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How to Choose an MBA Concentration

314 Viewed Jacob Martin Comments Off on How to Choose an MBA Concentration

Choosing an MBA concentration is essential to becoming an expert in your chosen field. While having an MBA will always help move you forward in your career, doing a concentration will give you that extra competitive edge against others in the industry. When you’re going for your dream job, you don’t want the fact that you don’t have a concentration to be the only reason why someone else gets the role over you.

If you’re starting your career, you won’t have much work experience to rely on when interviewing for job opportunities. Having an MBA concentration will help you improve your skillset in the business area you are looking to break into. That will make it easier for you to show up to interviews with confidence in your skills and your competency for the jobs you’re looking to secure.

The world of business is vast and touches every industry on the planet. Choosing a concentration may seem daunting but knowing your options will help to narrow down your search. When you’re looking through the different concentrations, consider your career objectives and what you’re generally interested in, which will help you to choose the best option.

Guidelines for choosing an MBA concentration

Candidates with master’s level business degrees are in high demand in today’s job market. Whether you’re interested in the healthcare industry, finance, or marketing, having an MBA will make you an attractive prospect to employers, especially if you have an MBA concentration. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, nearly 90% of employers plan to hire MBA grads in 2021. Click here to read more about why having an MBA concentration is advantageous.

When you’re considering your concentration, here are a few guidelines that you can use to help you choose the right one.

  1. Define your interests and strengths

The best way to choose your concentration is to do so based on what you like to do. It’s a simple concept, but picking a concentration just for the sake of it won’t set you up for a career that you will love. If you choose finance because you think there is the most money in it, but you don’t like finance, then you’ll likely regret your decision later down the line. If you’re interested in marketing, then choose to do your concentration in marketing. It really can be that simple.

  1. What industry do you want to work in?

Which types of industries would you like to work in? You can do MBA concentrations in niche, industry-specific topics like criminal justice, healthcare, or sustainability.

  1. Identify what you don’t like

A great way to narrow down your options is the consider which concentrations you aren’t interested in based on previous experiences. Write out a list of your past jobs and what you both liked and disliked about them. These factors could relate to the industry itself or the way the company operates. For example, would you prefer to work directly for one large company or consulting with multiple clients? Do you like working for massive, global brands or small, intimate startups? These questions will help you to cross off concentrations that you already know aren’t a good fit.

  1. Consider trying something new

If there is an industry you are intrigued by, or newer concentrations that are not heavily saturated, then you may want to consider giving them a try. Finance and strategy concentrations are very popular as the career options are lucrative, and there is good potential for success. That said, new concentrations may offer opportunities to be at the forefront of growing industries. Plus, the market will be less competitive.

  1. Salary

No one wants to pursue a career that has limited earning potential. Salary is an important thing to consider when choosing your MBA concentration. There are statistically higher paying job opportunities in consulting, retail, technology, and finance. That said, you shouldn’t choose a concentration for the salary alone. After all, money isn’t everything.

Now that you have some guidelines to go by, here are some of the most common MBA concentrations you can take.

Corporate strategy

An MBA concentration in corporate strategy will dive into how organizations can create value, collaborate with other companies, build business portfolios, and understanding global markets and how they shift and change. Corporate strategy positions are typically very well paying, with the average salary for a corporate strategist being about $192,208. Regardless of the industry, all businesses need a corporate strategist to stay competitive in the market. With a corporate strategy concentration, you will learn how to create and implement business policies and objectives, which will help companies become successful.

Finance

Probably the most common MBA concentration is in finance. Taking a finance concentration is an excellent choice for those that are analytically brained and excel at working with numbers. You will gain the skills to strategically manage large quantities of money, including investments, management of company portfolios, marketing forecasting, and more. MBA graduates with finance concentrations are the best candidates to ensure that organizations achieve maximum profits. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics also rates the job outlook for finance managers at 15% over the next ten years, which is much faster than average. Finance is an integral part of every business, so there is no shortage of job opportunities for MBA grads with a finance concentration.

Entrepreneurship

Anyone studying their MBA has an interest in business, and many want to become business owners themselves. What better way to learn the ins and outs of building your own company than to do your concentration on it? An MBA concentration in entrepreneurship gives you the skills and knowledge to build a company from the ground up, and initiate significant developmental changes within already established companies. It teaches you how to find venture capital opportunities, business management, franchising, and more.

If you want to start your own business, then a concentration in entrepreneurship is the best place to start. From planning to innovation and development, this degree will walk you through every step. The salary for MBA graduates with an entrepreneurship concentration can vary since they rely entirely on your business and its success. However, it does prepare you for a career as a business consultant and other leadership roles that typically have lucrative salaries.

International management

If you’re interested in international business and exploring global business opportunities, you might want to consider an international management concentration. Businesses and companies need to tap into the worldwide market to continue to grow and prosper. They need professionals who understand international business and how it varies from country to country to take full advantage of it. A concentration in international management will give you a thorough understanding of how international business works, emphasizing economic, political, cultural, and social factors. You will learn about the challenges of foreign markets and how to leverage them for successful outcomes.

An international management concentration will prepare graduates to work with American companies operating internationally or international companies operating in the United States. Some potential job prospects might include international trade manager or sales manager, or director of global operations.

Healthcare management

Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States. The societal demand for healthcare is increasing each year, and experts are necessary to find strategies to address these demands. A healthcare management concentration will train students to grow, transform, and improve healthcare systems. It includes improving the quality of healthcare and working with healthcare organization budgets to allocate them most beneficially. Pursuing a concentration in healthcare gives you the chance to work within an industry that is changing lives and contribute to the bigger picture of the country’s health and wellness.

Human resources

An MBA with a concentration in human resources is an excellent choice for people who enjoy optimizing processes and systems and helping things run more efficiently. In this concentration, you will gain an in-depth knowledge of recruitment processes, hiring, training, employee benefits packages, IT systems, and career development practices. You will learn about human resources from both the perspective of an employee and an organization’s perspective. That way, you can approach your career with a well-rounded knowledge of both sides.

Once you enter the workforce, you will use your training to develop entire HR strategies and company processes. Every company needs an HR system, so there are many employment options in this field. It will include designing and implementing benefits packages and payroll systems, crafting performance assessments and recruitment guidelines, and creating disciplinary policies.

Marketing

If you’re interested in advertising, social media, and market trends, then you should consider getting your MBA concentration in marketing. Marketing managers are responsible for turning a product or service into a full-fledged brand. There are many layers to this process. You will learn how to create a brand identity, advertising strategies, public and media relations, and strategic ways to promote a brand in your concentration. You will also learn how to analyze market trends, do competitor research, and use your findings to create successful campaigns.

Conclusion:

While there are a wide range of MBA concentrations to choose from, these seven will give you a good starting point when deciding which is the best for you. As you can see, there is more to business than just a finance degree, although that may still be the path you want to pursue. Knowing the options available to you will allow you to make an educated decision to help you on your ideal career path.

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