In the business world, there are countless paths you can take; getting an MBA can really give you a leg up on the competition and provides an opportunity to gain specialized knowledge that can really shape your career path. There are numerous concentrations within a degree program, such as entrepreneurship, finance or marketing. Choosing one can seem daunting, but with a bit of self-reflection and homework, you can make an informed choice that will help you advance your career goals.
Consider Your Strengths and Interests
When choosing your MBA concentration, it is important to thoroughly evaluate your strengths (and by default your weaknesses) and interests. You want to enter a field that you feel passionate about and perhaps more importantly, that you feel confident about. If things like globalization and travel interest you, an mba in international business may be the best route. If being able to express your creative side is of utmost importance, a concentration in marketing may be the best fit. If you have already been in the work force, look back to your past jobs and evaluate what you liked and disliked. If you have already been in the trenches, your experience can be a powerful force in guiding you to the right field of study.
Research “Dream” Companies and Jobs
Different aspects of business will require different types of skills and knowledge. In deciding on your concentration, it can be helpful to do some solid research on the types of companies you would like to work for or the types of positions you would like to hold. The information you gather can help point you in the right direction as far as the most beneficial concentration for your career objectives. If you are able to, connect with people on the trajectory you hope to be in yourself and see what their day-to-day life is like; go to career fairs to meet with representatives from industries you want to work for to get a feel of what they are looking for in potential candidates and what areas of focus may be particularly beneficial.
Remember Nothing Is Set in Stone
Choosing an MBA concentration can seem daunting because we feel like we are setting the stage for the rest of our lives, but in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Nothing is set in stone and you can always change your area of specialization. Any good MBA program will have the internship opportunities and if after a summer, you realize that this concentration is not for you, you can change. If you discover near graduation that you really do not like this path, finish it anyway—once you graduate, you may find that you can still get a job in a different field more to your liking. There is a lot of room for movement in the business world and in some cases, simply having the degree is all you need to get your foot in the door, regardless of the concentration.
About the Author: Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys blogging about all things education.