Choosing the right MBA may be difficult, but specializing in an area that you have an aptitude for or are interested in can make your career easier and more profitable in the long run. The best MBA programs have a variety of specializations or elective options, such as finance, international business, marketing, technology and entrepreneurship, that allow you to tailor your program to your needs. If none of these appeal to you, you might consider another professional degree like an MPA program.
You will also need to determine the right format for you, as MBA degrees are offered through full-time and part-time degree programs and also have special accelerated or executive formats designed for those already working. These formats deliver classes in a different style than traditional programs, often on weekends, and with very specific class progressions.
Finance is 1 of the most popular MBA concentrations, and many MBA graduates work in the financial sector. MBA finance students focus their studies on financial institutions, markets, economics and investment strategy. Students in these programs may also take courses on corporate asset management, human resources or banking. These programs prepare students to work in management roles in hedge funds, corporate finance departments and the financial sector.
There are professional associations for finance that help MBA degree holders find jobs or network with other professionals in the finance sector. These associations can also help you determine which MBA programs for finance are strong or provide certifications that assist you in getting a job with your finance MBA.
International business concentration
International business is the study and practice of operating a company in a global marketplace. International business majors take courses similar to those in other MBA programs but with a particular emphasis on how the demands of the field change in international contexts. They may take specialized courses on international marketing, international business or international business law. Economics is also important in international business, and many programs require an international economics course.
International business majors may further specialize in areas like international management or marketing. As such, rather than a specific international business professional association, international business majors will often join professional associations that support their roles in the international business field.
The marketing MBA concentration deals with the products companies sell and how to effectively price, place and promote them. Students in marketing programs study marketing research methods, brand management, customer relationship management and international marketing, as well as general business knowledge. A marketing MBA prepares the student to work as a marketing, advertising or promotions manager at a company or as a public relations specialist.
If you are interested in more information on marketing MBA opportunities, there are professional marketing associations that can help you learn about the field. These organizations also offer marketing certifications that you can acquire after getting your degree.
Technology concentration MBAs, sometimes called high technology MBAs or information technology MBAs, focus on the role of technology in business settings. These MBAs provide both business core studies and specialized courses focusing on the role and practice of technology in business. Technology MBA degree programs may cover technology finance, digital media or information systems planning. These programs ensure that the MBA holder can effectively use technology and manage technology experts within their organizations.
If this sounds like the right MBA program for you, you should consider reviewing websites for professional associations in technology that provide further information on jobs, publications and networking opportunities in the field. These organizations can help you gain a better grasp of the business technology environment.
Entrepreneurship MBA concentrations deal with different aspects of business than other MBA concentrations. Whereas many of the business lessons taught in an MBA program assume you will be working for a major corporation, entrepreneurship MBA programs focus on emerging companies and innovations. Courses in these programs focus on venture startup, small business management and product development, helping MBA holders understand the unique challenges faced by startup companies.