Choosing your MBA analytically and strategically can help you in achieving your career goals!
Management professionals are in demand everywhere in the world. Big corporates are constantly on the lookout for MBA graduates who can create value for the organization. Considering the requirements of different sectors in the industry, the demand for trained and specialized management professionals as against mere graduates or postgraduates has reached an all-time high. Employers want candidates who can contribute to the company’s growth from day one and therefore, they want to hire people who are experts in their respective fields.
The increasing demand among recruiters for specialized MBA graduates has fuelled the need for a broader range of specializations that students can choose from. But choosing an MBA course can be an extremely tough task, given the variety of options available in the market.
A few things, however, can be kept in mind when choosing a specialization such as your interest in a particular field, your aptitude for it, popularity of the course and the opportunities available in the market.
When you’re going for a specialization, it helps advance your career by honing your skills in a key area of interest. You will, therefore, gain deeper understanding of one specific area when you’ll attach a specialization (such as one of the following) to the strong business foundation provided by an MBA.
1. Marketing – For any organization, marketing is a crucial component. In today’s competitive world, companies need trained marketing professionals who can develop business strategies efficiently by analyzing competition, understanding customer behaviours and their needs. In a marketing programme, a student is introduced to relevant managerial skills through elective courses on advertising and sales promotion, brand management, product management, etc.
“There are a lot of companies that come to campuses for placements in order to hire MBA graduates for various marketing job roles. Sales and marketing elective courses are, therefore, the highest subscribed,” says Dr. Mahua Guha (Area: Strategic Management, IIM Rohtak).
2. Finance – Every business operation in an organization has a financial decision-making process in place. A management course in Finance is designed to equip students with the right set of skills to manage financial matters of a company. Under this field, students are introduced to concepts of financial accounting as well as management accounting. Corporate finance is another important concept that students study to understand how investment decisions are taken after weighing financial risks.
“Most graduates start as associates or analysts depending on their prior work experience and profile. However, within five years’ time, good performers can become vice presidents or associate vice presidents of the segment,” says Professor Ajay Pandey, Dean (programmes), IIM Ahmedabad.
3. International Business – A management course in this field provides students a deeper understanding of national and international management issues. For students, MBA in international business works as a passport to leading companies like Goldman Sachs, Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Cognizant and Amazon. Apart from gaining in-depth knowledge of international business, students get an insight into the political, economic and cultural framework of doing business.
“There is a huge demand for managers with international prospective among recruiters across the globe,” says Dr Surajit Mitra, director, IIFT, Delhi.
4. Operations – Operations management is central to any business activity. Almost all business functions need to have people who have sound knowledge of operations. Under this field, students get introduced to different types of production processes, product process matrix, project management, quality management, etc. Graduates in operations management are highly in demand in the manufacturing and service production sectors.
“There has always been a demand for operations management graduates. After finance and marketing, most students prefer to get onto operations as a specialization,” says Professor Samir K Srivastava, chairman of research strategy and policy committee and professor, operations management, IIM Lucknow.
5. HR management – For the sustainability of any organization, human resources is the key. It is responsible for talent acquisition and management, human resource planning, compensation and reward management, competency-based management and employee engagement activities. Given the constant demand for trained professionals across sectors, it turns out human resources (HR) management will remain a popular choice among students for years to come.
“Organizations operating globally require skilful and talented professionals to handle key positions and challenging work assignments. This has increased the demand of HR functions among various sectors. With the positive outlook in the hiring activities, the demand of HRM graduates has increased,” says Professor Sumita Rai, chairperson, PGP-HRM, MDI, Gurgaon.
6. Retail management – Retail management is fairly a new branch but has gained immense popularity among students in the last five years. Thanks to the growth of e-commerce, consumer consciousness about luxury brands and access to internet, retail has become one of the fastest growing sectors in the country. Under this specialization, students will get an insight into the basics of managerial skills needed in the retail business.
“India’s online retail industry has grown at a swift pace in the last five years from around Rs. 15 billion (1,500 crore) in revenues in 2007-08 to Rs. 139 billion (13,900 crore) in 2012-13,” as per CRISIL, a global analytical company.
7. Supply Chain with Operations – The e-commerce sector is completely dependent on the supply chain and operations management since it has to meet customer expectations and win their confidence. For recruiters in this industry, someone with a background in supply chain management and operations management is, therefore, a great combination.
“With the increasing number of e-commerce companies, there has been an increasing stress on making their supply chain efficient for not only containing their costs, but also to meet customer expectations and, therefore, win their confidence. Given this scenario, this field gives ample opportunities to explore and create impact on the business directly,” says Shiva Jyothi, student, IIM Calcutta.
8. Information Technology (IT) – Without IT support, there is no way a business can run smoothly. Every organization, big or small, needs trained IT managers who can efficiently handle emerging and converging information and communications technologies. An MBA in IT equips you with the right set of skills needed for the application and implementation of information technology in different businesses. Considering its scope in today’s rapidly changing technology environment, an MBA in IT can take you places.
“The MBA essentially exposes students to the business framework, but more importantly it gives students an opportunity to actually practice the science and art of management. A well designed MBA will ensure that students are ready from day one with the essential problem solving, analytical, team management, ability to cope with pressure and taking ownership of issues. These soft skills coupled with the hard skills of IT, Marketing, Finance, Operations and Human Resources bring the right intellect to the fore, which companies are willing to pay for,” says Tarundeep Singh Anand, Co-Founder of Universal Business School (UBS), Mumbai.
Quotes and inputs from HT Education