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.
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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.
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.
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.
|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 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.