With an increase in the variety of professions and businesses in the contemporary business environment, there is a need for more specific MBA programs targeted at individuals who wish to acquire expertise for a specific industry.
Moreover, specialized MBA programs allow students to tailor their expertise more specifically to correspond to a particular segment. For example, a person looking for a managerial role in the human resource department may have higher chances of being selected if they have an MBA in Human Resource Management, as opposed to a person who has a general management MBA.
The list of such MBA programs is growing every year and an increasing number of students are opting for MBA programs focused on a certain industry. Let’s explore what a specialized MBA actually is, the most popular fields of specialization, and whether admission requirements for such programs differ from general management MBA programs.
What is a Specialized MBA?
While previously popular opinion stated that MBA was a general management degree teaching students management principles, an increasing number of universities now offer specialized MBA programs. Those MBA programs teach management principles and then allow individuals to gain expertise in a specific industry. However, it is imperative that a person choosing this type of MBA program is fully aware of the industry he/she wishes to work in and where he/she plans to stay.
Some universities opposed to those MBA program insist that there are specific Masters programs aimed at providing expertise in targeted fields. Such universities insist that MBA programs do offer electives which can help students gain expertise in their particular fields of interest, but that narrowing the scope of an MBA is misguided.
However, recent trends show that employers such as PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Renaissance Investment Management value candidates with specialized MBA degrees, opposed to general management ones. They are of the view that focused MBA degrees indicate that the candidate is particularly well trained in a specific area of expertise and is thus more qualified to be employed in that area.
Hence, this type of MBA provides you with general management skills while focusing specifically on developing those skills required for a specific industry or specific area of expertise.
Popular Specialized MBA Programs
Previously, specialized MBA programs focused upon a particular discipline such as an MBA in Finance, MBA in Marketing, or an MBA in Human Resource Management. While these programs were the most popular MBA programs, the choices have now increased to other fields which include an MBA in Accounting, MBA in Supply Chain Management, MBA in Entrepreneurship, or an MBA in Media Studies amongst numerous others. There are even more untraditional MBA specializations such as Wine Marketing and Management; Luxury Brand Management; Aviation; Oil, Gas and Energy, Health Management, Football Industries, etc.
The trend towards career focus is increasing and universities recognize that management skills are essential, regardless of the industry in which people work, or their professions. Hence, unique and exotic MBA programs have emerged which were perhaps previously not thought of.
There are other MBA programs which combine with the disciplines such as engineering, urban planning, education, social work, architecture, and numerous other areas, to create an integrated program emphasizing management skills in these particular areas of expertise.
While the admissions criteria for a focused MBA program versus a general management program is not vastly different, the primary difference lies in the candidate’s background. For example, a candidate with a profile more accustomed to a specific specialized MBA will have more chances of being accepted to that MBA program versus a candidate whose profile is not specific to a particular industry.
General MBA programs are more targeted towards career switchers or those that are not particularly involved in a specific industry. However, those who have specialized in a certain area are more likely to be better suited towards a specialized degree. Specialized MBA programs also may focus upon a candidate’s statement of purpose and their grades in a particular subject. For example, a candidate wishing to pursue an MBA in Marketing may be judged according to his/her marketing background and grades while one wishing to pursue an MBA in Finance may be judged according to his/her finance competence.
Some of the focused MBA programs are for those working in a particular profession. For example, an MBA combined with engineering is for engineers wishing to acquire management skills while one in Health Management may be particularly designed for doctors and health practitioners.
So it is essential to analyze the job opportunities, interested recruiters, and the scope of the specialized MBA program you are wishing to pursue. Once you know where you are going, there is no stopping you!