MBA Program Concentrations Guide
An MBA is one of the more popular degree programs found in business education today. It's seen as necessary for many positions at the C-suite level, and if you want to rise beyond the analyst level in investment banking, it is an absolute necessity. Not only does it provide you with heightened decision-making skills, but your firm will love having another MBA on the team.
When you study for your MBA, you'll start by completing the required core curriculum, which may change depending on the school you attend. If you studied business when you were an undergraduate, this will be a review, but also an enhancement of learning about principles, concepts, and technology you may have already covered. If you do not have a business degree, these courses might present a cascade of business insights. Nonetheless, your core graduate education will take you deeper into subjects including, but not limited to:
Your program will likely offer far more core courses than you can possibly take, so you will have many options for your professional development. You might wish to delve deeper into favorite topics but you can also explore areas with which you might not be as familiar. You might base your choice on which of the professional faculty you are most interested in learning from or having access to as a mentor, your options between various future careers, or even what you want to earn after you graduate. No matter your interests, you should take the time to do an online search, call schools you're interested in to see if they have online MBA programs if you need flexibility for work or family, and ask all pertinent questions about tuition or financial aid, policy issues, and whether they are properly accredited before you apply.
Once you have mastered the fundamentals of business, you'll be ready to specialize. After all, a master's degree is all about becoming a master of one particular thing. You can always be a generalist later, but for a master's you will need to focus on a specific topic, industry, or other aspect of business life. Though you may also choose to have multiple focuses if you are willing to add a year or so to your education or attend on campus full-time. Since you will likely have significant business experience prior to starting your MBA coursework, your specialty will allow you to bring that knowledge to bear on your academic work. Here are a few educational specialties you might choose from, depending on your program:
International Business – Our global economy has made this a very popular choice among MBA students. Some MBA programs include an overseas trip where you'll have the opportunity to gain hands-on knowledge of how another country does business and improve your communication skills. You'll cover things like regulations, tariffs, and issues related to marketing.
Accounting – You may have taken at least Introduction to Accounting course in college, but now you'll have the option to dig deep and move toward success in your career. If you are considering sitting for all or part of the CPA exam you will want to consult your local state's academic requirements. Your university graduate adviser might also have pointers for qualifying with your state accountancy board.
Supply Chain Management – This is a very popular specialty and is a very demanding field. Since products and resources are often coming in from overseas, or being shipped to the global marketplace, you will need a master's level preparation to succeed. This specialty will give you the ability to monitor multiple variables simultaneously and make the best decision for the moment.
Human Resources – The 21st century labor market is far different from that of your parents. Workers are far more flexible and tend to stay in jobs for shorter periods than in the mid-20th century. With an HR specialty, you'll learn how to identify talent, build teams, and even manage their benefits and compensation.
No matter which area you specialize in, an MBA will take your career to the next level. Most MBA graduates find that they are soon recruited for elevated positions or are receiving raises, opportunities, and promotions at their current firms. You will undoubtedly find that the time it took to achieve a master's was very well spent, indeed. Beyond their new knowledge, it provides a chance for each student to network within their class or business school community, meet or request help or info from the school's alumni, and even find support for their future goals through a regular schedule of social events if they attend on campus.
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