Leadership MBA Degrees & Careers Guide

Your Guide to Career, Curriculum and Education

Pursing your Master of Business Management is not a decision to be taken lightly. However, with diligent study and the right academic education in business that offers leadership development, you can gain success and a great payoff with an MBA.

In leadership roles, an MBA is the entry point for more and more positions. Between the curriculum and the real-world experience you get in most MBA programs, the education you get in a Leadership MBA prepares you to take hold of domestic and international teams, departments, and organizations like never before. There are a variety of schools across the US that will allow you to choose leadership as a main focus of your classes. By completing the core required courses in this concentration, students will learn to apply real solutions and understanding to multiple areas of any potential industry.

Business leader salaries vary considerably at all levels. Entering a management role at a large company can lead to higher wages than working for a small firm or you could pursue entrepreneurship for a great return.

That said, take a look at the median salaries by education and experience level for MBA earners versus those with a bachelor’s degree:

What Can You Do With an MBA in Leadership?


Leadership MBA graduates aren’t locked into working for a corporation. You can create your own work as well as your own salary at times. Or, step into a leadership role and earn some of the salaries below.

  • Non-Profit Leader
    Salary: $99,719

    If you’ve already learned some MBA-level concepts by working with others, then you’ll be able to apply those lessons to your new position as an entrepreneur, running your own business. You may work with populations who face poverty and adversity, for instance. If you have already spent time working for a large company as an intern or a full-time employee, you already have the knowledge you need and you’ll have more to offer than other applicants as a manager or team leader.

    Reach out to disadvantaged populations struggling with poverty. People in these populations have learned how to use what they have on hand and you can encourage their entrepreneurial spirit by leading and advising them. Help them to form co-ops and help them expand their reach. Use your internship experience in leadership as you move into a new position after graduation.

  • Business Consultant
    Salary: Varies

    An MBA in leadership offers knowledge and skills that are almost custom-made for consultants. If you’ve already spent time working in other corporations or even high-level academics knowledge that you learned on campus, you'll have the knowledge, skills, and experience you need to establish your own consulting company.

    Working as an independent consultant, you exercise all of your previous experience and knowledge in your new role.

    You may also want to have a more direct role in making a difference for those who receive your consultation services.

    Working as a consultant will be more demanding than if you were to work in an organization owned by someone else. You should welcome these challenges if you are considering this career.

  • Business Executive
    Salary: $100,470

    Earning your master’s in leadership gives you the tools you need to move into an executive sales role. If you have more of a “big picture” mentality, then you’re ideally suited for management and leadership.

    Earning a Leadership MBA gives you more of a chance to work side-by-side with other people. While you’ll put your other MBA knowledge and skills to work, you’ll have much more of an opportunity to advocate for others as well as work as a leader, inspiring and motiving those on your teams.

    This degree is well-suited for those who plan to work as entrepreneurs, in management or in the sales sector. Salary: $57,480

  • HR Manager
    Salary: $123,510

    Working as either a manager or leader in an organization outfits you with the skills and info you need to focus on a broad set of issues, from managerial to financial to human. Your work days will rarely be the same.

    You’ll be able to work in human resources, sales, general management, entrepreneurial roles, retail, and in management and leadership programs.

    As a human resources manager, you’ll supervise recruitment, hiring, training, office events, and compensation of the employees in your organization.

  • Entrepreneur
    Salary: Varies

    As an entrepreneur, you’ll have the options to create new businesses or run already-existing businesses. You’ll hold total responsibility for the outcomes of each function in your organization. Salary:

  • Sales Manager
    Salary: $137,650

    As a manager in a sales position, you’ll focus on marketing your company, its goods/services, your ideas, and yourself.

    Working in the sales department of an organization, you’ll learn about people and what motivates them. You’ll work on maintaining group dynamics, quality management, and organizational structure. You’ll also be able to use your knowledge of financial management and analytics, as well as economics and marketing.

Types of Leadership MBA Degrees


What’s the difference between getting an MBA in economics or going for a Master of Science in Economics? Or even opting for a general MBA? Here’s a look at what you can expect to be required to study in each of these programs, as well as what you can expect your salary to look like once you complete your degree program.

  • Master of Business Administration Degree for Ethical Leaders
    Average Salary: $61,300
    Length: 2 years

    If you plan to search for an MBA leadership program that stresses strong ethics, you’ll need to pay close attention to program descriptions to find the content you're hoping for. When you do find such a program and enroll in that college or university, you’ll begin working on increasing your knowledge of business and strategic insight. You’ll also discuss and explore both moral and ethical issues and dimensions of professional leadership in the business world. You’ll learn how to be skillful with interpersonal relationships as you are with numbers. Ethics is just as important as economics; commerce and communications also hold equal value when you're managing people. While in school, you'll learn to think statistically, holistically, and act with responsibility. You should also learn about the interactions of relationships, values, revenue, and profits in life and business.

  • Master of Business Administration in Leadership
    Average Salary: $57,480
    Length: 12.5 months

    This degree was created for professionals who want to lead their organizations and create organizational change. Or they may want to create a new process for dealing with technology or innovation. If this is you, an online leadership MBA will allow you to get ahead in a business environment that grows more and more complex. As you move through your classes, you’ll be able to use and build on the experiences you’ve had in your jobs. If you already know you want a leadership role in your organization as a manager or director, or if you plan on becoming an entrepreneur, then an online leadership MBA will help you meet the goals you have established.

  • Leadership and Organizational Change MBA
    Average Salary: $68,600
    Length: 24 months

    If your main goal is an MBA with a leadership focus so you can build on your current leadership skills, look for a program that will support and develop your skills so you can use them in your work. You’ll also want an MBA program that introduces you to new skills and gives you opportunities to practice them. The program you choose should allow you to learn through practice. In addition, you’ll have the opportunity to work with major companies or in an office to network and help solve real-life business issues. Once you graduate, your leadership MBA can take you almost anywhere you want to go.

  • MBA in Leadership
    Average Salary: $61,300
    Length: 29 months

    An MBA in Leadership can help you to grow the confidence you need to be a leader in your organization. You’ll learn about building and running your own business. Plan on learning how to lead a team as well. The program you choose should help you sharpen the leadership skills you already have, as well as honing your ability to know when it’s time to “do the right thing.” By acting ethically, you’ll be able to help your organization to lead change, make the company bigger, and increase production. In the 21st century, you need courses that are relevant to today’s world. These should include accounting, finance, quantitative studies, economics, and operations management.

Sample Curriculum & Courses for Leadership Programs


  • Mathematics and Statistics for Business
    This course provides you with the mathematical skills and knowledge you need for several later courses.

    Methods and concepts taught include linear algebra, differential calculus, mathematical functions, and how these apply to business.

  • Business Law
    This course looks at legal issues and regulations in the business environment. You’ll learn how to examine the impact of business law on decision-making within the organization as you arrive at strategic legal decisions. You’ll cover torts, employment law, contracts, internet law and product liability, along with other legal issues impacting business.
  • Communication for Leadership
    Prepares you for various leadership roles in dynamic organizations and environments. You’ll learn the different aspects of leadership, organizations, and relationships. These include organizational culture, organizational roles and socialization, conflict in interpersonal and organizational settings, and group communication theories. You’ll approach these concepts from a personal point of view, using examples from your own relationships and workplaces.
  • Psychology of Leadership
    In this class, which may be taught by psychology or business faculty, you’ll experience a combination of practice and theory to assess contemporary issues, then connect them to psychological theories in organizational leadership. You’ll use case studies, research, and real-world situations to learn how psychological practices are used in assessing and improving leadership in organizations.
  • Leading Change
    Transforming organizations by introducing Kotter’s eight processes by which leaders effect change.

    Leaders, organizations, and employees are all different; you’ll learn how to examine and use different strategies and techniques in creating change among the full gamut. This course uses Kotter’s processes for leading change, organizational development, and transformation theory and practice. You’ll also learn how to analyze an organization that has gone through systematic change.

  • Leadership Styles and Development
    This course explores the nature of business leadership models and theories. You’ll examine these models using a broad set of insights and viewpoints and give a description and analysis of each approach to leadership. As you do so, you’ll give particular attention to how the models help to improve leadership in a real-world organization.

Who Should Consider Getting This Degree


Non-profit Leader
If leading a non-profit is your goal, you face challenges that become more acute each year. Learn about organizational structure and behavior so you’ll be able to determine how to lead your non-profit more effectively. With the financial environment changing so often, you’ll need to be able to stay on top of the new numbers.

Healthcare Manager
As a healthcare manager, you’ll use your leadership skills to help your employees navigate sometimes significant changes in healthcare. You’ll rely heavily on your innate values as you supervise your staff.

Communications Professionals
For communications professionals and executives, the basic requirements are that you have strong communication and promotion skills as you uphold the brand of your organization. You’ll have to understand today’s digital world to be effective. Conflict resolution is also vital as you defuse crises.

Marketing Leader
If marketing is your passion, you’ll be developing and running campaigns, marketing brands and supervising the messages being sent out.

Financial Advisor
Financial advisors should know how to lead and suggest investments to your organization. You’ll be responsible for financial considerations, including insurance.

How to Choose the Right Program


  • Do you want to manage a department or an entire organization? If brands, sales, or projects hold your passion, look for a degree program focusing on these.
  • Reading student reviews does matter. Previous students will inform you if a program you’re considering falls short or meets expectations. You might also be able to connect with alumni that know about your specific concentration or have taken a class you are considering.
  • Think about finances. You may need scholarship assistance to pay for your MBA-Leadership program tuition, so that's something you should consider.
  • Have a career (or career change) goal in mind. If you know you want to move into health care management, you’ll save time and money after making your choice.
  • Decide on a broad career field, then narrow that down to a specific concentration. If you want to impact organizational culture, a Leadership MBA equips you with the skills you need.
  • Once you pick a concentration, you’re not stuck. You’ll be able to customize or diversity your choices and expertise.
  • Keep track of which MBA degrees are most in demand. By choosing the right one, you’ll have a better chance of moving ahead in your field.

Potential Scholarships to Consider


  • Crystal Advisors Scholarship
    Graduate level, based on financial need

  • Sydney Roslow Scholarship
    Business and Marketing

  • MBA Russell and Vera Smith Foundation Scholarship
    For new MBA students, as well as MBA students already in the MBA program

  • The Wells Fargo Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Scholarship
    Intended for senior in the BBA/MBA program. Student must participate in service learning projects and/or community involvement. Student writes a two-page paper reflecting on what they learned from their service project.

  • FEMC Richard Metzler Scholarship
    Intended for students showing a commitment to management consulting profession.

  • National Academy of Human Resources Graduate Scholarship
    For candidates enrolled in a master’s degree program with an emphasis on human relations or a human relations-related subject such as business. Must be a member of the Society for Human Resource Management.

MBA Degrees, Career Paths & Resources