MBA Specializations

In a two-year MBA program, the first year is dedicated towards building a student’s foundation in management subjects by completing the core courses. In the second year of the program, the student has the option to specialize in a particular subject.

Depending on your area of interest and your aptitude in a particular field, you can choose to specialize in a particular area of management. Your decision to choose a particular specialization may also depend on the job profile you are looking at post graduation and the compensation package of that job.

List of MBA Specializations based on functional roles

Following is a list of the most popular MBA specializations that can help you get a certain role across a diverse set of industries:

Each specialization is discussed in detail below:

Marketing

The marketing department plays a crucial role in any organization, as they are the team looking after selling a product or a service & bringing in new business to the company. With the increase in competition globally, the need for competitive positioning and marketing skills is in high demand.

Students who choose to specialize in Marketing get deeper insights into topics such as market research and analysis, consumer behavior, customer analysis,  competitive analysis, business ethics, product management, brand management, advertising, digital marketing and e-commerce.

An MBA in Marketing will give you the right tools for a job across a wide variety of sectors such as FMCG (Fast moving consumer goods), media, marketing of various services ,IT sales, internet marketing etc.

Read MBA in Marketing for a detailed look at the best B-Schools for marketing and careers in marketing.

Human Resources

An MBA specialization in HR will teach you how to systematically acquire, manage and retain the workforce within an organisation. The course helps students understand how to get the best out of the employees of a company.

The HR department plays an instrumental role in managing smooth relations among employees and also between employees and the top management. Office social gatherings & site visits are some of the events that the HR has to manage to ensure that a good working environment continues to exist in an organization.

The HR specialization deep dives into the many aspects of HR with specific focus on recruitment, employee assessment, managing exits from a company team motivation,  (promotions/rewarding performance of employees), health and safety in the work place.

Read more about an MBA in HR.

Finance

An MBA in Finance is currently the most popular choice amongst students – one of the reasons for this is the high rewarding pay packages in jobs in this field.

The Finance specialization helps you understand financial theories and also practically learn how these theories can be applied to solve real business problems.

Post an MBA in Finance, some of the most popular choices for a career are investment banking, hedge funds or private equity management, portfolio management, asset management firms & credit risk management.

Besides roles in Private Equity & Investment Banking firms, do remember that every company has an in-house finance department which provides various job opportunities in finance.

Read our full article on MBA in Finance.

Information Systems

With the increase in use of technology throughout the world there is a growing demand for  professionals having an expertise in both business and technical know how.

E-commerce companies are the most in need of professionals that can manage an E-commerce platform, and require professionals that understand the changes in a competitive business environment and also know how the IT field works.

Some areas that this specialization covers are E-commerce business systems analysis, network security, data analytics, supply chain management.

Strategic Management

Consulting has become another popular career choice mostly because of its high pay packages and the fact that the job entails a lot of travelling.

When an organization needs an outside opinion or when expertise is required for finding solutions to specific problems that such organizations lack expertise in, they call consultants. The consultants then take charge of a project and aim to provide a solution to the company in a time bound manner.

While strategy consulting, Public Sector consulting, financial consulting, IT/technology consulting are well known, consultants are also hired by boutique consulting firms for lesser known consulting areas such as HR, operations, public relations & media.

Although there is great exposure and learning in this area of work since it involves working across a wide variety of sectors for different clients across different geographical locations, it is important to remember that consultancy entails late and sometimes odd working hours which can lead to problems in maintaining a work life balance.

To take up a career in consulting, Strategic Management or Strategy is the best bet in terms of specialization.

Entrepreneurship

This specialization involves developing the tools to be able to launch your own start-up and grow the business successfully.

This specialization focuses on not only understanding how to build a business with limited resources but also on softer skills such as networking which is important for an entrepreneur.

The curriculum combines theory with real-world projects, so that you are able to apply the theories learnt to the real life business issues.

After completing the course you would be in a position to assess the market and develop your own business. You would have also learnt from the success and failures of other entrepreneurs which would help you avoid potholes and develop winning strategies in your entrepreneurship journey.

Operations management

The knowledge of operations management will empower you to efficiently run and manage an organization in whichever field you select.

After completing a specialization in this area, you will be able to address challenges in managing operations in a company which includes areas such as supply chain management, quality control, co-ordination between various teams, vendor management & outsourcing.

Read more about specializing in MBA in Operations Management.

Connected to this field is the area of Operations Research which is more focused on the mathematical aspect of planning operations – so let’s say a job involving statistics, business models, financial models and the like. If that seems like something you would be interested in, be sure to read our article on Operations Research.

Hotel Management

Staying in a hotel is always fun – running a hotel? Not so much! It takes an army of workers and managers to keep a large hotel performing like it should. The decisions the hotel’s staff take could make or break someone’s vacation or business trip.

Any wonder then that this has become a specilaisation in itself? Read more about this fascinating area of management in our article on MBA in Hotel Management.

Logistics & Supply Chain Management

Ever wondered how that new iPhone ships all the way from Apple’s factory in China to your country? Or how about the milk you drink in the morning – ever thought about the the origin of the milk in a village, its packing in a factory miles away from the village, it’s processing and shipping in refrigerated trucks all across the country?

Well that’s the job of someone who works in the Logistics and supply chain management role and specializing in this area is your ticket to such a job.

Read more about MBA in Logistics and Supply Chain Management.

List of MBA specialization based on Industry

The following is a representative list of specializations in an MBA, based on specific industry:

  • Health / Pharmaceuticals / Biotech
  • Media/entertainment/sports
  • Non-Profit

Health / Pharmaceuticals / Biotech

Perfect for professionals who intend to pursue their careers in the pharmaceuticals, healthcare, diagnostics or the biotech industry, this course covers specifically those areas and subjects which are crucial to the healthcare industry such as legal, and regulatory aspects of the pharmaceutical sector, market research and product management before launching new products in the market.

Media/entertainment/sports

As the name suggests, this specialization is for careers in management in the media / entertainment / sports industry. This course preps you with knowledge of various key factors in managing a media company.

Music, publishing, theatre, sports, radio are some of the topics studied in this specialization.

Non-profit

In this area of specialization, students learn the skills needed to successfully manage a non-profit organization. Some of the aspects that they delve into are: change management, fundraising, fund allocation, marketing and leadership skills.

International business, supply chain management or construction management are some of the other specializations that a student can choose.

Before choosing an MBA specialization, it is important to take your time and choose a specialization that you are interested in which also aligns with your career choice.

Use your internship experience to guide you on your selection.

Don’t choose just on the basis of the high rewarding package, since if you are not interested, you may not be able to sustain in that area for a long time and may end up wasting precious years in restarting in a line of your choice.