Your MBA concentration is essentially the same as your college major. As in your undergraduate career, your graduate program will include a series of core courses. Once you have completed honing your basic business skills, and perhaps learning about new areas of business along the way, you’ll start working on your concentration. Your program’s individual character will determine how many specialized electives you are required to take, and you can always take more if you like.
If you are coming to your MBA fresh from an analyst position with an investment bank, finance is likely the concentration for you. When you focus your MBA on finance, you can return to the banking world and rise to the level of Associate, which will then put you on track for a Managing Director spot down the road. Note, however, that some finance specialties will steer you towards personal finance and being an individual financial adviser.
Every business relies on solid relationships to thrive. A concentration in communications will prime you to serve in a public relations position, as part of the human resources team, or on a specialized team that generates publications touting your firm’s goods and services. Communications professionals can also help edit and hone technical presentations so that less-tech-savvy investors or customers can grasp the concepts your team is addressing. Since communication is such a vital part of every facet of the business, this concentration will serve you well.
Every business has something to sell and a marketing concentration will position you to be a master of sales. You’ll learn about advertising, market data, and branding. Since today’s advertising environment is so diversified, you may have your hands full selling your products online through viral marketing campaigns. Other marketing whizzes delve deep into the market data to determine what particular demographics need from your firm, or even what is the best time of day to post to social media. Marketing can be extremely analytical, but there’s always a more human side to the art of selling.
This is a relatively new field for business, and for the world in general. Some even say you must choose between data science and an MBA. However, this specialization in data science will be part of your study of business administration. If you have a background in computer science, IT, statistics, or accounting you should consider a concentration in data science. Be warned, though, this field is red-hot, and you might have to fight off recruiters after you receive your sheepskin.
You’ve got ideas, big ideas. While you work on your MBA you can gain the skills and knowledge you need to assess your entrepreneurial plans, gauge the market, and bring your product to the public. Further, as you study you’re bound to meet new colleagues who have specific talents that you can recruit to your company. For instance, you’ll probably need a marketing person to work on branding and a finance person to help with a private equity investment. Your MBA cohort could end up being the team that takes you across the goal line time and time again.