Career Opportunities Soar for African-American MBA Graduates

By Johnson, Brent E. | Diversity Employers, October 1998 | Go to article overview
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Career Opportunities Soar for African-American MBA Graduates


Johnson, Brent E., Diversity Employers


How many times have you returned to thank someone who has given you some good advice?

Well, if your parents or any one else is advising you to consider pursuing an MBA degree; follow their advice and for years you'll be thanking them through your smiles. Career opportunities abound for MBAs right now, and for the foreseeable future.

The Master of Business Administration degree has become the degree of choice for a whole generation of young people worldwide. In the last twenty years, the number of schools offering the degree has increased 300 percent. Each year enrollment in MBA programs swells to new heights, and the number of degrees awarded each year exceeds 70,000. These numbers have been achieved even in the face of a shrinking college-age population. You get the point. The MBA is a popular and valuable degree. However, the number of African American MBAs is still relatively small. With the opportunities for MBAs continuing to grow, you can see that an ethnic minority with such a degree will be highly sought after in today's job market.

The private sector of our economy (sometimes referred to as Corporate America) is where the lion's share of the new job opportunities can he found. As our nation has experienced phenomenal stability and growth over the past several years (witness the stock market), our economy has responded with additional employment opportunities. The national unemployment rate has never been as consistently low as it has over the past five years. Yes, you could say we're on a roll!

For the new MBA, there are some "hot" areas of opportunity, careers where the opportunity for initial employment and growth within the field are readily available. Marketing has historically been a popular concentration for MBA students, and the field offers a number of diverse career options. The process of getting a company's product from manufacturing to the ultimate consumer is an increasingly popular area of employment. Managing the process is called channel management, and because very few companies market directly to their ultimate consumer, the links along the channel can pose some uniquely interesting situations. As the distribution outlets get larger (Wal-Mart and Sam's Club for example) they become more important to manufacturers and can dictate terms and conditions. Managing this process has become an area of specialization in which the demand is high and will continue to grow.

The private sector of our economy (sometimes referred to as Corporate America) is where the lion's share of the new job opportunities can be found.

Along with our revolution in technology, we have moved from a manufacturing economy to a service economy (You are more likely to encounter some sort of customer service representative than you are a blue-collar employee). This change in our basic economy has created an increase in the number of people needed for service marketing. What do we mean by service marketing? Selling access to the Internet, express delivery service, telecommunication services, banking, investing and other financial services are all examples of service marketing. In other words, you are marketing an intangible service versus a tangible product. The skills required to succeed in this career field are very specialized within the marketing discipline, but opportunities are plentiful.

Have you heard the expression, "the graying of America"? This is a reference to the average age of the baby boomers (that large group of babies born in the late 40s after the end of World War II).

The concern over this significant faction of our population has created an entire career field. The technological advances in the development of new drugs, and the medical advances in treatment interventions for various diseases have made pharmaceutical marketing and sales an area of tremendous growth.

Consider how many new people Pfizer will need to hire just to get its new product, Viagra, to its clamoring customers.

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