Many MBA programs allow students to choose 1 or 2 specialty concentrations within their general degree program. An MBA concentration is similar to an undergraduate major or minor, which allows students choose a more specific field of study.
WHAT SHOULD YOU STUDY?
MBA programs provide students with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills that they need to work in a variety of business settings. However, a concentration in 1 or more fields allows students to gain a deeper understanding of specific areas within business education. If your program offers concentrations, you should choose those that are of interest to you and will help you achieve your career goals.
A concentration in accounting prepares you for a career in areas like corporate finance, investment banking and private equity. This concentration can also be useful in trading, investment, hedge fund management and government or military finance.
Business and Public Policy
A business and public policy concentration teaches you about international development, microfinance and government regulation in areas like intellectual property. This concentration also prepares student to work in non-profit organizations and the public sector.
Decision sciences show you how to produce and analyze decision-making models, regression models and optimization models. Some decision science concentrations teach you how to use game theory to analyze competitive markets.
A concentration in entrepreneurship focuses on how to build new businesses from the ground up, from finding new business opportunities to handling operations. This concentration gives you the knowledge and skills that you need to either begin your own entrepreneurial projects or act as an entrepreneurial specialist within a corporation.
Environmental and Risk Management
Environmental and risk management concentrations emphasize sustainable business models and how to balance the need for energy with environmental protection. This concentration also focuses on international environmental issues and the role that social responsibility and ethics play in corporate decision-making.
If you choose finance as your concentration, you will study the various strategies for how businesses manage their assets like stock trading and portfolio management. Finance concentrations are particularly helpful if you plan to work in investment banking or management, hedge fund management, consulting private equity, retail banking or corporate treasury.
A concentration in healthcare will teach you about the business and management side of the healthcare industry. This concentration is a good choice if you plan to work in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, health services, government agencies or insurance companies.
Information and Information Systems
The information and information systems concentration is best suited for students who want to work in business intelligence or consulting. A concentration in this field will teach you how to effectively organize, monitor and distribute information in a business setting.
A risk management concentration prepares you to work in industries that deal with risk. This can include various types of insurance companies, personal finance corporations and hedge funds.
Legal and Business Ethics
A concentration in legal and business ethics teaches you about how law and ethics affect businesses and how changes in public and private policies can help form better societies.
Marketing is a popular concentration that teaches you the fundamentals of how customers, markets, competitors and brands function. One of the more popular concentrations, the skills you learn in marketing are used in many managerial positions and across several industries.
International or Multinational Management
The international or multinational management concentration teaches you how to consult, manage and work together with global corporations, organizations and international government agencies.
Operations and Information Management
An operations and information management concentration gives you the skills you need to manage supply chains, including both physical goods and information. Businesses across different industries benefit from managers who have effective operations and information management skills.
This concentration prepares you for senior leadership roles and consulting positions in human resources. You will also gain a better understanding of how a company or organization works from the inside.
If you choose a concentration in real estate, you will be trained to work in areas like real estate investment, analysis, consulting, financing, appraisal, development and corporate asset management.
With a social entrepreneurship concentration, you learn how to use your knowledge of business to help socially responsible projects and social purpose and philanthropic organizations. Classes in this concentration tend to be designed with the social sector and the unique challenges that accompany it in mind.
A concentration in statistics teaches you how to organize, manipulate and present different types of data to help corporations and organizations guide their business decisions. If you choose the quantitative statistics sub-concentration, your skills will be applicable to an even wider range of industries.
If you are interested in working in strategic consulting or as an internal consultant for an established firm, this concentration will help you learn the skills that are necessary to effectively position a business for success by planning.
CONCENTRATIONS SUITABLE FOR ONLINE STUDY
Most of the concentrations listed above are suitable for online MBA students as well as traditional students, but you should remember that internships are another important aspect of many of these concentrations. You should carefully consider your concentrations when deciding to enroll in an online MBA program to make sure that you will be able to find an internship in this field.
ACCELERATED MBA AND EXECUTIVE MBA PROGRAMS
Accelerated and executive MBA programs are full MBA programs that are designed for those students, including executives and upper-level management, who have a great deal of experience, but not an MBA.
Are There Accelerated Online MBA Programs?
There are a number of accelerated online MBA programs. A more important question to ask, however, is if they are right for you. Accelerated MBA programs are designed to include the full MBA curricula in a shorter period of time. Most of these programs require you to complete the same number of credit hours as traditional programs, but they may have academic terms that are shorter than traditional 10 to 12-week quarters or 16 to 18-week semesters. Considering the time commitment that these programs require, it may not be advisable to continue working while you are enrolled in an accelerated MBA program. However, since each MBA program may have particular requirements, you should investigate each accelerated program to see if it is a good fit for you.
Are There Online Executive MBA Programs?
Executive MBA programs are also available online. These programs are designed for mid- and senior-level managers, executives and business leaders who would like to earn an MBA while they continue to work. Most people who enroll in these programs already have between 10 and 15 years of business experience.
JOINT AND DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS
There are some schools that offer joint and dual programs for students who want to simultaneously earn an MBA and another degree. In a joint degree program, a single class counts toward the required coursework of both degrees. In a dual degree program, a single class counts toward the coursework of just 1 degree. If you are interested in enrolling in a joint or dual degree program, you will have to fulfill both programs’ admissions requirements. A few of the most common joint and dual programs include:
A joint or dual MBA and education program might be an option for you if you have an interest in higher education, for-profit education, educational policy or management.
International and Public Affairs
If you want to improve social services, work as an advocate for human rights or protect the environment through business practices and services, combining an MBA with a masters in international and public affairs can prepare you to use business to improve the world.
A common joint or dual degree program includes earning a law degree, also known as a JD, and an MBA. These 2 degrees work together to provide you with the knowledge and skills to work in the legal departments of large businesses and corporations.
If you choose to earn a dual public health and MBA masters degree, you will learn how to apply management and organization skills to the field of public health.
Public Affairs or Public Policy
The combination of an MBA with a masters degree in public affairs or public policy can help you pursue a career in areas where business practices meet government policies.