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Selecting an MBA Specialty

Choosing to go to business school is only the beginning of many more decisions. Today, is here to help you pick the right specialty for your personality and goals.

Choosing to get your MBA is only the first of many decisions to be made before entering graduate school. A student who wants to go to med school, for example, has many options before her: pediatrics, gynecology, orthopedics, sports medicine, and on and on. The same goes for the business-minded. An aspiring accountant needs a very different set of skills than a start-up founder. Some pursue an MBA with a very clear idea of strengths and preferences. Others feel somewhat split–perhaps a few courses seem desirable.

The best way to narrow the options is to explore them further, to get as close to understanding life on the other side of the degree as possible. Here, we will try to explain some of the common options available.

If you’re the type of person who is always yammering to friends and family about, “Wouldn’t it be great if X existed?” and you want to make a life filling those gaps, then this might be one course to consider. Many who choose this route are creative or risk-takers, inherent traits unlikely to be taught in a classroom. Those qualities alone won’t create success, but a focused MBA can be the bridge. You’ll learn the nuts and bolts of how to turn your innovative ideas into reality and keep them sustainable. Most MBA programs have courses that allow students to make this an area of focus.

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This is like being the captain of a ship; everyone is working for you, but you have to understand life in each employee’s shoes (or office) to be successful. Some work their way up, but others come in at the CEO level. You’ll learn a lot about negotiating, strategizing, and problem solving. You will find out how to be the person who is, for example, implementing the vision of the aforementioned entrepreneur at that person’s company. If you are an organized leader with foresight, this might be your course.

Investor or portfolio manager:
In these positions, one might be investing in one of the aforementioned companies, or assisting someone else in doing so. You aren’t making companies or managing them, but guessing how they will do. This isn’t guesswork; you need to understand trends and markets and how to balance risks. Patience helps. In the end, there is a small sense of gambling. You’ll likely learn a lot about data, mathematics, and deep analysis so you can make the best-informed decision possible.

You are creating a company’s appeal to the public, and this sort of straddles the line between business and advertising. Do you have a knack for being concise and clever? Would you find it an exciting challenge to branding a company? Do you find yourself commenting on marketing campaigns in your daily life? All great signs this might be a fit. You have to have a great grasp not just on companies, but on how people work; why they should care about a company and what the company can offer them. It’s all about making connections.

Going global involves some big thinking. This is a great option for somebody who loves travel. Kidding, but that is a perk. You might learn multiple languages, and take overview courses on global history and local cultures. You’ll have to learn a little bit about trade law. There are additional avenues within international: will you be an entrepreneur or a manager abroad for example? If you are fascinated by emerging markets and how various countries work together (or against one another), then it’s worth exploring this further. is a graduate student rate & review website. With over 40,000 student reviews and growing, provides a valuable resource to potential graduates students in their graduate school search.

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