5 Best Paying MBA in Project Management Careers

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Not all MBA programs are created equal. While an MBA degree will generally add a lot of weight to a professional’s resume, most employers actually prefer individuals with project management skills. In fact, as early as 2009, the Economic Intelligence Unit report already showed that 90% of employers say that project management is either critical or somewhat important to the success and competitiveness of their business despite the economic recession.

For Ajay Malhan, an executive of Jones Lang LaSalle, “Good project management is about managing the schedule, budget, quality and safety on a project.” Each of these has its own process and has risks associated with it. The role of project management is to identify what those risks are so that the organization can address them in phases, thereby minimizing the possibility of surprises that could lead the project off course.

Despite its importance, ironically, only very few businesses have set up standardized project management tools. Over the years professionals holding MBA in Project Management degrees have discovered new industries that need their skills. Here are the top 5 best paying careers for professionals with MBA in project management degrees:
1. Architectural and Engineering Project Manager

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that architectural and engineering project managers earn even more than the top executives in many organizations. They are expected to design and implement detailed plans for the development of a new product, to initiate a research-based practice in order to discover the most effective processes and designs for new products, ensure accuracy and efficacy of their team’s work, ensure the soundness of processes used by the team, coordinate with key people in order to complete goals, and many others. BLS shows that architectural and engineering project managers earn a median salary of $124,870 per year or $60.03 per hour. Unfortunately, the job outlook for this profession is quite slow at 7% (from 2012 to 2022), but engineering services is estimated to grow by 21% which could lead to greater demand for architecture and engineering managers.
2. IT Project Manager

Since the early 2000s, information technology has been providing organizations with more possibilities in expanding their businesses, at lower costs. We have seen the increase in the demand for IT professionals, and with it, the increase in the number of project managers. IT project managers are expected to develop requirements, budgets and schedules for all IT projects. They are accountable for ensuring that the project is running smoothly – within the budget, and within the allocated time frame – as well as working with other professionals integral to the success of strategic plans. In an era of cybercrimes, IT project managers are also expected to keep the organization’s computer network updated and secure at all times. As more companies are taking their businesses online, the BLS projects that demand for IT project managers will increase by 15% from 2012 to 2022. Moreover, median salaries for IT project managers have been increasing over the years. In 2009, the annual salary of those involved in IT consulting averaged $74,694-$108,176 while those in financial services received an annual average salary of $73,915-$103,238. In 2012, the BLS estimated the entry level salary for IT project managers at $120,950 per year or roughly $58 per hour.
3. Advertising and Marketing Project Manager

As competition among various brands increase, the need to stand out has become even more important. Today, more than ever, businesses have to focus on brand awareness and loyalty if they ever hope to sustain their operations for a long time. Perhaps this is also the reason why more businesses are looking for advertising and marketing project managers. These managers are tasked to create and implement promotional campaigns. Additionally, they are required to discover the most effective channel (print, online, TV, radio, etc.) by which a business can communicate its brand. Often, marketing project managers have to negotiate advertising contracts with other institutions, as well as initiate researches meant at discovering the business’ target market and the usual customer profile. The advertising project manager also develops a pricing strategy that is targeted to its audience. BLS estimated that advertising and marketing project managers earn an average of $115,750 per year or $55.65 per hour and does not require many years of experience as the other two careers mentioned before it.
4. Natural Sciences Project Manager

As science and technology continue to improve, the natural sciences are requiring more scientists who have project management skills. Project managers in this industry are tasked at creating project proposals, as well as determining the number of staff, amount of money and time allotment to complete the project. The natural sciences project manager is also expected to keep the laboratory at optimum level, stocked with the adequate equipment and supplies. Often, they may also be required to mentor fellow scientists, assisting in analyzing the results of an experiment. The average annual salary of a natural sciences project manager is $115,730 per year or $55.64 per hour. Job outlook is pretty slow at 6% from 2012 to 2022 but there is greater opportunity as current natural science project managers are retiring or moving to new occupations.
5. Financial Project Manager

The increased need for financial project managers comes from the fact that financial services has become more flexible and responsive. Whereas in the past, a client had to go to the bank to make transactions, today, clients only need a computer and an internet connection to complete their financial transactions. This brought about new ways of earning income – from foreign exchange, stock brokering, mutual funds, treasury bonds. Even businesses have found new ways to invest and grow their income. Financial project managers are responsible for the overall health of the organization. They not only make reports and close and audit books, they are also responsible for discovering investment opportunities, new income streams, and reducing costs of production. They examine market trends and collect data that will assist management in making crucial financial decisions. Financial project managers earn $115,750 per year or $55.65 per hour, and there are more than 500,000 jobs available in 2012 with an average growth rate of 9% between 2012 to 2022.

So, is it worth it to take an MBA in Project Management? Let the numbers speak for themselves. As of 2012, all of these five careers earn more than top executives of other industries. In terms of job outlook, most of these MBA in Project Management careers grow on the average at about the same rate as all occupations.

Additional Resources

Sady Brown
Written by Sady Brown
Sady Brown is Editorial Strategist for Nogre.com