Selecting a MBA program

How does a student go about identifying which specialization suits him/her the best? For an entry level candidate, it is wiser to select the best possible school rather than insisting on specializations. A prudent student of the Post graduate Diploma in Management (business design) from Wellingkar School of Management, Mumbai, focused on when selecting a program. Top of his list were: placements, practical exposure and the quality of faculty members. For others like Ms T, the return on investment for her expensive choice, as well as the ranking of the school was crucial.

Choosing a specialization in a regular MBA program or even in a niche specialization, should be made in the context of one’s career goals (nature of work/job expectations) and one’s abilities and temperament (personality skills). Making an informed decision is important, since there are many fresh graduates who tend to consider the niche MBA with very specific jobs in mind, or think that such a program makes the job hunt easier, or because they have a glamorized picture of the course. Students should invest time in acquiring a 360 degree perspective of the specialization. You can gather views and inputs from your mentors colleagues faculty who will teach you, your peer group etc. These steps will help you make an informed decision.

While choosing a specialization, your subject can also prove to be an important factor. One must bear in mind that such courses, though specialized are still grounded in the core MBA curriculum. The specialization is an added advantage, albeit a crucial one. Students think very deeply about what it is they want to achieve from a MBA before considering which modules to go for. Currently entrepreneurship modules seem most popular as recessions usually bring out the best in business minded people looking for the next big thing. Whatever the choice, make sure it is what you as a student want, and do a lot of research.

Experience Matters:

The MBAW is generally considered to be an experiential program and as such any graduate with work experience after graduation is considered to be a better MBA aspirant than a fresh graduate. In the case of a niche MBA, having relevant work experience is useful, because the student is then, making an infirmed decision, rather than getting carried away by a glamorous or unrealistic expectations.

Tata McGraw Hill’s online CAT Training venture is of the opinion that typically, working professionals have a clearer perspective about choosing a specialization than students who are aspiring to get a management degree immediately after graduation, simply because they have a fair idea about the kind of work they enjoy. Anyone who demonstrates a long term potential in a niche field can consider a super specialization. Since this is unlikely in the case of freshers, experienced candidates are more reasonably positioned to make this commitment.

An MBA teaches you a lot about people dynamics, organizational behavior etc that you may not be able to absorb very well, unless you have faced teammates, bosses, supervisors, juniors, work pressures and the like. Thus, it is best to arm yourself with a few years of work experience, and then go on to choose a niche MBA program.

Honestly, whether or not you should opt to pursue a specialized program depends on what your goals are, and what you would like to do in long term. If you are sure of industry or the field you want to work in then a specialized MBA could be great. A Ms M reveals why she opted to pursue a general MBA rather than a specialized one. Initially, M wanted to keep her options open, and didn’t really know what she wanted to do after the MBA (and still don’t). If there was an industry she loved or had a dream job, she wanted to work for a luxury goods company for instance then yes, M might indeed have gone the specialization way.

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