The students who are planning to do MBA this year have two options. The majority of B schools in India offer general MBA programs, which is a holistic management science. Another option you have is that of specialized MBA.
The Spread of Specialized MBA Programs
B school trends may come and go, but one that seems to have legs is the creation of specialized MBA. MBA is not about the general management but about getting specific knowledge on an area in which your interest lies. If you are clear with your objective on which field. You want to pursue MBA in, instead of pursuing general MBA, you can directly go for the specialized MBA program.
Many top private B schools offer specialized MBA programs apart from their flagship program of PGDM. If you want to stand out of the league and direct your career to a particular direction, you must take the other route to walk, away from the usual.
The trend toward specialization has crept into most fields over the past few decades, but few have embraced the shift more enthusiastically than graduate schools of business. The percentage of business school students enrolled in specialized programs has risen to a great extent as each year, more and more students are enrolling for specialized MBA.
Instead of exposing them to theory or the big picture of their discipline, specialized programs tend to zero in on practical and commercial applications. Niche MBA programs tend to attract students who know exactly to which industry they are heading, as well as older students with business experience who may want to change fields.
Is a specialized program always a good choice for an MBA student?
Not necessarily. While established programs have placement records on par with those of their general MBAs, many newer programs have not yet established the kind of recruiting relationships that guarantee students high-paying jobs at graduation. And graduates always run the risk of getting hamstrung by their specialties later in their careers, when an industry downturn forces them to look outside their specialties for opportunities.
Chart your own path:
Some students who have gone through the specialized programs say they are best for those with a firm idea of their future goals, and who are keen to chart their own path. For students who aren’t comfortable breaking away from the pack or seeking out professional contacts in unconventional ways, a specialized MBA might not be the best choice. This is especially true for less known schools, where big companies often don’t recruit. Students in these programs agree that making industry connections can require a lot of initiative from the student. In some cases, specialty programs are not as well-received by the targeted employers as students would hope.
Are Specializations Credible?
All MBAs hold certain core attributes that are valued by employers seeking to hire the managers of the future, and general MBAs teach their students to think strategically and analytically. However, if you add to this a specialization that matches with future career goals then the combination can fast track a candidate to senior management.
Some people think that prospective employers are reluctant to hire people from such specialized programs because they lack credibility. After all does Hilton Hotels really need to hire an MBA in Hotel Management rather than an MBA generalist from a top school? The answer is not a simple one, and it all comes down to the credibility of the course in question. Students should be wary of small universities that are just using marketing skills to promote “hot topic” courses without having the depth to deliver a high quality course.
Specialized MBA – A Job-oriented Program:
Specialized MBA are generally a job-oriented program that makes sure that a student gets a customized qualification which he/she can put into maximum practical use in the workplace. The courses offered in job-oriented specialized programs provide credible qualification to the students which enable them to grow in their specialist area so that they become better managers later on.
There are various options available in the management field but most of the students are not aware of it. There is a huge boom in all sectors of our economy such as in telecom, financial services, banking, insurance, organized retail, IT, ITES, consulting, aviation, hospitality, tourism, FMCG sectors. So, good managers are high in demand to run their companies but there is a huge gap in the demand supply chain. The demand for good manpower is unmet by MBAs, this is mainly because many MBA graduates suffer from knowledge and skills deficiency.
The job-oriented specialized programs have come into focus because of the demand for trained manpower at the entry level, which is too large for current B-schools to fulfill. Recently, many sector-focused institutes have been set up to fill this demand-supply gap. Some of these institutes are Institute of Finance, Banking and Insurance: Global Retail School, Mudra Institute of Communication Ahmedabad, IMS Pro-school etc. Many leading organizations have started such institutes.
An MBA graduate will be faced with three options to choose from:
- First option is to go through the traditional route of pursuing an MBA program;
- Second option is to consider pursuing the job-oriented programs; and lastly,
- Third option is to apply directly to the companies, but employability of an average graduate is very low.
So, the safest option is the second one, if you are not able to manage entry into an MBA program. One need not be an MBA to land a job in a reputed company. In order to start your career, a sector-oriented specialized program is good enough. As these job-oriented programs are of lesser duration, they save time and cost. And after gathering a few years of work experience, you can go for a general MBA that will make your future career path stronger.
Sectoral Growth and Specialized MBA in India:
In India the sectoral growth in tourism, hospitality, aviation, finance, retail and other sectors have created demand for specialized MBAs. With the result, the demand for such type of courses is on the rise. Specialized MBA courses offer sectoral specialization apart from the conventional functional specialization. A specialized MBA course prepares students for the specific nuances of business in a particular sector within the context of the broad field of business and management. Specified skills and experience give the student competitive edge in the job markets. Some information about important specialized MBA courses is given here:
- Tourism related Management Courses
- Health Care & Hospital Administration
- Rural & Agri-Business Management
- IT related Management Courses
- Family Managed Business
- Communication Management
- Tourism related Management courses
The options for institutes in India include rural management (Institute of Rural Management, Anand, Gujarat; NMIMS, Mumbai), forest management (Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal), retail management (KJ Somaiya and Welingkar, Mumbai), telecom management (IIT-Delhi), insurance management (NMIMS, Mumbai), human resource management (XLRI, MDI, TISS) among others.
Specialist MBA vs General MBA: Be sure of your domain:
To give a proper direction to you higher education, Specialized MBA programs provide the right launch pad for a focused career. The sectors in which there is high demand for specialist MBAs in India are: Retail, Construction, Communication, Rural, Pharmaceutical, Telecom, Banking Finance Insurance (BFSI), etc. to name a few. You can opt for specialized MBA courses that cater to the manpower needs of the aforementioned sectors.
The specialized MBA programs will give you a boost in your career if you choose the right specialization for you. The benefits of doing specialist MBA is that each sector requires qualifications. It’s a useful for the sector’s unique career requirements. There is tremendous potential for the students joining specialized MBA Programs in terms of Managerial career opportunities and long term growth potentials to Leadership positions in their specific sectors.
General MBA and specialized MBA have their own strengths and weaknesses. Hence, before taking any final decision, you should take into consideration all the aspects. Let us analyze the strengths and weaknesses of both these types of MBA.
- The general MBA courses give you a holistic learning on all aspects of management.
- After learning all the nitty-gritty’s of management. In the first year, you can take up a specialization of your choice. And in second year, in understanding whole topics.
- Your knowledge base will be much wider. You can shift to other sectors as well, as you have the requisite knowledge of all the sectors.
- You do not get the in-depth knowledge of a particular sector but information about all the sectors.
- While starting your career, you do not have a particular sector or specialized area to join
- Studying about a particular sector of your choice provides you the expertise on the subject
- You are ready to face and meet the demands of the market after the completion of your course
- You get to study the specific domain of your choice. Rather than taking a holistic lesson and worry about your career path after the completion of the course.
- Your knowledge base gets narrow owing to learning about a particular sector
- You do not have much options in terms of pursuing career
- If you are not sure about your choice of specialization and opt for a particular sector specific MBA. It will hamper your entire career unlike general MBA where you can choose specialization in second year. It’s easier to switch the specialization in your career as well.
Before you select a particular sector for your specialist MBA, first make sure that you are taking the right decision. Many a times, aspirants who decide to do specialized MBA with the thought of job in the particular field. They opt for a specialization randomly without much introspection. This can be dangerous. This will not only hamper your studies for the two year. But your career will also take a toll if the sector is not meant for you.