Popular Choices of MBA Program Specializations
The popularity and the prominence of a Master’s in Business Administration or an MBA degree is well known in India as well across the globe. This prestigious and rigorous degree prepares students for their corporate careers (business and management) and provide an acceleration to their careers. A broad set of skills and knowledge is imparted to the student, who under goes real life business situations through a year or two of this course’s duration. The famous degree provides insight into a lot of different aspects of business and management ranging from accounts to human resource for the holistic development of the student. The first year of the program tend to be general, where the students learns basics to build a strong foundation which will help him/her in their next year. After studying the basic concepts and building a strong foundation, the students move on to the next year, where they get to select a specialization in any specific course of their choice. Some of the fields of specializations are: Marketing, Human Resources, Finance, Information Systems, Consulting, Entrepreneurship, Operations Management and others. The specialization not only help the student but it also help the companies which hire you, in segregating your candidature from the rest, according to the specification.
The decision of fixing on a particular field for to study for a period of one year can play a crucial role. It can decide the impact your MBA degree would have on your career. Selecting a specialization can be a hard task, as it may require deep research and high self-awareness on the part of the student. Numerous factors should come into play when you are deciding on which field to specialize in. Here are a few factors to keep in mind when selecting the specialization in the second year of you MBA program (or before):
- Market demand – Make sure to look take a look at the market demand for the specialization you are interested in. How has the trend been in the past five years related to the jobs you are focusing on? How will the market fair in the next five years to come? And what are the best companies in the market that hire for the specialization you want to study?
- Your interest – One of the key factors is making sure that you are interested in the specialization itself and have an aptitude for it. If you don’t have an aptitude in the field or are not interested in the subject, even an MBA specialized degree in the field might not help you to succeed in your career.
- Career goals and professional development – What is the best field for you? And which sector do you see yourself growing the most? The specialization that you pick out should be the answer to two of these questions. Align your decision with your long term career goals and professional development. The specialization should help you achieve them in the long run.
- Personal development – You shouldn’t only be looking at professional enhancement you should also be looking at how it is adding to you as a person. Look out for the specialization which offers the best option for not only professional development but also adds on to you on a personal level.
- Pay packages – It you already have a dream pay package to have, then focus on finding a field which will help you achieve it. Reach out to people who are already working in the field and try to understand the compensation packages being received in the market for the job role you want. Some research will go a long way in helping you select the right specialization.
Now that we know how to select the right specialization, we need to know what are the best specialization option are out there. Here is a list of 10 popular specializations in Master’s in Business Administration:
The market is booming for marketing may be it in India or across the globe. The increase in stiff competition in the world, has necessitated the need for impeccable marketing skill. Marketing skills that are going to make the company stand out from the crowd and help you reach you target audience. Marketing department of any organization plays a key role in business growth and profitability. Students who opt for Marketing as their specialty get an insight into the wide fields of marketing including: Market research, analysis, competitive analysis, consumer behavior, customer analysis, business ethics, product management, brand management, advertising, digital marketing, and e-commerce. Marketing, Advertising and Public relations are the strands of the field. The jobs with specialization is not limited to a particular sector, as you can apply in a wide array of sectors, ranging from IT companies to working in advertising firms. Some job positions that could open up to you are: Head of Marketing, Product manager, Brand manager, Marketing research analyst, Media partner and so on.
“Financial Analysis forms the basis of strategic planning, managing alliances, and making every-day decisions in a management. From mergers to expansion to global financing, MBA in Finance offers you a highly specialized knowledge which accelerates the success of an individual as well as success of the businesses where they work” Suresh Agarwal a Finance teacher said talking about what Finance is about. A MBA degree in finance is one of the most popular specializations, as 22% of the MBA aspirants take up Finance as their specialization. One of the facts that makes this specialization lucrative is the high pay packages which are offered to the students. A Finance specialization give you an insight into the functioning of finance world, learning various financial theories and how the knowledge of both can applied to problem solving in the real business world. You job profile can range from the following: investment banking, asset management firms, hedge funds or private equity, portfolio management, credit risk management, hedge fund management and derivatives. Financial companies as well as non-financial companies require in-house finance team, expanding the scope of the specialization even further.
- Human resource
Another popular field for specialization is MBA in human resource. A specialization in human resource prepares you to tackle with the human resource of the organization. You will learn how to maintain and retain quality human resource in the organization, as well as how to acquire them. Doing the acquiring, retaining and upgrading in a systematic and organized manner within the organization. The area of study is vast as you would learn not only how to perform the basic functions of the HR department in the organization but also be involved in recruitment of new talent, selection of the right candidate, training and development of existing and new employees, designing jobs or writing job descriptions, assessments for employees and motivation (promotions on the basis of performance/rewarding performance of existing employees), health and safety of the office, compensation management and managing exits from the respective company. Like Finance, the specification in this field too also has a wide scope in all the sectors as every company requires an effective HR department to carry out the related activities with ease.
- Information system
This specialization combines business with technology and equips you utilize the knowledge of the same to help, companies thrive in the dynamic business environment. With technology seeping into every aspect of our lives and business, the demand for MBA graduate with this specialization has gone up in the past couple of years. With the knowledge of competitive dynamic business environment and emerging technologies which can aid the company in improving its functions, makes you one of the key member of the organization. Various areas are covered in the specialization including working on systems analysis, on network security, engaging in data analytics or supply chain management. It might also include, e-business with managerial decision-making and project management. For candidate who already hold an IT degree, this one is an interesting option to explore for career advancement. Key subjects that one would study under this specialization are Computer security, System analysis and design, Database management, Information technology infrastructure, Management of information systems, Legal and ethical business practices and financial analysis for technology managers.
- International business
Globalization and opening up of the international markets has also called for a specialization which can focus on the international operations of organizations. This specialization provides an in-depth understanding of the same and also has a focus on multinational corporations. Like every other MBA degree, it only requires the candidate to have only a bachelor’s degree in any field of study. Some of the roles you might perform after earning a degree with this specialization might include, export and import management, foreign exchange manager, international finance, international marketing and logistics. Thus, you job description could range from learning about the procedure of import and export to learning to approach customers in foreign markets, making the scope of the specialization immense and wide. It might also involve extensive amount of travel (or not), depending upon the company and the job role, you are hired for in the company. This specialization is one way to ensure, that you get to engage with foreign clients and handle the international vertical of the organization.
Consulting is another area which is alluring to different MBA candidates or just might be the dream sectors for some to work in. What makes this field so alluring is the presence of a high package, opportunity to travel and the hundred other perks which are associated with the jobs in the sector. Consultants do exactly what it might sound like in the first go, when a business or an organization needs expert opinions from outside their own resource pool, consultants or consultation firms are hired. They take charge of the situation and help the business or the organization in facing challenges. Consulting profession is famous in numerous fields including consulting in IT/technology, operations, boutique consulting to the less popular areas like HR, investments, public relations/media, education and sometimes even advertising. However, one drawback of such a field is the presence of erratic (depending upon the job) working hour might throw your work-life balance off. But specialization in the field of consulting still remains a very good attractive option. Especially for people who are looking for an overall boost for their career or are planning to re-launch their careers in the field of consulting.
With the trend of Entrepreneurship and startup catching up in India and abroad. This field of specialization is also gaining momentum with the students who wish to pursue their careers through starting their own ventures and businesses. Learning the business concepts, strategic skills and knowledge of the domain you want to work in, is what the MBA focuses on delivering to you. Basically providing you with a base to start your own venture in the future. From building networking skill to developing an entrepreneurial vision, this course will assist you in all of the steps. The curriculum is not only filled with theory but also with real life problems and challenges that you might face in due time. The course will equip you to handle these challenges in the best way possible by taking the right decision for your business. Some courses might also include you interacting with various entrepreneurs themselves, and learn from their success and majorly their mistakes. You will get a chance to use you creativity and analytical skills to create a realistic business plan for you venture. This option is the go to optio if you are looking forward to gaining skills to start your own venture or take the path of starting your own business someday.
- Rural management
This is another interesting option for specialization available for MBA aspirants now-a-days. This specialization focuses on marketing however streamlined for rural businesses. The demand for such managers is huge in the market, as rural businesses are booming. Anyone who keeps a tab on progress in the business opportunities in the rural sector knows that the potential is immense. Even market giants are coming to realize its potential for growth and development in the country. To pursue this specialization one needs to have an altruistic perspective, a willingness to improve the condition of poverty in India, being ready to take an innovative approach and formulating ideas for uplifting the rural party of the country.A graduate who does take up rural management as their specialization in the second year, has numerous career options laid out for them including:
- A job opportunity with The Government of India in the form of rural development project(s)
- Association or working in job positions with Non-Government Organization(s) (India and abroad)
- Becoming a researches in a research institutes/university which is conducting an extensive research on rural areas
- A chance to work for The United Nations and its subsidiary social research organizations.
- Working for Corporate Social Responsibility part of a company or a CSR consultancy.
- Operations management
Having adequate knowledge of the manufacturing and service sector is what will give the business an edge over others. A professional who graduates with a MBA with a specialization in operations management will working in the following in different capacities: in product design, manufacturing, in supply chain management, in quality control, in co-ordination between various teams and take decisions related to outsourcing. Three main job profiles which are available to one after the completion of this course is Operations manager, Logistics engineer and Quality analyst. Usually candidates with an engineering background opt for a MBA in operations management, as it give them an edge over their competition in the market.
- Health care management
This specialization is healthcare specific and equips one with the skills and knowledge to excel in the industry. With its focus on hospital and its administration, it brightens your prospects of becoming a hospital administrator or a medical practice managers or insurance-company executives, which is excluding a wide variety of other roles the industry has to offer. Some industries which provide a perfect market for MBA graduate in the field of health care management are: Health care insurance organizations, Medical tourism companies, Diagnostic Lab chains, Healthcare IT sector, NGO’s working in healthcare, Wellness centers and Healthcare market research organizations.
In the end
When deciding on what to pursue as a specialization, give it a lot of thought. A Master’s in Business Administration program calls for a lot time, energy, money and emotions. There is a fair chance, this is the only one time you get to do your Masters. Take the right decision by playing your strengths and selecting a domain which you know you can excel in. The right specialization can accelerate your career and take you places.
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Author: Andreena Sung