General vs. Specialized MBA: Factors to Consider
Updated on March 7, 2022 | by Zayn Tindall
MBA programs have exploded in popularity in recent years, with more and more people looking to obtain this credential to bolster their career prospects. The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a two-year graduate business program that prepares students for diverse professional roles. The MBA helps professionals stand out from their peers in an increasingly competitive employment market.
Even more advanced career options become available to business specialists with specialized competence. MBA programs are becoming more and more specialized. You can now find MBAs in healthcare, fashion, or even sports management. But should you get a generalized MBA or a specialized one?
What is a Specialized MBA Program?
Specialized MBAs focus on one specific area of business. So if you’re interested in pursuing a career in healthcare management, for example, you would enroll in a specialized MBA program in healthcare management. These programs offer more targeted coursework and often have industry-specific partnerships or networking opportunities.
What is a General MBA Program?
A general MBA program is a type of degree that offers a broad overview of business concepts and practices. This option is perfect for students who want to develop their understanding of all aspects of running a company, from finance and accounting to marketing and human resources.
Students with a General Master of Business Administration Degree, or GMBA, typically have a more comprehensive range of career opportunities open to them than those with specialized MBAs. That’s because general MBA programs provide a well-rounded education in the fundamentals of business, which can be applied in several industries.
Weighing the Pros and Cons:
On the one hand, a specialized MBA can provide in-depth knowledge and training in a particular business area, such as marketing or finance. It could give you an edge over other job candidates when it comes to landing a position in your desired field. Additionally, some employers may prefer to hire employees with specialized MBAs because they know those employees will hit the ground running and contribute value from day one.
On the other hand, general MBA programs offer more flexibility and opportunities for career growth. For example, if you decide to switch careers or industries after getting your MBA, a generalized program would be a better option than a specialized one. In addition, having a GMBA shows potential employers that you have a broad range of skills and knowledge.
Your Learning Style:
One of the major factors to consider when selecting a general and specialized MBA is your learning style. Some students prefer hands-on, experiential learning, whereas others prefer theoretical understanding or want to gain knowledge in various industries.
Based on your learning style evaluation, you can then decide between a generalized or specialized MBA.
Your Career Goals:
Every individual’s career goals are different, so it’s essential to consider what you want to get out of your MBA. If you are aiming for specific career growth, such as becoming a CEO or working in finance, you will want to look for an MBA specializing in that area.
On the other hand, if you are unsure what you want to do after obtaining your degree or want general business training, then a general MBA may be the better option.
The Length of the Program:
Another important consideration is how long the program will take. A specialized MBA can be completed in as little as 12 months, while a general MBA typically takes two years. If you are working full-time, you may want to opt for a shorter program so that you can finish sooner.
However, if you have the resources like time and money, a more extended program may be better because it will give you more exposure to different business areas. It opens up more networking opportunities and allows you to explore different concentrations.
The Location of Your Desired University:
Having a list of desired universities is perfectly normal. If you want to study a particular MBA specialty, be sure the institution offers it. For example, if you want to study fashion marketing, you need to find a school specializing in that area.
One factor to consider is whether you want to study in a major city or somewhere smaller. A specialized MBA is typically offered in big cities only, while a general MBA is offered at schools all over the country. If you want to stay close to home, then a general MBA may be a better option. However, if you are interested in studying abroad or live in a major city, then a specialized MBA may be a better choice.
The Cost of the Program:
Educational degrees are an investment, and you will want to consider the cost of attendance before deciding. A specialized MBA generally costs more than a general MBA. However, many universities offer scholarships and financial aid for their programs. Make sure you research all your options before making a decision.
Make sure to factor in all associated costs, such as room and board, transportation, and textbooks.
You must have done your research; if not, do it now! Different programs have different emphases, and not all MBAs are created equal.
When choosing a specialized MBA, you will want to make sure the curriculum aligns with your career goals. Do the courses cover topics relevant to what you want to do? Are they taught by professors who are experts in their field? How flexible is the program if you take time off or switch specializations?
The Network Opportunities:
One of the most significant benefits of an MBA is the network of alumni and professionals that you will be exposed to.
Make sure to ask how many graduates from each specialization are working in your desired industry. You also want to find out what kind of relationships students have formed with their professors. And are they available for mentorship?
Learn more about the companies and employers that students have worked with in the past.
Employment Opportunities and Salary Expectations:
An MBA degree is essentially useless if it doesn’t land you the right job.
When considering a specialized MBA, research what kinds of jobs are available in your industry. Do not forget to consider the salary expectations for those positions.
Keep in mind that many employers prefer candidates with general MBAs, as they have a broader range of skills and knowledge.
The point to note is that an MBA degree may be a game-changer in your professional life, no matter what program you select. However, without the required skillset and educational back-up, that degree will not do you much good. So make sure to do your research and choose the best program for you!
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