A master of business administration (MBA) degree is one of the most sought-after degrees for professionals looking to scale the corporate ladder, no matter whether they are in the business industry or a different one. While completing this degree, MBA candidates can make themselves even more employable by pursuing secondary degrees to complement an MBA. Some of the best double majors for business administration can highlight a core MBA subject such as finance, marketing, strategy, or economics. Alternatively, an MBA double major could be in a completely different arena such as information technology (IT), entrepreneurship, or healthcare.

Specialization vs. Double Major vs. Dual Degree

In addition to general MBA degree programs, many colleges now include specialization as part of the curriculum. Specialization simply means that you take a specified number of upper-level courses in a related field in addition to meeting requirements for an MBA. You could, for example, earn an MBA with specialization (often referred to as a concentration) in finance.

An MBA double major involves more time and coursework than specialization, as you would complete degree requirements in two areas, not just take additional courses. You would, however, end up with only one degree, such as a master of business administration in finance.

A joint or dual degree program is the most intensive educational option. A joint MBA consists of a single curriculum that integrates two programs at one school, while a dual program involves two separate curriculums at the same or different schools. In either case, the result is two degrees, such as a master of business administration and a master's in finance. Dual degrees take more time and cost more than a double major since they result in two diplomas.

Key Takeaways

  • A master of business administration (MBA) degree is one of the most sought-after degrees for professionals looking to scale the corporate ladder.
  • Ultimately, the best double majors are ones that complement the industry a student wants to be in--whether that's in computer science, international relations, or a create-it-yourself degree program.
  • In terms of the best MBA concentration programs, consulting, entrepreneurship, and corporate finance are popular and lucrative options.

Do-It-Yourself Double Major

Alongside an MBA program, students can also create their own double major program. If you decide to follow this DIY approach, it’s important to meet with counselors from both degree programs to take advantage of classes that might count toward both majors. The more closely related both areas are, the more likely there will be common courses that will help you cut down the time and expense involved in pursuing a double major.

Ultimately, the best double majors are ones that complement the industry you want to be in. Since MBA degrees tend to be generalist degrees that are applicable in any corporate industry, students need to think about what the best double majors for business administration are in their field. Many MBA schools now offer a range of double major or degree programs, from a joint degree in Electrical Engineering to International Relations, or even a J.D. or Masters in Public Policy. All it takes is some research to see what options are out there.

Three MBA Double Majors to Boost Your Value

Any of the academic options listed above – specialization, double major, or dual degree – can be used to boost your value in the job market. As a double major falls in the middle of the three in terms of intensity, an examination of three of the highest-paying areas of MBA concentration may be helpful in deciding if the extra time and effort are worthwhile.

Consulting

According to Poets&Quants, the top-earning MBA concentration in 2018 was consulting. MBA candidates with concentrations in consulting made $101,108 early in their careers, which was $8,306 more than any other field of study. Consultant and strategy specialists are “big picture” people, well equipped to help a company improve its performance. With a consulting concentration, you may increase your chances of ending up in the C-suite as CEO or in another top management position. You will study the history of business decisions – both good and bad – to help you arrive at your own corporate philosophy. Management consulting is a versatile discipline and could lead to employment in a variety of fields or in the world of startups and entrepreneurs. 

Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is also a popular double major for MBAs, with a less-impressive early career paycheck of $70,300 per year but a mid-career average of $139,000, a difference of $68,700 between that and starting pay. Graduates who attend a school like the Stanford Graduate School of Business will be frequently exposed to the Silicon Valley entrepreneurship culture. While many entrepreneurship majors hope to start their own companies, there are plenty of jobs in corporations and organizations for creative, innovative workers. As an entrepreneurship major, you could find yourself in mid-level management, consulting, sales, research, and development (R&D), not-for-profit fundraising, or teaching. 

Corporate Finance

Corporate finance majors had an average starting salary of $88,493 in 2018--among the top five most lucrative concentrations within an MBA program. As part of your finance course of study, you would develop analytical skills and the ability to dissect complicated financial reports and documents. As money is the bottom line in business, there are many jobs available inside and outside the corporate world, including as a financial planner, investment analyst, investor relations associate, actuary, accountant, commercial real estate, and teacher.

The Bottom Line

In a competitive market, you need every edge you can get. A double major consisting of an MBA with an additional area of specialization helps you achieve that edge. Plan carefully, including consulting with appropriate university counselors in both areas, to minimize completion time by choosing a second major that complements your MBA.