Choosing a Master’s in Business Administration specialty can be daunting, especially if you enjoy all of the specialties equally or don’t favor one over the other. If this the case, and even if it’s not, you’ll want to consider what matters most to you — security or opportunity? These two concerns not only determine which of the five MBA specialties are best, but which one is right for you.
Marketing has a reputation as being one of the most interesting business school specialties — the most fun. Since its primary concern is advertising or selling and promoting a business’ products or services, the job is always changing — never the same. Because marketing plays such an important role in business, companies will always need marketers. However, due to its popularity the marketing job market is saturated. People pursuing marketing degrees far exceed job demand, leaving many marketers searching for jobs when the market is tough. On the other hand, really talented marketers are hard to come by and are sought after since they drive revenue. So, if marketing is a special talent of yours, then you’ll always have a steady job despite the job market.
Finance puts you on the track to affluence, not necessarily wealth. Obviously, finances are a necessary part of every business. Ensuring that the business is financially stable, expenses are paid, and resources are allocated well is the responsibility of someone in finance. To become a CFO — Chief Financial Officer — is a prestigious affair, and finance positions are more readily available because the market is less saturated with finance MBAs compared to other specialties such as marketing. Also, financial analysis and reporting is in demand and unlikely to change in the future.
A human resources masters degree— HR — is not as glamorous or as lucrative as some of the other specialties, but it is necessary. It’s a crucial component of any business — part of the overhead. Although it ranks lower in security than some of the other specialties — finance, for example — it is nevertheless a good business specialty because it will always be required. So, if working with people appeals to you, then consider an MBA with a specialty in Human Resources.
Operation management is responsible for handling the operational problems of the business and providing solutions through insights, processes, technology and tools. If you’re planning to become a COO — Chief Operating Officer — this specialty is for you.
An MBA with a focus on accounting is one of the most practical and popular specialties. The MBA accounting specialty readies you for the CPA exam — Certified Public Accountant, and prepares you for a job in accounting administration. With a specialty in accounting, you can become an auditor, financial manager, and, of course, an accountant. Financial statements and bookkeeping will always be in demand, as will accounting. So, job security is better than in some other occupations. If you know that you want to specialize in accounting, then choose a school that specializes in it. According to U.S. News and World Report, the University of Texas-Austin is the top school for a MBA with a specialty in Accounting. The University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) is the second, though there are also many other great universities that offer accounting degrees in PA.
Not all MBA schools require a specialty, but if you’re going to choose one, choose a specialty that interests you or matches your biggest concern — job security or opportunity.
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