Monday, August 9, 2010

How to choose MBA specializations

This is the most important question that any MBA (or PGDM, PGDBM, PGPM, etc... etc.) aspirant would need to have an answer to before starting this eventful journey. Believe me, Destination of this journey would completely depend upon this single very important answer.

The reason I thought I should touch upon this topic is because I myself had this dilemma about choosing the stream of specialization when I started out, and today, when I look back at the kind of raw, half-cooked information I had used to decide my stream, I really pity and feel sorry for myself. There was so much of misconception about the various streams. May be I had not done much of research or didn't have the right kind of network to give me a clear-cut idea.

So this is for all those aspirants who have decided to do MBA but need some more information to decide upon their stream.

1. Streams have got nothing to do with under-graduation background. Never decide your stream based upon your educational background. One big misconception people have is MBA in Finance suits those with Commerce background. It is not so. Yes, if one has commerce background, it helps in some concepts. But largely, people with Engineering background do equally well if not better.

In fact, most banks or consultancy companies prefer people with MBA (Finance) and Engineering background. The reason is that engineering subjects stress more upon logical and analytical thinking and practical approach to solve problems. Also, most of the class toppers in Finance stream have been engineers.

2. Marketing Management is not about boardroom marketing strategy planning. Yes, please get real. The career for a Marketing Management graduate starts with Sales Job initially, Hardcore Sales. And if FMCG sales looks too glamorous from outside, lets get some basics right. FMCG sales realistically would mean going to smallest towns in India in scorching heat, or flooding rains, or shivering cold in old, about-to-breakdown buses or overloaded jeeps, and selling products from shop to shop.

Yes, you do get rewarded for the efforts you put in your initial years. And you do get to make strategies, but that comes much later. You have to spend no less than 3-4 years in sales before being considered for marketing role. But if sales is not your cup of tea, think twice before opting for marketing.

If you are working in marketing, advertising or public relations, you know that these fields are very competitive. You need to have good marketing knowledge and skills in order for you to be success in this challenging career. Typically marketing students require a good command over communication skills, and ability to meet new people and convince them. MBA with marketing specialization can increase your knowledge and enhance your skills so that you are well prepared to face the challenges along your marketing career path.

MBA in Human Resources (HR)
Employees are the most important asset for an organization. HR department is responsible to select, recruit, train and cater to the needs of employees. Hence, management personnel in HR department require to good management of people, effective communication with employees, and good labor relations.

An MBA in Human Resources will combine the generic MBA with specialized human resources training such as employee training & recruitment, planning and mediation. You will also learn how to integrate HR strategies with the company overall human resources allocation plan.
Typically a student who want to specialize HR need to have good leadership skills, along communications and people management skills.

I hope this will help the aspirants get some of their basics right and make a more meaningful decision about their area of specialization.

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