How to choose the specialization area in MBA courses?

A typical two-year MBA program, where first and the second year is separated by the summer internships. The first year is generally common for most of the students where the students get an idea of all that they must know regarding various management functions. All introductory MBA courses are taught in the first and second tri-semesters during the first year. Later in the first year, they are also introduced to the specialized areas.

In the second year, the students have to choose from a variety of specialization choices. There are five main specializations that are offered by almost all MBA institutes. They are Marketing, Finance, Human Resource Development, Operations Management and Information Technology.

Generally most of the students have no idea when it comes to choosing specialization, they tend to choose it mostly on their preconceived notions. They are largely influenced by ongoing trends, their peers and teachers.

So sometime, it happens that, someone actually has initial inclination towards one field and then after he/she gets into the college, his/her taste changes and he/she starts liking another profession. I know many of my friends whose likings have changed after they were admitted into the B-school while some people choose to stick to their initial choice.

To get some facts , let me tell you very frankly, ” MBA courses do not provide many choices during the first year. Students generally learn core subjects in the first year in all MBA courses. But at the end of the first year, the choice of specialization should become pretty clear.”

In the second year, the students take elective or optional courses to specialize in a maximum of two functional areas. These areas are:

  1. Finance
  2. Information Management
  3. Marketing
  4. Strategy
  5. Operations Management

To specialize in an area, a student must take a minimum of certain elective course credits offered which is decided by that particular college”

Making a choice

When you are choosing a college, “You have to choose your career very carefully. You should select the right path on the basis of your interest and instincts and not on the basis of peer pressure or high salary.”

  • Students who have mechanical ability, who prefer to work with objects, machinery and tools should choose Production and Operations.
  • Students who love to observe, learn, investigate, analyze, evaluate or solve problems, interact with people and have a good communication skill should go for Marketing.
  • Students who have artistic, innovating or institutional abilities and like to work in unstructured environment using their imagination and creativity should work for the Strategy sector.
  • Students who like to work with people to enlighten, inform, help, train, or are skilled with words should join HR and those students, who like to work with data, have numerical ability, carry out tasks in detail or follow through on others’ instructions should go for Finance.”

Although all of these are general guidelines to select the specialization , it’s not hard and fast rule. You may be having qualities which matches both of these specializations, so when you choose , you have to choose very carefully.

It’s said that ” MBA is like a marriage, it happens only once in the life.” (if you belong to general and sensible crowd)

Specialized MBA institutes offer some specialized options too. Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) provides specialized MBA in International Business. The MBA program is also called MBA (IB). Other example could be Indian Institute of Banking and Finance (IIBF) which provides diploma in Banking and Finance. MICA offers Post Graduate Diploma in Communication.

MBA Gurus recommend that passion and interest should be the key, rather than external reasons like market condition, job prospects and following the herd. While doing an MBA program, the specializations should be chosen on the basis of your passion, choice and capability.

The first year is the time when you will have the hunch regarding choosing your specialization subject. The MBA institutes can only introduce you towards the various domains of an MBA program. But you have to be your own judge to take decisions regarding specializations.

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A physics geek and math lover, I write for MBA Ka Keeda. When I am not working i love to read and meet new people.I wish to become a physicist and philanthropist someday.

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