A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is one of the more versatile and sought-after degrees in today's job market. MBA students have dozens of concentrations to choose from, ranging from finance to management to information technology – and more. Each concentration teaches different skills and opens doors to different opportunities. In this guide, we explore eight of the most popular MBA concentrations and how to pick the one that best aligns with your goals and interests.
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The finance concentration is ideal for students interested in investment banking, corporate finance, accounting, consulting and other careers in money management. The program takes an in-depth look at investment strategies around the world, market forces, privatization and related topics. Analytical and detail-oriented students typically succeed in financial management.
Management and Leadership
Students with strong people skills or who enjoy coordinating projects may find their fit in a management and leadership MBA program. This business administration focus teaches strong cross-departmental skills in operations, marketing, finance and more, and can help prepare you for a career managing people, resources and processes at high levels of responsibility. Career opportunities are available in areas including general management, operations management, corporate training, project coordination, and business development and growth and physical resource management.
The MBA in Human Resources focuses on communication, team building, conflict resolution, change management, recruiting strategies and more. HR executives are tasked with finding employees that best fit the company's vision, keeping employees motivated and making decisions for the overall benefit of the company. Careers in human resources include positions such as training and development manager, hiring manager and labor relations specialist.
Health Care Management
Health care is a rapidly growing and ever-evolving industry. Students enrolled in this MBA program learn the tools and strategies required to succeed as a manager in today’s health care industry, including how to manage finances and resources, support health care teams and develop policies and procedures to keep health care facilities running efficiently with patient care in-mind. The health care management MBA is a versatile degree, both as a standalone program or as a complement to a degree in medicine or a related field. MBA graduates can find positions in hospitals, pharmaceutical firms, insurance agencies, nursing homes, health care administration sectors, or start their own business as a healthcare consultant.
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Businesses are always looking for new ways to gather, manage and analyze information from data analytics. IT managers specialize in keeping the entire technology infrastructure running smoothly and efficiently. The Information Technology Management MBA program takes an in-depth look at databases, servers, networks and software programs used by businesses in various fields. In this MBA concentration, students learn how to manage and streamline the technology operations of a business.
Many successful start-ups began with an MBA in Entrepreneurship from a business school. This MBA concentration focuses on strategic issues that new businesses face in getting established. In addition to developing strong decision-making and innovative thinking skills, students learn how to finance and manage a start-up venture. Existing businesses looking for fresh ideas and new perspectives often seek entrepreneurship MBA graduates to bolster their team.
An MBA program specializing in Operations Management teaches students all about production, process management, logistics and much more. Popular career paths include positions in distribution, retail, manufacturing, data analysis and information logistics.
International Business/International Marketing
The global economy has created a need for more people specialized in international business. If you love to travel and desire a career where you can learn about different cultures while working for a multinational corporation, you will feel at home in an International MBA program. The marketing concentration in this track teaches the ins and outs of overseas operations, including investment and marketing strategies and international laws and regulations.
Tips in Choosing your Professional MBA Specialization
Consider your passion and skills. Determine your strengths, interests, and long-term goals. Look back on your previous academic and internship experiences to identify areas that have captured your interests or where you have excelled.
- Research career paths. Explore different career paths and industries to understand the skills and knowledge required for success. Look into different job markets such as in human resource management, information systems, project management, or business analytics, and check the demand for professionals in these fields. Also check if your career aspirations and the concentration's relevance to your desired industry are aligned.
- Stay updated on market trends and emerging industries. Identify areas with growth potential and future demand. Choose a concentration that goes with these trends to raise your marketability and your chances of securing good opportunities.
- Talk to professionals. Seek their insights on the practical applications of different concentrations, the skills needed in fieldwork, and the potential career paths available. Their perspectives can provide valuable guidance and help make an informed decision.
- Network and attend events. Sign up for industry-specific events, and join networking platforms. This will expose you to different career paths, familiarize the industry, and build connections with professionals who are in specific concentrations.
When choosing an MBA concentration, consider your strengths, interests and personality. Those who enjoy what they do and are willing to work hard to better their skills have a better chance at securing long-term career success. If you are interested in learning more about any of our MBA programs – or simply talking over potential future career paths – contact us to talk to a representative from our California School of Management and Leadership at Alliant International University.