBA. She has more than 15 years of experience in finance and now works from home as an account manager.