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How to Choose the Best MBA Specialization?
In recent times we have witnessed an unprecedented rise of several new business ventures in India. The expansion of the corporate sector demands a qualified and trained workforce with apt managerial skills. So when it comes to management studies, the most sought-after post-graduate degree one can think of is the MBA degree and the rich MBA specialisations choices offered.
The MBA full form is Masters in Business Administration, and it is, without a doubt, the highest qualification any management professional can have. Due to an increase in the number of managerial level posts in both the public and private sector undertakings, a degree in MBA can open a plethora of career opportunities and give you a competitive edge in the job market. But the consideration of jobs for MBA graduates comes later - the first and foremost thing an MBA aspirant must focus on is choosing the right MBA specialization.
So how to go about pursuing an MBA? What are the different types of MBA specializations? Which are the best MBA specializations in India? Here you will get an exhaustive idea about the MBA courses list, various MBA specializations, and the MBA specializations in demand in India. So, read on to know more!
What is an MBA Specialization?
An organization or business has multiple departments with complex and often distinctive functions. During the MBA program's academic course, the business and management institutes allow students to opt for lessons and assignments in specific areas or domains such as Marketing, Finance, Human Resource, etc. as part of their elective MBA subjects. When a candidate completes elective courses dedicated to a particular area, he/she is awarded an MBA degree with a specialization in that specific area. MBA and its disciplines help aspirants strengthen their domain knowledge in MBA branches of their interest.
How to Choose Your MBA Specializations?
Career specialization has become a trend in every academic field, and the MBA is no exception. From Finance to agriculture, there has been a boom in the various specializations in MBA, and you can almost always find a domain among the different MBA streams to fit your career choice. Choosing the right MBA specialization is crucial since it will dictate the future course of your career. Therefore, you must put some serious thought into choosing the right specialization from all the MBA courses and make an informed decision. Here are the prime factors you should consider before settling upon a particular MBA specialization:
- A critical analysis of your strengths and weaknesses because the MBA specialization you choose will stick with you for the rest of your career. Base your decision on your skills, personality, and interests.
- Your long-term career objectives and whether the specialization will be relevant in the next 10 to 15 years
- Internship/placement opportunities. The ROI from the specialization must be at least twice of what you invested in the program.
- Reputation and eminence of the faculty of the Institute in the specialization of your choice
- The infrastructure of the Institute concerning your specialization
- Pedagogy of the MBA specialization
What are the different MBA specializations?
Typically, MBA is a two-year program aiming to train candidates in various aspects and nuances of business and management. There are several top-paying MBA specializations offered by the various B-schools in the country. We will discuss some of the best specializations in MBA (and their course details) that you can avail of from some of India's premier institutions. Following is a list of the top 5 MBA specialization courses in India:
MBA in Finance
MBA specialization in Finance is one of the most popular choices among students due to this field's immense growth prospects. Financial management focuses on the planning and control of the financial resources of the industry. So, a student pursuing an MBA and specializing in Finance will focus on financial management, accounting, control, Banking, privatization, the Indian capital and money market, and international Finance. The different courses taught under this specialization include:
- Accounting for Managers
- Managerial Economics
- Business Communication
- Organizational Behaviour
- Quantitative Methods for Management
- Marketing Concepts and Practice
- Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management
- Corporate Finance
- Financial Markets and Institutions
- Strategic Management
- Advanced Financial Management
- Public Financial Administration
- IT for Finance
- Business and Corporate Laws
- Production and Operations Management
- HR Management, and
- Treasury and Risk Management
To excel in MBA Finance, students must possess a set of skills such as mathematical skills, supervisory skills, communication skills, leadership skills, and strategic thinking.
With a specialization in MBA Finance, students will have an array of career options open to them in Corporate Finance, Asset Management, Corporate Banking, Derivatives Structuring, Stock Market, Sales, Credit Risk Management, and the Finance Ministry. Moreover, Finance is one of the highest-paid MBA specializations with top recruiters like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Ernst & Young, Capgemini Consulting, etc.
MBA in Human Resource Management
An MBA specialization in HR Management will train you with the key concepts, skills, and knowledge of managing human resources in a way that will lead a company to success. The course aims to teach core HR skills such as recruiting, team building, training, employee policy, salary and increments, benefits, and the like. Fundamental topics in the HR course curriculum include:
- Employment Relations Laws
- Fundamentals of Industrial Relations
- Labour Laws
- Human Resource Management
- HR Planning
- Wage Determination and Administration
- Performance Management and Appraisal
If you possess sound leadership, communication, and strategic skills with sensitivity and flexibility to change, the HR management specialization should be your go-to option.
Popular job titles for graduates with an HR Management specialization are Recruiter, HR Assistant, Training and Development Manager, HR Manager, Payroll Specialist, Employee Relations Manager, Labour Relations Manager, and more. Companies like Randstad, Mercer India, Adecco India, and ABC Consultants are top recruiters of MBA graduates in HR Management.
MBA in Marketing Management
The scope of Marketing Management in our country revolves around aligning a company's marketing resources to the needs and requirements of consumers. Hence, an MBA specialization in Marketing Management focuses on transforming the consumer demands into products and services that the company can gainfully promote and deliver. So what does this specialization course teach? The core topics included in its curriculum are:
- Advertising Management
- Consumer Behaviour
- Competitive Marketing
- SalesForce Management
- Business Marketing
- Sales Promotion Management
- Service Marketing
- Product and Brand Management
- Internet Marketing
- Retailing Management
- Analytical Marketing
- Marketing Channel
- Customer Relationship Marketing
- Marketing Communications Management
- Advanced Research Techniques in Marketing
Necessary skill requirements include communication skills, strategic skills, interpersonal skills, and entrepreneurial skills.
Specializing in Marketing Management will train you for job roles in Brand Management, Marketing Management, Asset Management, Market Research, Corporate Sales, Media Planning, Sales Management, Product Management, and Digital Planning. Eminent recruiters include Sony, Ranbaxy, TCS. Cognizant Technology, and Spencer'sSpencer's Retail.
MBA in Information Technology Management
When it comes to MBA specializations for a software engineer, IT Management is the best. If you are someone interested in computers and IT in general, specializing in IT
Management will teach you how to manage a company's IT resources. Such IT resources comprise computer software and hardware, data, networks, data centre facilities, and the concerned staff. The MBA IT Management course includes topics such as:
- IT Strategic Planning
- Enterprise Business Applications of IT
- IT Outsourcing Strategy and Operations
- IT Consulting and Advisory Practice
- IT Project Management
- Technology Entrepreneurship
- Emerging Platforms and Services
- Technology-powered innovation of business models
Core skills that are prerequisites of an aspirant specializing in this course are a sound knowledge of IT, flexibility to change, global orientation, and strategic thinking, besides problem-solving and analytical skills. Graduates in this field can explore career options such as Project Manager, Consultant, Information System Manager, Business Development, Product Management, Cross-platform communications, and Product and Corporate Marketing. Globally renowned companies like Google, Facebook, Adobe, Qualcomm, and Apple are top recruiters.
Masters in Business Management
Next in the list of the top 5 MBA specializations in India is the one in Business Management. The modern era of globalization calls for a competitive Indian market. There is a need for experts in the field to tackle the business challenges arising due to the emergence of various Multinational Corporations. A Business Management specialization after MBA is essentially designed to train and produce such experts with a detailed knowledge of sales, Finance, marketing, personnel management, human resources, retail management, international business, and more. The specialization course's syllabus covers a broad range of topics including:
- Economic Policy
- Managerial Economics
- Operations research
- Business Statistics
- Organizational behaviour
- Financial Management, Marketing Management, HR Management, Operations Management
- Corporate Governance
- Business Ethics
- Market Research
- Strategic Management, Project Management, Information Systems Management
- International Business
- Decision Models and Optimization
- Business Law
Problem-solving, teamwork, leadership, and flexibility to change are skills that the course demands in aspirants. Students can find a variety of job roles after completing an MBA with a specialization in Business Management. Notable ones include Business Analyst, Management Consultant, Business Development Manager, Real Estate Consultant, Marketing Manager, Operations Analyst, Supply Chain Manager, Equity Analyst, and Engineering Manager. What's more? Prominent global organizations such as Apple, Amazon, Deloitte, and Facebook are among the Business Management graduates' chief recruiters.
Besides these top 5 MBA specializations in India that we just discussed, the following MBA courses make it to the top 10 MBA specializations.
MBA specialization in Logistics Management
With an emphasis on subjects like Economics and Management Decisions, Marketing Management, and Logistics Planning and Strategy, a specialization in Logistics Management forms a part of the supply chain management. It deals with the planning, implementation, storage, control, and flow of goods and services between the source and the point of consumption. Prominent sectors where an MBA graduate with a specialization in Logistics Management can land a job include Healthcare, Automotive, Apparel and Lifestyle, Engineering and Electrical Hardware, Publishing, and Consumer Electronics. Some of the chief employers of Logistics Management experts in the public and private sector include FedEx, Blue Dart, Damco, ONGC, GAIL, NHPC, Healthkart, and First Flight.
MBA specialization in Rural Management
With the evolving socio-economic scenario in India and new and upcoming government policies around rural development, the specialization course in Rural Management is gaining more popularity among students. The course curriculum is constructed so that aspirants learn to apply the principles of management to the rural sector. Topics taught in this MBA course include Rural Society and Polity, Natural Resources and Sustainability, Development Theories and Practices, Social Entrepreneurship, Corporate Social Responsibility, Agribusiness, etc. Also, students get hands-on experience of working in a rural set-up through corporate internships. The course prepares students for jobs in sectors and organizations such as Government-sponsored or owned Rural Development Projects,
NABARD, Grameen Banks, Microfinance, Agribusiness, National and International NGOs, and Funding Agencies.
MBA specialization in Event Management
If you are someone with a sound knowledge of PR, Event Planning, Corporate Communication, and Organizational Behavior, a specialization in Event Management might be your best choice. An event manager should possess the necessary skill sets required to set up functions, conferences, symposiums, fairs, exhibitions, etc. A career in Event Management entails identifying and understanding the target audience, developing themes for events, communication and promotion of the concept, coordination of technical parameters, projection of costs, and conducting the event successfully. The course curriculum covers a host of different topics ranging from Event Logistics and Public Relations to Decor and Catering. After completing the course, students become eligible for various job roles such as Event Planner, Brand Manager, Client Servicing Manager, Public Relations Officer, Operations Manager, etc. Wizcraft, DNA Entertainment Networks, and the like are top companies that hire Event Management professionals.
MBA specialization in Healthcare Management
The healthcare sector has gone beyond hospitals and dispensaries to include pharmaceuticals, government agencies, consulting firms, and insurance organizations involved in the country's healthcare system. Consequently, students with a specialization in Healthcare and Hospital Management can fulfil job roles in various sectors, including IT, Marketing, Health Insurance, Pharmaceutical Industry, Medical Colleges, and Human Resource Development. Job posts such as Hospital Administrator, Healthcare Manager, Pharmaceutical Project Manager, and Healthcare Finance Manager are also quite popular. As a part of the curriculum, the students will be taught diverse topics such as Health Service Management, Clinical Pharmacy, Medical Ethics Quality Management, Hospital Information Management Systems, etc. The WHO and Government of India are among some of the prominent organizations that employ Healthcare Management professionals.
MBA specialization in Operations Management
Another quite popular specialization course is in Operations Management. It is a relatively specialized field that emphasizes improving cost, quality, productivity, and turnaround time to deliver value to the end customer. The Operations Management course imparts knowledge and training on the effective management of the processes leading to a product's successful manufacturing and distribution. Some of the core subjects included in the curriculum are Operations Research, Marketing Management, and Supply Chain Management. With a specialization in Operations Management, students can explore many
job prospects in prominent sectors like Manufacturing, Retail, Construction, Financial Institutions, Hospitality, Management Consulting, Logistics, IT, and Transportation.
Doing an MBA Specializations Abroad
As mentioned earlier, the MBA degree is an esteemed academic credential that is widely recognized not just in India but worldwide. So if you are someone with a stellar academic track record and wish to explore MBA outside India, the prestigious Harvard Business School should be at the top of your priority list. Pursuing an MBA from Harvard has its perks - students get a rich exposure to the global community and come out as experts that shape businesses worldwide. The freshman year at the Harvard Business School requires all students to follow the same MBA curriculum covering basics like leadership, Finance, organizational strategy, behaviour, entrepreneurship, and the like. They can also opt for other select graduate courses such as public policy, law, design, etc. within Harvard or other Boston universities. But the unique aspect of Harvard is that all students graduate with the same MBA degree without any particular specialization, thereby allowing them to grow and develop holistic business skills.
The world of management education is full of myriad choices. But in the end, there are just two crucial factors that make all the difference - the institution and the chosen specialization. Selecting a discipline is the only question that keeps bugging most MBA students during their first two semesters. The specialization one opts for is crucial in deciding the course of a student's professional life. There is no doubt that a thorough understanding of the MBA and all its specialisations is mandatory before you make any decision.
Moreover, you should realise your strengths, consider your long-term goals, and the advantages of selecting a particular specialisation, including its market applications in the future. It is also vital to understand the industries and allied sectors that are associated with each specialization because eventually, it is the industrial relevance that determines success in the management field. However, irrespective of the specialization you choose, it's hard work and dedication that will help you succeed and transform into a business leader.
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