Online MBA Program in Economics
Economics is the study of the production, consumption, and distribution of wealth. With the right drive and determination, students who complete an accredited online MBA1 in economics have the potential to reach great heights. Career possibilities include financial analyst, management consultant, business ownership, and C-level manager.
The study of economics includes a variety of courses such as macroeconomics, statistics, mathematical economics, and economic theory and analysis. When students finish an online MBA program, they’re also prepared for general business management because they study basic management principles, including marketing, human resources, and accounting.
What Is an MBA in Economics?
Enrolling in an online MBA program in economics is the best way for students to prepare for a high-level financial career. Students graduate from these programs ready for a variety of careers that are typically lucrative and have extreme growth potential. Graduates of online MBA programs in economics are generally adept at financial and economic analysis and have great insight into future change. They also typically graduate from their programs with excellent quantitative reasoning and critical thinking skills.
When considering an online MBA with a concentration in economics, many potential students may wonder if this program is the best choice for their career goals. They may wonder if they’re best to pursue an MBA over a master’s degree in economics. While both degree programs provide students with a solid background in economics, potential students who wish to aim for high-level management positions with their future employers should consider the benefits of obtaining an MBA.
Before choosing to pursue an MBA in economics online, it’s important for potential students to consider the advantages and disadvantages of online study. While the benefits are plentiful, such as the flexibility to study at their own pace, online education isn’t for everyone. It requires a high level of dedication and superior time management skills. This is particularly true for intensive fields of study, such as economics, and high-level degree programs, such as MBAs.
Online MBA in Economics Curriculum
The curriculum that online MBA students study when they’ve chosen an economics concentration is heavily centered on finance, policy, and statistics. Graduates are expected to effectively analyze data and recommend strategies to improve financial and economic policies. Additionally, courses in general business management, such as marketing, business law, and accounting, help students to obtain higher-level positions after graduation.
While specific course titles and requirements vary depending on the institution offering the program, some of the courses that students can expect to participate in while pursuing their online MBA in economics include:
- Economic History: Students in this course learn about economic theory through time and find out how world-renowned economists predicted financial crises and change throughout history. Students also learn how to recognize and analyze economic patterns throughout history and how to apply these patterns to current analysis and predictions.
- Industrial Organization: This course details the structure of industrial markets throughout the world, including competition, monopoly, and oligopoly market structures. Students learn about New Empirical Industrial Organization and receive in-depth lessons regarding topics such as product differentiation.
- Public Finance: This course focuses on teaching students about the role government plays in market economies. Students receive lessons on a variety of public finance topics, including public pension systems and health care.
- Cost-Benefit Analysis: Students learn the theoretical basis for cost-benefit analysis. They complete case studies using the principles of cost-benefit analysis and learn to apply a variety of appraisal techniques and gain an understanding of public policy.
In addition to these economics-based courses, students pursuing an online MBA in economics are required to enroll in many general business management courses. These might include courses on the following topics:
- Business law
- Human resource management
- Ethics and social responsibility
When it comes to prerequisites, most online MBA programs require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree, often in a related field. It’s not uncommon for online schools to also require prospective students to have a minimum of one year of relevant work experience. While it was once commonplace for schools to request that their online MBA program applicants have high GMAT scores, many have now waived this requirement2 with the hopes of attracting more students to their online MBA programs.
What Unique Career Paths Can I Pursue with an MBA Specializing in Economics?
The possibilities are seemingly endless for graduates of online MBA programs with an economics specialization. These graduates have specific capabilities that can help businesses and organizations of all sizes and industries. Many choose to pursue government careers while others may seek the independence that comes with business ownership.
In addition to strong analytical and reasoning skills, online MBA program graduates are known for having superior business skills. Thanks to their educational background in business management as well as economic principles, many graduates find themselves in high-level management positions at major corporations later on in their career.
While the following list isn’t inclusive, these are some of the career paths that graduates of an online MBA program in economics may wish to follow.
Chief Operations Officer
Chief operations officers3 are responsible for providing overall direction to the companies that employ them. It’s their primary responsibility to determine company policies and ensure adherence from employees at all levels. C-level managers are the highest rank of management within a company and must liaise with other executives and supervisors to ensure their business is operating smoothly. Typical day-to-day duties are likely to include:
- Meeting with the board of directors to determine business strategies
- Providing regular assessments of the company’s management team
- Analyzing statistics such as sales and conversions to predict change
- Conducting thorough analyses of organizational processes to determine flaws and recommend improvements when necessary
Salaries vary for C-level executives depending on the size of the company; however, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average chief operations officer earned an income of $195,530 annually in 2018. Employment opportunities for those seeking this career path are expected to rise 0.7% by 2026. Throughout the United States, most C-level executives work in states such as California, Florida, and New York.
Senior Financial Analyst
FInancial anaylsts4 work with businesses and individuals to provide professional investment advice. A financial analyst in a senior role may be responsible for larger accounts as well as the supervision of a team of employees. Some of the day-to-day duties that a senior financial analyst may perform include:
- Meeting with clients to discuss investment opportunities and provide advice
- Analyzing and assessing investment performance
- Meeting with other financial analysts to discuss customer accounts and provide directives
- Prepare reports and provide clients with written statements
Although financial analysts in a senior role can expect to earn a higher wage, financial analysts earned an average salary of $85,660 in 2018. It’s expected that employment opportunities for this job will grow 11% by the year 2026.
Director of Finance
A director of finance is a member of the top executive5 team for a business and oversees the financial health of the organization. While the exact duties of a director of finance might vary depending on the size of the company, some of the common duties a person in this role can expect to perform each day include:
- Meeting with the company’s executive team to develop strategies and policies
- Coordinate day-to-day operations of the company’s financial department
- Supervise mid-level managers and assess their performance
- Report financial information to other executives or the board of directors
In 2018, the average director of finance earned an annual salary of $189,600. The job outlook for this role is average, and opportunities for top executives are expected to grow 8% by the year 2026.
Management analysts6 work with organizations to help them become more efficient. They’re responsible for analyzing the processes and workflow of the companies that hire them and determining the best ways to improve the way the company operates. Management analysts typically perform the following tasks on a day-to-day basis:
- Travel by car, bus, or plane to meet with clients
- Meet with top executives and managers at client offices to discuss company directives
- Analyze financial trends, staffing trends, and sales
- Meet with employees and assess job performance
- Meet with management to make recommendations on ways the organization may be able to increase revenue and reduce costs
Management analysts earned an average of $83,610 per year in 2016, and this career’s job outlook is above-average. Demand for this job is expected to grow by 14% by the year 2026.
Market Research Analyst
Market research analysts7, also known as data analysts, have strong mathematical and analytical skills. Their job is to review and analyze market conditions to forecast the sales potential of a specific product or service. The primary purpose of this job is to help businesses determine the products and services consumers want as well as the type of consumer they should market too and the price they should charge. Typical day-to-day duties of a market research analyst include:
- Reading and analyzing market research
- Recognizing patterns and forecasting future market trends
- Meeting with product development and executive teams to report on research and provide insight
Market research analysts work in a variety of industries; therefore, salaries may vary drastically. However, the average wage for this job in 2018 was $63,120 per year. This job’s outlook is far above average and is expected to grow by 23% by the year 2026.
Economists8 primarily work for the federal government; however, some economists are employed privately. Their job is to study and report on the production and distribution of goods and services. Economists typically work in an office and often have strict deadlines. Day-to-day duties might include:
- Collecting and analyzing market research data
- Recognizing and reporting on trends within the market
- Predicting and evaluating economic issues
Economists earned an average salary of $104,340 in 2018. Opportunities for this role are expected to grow at an average rate of 6% by the year 2026. Since the federal government employs a large number of economists, most opportunities for this job can be found in DC.
Should I Get an Online MBA in Economics?
When you’re considering pursuing an online MBA in economics, it’s important to make sure you’re making the right choice. Before applying to an online MBA program, ask yourself some of the following questions:
Do you feel comfortable pursuing a career that requires advanced mathematical and analytical skills?
The study of economics is heavily based in math and analysis. If you’re not comfortable with your skill level in either, it might be best to consider an alternative field of study.
Are you interested in pursuing a high-level management position?
Online MBA programs with a focus in economics are well-rounded and teach students advanced management skills in addition to providing a solid education in economics. By obtaining an online MBA in economics, you’re equipping yourself with the necessary skills to work in a top-level management position.
Are you furthering your education with hopes of obtaining a promotion with your current employer?
If you’re looking to advance your career to obtain higher pay and more responsibility with your current employer, getting your online MBA in economics might be the right choice for you. Students who graduate from online MBA programs are generally more qualified to take on top-level management positions than those with bachelor’s degrees.
Do you have the necessary time to commit to the work that’s required of an MBA student?
Obtaining an online MBA is a difficult task. It requires a high level of focus and perseverance, and those who enroll in the program while working a full-time job or raising children require excellent time-management skills. If you can’t commit to several hours of uninterrupted study a few days per week, you may want to reconsider your options.
Are you comfortable working at a desk for the majority of your career?
Most career paths that graduates of online MBA programs in economics follow require a lot of desk work. While some of these careers may entail occasional travel, most are jobs that are spent behind a desk.
Online MBA in Economics vs. an online MBA in Finance
While both online MBA programs provide students with a strong business skill set, the study of finance differs quite a bit from the study of economics. Even though the fields are related, economics students study the production, consumption, and distribution of goods while students of finance focus solely on the flow of money and world financial markets.
How long does it take to earn an online MBA in Economics?
The amount of time it takes to earn an online MBA varies depending on the school. While most online degree courses are more flexible than those in classroom settings, students are still required to complete their coursework within a predetermined time frame, usually about two years. In some cases, online MBA courses offer fast-track programs that allow students to obtain their degree within six to eight weeks.
Are all online MBA Economics degrees from accredited institutions?
Unfortunately, some unaccredited institutions offer online MBAs and other degree programs. Before applying for any program, it’s important to check first with the United States Department of Education’s database of accredited programs9 to determine if the program you’ve chosen is an accredited MBA program in economics online.
Is obtaining an MBA better if it’s done in a classroom setting?
This depends on the student. Many students feel that learning in a classroom makes them more accountable, and as such, they feel more successful. For students with tight schedules though, online learning is a fantastic option as long as they have a high level of discipline and determination.
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