For many individuals looking to advance their career, pursuing an MBA or Master’s of Business Administration seems like a logical choice. Professionals looking to work in managerial positions, with financial institutions, or those who have entrepreneurial aspirations, this advanced degree will help them reach new levels. Among its countless benefits, an MBA can give greater awareness of the global market, improve communication skills, enhance job opportunities, and expand your professional network. It’s typically a two-year program that offers a curriculum on various management fields and makes you an expert on one—called MBA specializations.
An MBA specialization, sometimes called MBA concentration, allows you to enhance expertise in a particular field or business administration function. Usually, business schools spend the first year teaching candidates about the core modules. The second-year is more focused on specializing in a specific area through electives in the field of interest. While there are numerous options to choose from, each MBA specialization carries its uniqueness and defines distinct career paths.
Popular MBA Specializations
If you’re ready to pursue your degree but not sure which area to specialize in, read on to learn about the most popular and in-demand MBA specializations available.
1. MBA in Supply Chain Management
One field that is fast becoming standard due to its popularity is supply chain management. With a rapidly digitalized world and widespread use of e-commerce, the flow of goods and services is not as straightforward as it used to be. Due to this, there’s an urgent need for specialists in this field. Enrolling in a college that offers a budget-friendly online MBA in supply chain management degree can help you gain expertise in the area. Because it’s a remote learning opportunity, you don’t have to compromise on your current job or make huge investments typically asked by business schools.
With a specialization in supply chain management, you can pursue a variety of career options, including:
- Supply chain planner
- Quality manager
- Procurement manager
- Production planner
- Warehouse administrator
2. MBA in Information Systems
Since technology is now a part of virtually every area in an industry’s operations, it’s one of the most sought-out expertise recruiters look for. A master’s in information systems only focuses on the available tools and techniques of the field. But in contrast, an MBA in information systems emphasizes the role of technology in businesses today. This specialization is primarily for students interested in managing information to implement and manage systems within organizations. Typical electives this degree may include are database management systems, business telecommunication and networks, business process innovation, and data analytics for information systems.
Besides developing soft skills, you’ll also have the opportunity to gain aptitude in system analysis, web analytics, network management, and database administration. It can prepare graduates for an executive track for roles of a:
- Chief Technology Officer
- Chief Information Officer
- Information Technology Manager
- Computer Network Architect
- IT Business Relationship Manager
3. MBA in Human Resources
If you’re interested in applying your MBA to the Human Resources field, this is the perfect specialization for you. The curriculum offered in this degree dives deep into human resources analytics, operational management, consulting, and employment law. In today’s day and age, an HR team is no longer just responsible for recruiting and training new employees. They must also be actively involved in strategic decision-making or handling certain situations, such as mergers and layoffs. Every organization is dependent on its HR to provide them with the necessary tools, administrative services, training, and legal and management advice for its successful operations.
Therefore, they’re always in high demand and receive significantly high-paying job offers such as:
- Human Resources Manager
- Vice President of Human Resources
- Senior Human Resources Consultant
- Employee Relations Manager
- Manager, HR Operations
4. MBA in International Business
Also known as MBA in international management, this MBA specialization will prepare you for a career beyond borders. This degree provides knowledge on complex global markets, logistical issues, currency exchange, laws and customs of other nations, and marketing to foreign demographics. You may even have a chance to study abroad for some time which can enrich and broaden your perspective on how other countries conduct business. Organizations with international or global recognition are constantly looking for employees well-versed in international trade. Considering several well-known brands are universal, an MBA in international management can sharpen your candidacy for positions in large-scale corporations and established brands.
Some popular job positions associated with this degree are:
- Global Marketing Manager
- International Sales Manager
- International Logistics Coordinator
- Business Development Coordinator
- International Trade Compliance Manager
5. MBA in Business Analytics
One of the most vital assets in any business today is its data. Whether small-scale or large-scale, every enterprise relies on data and analytics for its business growth strategies. However, without the proper knowledge and tools to interpret available information, a company might as well be useless. An MBA in business analytics is a popular MBA specialization. Its coursework covers the fundamentals of running a business while providing relevant training and skills to analyze a company from a data-driven perspective.
This field is ideal for those looking to enter a fast-growing area and build expertise on analytical skills. It teaches you how to use data and models to support decision-making, how historical data predicts shock returns, and how to analyze business performance across many key indicators. Graduates of business analytics typically fill the roles of a:
- Business Intelligence Analyst
- Data Scientist
- Marketing Manager
- Big Data Analyst
- Market Research Analyst
How to Choose an MBA Specialization
As new industries and trends emerge, business schools adapt their curriculum and launch new specializations to meet demand. Choosing the field most suitable for you may become daunting with a wide array of options available. However, certain factors and asking yourself some critical questions, like the ones listed below, can help you finalize the MBA concentration of your choice.
- What interests you personally?
- What is the scope of your chosen MBA specialization?
- What is the return on investment of the MBA specialization?
- How long is the program’s duration?
- Do you like the faculty for the preferred MBA specialization?
- What are the most in-demand specializations?
- Where do you see yourself long-term?
- What are your career advancement goals?
The impact an MBA degree can have on your career is monumental. The job market is getting more competitive by the day, and recruiters are looking to hire the best candidates available. While every MBA specialization has its strengths and limitations, identifying your area of interest will play a massive role in aligning your future. Before choosing a domain, prospective students must consider their career goals and professional development to ensure they make the right choice.