Helpful for: MBA Applicants

Read Time: 10 minutes

Quick Facts:

Not all business schools require students to specialize in a study field of business, but those that do offer many different concentrations. In order to avoid confusion, first assess your strengths and interests as well as the industry you see yourself working in, and go from there. If you are passionate about consulting, and would like to offer the best strategies for company growth in your next job position, then try focusing on programs which offer related courses and whose strength is in that specific area.

Also, MBA professors and admission experts agree that if you are a candidate with a lack of work experience, an MBA with a concentration might give you the in-depth instruction and discipline you need to make a breakthrough in the job market. One example is the fintech industry, in which technical skills are of vital importance. Ilana offers some added perspective by asking the opinion of an admission consultant:

Chosen Quote:

There are a number of factors that can differentiate programs which look similar on the surface, and knowing the difference can depend greatly on how well you know yourself as a student," says Erin Skelly, a graduate admissions counselor at IvyWise, an admissions consulting firm, via email. "For example, if you're making a complete career change, a concentration that has an intensive internship and practicum focus may be a better fit for you, as it will give you practical, hands-on experience – something which will be less important to a student who has already worked in the field for several years.

The attention that’s paid to learning the bits and bolts of a specific industry sounds great, right? It also might impress a hiring manager, however, if you are interested in understanding the framework of how a business works in its multiple layers, a generalist MBA program that offers courses in all of its fields, is the right choice for you.

Useful Information:

If you do end up choosing a specialist MBA, it’s crucial to choose a concentration that reflects skills which will be useful in the decades to come—that way, you are making an investment towards becoming a more marketable and sought out employee in the future. Industry methods and practices are changing fast, so it is important to keep up with the latest developments in the sector you are interested in.

Keng Siau, professor and chair of business and IT at Missouri University of Science and Technology stresses this notion, and advises candidates to stay away from programs that advance skills that will be easily automated and replaced with AI in the coming decades. What industry changes do you predict will happen in the coming years? 

Need more info on the topic to help make your decision? Read A Quick Guide to Specialized MBA Programs and complement it with Pros and Cons of MBA Specializations.

Source: US News