The one big dilemma everyone faces at some point in their MBA application process, or even as an MBA student is, what specialization to choose. In 2019, when specializations are aplenty, figuring out which one to pick, especially when this decision might have a direct bearing on your career, and by extension, the rest of your life can be a daunting task at hand.
The first step:
The first and most important one would be to evaluate your own strengths and interests. There are specializations to cater to almost every area of interest, like – Finance, Human Resource Management, Information Technology, Logistics Management, Marketing, Business Management, Rural Management, Healthcare Management, Operations and Supply Chain Management, Event Management, Family Business, and not to mention, the next big thing, Data Science.
Each specialization has a few courses that intersect with other specializations, to ensure that there is a basic understanding of all aspects of business, which is essential in molding a good manager. Apart from the 2-year MBA programs, there are also 1-year executive MBA programs that are generally for people with a few years of work experience. Any specialization you choose should be based on your personality, skills, and interests.
The second step:
Next would be to evaluate which direction you want to take, with respect to your career, while keeping in mind what you have done until now. Some want to enhance their existing skills in the field they are currently working or studying in, while some want to explore new avenues. Others might just want to figure things out along the way. One must think about how the chosen specialization will boost your career, and how long they plan to work in their area of specialization.
The third step:
Evaluate the expected return on your investment. Even though the salary offered by your first company after an MBA cannot be the sole determinant of your choice of college, it is an important one. Also, research about the scope of the course in terms of to what level is it sought after in the industry, the gap in demand and supply of qualified personnel, etc.
As someone who has made a drastic switch in career paths, I can guarantee that following the above steps is the key. After having been a CA student for over 5 years, I decided to get into marketing, which was almost completely unrelated to my field of study. I gave the GMAT exam and applied to all the top colleges in the country that accepted the GMAT test score. Then came the time to decide on my specialization, and there was an abundance of options to choose from.
I chose the Retail Management specialization offered by K. J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research, Mumbai. The retail industry is all set to be one of the fastest-growing industries in the country and is likely to open up numerous opportunities in the job market. Further, the curriculum of this program has many interesting and unique courses like category management and franchising, fashion retailing, food retailing, social marketing, etc. Apart from the classroom curriculum, the opportunities to work on live projects with retail giants are a big plus. And last but not the least, Retail management students get placed in some of the best companies that come for campus recruitment.
Needless to say, choosing to pursue PGDM – Retail management is one of the most fruitful decisions I have made to date.