Academic Careers for MBA Graduates

Academic Careers for MBA Graduates

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Although the MBA tends to be viewed as strongly practice-oriented and the PhD as more theoretical, there are no strict lines regarding what one can do after earning either of these degrees. In a previous post, MBA vs. PhD in Economics, we highlighted the ongoing debate many people have regarding the suitability of each degree for various career paths, and how to make a decision that fits your interests.

In this post, we’re focusing on those of you who are either in the midst of your MBA studies or have already earned that degree, and would like to remain in academia rather than pursuing a career in the private sector. While this is the road less travelled, there are certainly plenty of possibilities for landing a fulfilling career, even without first heading back to the classroom to pursue a PhD.


Yet, if you have your heart set on becoming a full-time professor, most universities do require a PhD in order to qualify for the job. However, many institutions hire applicants with Master’s degrees as part-time professors or lecturers, so it is certainly possible to begin working in that capacity after earning an MBA. If you are specifically interested in becoming a professor in a business school, earning a PhD on top of your MBA will make you a highly competitive candidate.

However, many community colleges or other two-year institutions hire Master’s level candidates to teach undergraduate courses, so working at such a university would be a great opportunity to teach business or related courses without needing a higher degree. Many universities do require either a teaching certificate or a certain level of classroom experience, however, so be sure to check the required qualifications carefully before applying.


If you are interested in becoming a researcher, there are possibilities to do so at both universities and other research institutes. For a list of top think tanks and social science research institutes in the U.S.Europe andLatin America, check out our recent blog posts devoted to that topic.

Many such think tanks and research institutes are interested in candidates with practical experience and real-world knowledge. Since most MBA programs require applicants to have at least a few years of work experience prior to being admitted, such work experience combined with the skills one gains as an MBA student can create a profile highly suitable for research positions.


Private sectors companies tend to recruit entry-level workers directly from business schools. By expressing interest in working in academia while using the skills you’ve gained in your MBA, you are putting yourself in a particular niche that might work in your favor. Take advantage of the connections your institution has with other universities or research organizations and act on those links.

Whether you’re interested in being a management or market analyst, such positions can be found both in the administrative branches of universities as well as in think tanks and other research institutes. While you may not find positions with the same title as you would in private sector companies, you can certainly put your skills to good use.


If you are interested in remaining in the university environment but would like to veer away from teaching and research towards a more practically oriented position, looking for administrative jobs in academia is a good way to go. Particularly in business schools, you will find ample opportunities to put your academic knowledge to use while pursuing a more managerial career path.

Many business schools have the funding to hire high-level coordinators, program heads and other academic managers, so if you thrived in management courses and enjoy being in an academic setting, looking into management positions at such an institution would be a good fit.

To browse jobs across all sectors of academia, head to INOMICS. Be sure to leave a review of any institution where you’ve previously studied or worked so that other users can get an insider’s perspective and make more informed choices.

Photo credit: Tulane Public Relations