For those who want to advance their career as much as possible in the business world, an MBA offers a myriad of benefits in both the short-term and long-term.
These benefits include:
- Developing a larger professional network
- More job opportunities
- Ability to make a higher salary
- Fast-track your career path
- Explore new sides of a specific industry
However, with such a large amount of specialization options, some people can find it difficult to know how to choose which MBA program works best for them. Here we discuss the differences between a more general MBA and one that has a specialization, and offer advice for identifying which one matches you and your goals.
What Is the Difference Between a MBA and a Specialized MBA?
Put simply, a general MBA gives you broad advanced knowledge and skills in business, finances, and management that can be used across just about any industry. On the other hand, a specialized MBA focuses on developing management skills in one specific area, such as accounting, finance, human resource management, leadership, and healthcare.
Pros and Cons of a MBA
A general MBA is ideal for those who do not have or do not necessarily want to limit themselves to just one industry.
The main potential drawback is that you will have to be more proactive about exploring opportunities in different industries since you do not have a specialized focus. (For some, this is a pro because it offers the opportunity to delve into a variety of industries.)
Pros and Cons of a Specialized MBA
Specialized MBAs are ideal for those who wish to specialize in one industry or already have professional experience in an area and want to take their career to the next level.
The primary con to a specialized MBA is that it is hard to switch specialty areas down the line, meaning you must be passionate and committed about your chosen industry focus.
(And it’s worth pointing out that those with a specialized MBA degree tend to make a higher salary when filling high-level positions.)
As mentioned earlier, general MBA programs are the foundation of all MBA programs.
If you choose this route, you will learn in-depth business management and leadership skills that you can use across any industry.
You are not committed to one specific industry and have the ability to choose what interests you most and even easily switch it up in the future if you want to. Not to mention, the sky's the limit when it comes to climbing the corporate ladder.
MBA Program Specializations
If you are looking to complete a specialized MBA program, there are several to choose from. The list below will help you compare programs and choose the specialty you are passionate about or already have experience in.
The accounting MBA is great for those who already have their undergraduate accounting degree or are currently working in the field. After completing this program, you will have the following high-level advanced skills:
- In-depth accounting concepts and practices
- Leadership skills
- Communication skills
- Problem-solving skills
Business Intelligence MBA
Technology is advancing at an ever-rapid pace. An MBA in business intelligence degree opens up many doors for your blossoming career. This is a great program for those interested in information resources and how technology is used in business operations. You will walk away with the following high-level skills:
- Advanced managerial skills
- In-depth leadership skills
- Understanding of how technology is used to improve businesses and meet goals
Without a strong financial management process, companies will not be in business long. Any organization that wants to succeed, scale, and grow needs an astute finance manager who can ensure the company stays in good financial health. During your time in a finance MBA program, you will work with highly qualified finance professionals to fine-tune your skills in the following areas:
- Financial methods
- Key finance principles
- Latest developments in the finance industry
Healthcare Management MBA
If you already work in the healthcare field and want to transition to the administration side of things, then a healthcare management MBA may be the right choice. During the program, you can expect to gain skills in the following areas:
- Legal issues
- Ethical issues
- Compliance issues
- Current healthcare trends
- Best healthcare management tools
Human Resource Management MBA
Human resources is a crucial department of every business, and getting your MBA in human resource management will accelerate your career. The program will teach you advanced skills in the following areas:
- High-level HR strategies
- Methods for increasing employee morale
- Techniques for helping companies meet goals
Information Systems MBA
Understanding how computer systems work helps businesses increase productivity and improve efficiency. If you are passionate about technology and love the challenge of making it work better for companies, then this is the perfect specialized MBA program for you. The skills you can expect to build upon during the information systems MBA program are:
- High-level understanding of the newest information management technologies
- How to effectively tailor new technology to help businesses scale and grow
- Advanced management skills and technical know-how
Leadership Studies MBA
A company without smart and strong leaders will fail. If leadership is your talent, and you crave a job in upper-level management, then you may want to consider pursuing a leadership studies MBA. The high-level skill you will obtain include:
- Advanced problem-solving skills
- Top-of-the-line leadership methods and techniques
- In-depth understanding of business structure and operations
Want to Finish Your MBA Even Faster?
For those who are still finishing their bachelor’s degree, there is a way you can fast-track your MBA degree.
It is called the 4+1 program. How it works is that you work on your MBA simultaneously with your undergraduate degree. After receiving your undergrad degree, you only have 12 months of coursework left to obtain your MBA.
Obtaining your MBA opens the doors to take your career to new heights. With so many options and flexibility, there is sure to be the right program for you. In fact, you can even obtain your MBA degree online while devoting plenty of time to family, friends, and work!