What to consider when choosing your MBA specialisation

Two of the most important decisions you’ll make regarding your MBA studies will be which business school you choose to attend and which specialisation or major you pick.

Most MBA programs offered by the top business schools in the world include a solid foundation in core business concepts as well as a set of elective courses geared towards specialised areas. Why do MBA programs include these majors or specialisations? The answer lies in the fact that this specialised approach allows candidates to really sharpen their skills in their chosen field, making them highly attractive to employers and recruitment agencies after graduation.

The top business schools in the world offer a range of exciting specialisation streams; it can be tough knowing which option is best for you. Here’s what to keep in mind when making this all-important decision:

Understand your interests and aptitude.

Let your interests and natural aptitude guide your specialisation choice. Which industry are you most passionate about? What are you really good at? Which roles, departments and industries do you feel an affinity for? Understanding your strengths, interests, and abilities can help you narrow down your specialisation choices.  Choose a Finance major if you want to learn about topics such as firm valuation, financial analysis, mergers and acquisition, financial markets. Or if starting something new and building it from the ground up excite you? An entrepreneurship major might fit the bill.

Choose a specialisation that aligns with your specific career goals.

Why do an MBA at all if it isn’t going to help you achieve your specific career goals? We can’t stress enough how essential it is to have a set of clearly defined career goals before embarking on any MBA program. Keep these career goals in mind when looking at the various specialisation streams on offer. Which majors will help you get where you want to be?

Don’t let projected salary figures be your only consideration.

Even if earning a higher salary is one of your core reasons for opting to pursue an MBA, be careful not to let salary expectations solely guide your specialisation or major choice. Some specialisations will have higher projected salary levels than others, but succeeding in that field—and earning that salary—depends on your personal strengths and interests. Why do an MBA that specialises in a field you don’t have an aptitude for? For example, if graduates of finance-related specialisations tend to earn the highest salaries, but you know that the field makes your head spin, think long and hard before going that route. Rather, choose a specialisation that you know you’ll excel in, putting you in the running for the upper salary bracket for that vertical.

Talk to your school’s career counsellors, current students, and alumni.

You don’t have to make this decision alone. Seek support and guidance from wherever you can get it. The top business schools in the world understand the value of one-on-one career coaching and have counsellors on hand to help MBA candidates make the best choices. Set up an appointment with a school advisor to discuss which program is best suited to your personal and professional goals. Current students and alumni can also be invaluable sources of guidance and insight. Most business schools are happy to connect prospective students with existing students and graduates alike. Take advantage of this opportunity to get insider info about the specialisation streams you’re interested in.

As one of the top business schools in the world, ESSEC’s Business School offers six cutting-edge Global MBA majors:

  • Strategy & Management
  • Finance
  • Luxury Brand Management
  • Hospitality Management
  • Entrepreneurship & Innovation
  • Digital Business

Want to know more about ESSEC’s Global MBA? Download the program brochure Or, if you’re still not sure which business school or MBA program is right for you, download our whitepaper How to find the perfect MBA

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