Earning an M.B.A. is an excellent way to complement and build on your undergraduate education and broaden your job prospects. Unlike undergrad, most M.B.A. programs don’t require you to select a major, and the general curriculum is designed to equip you to work in a wide array of fields. However, many schools do offer the option to select a concentration to focus on. M.B.A. concentrations can help you focus your studies on a particular aspect of business and prepare you for a career in a specific field.
Some of the most common M.B.A. concentrations include:
- Global Business
- Information Management
- Real Estate
- Supply Chain Management
Whether or not you decide to select a concentration depends on your academic and professional goals, but for many students, focusing on a particular discipline helps their career prospects exponentially. To help you explore the option further, here are three reasons why you should consider choosing a concentration for your M.B.A.:
1. A concentration will help tailor your M.B.A. to you.
Choosing a concentration will help make your M.B.A. experience all about you. All M.B.A. programs will teach you a fairly broad set of skills, which may make you feel overwhelmed when it’s time to start looking for a job. But a concentration will help you refine and focus those skills and prepare you for a successful career in a specific field such as finance or marketing.
2. You’ll increase your knowledge and skill set.
Focusing your studies on a particular concentration will help you learn new skills and develop your knowledge of a given subject, which will in turn boost your résumé and make you a more attractive job applicant. Throughout your studies, it is important to learn a little about a lot of things, but it’s also helpful to learn a lot about one thing and work toward becoming an expert in a specific area of business. An M.B.A. concentration can help you do just that.
3. You’ll show potential employers that you’re actively interested in what they do.
The job market can be pretty cutthroat, so it’s imperative that you find ways to stand out from the crowd. Earning an M.B.A. will help, but specializing in a subject related to the field in which you hope to work will show employers that you’re truly serious about your career and their industry. It will also show them that you’ve already achieved a certain level of expertise and may not require as much training as an applicant who didn’t select a concentration.
Above all else, remember that the most important determining factor in choosing a concentration is you. What are your personal and professional goals? What job title do you hope to hold one day? Where do you want to be in your career in five or 10 years? How important is work-life balance to you? The answers to those questions will help guide you toward the best M.B.A. concentration for your interests and ambitions.
Stephanie Farah is a blogger for CollegeXpress.com, a comprehensive college and scholarship search website. She earned a B.A. in English at the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Journalism at the University of North Texas. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, traveling, and hanging out with her Great Dane. You can follow her on Twitter.