Deciding to pursue an MBA degree is a big step in your professional life. However, there is one more critical decision that you need to make to ensure a successful career in the business world, i.e., choose an MBA specialization.
Due to the emergence of various specializations apart from traditional options like hospitality, finance, sales, HR, marketing, etc., selecting the right MBA specialization is among the most important and trickiest decisions. Choosing the right specialization requires thorough consideration because your projects, internships, and job opportunities will largely depend on the skills and knowledge you acquire during your MBA program.
Thus, choosing the right MBA program necessitates considering factors other than your preferences. Enlisted below are seven factors you can consider when selecting an MBA specialization.
1. Interest and Preferences
The foremost and basic rule is to discover the fields and subjects that interest you. This involves identifying your preferences before selecting an MBA specialization. You can find out your interests and preferences by performing a self-analysis. Are you more interested in pursuing a career in finance, or would you rather become a senior marketing manager? See if your chosen concentration aligns with your long-term career goals and interests to get a more comprehensive picture. Remember, the key is to select the stream that will help you grow professionally while ensuring relevance in today’s fast-changing industry.
Additionally, you must decide whether you can attend classes physically or would prefer to enroll in an online MBA in marketing or any other specialization. If you’re currently employed and do not wish to quit your job, an online degree program would be the best way forward.
2. Length of Program
Another important aspect to consider is to see if the duration of your selected program matches the pace of your studies and the speed of re-entry into the job market. For instance, you can spend nearly three hours in standard programs. In contrast, you can expect to spend around six hours in an accelerated one.
Thus, if you have focused career goals, your best bet is to go for a fast-track program. This will help you improve your skills before returning to the workforce. Typically, an MBA is a 1 or 2-year academic qualification worldwide. The initial stage teaches the fundamentals of different subjects in business and management, and the latter is about respective specialization fields.
3. Accreditation of the Specialized Program
Before you enroll in any of the institutes to pursue your desired specialization, find out whether the selected institute is accredited for the course. You can find this out by determining if the institute is accredited by the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business). Knowing the accreditation status is important because it boosts the credibility of your degree.
For instance, if the chosen school provides your courses but is not approved by the regulatory body, your diploma or degree offered by that university will hold no merit. Another reason to check the accreditation of your specialized program is to ensure the institution has done everything needed to adhere to all the necessary standards.
4. Placement Opportunities
Unsurprisingly, your education isn’t fruitful unless you get good placement offers. Thus, make sure that the specialization you wish to pursue offers a good scope for career advancement as well as jobs. For this, you can check out the placement reports of the desired institute. Also, you can talk to the alums of the institute to get a first-hand report.
Moreover, before selecting the institution, carefully assess and evaluate their placement partners, offerings, and average salary package offered. You can find this by determining last year’s minimum and maximum placement packages for different specializations. This will give you a fair idea of what to expect after completing the specialization.
5. Future Goals
As mentioned earlier, an important factor is considering your career goals after completing your specialization. Figure out what you want to do in the coming years. For instance, if you see yourself having a top management position in a bank, you need to pursue an MBA in finance. Similarly, if you see yourself leading a marketing division in a reputed firm, an MBA in marketing is the right choice for you.
Elucidating on your career goals and where you want to see yourself in the future helps introspect your ambitions and reflect upon the direction you wish your career to lead.
6. Diversity and Internship Opportunities
In addition to figuring out your career goals, you should also check the internship trends of your desired specialization at the respective college. For instance, find out companies offering internship opportunities and the stipend offered to candidates. Since internships play a significant role in getting a job in the future, avoid enrolling in colleges that fail to offer good internship opportunities in your required specializations.
Likewise, picking colleges that include students from different disciplines and backgrounds is always recommended. It is because the diversity of students in gender, region, or academic backgrounds often plays a critical role in giving you good exposure to the business world.
7. Learn About the Faculty and Number of Companies
Never neglect to learn about the faculty members of different institutions. It is important to know who your mentors will be and what subjects or fields they will teach you. Once you assess the profile of different faculty members of various institutions, you can narrow down your list and select a few institutes that offer the most experienced and qualified faculty.
Similarly, to increase your chances of obtaining a job, you can analyze the statistics on the number of organizations that visited a particular MBA institution to hire MBA graduates. Once you know the specialization that is in high demand and in which more companies have visited, it will help you select a leading specialization that provides better career prospects.
Growth and marketing trends continue to change, as do the opportunities available in different management fields. Thus, you must conduct thorough research on the future scope of the specialization you wish to pursue. This not only helps in safeguarding your future but also helps in making the right choice.
While many MBA programs help you land your dream job, advance your career, and establish your own business, every program has its unique characteristics. Thus, by considering the factors discussed above, you can easily determine which program aligns with your career goals, appeals to your interests, and provides the greatest potential benefit to you. Good luck!