MBA Specializations

Dr. Shahid Amin Trali
A long list of specializations exists in business and management degree that makes it difficult to choose a right one. A wrongly opted specialization can make a negative mark on the career of a student. It means money, energy, resources and most important precious time of a student is lost. Nowadays specializations are available in both undergraduate and post graduate business and management degrees. Usually the first year in a two year MBA program and first two years in a UG degree focuses on the completion of the core courses. These courses are designed to develop a strong foundation of the basic concepts across the various management subjects. It’s mostly during the second year of the MBA program and third year of the UG program; students have an option to choose to specialize in a particular area. There are many factors that can influence the decision of a student regarding his/her interest in any specialization. The factors that will govern the decision of the student may be like job availability in the market, area of interest of the student, job profiles which will suit the demands of the aspirant and the perks and rewards that the specializations will offer. There is a long list of specializations in this article. We will analyze three major areas in business and management i.e. Marketing, HR and Finance. These three major specializations have been very popular in the business and management field and one can find many more specializations under their fold.MBA Specializations
Marketing is one prominent specialization in the field of business and management. The ever increasing competition has forced the marketers to think differently. It’s important nowadays to develop competitive positioning, create a niche and offer value to customers in order to sustain a long-term profitability with the customers. The marketing department plays a huge role in a business as it is responsible for bringing in new businesses, raising the revenue, growing market share and contributing to the company’s growth and profitability. The students who will specialize in marketing get insights into various key areas which include market research and analysis, competitive analysis, consumer behavior, customer analysis, business ethics, sales management, rural marketing, services marketing, product management, brand management, advertising, digital marketing and e-commerce. Institutes have also started offering courses in those areas.
Human Resources
Another potential area in the field of business and management is Human Resources Management. This specialization helps students develop skills related to how to acquire, manage and retain workforce in organizations in a systematic way.
This particular specialization develops student knowledge and their ability to manage employees and execute the related work processes within a company. The major skills developed are related to recruitment, selection, training and development, designing jobs, assessments and motivation (promotions/rewarding performance of employees), health and safety, compensation and managing exits from a company. HR managers have a great role as they are the people who can give good or bad employees and keep employees motivated. They ensure that a cordial relationship exists between employees and management for the smooth functioning and the success of the organization. They may also be required to take charge of various activities like get-togethers or off-site visits which may be an integral part of the office culture.
Finance is another promising area but the students who are comfortable with numbers can do better in this field. The lucrative wages offered in some of the finance related jobs is the reason for the high demand of this specialization. This specialization helps students to develop insights into how the financial world functions, the various financial theories and how these can be applied in the business world. The career choice in this field could be in areas like asset management firms, investment banking, hedge funds or private equity, portfolio management, credit risk management, hedge fund management or derivatives. There are also companies who have their in-house finance department which would provide various job opportunities in finance like Chief Financial officer, Financial Analyst, Risk Analyst etc.
Those students who are interested in Marketing and HR specializations must develop good personality, people management skills and excellent communication skills. Finance is the subject which requires more numbers knowledge. A student’s choice should be based on a combination of his personal preferences and an understanding about the future of industries and professions of his choice. It’s is also important to consider the salary ranges for jobs. No one subject is innately better than another and we can’t get everything in just one degree. Students need to pick the one that they will do best in, but must keep reading and gain knowledge in other fields as well.
(The author is serving as an Assistant Professor in ITM University Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh).