An MBA can lead to a high-paying job, opening the door to managerial and executive roles. Although a bachelor’s degree can help you break into the industry of your choice, most companies prefer to hire employees who possess a graduate-level degree.
Though an MBA places a broad emphasis on business, you can also choose to specialize in an area that will bring you closer to meeting your career goals. From business operations to information systems management, an MBA will give you the upper hand when applying for high-level positions.
What Is an MBA?
A master of business administration (MBA) is a highly sought after degree that can be applied to businesses in any industry. These days, more employers are looking to hire employees who have an MBA specialization.
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Why Get an MBA Specialization?
Throughout an MBA program, a business school will allow students to take additional courses in a certain area. Common options include business analytics, marketing, or human resources.
When you complete a set of elective courses in a particular area, you will receive an MBA specialization. This will prove that you are knowledgeable in a specific topic within business.
Why Do Employers Like MBA Specializations?
An MBA has become a very popular college degree. Taking a specialization will help you stand out to employers and showcase that you have a deeper understanding and a commitment to your area of interest.
By specializing, you can make sure that the skills you are learning in your MBA degree will be exactly what your employer is seeking. They will want to see that you have the expertise necessary to succeed in their organization. The list below contains some of the possible specializations you can choose from to land a job with your MBA.
- Change management
- General management
- International management
- Operations management
- Information technology
- Environmental management
- Human resources
- Business analytics/statistics
- Nonprofit management
- Risk management
Top 8 MBA Specializations by Salary
Many MBAs lead to higher salaries. Below is a look at the top paid specializations of 2020 to give you an idea of which areas are popular at the moment.
MBA in Business Analytics – $126,000
Business analytics is one of the highest paying MBA specializations. In it, you will learn skills that can be applied to many professions. With this specialization, you may choose to pursue a career as a cost estimator, statistician, financial analyst, or marketing research analyst.
Business analysis is the study of data and big data, which is one of the keys to running a successful business. Students with a degree in business analytics are valuable because they can help a company improve.
MBA in Information Technology – $110,000
MBAs in Information Technology have recently become extremely popular. Since we live in a digital era, the need for skilled IT managers has increased.
An MBA in IT will help you create and develop projects. In it, you will learn skills like planning, selection, design, implementation, and how to utilize cutting-edge technologies.
MBA in Entrepreneurship – $100,000
This specialization is for students with an entrepreneurial flair. It will teach you operational, practical, and decision-making skills that are critical to every business. This program will teach you business strategies that lead to innovation.
If you have a passion for improving businesses with new ideas or creating your own companies, then this program is a good choice.
MBA in Finance – $98,000
Finance is still a very popular MBA specialization. It focuses on accounting, banking, privatization, and international finance. With this MBA, you will qualify for managerial positions and will be placed in charge of a business’s finances and budget.
This is a critical role because businesses must make sound financial decisions to grow. This highly sought after MBA will make it much more likely that you’ll get hired.
MBA in International Business – $88,500
Many companies have global operations in a variety of countries. An MBA in international business can lead to an exciting career in management. If you have a keen interest in how a global company operations, traveling, and working in a multicultural environment, then an MBA in international business may be for you.
MBA in Supply Chain Management – $83,857
Supply chain managers are experts in commerce. Supply chain management involves the flow of goods and services from production to storage and sales.
MBA in Risk Management – $77,085
Risk management involves risk assessment, risk identification, and designing solutions for those risks. After you have assessed a risk, you will apply the company’s resources to monitor and control the impact that an unfortunate event can have on business.
MBA in Marketing – $65,877
Marketing is an excellent opportunity to help businesses tell their story. While studying for an MBA in marketing, you will learn about marketing strategy, advertising, and public relations. You can also take specific digital marketing courses to increase your chances of employment.
How to Choose an MBA Specialization?
When choosing your specialization, you should consider your personality and strengths. Maybe you would prefer to work at a non-profit, in health care management, or human resources.
The most popular MBA concentrations are business analytics, finance, marketing, general management, and entrepreneurship. But perhaps these aren’t right for you.
The best way to choose a specialization is to discover what you love to do, and what job you would be happy to go to each day. You should also look at the job market, what direction businesses are heading in, and what you can do to help meet their needs. By merging your values with market demand, you are likely to make a good choice for your specialization.
Benefits and Disadvantages of an MBA Specialization
Students with a general MBA can work toward upper-level management roles, but will not be able to prove their expertise in a particular area. One benefit of specialization is to add expertise to your toolkit. Think of specialization as a fast-track to career progression.
The downside to graduating with a specialization is that sometimes graduates realize that what they studied is not of interest to them. If you want to change careers, your specialization will not benefit you.
Declaring your interest in a particular field can narrow your career opportunities. Another disadvantage is that specialized MBA programs may require that you already have relevant work experience to apply.
Choosing an MBA specialization depends largely on your career goals. If you are absolutely sure what you want to do for a job, then choosing a specialization is a good idea.
Earning Your MBA Specialization
An MBA is a postgraduate degree, so there are plenty of options for studying. You will need to select which institution you would like to attend and whether you want to take classes online or on-campus.
Is an Online MBA Specialization Worth It?
An online MBA can provide flexibility, and there are many accredited institutions that offer these programs online. With online learning, you don’t need to spend time and money traveling to class, and you will be able to study at your own pace while juggling other responsibilities.
Typically, these courses cost less, so it is good value to complete your MBA online. But studying online is not for everyone. Some students will struggle to stay motivated, while others will find it hard to work independently.
Be rigorous as you research which institutions fit your needs, and always be sure to check that the institute is accredited. There are even some online MBAs that don’t require a GMAT test score.
How Long Does an MBA SpecializationTake?
A traditional MBA takes two years of full-time study to complete. Some MBA specialization programs only take one year, and most make it easy for students to learn while remaining employed.
Should You Study for an MBA Specialization?
Studying for an MBA specialization has its pros and cons. Before you commit to a program, you should decide whether it will be in line with your plan for your career.
A specialization is a good way to set yourself apart from a crowd of competitors. It will give you extra skills and help you hone your craft. But if you are unsure of what exactly you want to do for work, then you should not immediately pursue an area of specialization.
Either way, trust in your instincts, do your research, and talk to the Career Karma community to get advice. In our community, you will find others who are in your situation or who have been there and are ready to help you.
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