MBA AI: Degree Programs, Career Paths, and How to Get Started

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Discover how MBA programs are equipping tomorrow’s business leaders with AI skills and explore your career options with this in-demand degree concentration.

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Earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) can be a lucrative choice when it comes to graduate degrees, advancing your abilities in business principles, management, and leadership. While there are many popular concentrations to choose from in an MBA program, AI is a growing option.

In this article, we'll cover MBA programs that involve AI courses and skills development, and discuss the careers you can explore if you earn a degree in this specialty.

MBA in artificial intelligence

With technological advances rapidly transforming businesses across industries, select MBA programs are starting to add artificial intelligence (AI) coursework and specializations to prepare students for an AI-powered business world. Depending on the school, these degree programs can be referred to as MBAi, AI MBA, or MBA in AI. 

Getting an MBA with an AI emphasis means you can learn the business concepts you’d typically find in a traditional MBA degree, such as organizational management, leadership, financial analysis,and marketing strategies, as well as how AI technologies inform business strategy.

MBA AI courses

The specialized coursework you might take in an AI MBA program includes:

Getting an AI MBA presents a valuable opportunity for tomorrow’s business leaders to build skills in cutting-edge technologies that are poised to become more important in the next five years, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) [1]. At the same time, MBA programs are also an excellent place to hone skills in leadership, teamwork, empathy, and creativity. Workplace skills like these are especially important in an AI world as they help you successfully navigate different business situations, while offering a human touch in your interactions. 

What can you do with an MBA in AI?

An MBA in AI can set you up for a variety of career paths in fields like tech operations, analytics, innovation leadership, strategy alignment and automation, AI deployment, and healthcare AI consulting. 

Roles you might qualify for with this degree include:

  • Senior product manager

  • Technical product manager

  • Manager of technical oversight

  • Senior artificial intelligence / machine learning manager

  • Vice president of information technology

  • AI delivery lead

MBA in AI salary

MBA graduates typically earn high starting salaries compared to other master’s degree holders. GMAC reported the median annual starting salary for MBA graduates in 2023 to be $125,000 [1]. AI for Social Good estimates that salaries for an MBA in AI can range between $100,000 and $150,000, though your salary as an MBA AI graduate will depend on several factors, including your employer, industry, skills, and location [2]. 

When researching your earning potential, be sure to review salary data on different career sites. There, you can see what MBA AI graduates are actually earning. Here are some examples: 

  • reports that AI Developers with an MBA or other master’s degree earn between $116,353 and $124,579 [3]. 

  • reports that someone with an MBA in AI earns an average base salary of $79,000 per year [4]. 

As companies hire more people with business and AI skills, you may find that salary data and job titles vary across career sites or that information is scant. You can still get an idea of what you can earn by referencing these career sites often. Stay up-to-date on which companies are hiring, how much they’re paying, and the jobs that MBA AI graduates are able to get.


Read more: MBA Degree Salary: A Guide

Is an MBA in AI worth it? 

Getting an MBA in AI can be worth the effort, if you are passionate about the business world and the innovations that AI technology can enable. Additionally, this degree can equip you with a unique combination of skills across business and technology, potentially opening doors to high-paying, rewarding, and evolving careers. 

Before taking this step, you’ll need to weigh the positive outcomes of the degree against the initial investment of time and money you’ll need to make. Learn more about whether an MBA is worth it for your career goals and the reasons why people choose to pursue this degree

Read more: What Are Your Career Goals? Tips for Setting Your Goals

How to start your MBA AI journey

Once you determine that getting an MBA AI is the right path for you, your next step is to prepare for applying to a program. Here, we’ve listed actions you can take to make your MBA AI journey a smooth and rewarding one. 

1. Research AI MBA programs.

The first thing to do is find out which colleges and universities offer an MBA with AI emphasis. For every program, make a list of courses you’d take, projects you’d complete, internship opportunities available, requirements for admissions, location, online and onsite learning options, the length of the program, cost of tuition, and success stories of graduates. 

Next, give some thought to which of the programs are best suited to your professional goals. For example, you might choose a fast-track program, if you want to be job-ready as quickly as possible. Or, you might choose a program whose graduates have gone on to get high-paying jobs at top companies. 

2. Assess your degree readiness. 

MBA programs in general require you to have a bachelor’s degree. If you already have a bachelor’s degree but you didn’t major in business specifically, it can be helpful to have some business experience or be prepared to explain why you’re interested in studying business at a more advanced level in your personal statement

When it comes to an MBA in AI, you may find that some programs require you to have a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field, as well as experience in a technical role such as product manager, data scientist, or software engineer. 

Read more: Is a Business Degree Worth It? Your 2024 Guide

3. Upskill. 

Once you’ve gotten a feel for different programs, what they require, your qualifications and the ones you need to build, take action to upskill. For example, you can take a course on AI, such as Google’s Introduction to AI or DeepLearing’s AI for Everyone, to build a foundation in these technologies. Other ways to upskill include:

  • Taking on AI projects or freelance work that relate to real-world business situations

  • Developing programming skills

  • Networking with professionals in AI

  • Learning business automation skills like customer segmentation and data analysis 

  • Building business acumen

4. Select your preferred programs and apply.

Once you’ve determined that you’re ready to apply, make a list of the MBA AI programs you’d most like to be a part of. Next, gather materials such as transcripts from your previous schools, letters of recommendation from professors or employers, test scores, and samples of relevant work. 

Then fill out each application, following the instructions carefully and presenting your qualifications and motivations clearly. If the applications ask you for a personal statement, take the time to craft one that showcases your passion for business and AI. 

Read more: How to Write a Standout Letter of Intent for Graduate School

Be sure to submit applications by the deadlines. While you’re waiting to hear from schools, continue exploring the intersection of business and AI and reflecting on your career goals. 

Explore MBA AI programs with Coursera

Taking online courses can be a great way to learn how to use AI effectively, while exploring career and degree options. If you’re looking for a starting point in AI, enroll in Google’s Introduction to Generative AI course or DeepLearning’s AI For Everyone course. In these courses, you’ll get to know different generative AI model types, practice using AI, and consider the role of AI in society. 

If you’re ready to begin an MBA program with an AI emphasis, consider Illinois Tech’s M.B.A., which includes coursework on machine learning and AI, and is designed for leaders interested in working or advancing in the tech industry. 

Article sources

1. Graduate Management Admission Council. “Corporate Recruiters Survey,” Accessed May 10, 2024. 

2. AI for Social Good. “What Is the Average Salary for Professionals with an MBA in Artificial Intelligence?,” Accessed May 10, 2024. 

3. “Salaries for AI Developer with a Master’s Degree or MBA,” Accessed May 10, 2024. 

4. Payscale. “Master of Business Administration, Artificial Intelligence Degree,” Accessed May 10, 2024. 

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This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.