An MBA degree is an increasingly popular choice among people who hope to advance their business careers. Today, there’s a growing range of MBA concentrations to choose from with several different options that are designed to allow you to study with a heavier focus on the topics and subjects that you are the most interested in or that are most aligned with your future career goals. While the traditional MBA is still a top choice, MBA concentrations are becoming more of a popular option among those who want a way of distinguishing themselves from their competition and standing out for the right reasons to future employers or clients.
The right MBA concentration can provide you with the option to get an advanced business qualification that is tailored towards your future career goals. So, how do you choose the right option for you?
What Are Your Career Goals?
If you’re wondering ‘what MBA concentrations should I choose?’ Suffolk University has a lot of useful information that will help you determine the best options for you. However, your overall career goals will ultimately be the main deciding factor when it comes to the concentrations that will make the most sense for you to take. Consider whether you want your future career to be closely related to the work that you do now, or whether you are hoping for a complete career change within the business industry.
Perhaps you’re working in finance but find marketing interesting and have been increasingly thinking about making the switch over to this department, or vice versa. In this situation, an MBA in marketing can be an ideal way to build on the business knowledge that you already have from your previous finance qualifications and experience, while helping you build the necessary knowledge and skills that will be required for your future new marketing career.
If you have a set goal for your future career and know what you want to see yourself doing for work in a few years’ time, choosing an MBA concentration rather than the general MBA program can help you achieve your career goal faster by preparing you specifically for the role you want.
Your Interests and Passions:
If you’re not quite sure what your future career goal is, don’t worry – since the MBA covers so many different aspects of business, it’s often during the program that many business professionals decide on what they want to do in the future with the degree after being given the chance to figure out what they are good at and what they are the most passionate about. Figuring out your interests and passions now, however, can help you determine what might be the best career goal and subsequent choice of MBA concentration for you. Simply taking the time to think about what you enjoy the most at work, or what you might want to get involved in more, might help you come up with a concentration choice that you are happy with.
What You Don’t Want:
Another good option to consider if you’re not sure which concentration to choose is to start at the bottom, rather than the top of the list. It’s a good idea to find a list of MBA concentrations that are available or check the program list for the schools that you are interested in attending and figure out which concentrations you’re absolutely not interested in and can rule out, therefore making your list of options shorter and easier to manage.
Your Current Career:
If you are happy in your current role but want to progress, earn more responsibilities, and be considered for more relevant promotions, it’s worth thinking about your current career when choosing an MBA concentration. If you are hoping to earn an MBA in order to gain more respect from your current employer and move up the career ladder at your current place of work, it is always worth having a conversation with your employer regarding your plans and discussing the different MBA concentration options with them. Your employer might have requirements in place for education when it comes to certain senior roles that you have your eye on, and talking to them beforehand will give you a better idea of what to aim for. In addition, if you getting an MBA is going to be mutually beneficial for both you and your employer, this is an ideal opportunity to ask them about any support that they might be able to offer you as a student such as changes to your working hours to accommodate your studies or financial assistance with the cost of tuition.
Choosing the Right Business School:
Not every business school might offer the MBA concentration that you are interested in taking. However, it’s important to be open-minded when choosing where to attend. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to go to Harvard for your MBA to be worth anything. In fact, you can often get a qualification that will equip you for your future career and earn you respect in your role and industry at a much lower-rated, lesser-known school. When choosing the right school to attend, whether or not they offer the MBA concentration that you are considering should be one of the most important factors to consider. In addition, research their reputation for the specific program that you’re thinking of taking, rather than looking at the ranking for the school overall. Even mid- and low-ranking schools might offer excellent MBA programs that rank highly as a degree.
Take your time to get to know the school, attend in-person and virtual open days, and spend some time talking to past and current students to get a feel for whether or not it will be the right choice for you.
Does the Program Match Up to Your Goals?
Another consideration to make when choosing both an MBA concentration and a school to attend is whether or not the program will match up to your career goals. If you want to start your own business, for example, an MBA in entrepreneurship might be ideal for you – but be sure to check that it’s actually helped people in your situation be successful. If little to no alumni are actually successful business owners now after graduation, it might not be the best program for you.
Be sure to set aside plenty of time to research and compare different MBA programs before choosing the best one for you, since they are certainly not all created equally. Opt for a program that has good reviews from past and current students, and excellent statistics when it comes to graduates finding work in their chosen field or role.
Keep an Open Mind:
If you don’t have a specific role in mind for your future career but know that you want to work in a certain industry or niche, then it’s worth keeping an open mind when choosing your MBA concentration. The good news is that there are so many different MBA concentrations available today that you can often be as broad or as specific as you like. For example, if you know you want to work in marketing but haven’t made up your mind about the role yet, an MBA in marketing will prepare you for a wide range of different roles in this industry. On the other hand, if you know that you want to become a digital or social media marketer, you could find MBA concentrations that are much more targeted and designed to get you into working in this specific role.
Consider Your Study Options:
Another factor to keep in mind when choosing a concentration and MBA program is whether or not the program is offered in the way that you want to study. Today, MBA programs can be studied in several different ways including traditional campus-based study, online-only study or a blend of both online and classroom study. You can also find full-time, part-time, evening, and more flexible programs that allow you to work at your own pace. How you study can often be the main factor in how successful you are, especially if you need to ensure that you can easily fit getting your MBA around other commitments in your life like work or family. If you’re interested in a school that doesn’t offer the MBA program that you want in the format that you would like to study, it might be worth looking into different options.
The MBA is widely considered to be the most sought-after degree qualification in the business world and attracts thousands of professionals who are looking to further their careers each year. While the traditional MBA is designed to provide you with everything you need to know about the core aspects of business, MBA concentrations can be helpful when it comes to tailoring your learning and preparing you for a certain role or industry. When choosing your MBA concentration, program, school, and everything else, keep these factors in mind to help you choose a degree program that’s best aligned with your career aspirations.