How to choose an MBA Specialization? – #MBA Basics
As the time comes to choose the career path, then various options need to be evaluated. While those who have dreamt of being a doctor or venture into the army, these are professions by choice.
The others who look for a corporate job and success in that job will find many reasons to go for a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. Even Army officers after certain tenure, go for a corporate job and thereby pursue MBA courses.
Some of the reasons why MBA remains a highly sought after course are –
- Corporate dynamics: The corporate demands of today have gone a 360-degree change in the last three decades. Seniority was a highly recognized merit in the earlier days. Today it is different. The performer is rewarded.
- Personality development defines career growth path: It is not just hard skills set the tone for an ascending career. There are other traits which are required. These include strong communication skills, good interpersonal skills, and a dynamic approach to business. This is where an MBA can shape the career. In the start-up and digital era of today, brand building is more often the result of good soft skills.
- Entry into brand organizations: The MBA qualification with every passing day is turning more of a career necessity than values add. Many branded and even mid-sized organizations have made it a policy to hire only MBA even at the entry levels.
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Right Time to do MBA
Moving too right after graduation may be very tempting but not always advisable. However, the biggest advantage for someone who joins for MBA straight away after graduation is that age is on his or her side. They can enter the job market at an early age and aim for success at an early age.
Ideally, most people choose to prepare for an MBA after some years of work experience, because, with good work experience, it is much easier to understand the theoretical aspect of MBA and subject nuances.
Besides, the person is clear as to what is the subject specialization that he or she wants. Their confidence is also on a much higher level when going for a part-time MBA after several years of experience.
However, some of the cons include missing great opportunities for growth at the early stage which might not come later on.
Some people feel that with more experience, there are fewer opportunities. In the corporate ladder, there is smaller space with each step higher. So, more experience might eventually be a limitation rather than a blessing.
The Need for Specializing in MBA
On a lighter vein, it can be said that the need to subject specialize in MBA is of paramount importance because there is simply no other option and the curriculum is created so!!!
But the lighter side apart, the specialization is to make students decide what their key skill sets are and how they will make the best out of a career through specialization subjects.
In the full time two year Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration (PGDBA) program, the specialisation starts after the first year of general subject coverage and the entire second year is dedicated to specialization. The student eventually starts his or her career in specialized areas.
The reasons for having a specialization curriculum in MBA includes –
- Every industry demands knowledge of that particular domain and a good theoretical understanding of the industry dynamics. While MBA overall is the development of soft skills, having the necessary knowledge base of the domain in which the students want to prepare their career is mandatory.
- A common adage attached to MBA is that they are, “Jack of all trades and master of none “. This is to a very great extent incorrect. The specialization aspect in the latter half of the curriculum is to make them familiar with hard practical
- Every MBA student has their aspirations, and this defines their choice in selecting the specialization subjects. This is to a great extent defined by their personal attributes also. For example, an introvert person will not do justice to themselves if they select marketing as a specialization but it its Materials Management then certainly yes.
- Over the years, there are a lot of new segments and domains that have sprung up. This has decidedly expanded the subject base of MBA specializations. Most of the MBA schools and colleges have added new specialization subjects keeping in view corporate talent demand. This has led to immense benefit.
- There are some courses which offer dual specializations, although these are not many. This is an added advantage to the students in their career line. These dual subjects are complementary to one another and not contradictory. This gives a good career impetus at the beginning and later stages.
- The subjects in specialization are ever evolving. With the coming time, new domains and their demands will decide the need of the corporate sector. This is one of the biggest advantages of MBA course as compared to other courses.
Types of Specialization
In its wee days, MBA curriculums across started the hardly 2 or 3 specialization subjects, but as of today, it has expanded into many core areas and subjects and continued to grow as the demand of the times. Some of the main subjects are –
- Finance – The ever-growing banking and financial sector which is the backbone of every economy has set the requirement of an ever-growing pool of financial professionals for this sector. This also includes the insurance domain.
The subject matter goes into topics like capital and budget control, financial working capital management, loan issue and restructuring, treasury and forex management, capital and insurance product management, etc.
The subjects and topics keep on enhancing like derivatives, mutual funds, etc. Among all the specializations, finance continues to be highest demand puller.
- Human resources Management – Earlier this went by the name of the personnel department. MBA Human Resource is the second most or perhaps the most important specialization on par with Finance.
It deals with all aspects of managing the human resources of an organization which is the most valuable for its growth.
These include recruitment, employee motivation, and training, ensuring growth according to contribution, pay role processing, welfare, and benefit measures, devising new ideas and strategies to overall make a better workplace, adhering to employee and labour regulation laws.
Human Resource managers have to work in close tandem with the top management for creating a good employee base for the organization. A good workplace attracts the best of talent.
- Marketing – Another core subject which has a primary demand in the current job scenario. Typically several organizations today have the sales or marketing head holding the highest position. This is because of their ability to expand sales and increase profitability.
The topics covered under Marketing vary and changes as per Industry demand. These include – Brand Management, Advertising, product pricing and positioning, sales and account management, digital marketing. The marketing role always has a direct response to sales enhancement.
- Information and Systems – The Information Technology (IT) boom of the late 1990s and the resultant huge pool of software engineers that it created has made information systems as an important part of several MBA specialization programs.
This teaches the latest concepts in IT and core aspects of software and hardware. The students who take up these subjects ideally go into a profile of software development or development with customer technical solution handling.
The technology aspect of IT is fast changing, and new databases, apps, and front-end tools make the syllabus ever-changing.
- International Business – This teaches all aspects of international trade and finance. It includes export and import management, cross-border trade, financial and marketing aspects of international trade both products and services.
It also covers marketing techniques in overseas customer acquisition. With the coming of BPO’s and ITES sectors, there has been an added scope of this subject.
- Telecom management-The growth of the private mobile segment has given rise to massive creation of consumer market fuelled by affordable smartphones and low-cost internet.
It has also helped the enterprise segment to augment their connectivity set-ups. This has led to telecom management becoming a specialization subject in the last one and half decades.
- Operations and materials management – It deals with all aspects of project implementation and project life cycle. These cut across all verticals and domains. Materials management plays a crucial role in manufacturing and production companies.
- Supply chain management – This can be described as a newborn enhanced version of the previous specialization. The rapid expansion of the logistics and warehousing sector is the precursor to the same.
- Retail management- The growth of the retail sectors, both offline and now the online e-commerce start-up explosion has made most of the MBA schools include retail management as a subject of specialization.
- Rural Management – It has more to do with social work and servicing the unprivileged and struggling segment of society. Those inclining to social work take up this subject.
- The MBA student should know where he or she wants to build up the career. This should make them take up the line of specialization.
- Aside to likes, the students should also look at what is the most promising career scope and which vertical has higher growth chances. However, if someone has no liking towards that line, then it is better to avoid it.
- The personal nature of the aspirant plays a very important role. Someone who is technically oriented will do well in operations and systems management but not necessarily in Marketing or finance.
- The academic background is another deciding factor. For example, are best suited for taking up finance specializations.
- All options need to be kept open. Someone may be good in marketing and has a commerce background. They would be best suited to market financial products. This is a combination of 2 specializations.
Factors to consider while choosing MBA specialization
At BMU, we have a tie-up with Imperial College London. The Imperial College is ranked first in London in QS World University Rankings. It is one rare tie-up achieved by an MBA university in India.
What set us apart from other B-schools is that this tie-up is practically implemented through direct training and visits.
Many of the other B-schools claiming international tie-ups are totally on the certification part with no involvement in training. Again there are very few overseas universities having existing tie-ups with B-school MBA’s of India which has the reputation of Imperial College London.
We hope this post must have helped you gain some righful insights on how to choose the MBA specialization. Do share your views in the comments section below.
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