With so many MBA specializations on offer, Krysten Godfrey Maddocks sheds some light on the process of choosing a branch of business to focus on that best reflects your strengths and interests.
Helpful for: MBA Applicants
Read Time: 8 minutes
- Many top schools offer specialized MBA programs, letting you focus on a particular branch of business, and giving you the expertise to stand out in the job market upon graduation.
- Most MBA programs require you to complete some core courses before you decide on a specialization. This allows for some extra time to make up your mind, and be sure about your final decision.
- GMAC reports that 83% of employers planned to hire business school graduates in 2018.
- In May 2017, the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the occupation with the highest annual wage was $102,590 for those in management positions.
- In order to choose the best MBA specialization, you should first evaluate your strengths and interests. You can choose courses that will build on the skills and experience you already possess, or gain knowledge in an industry you’ve been curious about, and see yourself working in.
- Next, think about the various work environments that different industries offer, and decide which one is the best fit for you. From healthcare management to criminal justice—each job requires you to work and be flexible in its own unique setting.
- Reflect on previous jobs and internships you’ve had, and what aspects you enjoyed and disliked. Maybe you prefer analyzing data more than making presentations in front of groups of people? Are you skilled in persuading clients to buy new products and get excited about closing deals? Would you like to work in a budding startup or a large international firm? These are the types of questions you should be asking yourself when considering an MBA specialization.
- Exploring a niche like healthcare informatics or forensic accounting will definitely make you stand out with innovative skills, among a crowd of mainly finance and general management grads.
- Compare salaries among different concentrations. Krysten adds:
Some specializations lend themselves to higher pay. Specializations and concentrations can also have a positive impact on starting salary. Concentrations in strategy, corporate finance, and operations/supply chain management typically boost early career pay, according to PayScale data provided to U.S. News and World Report. In 2007, students concentrating in strategy could expect a starting salary of $96,200.
What MBA specialization are you thinking of applying to and why? Let us know in our forum.
For more on the topic, read Pros and Cons of MBA Specializations (Quick Reads) and afterward, Matching Future Goals to MBA Specializations (Quick Reads).