Getting your MBA is a significant and important step in your career. The knowledge that you gain from your two years of study will propel you to new heights in the workplace and beyond. The first year of most MBA programs usually offers core classes, while the second year gives students an opportunity to focus on one or two of the specialized fields that interest them. While not required, many MBA students choose a specialization. Here, we break down twelve of them and who they might be best for.

Accounting: The accounting specialization will train students to conquer the Uniform Certified Public Accountant exam. Students in this field aspire to be CPAs or perhaps to be financial managers for or auditors of big businesses.

Economics: The economics specialization focuses on theory and how economic analysis has changed through history. There is a subdivision of both microeconomics and macroeconomics within this category. Studying economics can help students understand the economy on a grand-scale, help with the stock market and banking and prepare students for jobs in many fields from the government to top universities.

Entrepreneurship: The entrepreneurship concentration focuses on creativity and innovation. These students aspire to create new businesses or accurately discover and encourage others through financial and informational assistance. Most programs involve creating your own business plan and learning how to successfully run all aspects of your own company.

Finance: The finance specialization steers students towards banking and financial markets. Often, finance MBAs have experience in the stock market and want to advance their careers. This specialization offers great preparation and insight for hedge funds, investment banking, sales and trading and corporate finance.

Information Systems: Information systems MBAs are typically a little on the nerdy side (a good thing!). These students have a far more technical core curriculum and learn about business networks, running computers in a business and work with IT data. Every successful business needs a strong core of computer savvy technicians.

International Business: The international business specialization is for students who want to travel the world and deal with the changing business climate across the globe. The focus of the curriculum is on global issues and cooperation among multinational companies. Students in this specialization may also experience short study-abroad projects and programs.

Management: The management specialization focuses on the very core of any MBA program. These courses are for well-rounded students who would like to advance their careers to an executive level in the business world. Courses teach students leadership qualities and techniques to excel in any environment in an ever-changing landscape of jobs and data availability.

Marketing: Marketing concentrations are for MBAs who are most interested in consumer behavior. These students may want to excel in marketing professions or the advertising field, and their studies will focus on market trends, what affects decision making and communications. Market research can also be a sub curriculum focus in this specialization.

Non-Profit: As the title states, non-profit MBA specialties will prepare students to advise, create or work with a non-profit organization. Less obvious, however, is that the non-profit MBA will help prepare individuals to work for many government institutions outside of political and global policy. Entrepreneurship may also be a focus here.

Production/Operations: The students focusing on a production and operations will learn how to advise manufacturing and labor-intensive organizations. Jobs associated with this degree include consultants or managers for top industrial companies. There is some curriculum blending with the supply chain and logistics MBA.

Real Estate: Real estate MBAs want to work in the housing market, and this specialization will help them gain expertise in the field. There also may be a focus on law in this MBA course load. Be advised, however, that different graduate programs may help students more effectively in some parts of the real estate field, such as development.

Supply Chain/Logistics: Supply chain and logistics MBAs focus on distribution and effective business practices. This degree may lead to work in healthcare and pharmaceuticals as well as production companies and industrial organizations. There is also an overlap with the production and operations MBA here as both focus on keeping labor-intensive businesses moving smoothly.

All of these concentrations or specializations can open doors for the successful candidate who completes them. Choose wisely!

About the author
Marc Zawel

As author of Untangling the Ivy League, Marc literally wrote the book on gaining admission to highly selective colleges. He earned a BA from Cornell University – where he met AcceptU’s co-founder – and an MBA from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Marc chaired the admissions advisory board; he has also conducted alumni interviews for Cornell for more than fifteen years.

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