Most two year MBA programs are designed to create a well rounded manager, with the first year dedicated to general management and the second year offering an opportunity to pursue certain specializations of your choice.
With that end in mind, B-schools often give their students a chance to polish their management skills in areas dealing with finance, consulting, sales and marketing, human resources, operations, supply chain management, technology and sometimes even the rare me´tier like sports management, criminal justice and what have you.
Some experts estimate that there could be as many as well over 50 specializations (Read List of MBA Specializations).
Now, there are certain factors that determine the choice of a specialization. For many students, this choice is clear from the start. They know which business sector they want to join and excel in. Business Master’s programs concentrate on specific areas, like Masters in Management, Master of Finance, Master of Information Systems, Master in Data Analytics, and so on. For the rest, it becomes a decision based on information that they gradually gather before, and during, their MBA program.
For further information, read:
- Best Masters in Management (MiM)
- Masters in Operations Research
- Masters (MS/MBA) in Logistics and Supply Chain Management
- Masters in Financial Engineering (MFE):Singapore
- Top STEM MBA Programs
Whether to pursue a generalist MBA, or go for a particular specialization is determined by your personal inclination, your desire from your future career, your skills and your choice of B-school. There are universities, even reputed ones, that excel in certain specific specializations as compared to others. It is best to research their effectiveness before coming to a decision on joining a program. Also important are the hiring trends. So, your ultimate resolution for which path to follow needs to be a healthy marriage between what you want and what recruiters are looking for…
Since what you want is clearly in your turf, we will use this article to dive into the current recruitment preferences based on the 2017 GMAC Corporate Recruiters Survey Report.
Business Specializations in Demand by Recruiters – MBA and other Business Masters
What kind of Business Majors are recruiters looking to hire?
MBA Soft Skills in demand
The survey, conducted in association with 97 business schools, worldwide, has produced a detailed understanding of what employers are looking for, among MBA and Business Masters candidates.
A key take away is that all desirable candidates should have a set of basic soft skills to survive the tough management world. Companies from the US, Asia, Europe, and Latin America, all agree on a list of skills, ranked globally, as follows.
- Communication: Needless to say, a manager without the ability to express clearly, professionally, and diplomatically, is best left without the responsibility of leading, and inspiring, a team. Organizations have found that managerial communication skills are directly related to employee motivation and development. Read more about Communication Skills.
- Teamwork: The basic ground work is founded on the ability to recognize each member’s talent and develop practices that lead to them to function well with each other. Read 7 Team Player Skills at Work.
- Technical: Clearly, there is very little leading, you can be involved in, unless you know what is it that you are leading for. In other words, managers need to educate themselves with the technical knowledge of their team. This not only helps them to appreciate individual contributions but also assists them in problem solving.
- Leadership: Management is responsible for keeping it together, and progressing. They should have the ability to recognize the common goal and direct their team to success. Read Leadership Skills.
- Managerial: They should be capable of handling the human resources, their tasks, business strategy, problem solving and all the other activities associated to keep going ahead.
Besides the above skills, the surveyed companies also ranked certain specializations that top the demand charts in the 2017 corporate recruitment survey. The numbers for 2014 & 2015 are shown for comparison. These numbers include the respective Business Master’s graduates as well. Let’s listify.
MBA, and Business Masters, specializations in demand
|Function||% of Companies Placing Recent Hires Globally|
|Marketing||71% (#1)||54% (#1)||54% (#1)|
|Business Development||71% (#1)||50% (#3)||49% (#2)|
|Finance||71% (#1)||51% (#2)||54% (#1)|
|Data Analytics||69% (#2)||51% (#2)||44% (#4)|
|Consulting||66% (#3)||43% (#6)||43% (#5)|
|Operations/Logistics||65% (#4)||47% (#5)||41% (#6)|
|IT/Systems||65% (#4)||39% (#9)||43% (#5)|
|Accounting||65% (#4)||42% (#7)||46% (#3)|
|General Management||64% (#5)||48% (#4)||46% (#3)|
|Human Resources||61% (#6)||40% (#8)||43% (#5)|
|Investment Banking||50% (#7)||30% (#10)||31% (#7)|
The percentages don’t add to a hundred due to multiple field selections by the recruiters. The numbers also reflect various job-levels – entry, mid-level and senior positions.
The key take away from the survey are:
- The data for 2017, over that of 2015 & 2014, indicates an increased demand for highly educated MBA, and Business MS, professionals.
- The demand for Marketing positions is consistently high, a possible consequence of the persistent need for experts who can increase sales and market share, irrespective of the economy.
- Big Data has become a popular field, with Business Data Analytics securing an ever increasing popularity in the demand charts.
- Investment Banking, though highly lucrative, is considerably less popular than the other majors. Finance, on the other hand, is still riding high.
The moral of the story, if asked, is that employers have a healthy respect for business graduates and their expertise. In the interest of their companies, whether a large F500 corporation or a small start up with less than 50 employees, recruiters are more than willing to go the extra mile to hire business professionals – MBAs and Masters in Business Majors – even at the cost of a few extra bucks in salary and perks. It is then only a matter of aligning your interests to the wants of the corporations.
So, as far as job outlook is concerned, recruitment for MBAs is pretty much business as usual – with more and more jobs each year and more and more MBAs laughing to the bank.
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