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Top 5 MBA Specializations in India
By Ruchi Shrimali
Choosing an MBA Specialization can be as difficult and confusing as the decision to choose a career for yourself or deciding from where you want to pursue your MBA degree. We, at Shiksha.com, have found out that though MBA institutes keep coming with highly specialized courses and programmes, such as MBA in Sports Management or MBA in Hospitality & Tourism, most Indians are wary of their credibility and reputation in the job market.
Here are the top 5 MBA Specializations that strike a chord with Indians:
MBA in Finance does not lead only to investment banks and securities firms. It offers numerous possibilities in the corporate world too. Finance Managers can become Accounting Managers who prepare finance reports for the company, or Financial Analysts who focus on developing financial strategies and go about money management for the company.
"Financial Analysis forms the basis of strategic planning, managing alliances, and making every-day decisions in a management. From mergers to expansion to global financing, MBA in Finance offers you a highly specialized knowledge which accelerates the success of an individual as well as success of the businesses where they work", says Suresh Agrawal who has been teaching Finance students for years.
"Finance Management is for people who are in love with numbers and balance sheet, have high-end analytical skills and are more comfortable working at the back-end of the company. Finance specialization in MBA can prepare you for exciting careers in investment banking, merchant banking, financial consultancies, financial institutions, and international finance", says Ravi Jain, HR Professional with two decades of experience.
Finance MBA coursework can provide a solid background for the prestigious CPA (Certified Public Accountant) exam or the equally venerated CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) exam. More about CPA and CFA
Those who do MBA in Finance can go on to become:
- Cash Managers
- Risk and Insurance Managers
- Credit Managers
- Management Consultants
- Investment Banking Associates and later Investment
- Treasurers and Finance Officers
- Controllers (who prepare budget reports for regulatory agencies and business management, do audits and prepare cash management strategies)
- The ‘C' Position: ‘CFO' or Chief Financial Officers supervise all financial and accounting operations, strategies, and policies of the company.
The single most popular specializations amongst MBA graduates in India, Marketing is a hard-core front-end job and is meant for leaders. MBA Marketing is very dynamic and competitive. You need excellent communication skills, resource mobilization skills and an undying zeal to excel to make it to the top-level positions in the field of sales and marketing.
"MBA Marketing offers you a fast-paced career - full of responsibilities, challenges, and growth opportunities. From Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), Consumer Durables, Non-Durables, Advertising, Market Research, Media, Sales & Distribution to Services Marketing, MBA in Marketing offers you excellent job options", says Hari Mirchandani, marketing manager with five years of experience.
"Though MBA Finance has its own importance, MBA Marketing equips you better for a very critical activity of any business. In financial services sector too, success of products like loans and credit cards depends more on their marketing than their interest rates and charges. In Finance, you might need additional professional qualifications like CA and CS are needed to move ahead. In Marketing, it is the experience and results that count ", says Sumit Chadha, who is pursuing MBA Marketing.
If you have an outgoing and spontaneous personality, can influence people with your words and actions, and live in the moment, marketing management might be your cup of tea.
MBA in Marketing can lead you to fat pay packages as Brand Manager, Project Manager, Sales Manager, Marketing Manager, Market Research Analyst, Area/Regional Manager and even to the position of Chief Marketing Officer (CMO).
A large chunk of CEO positions in top multinational companies are dominated by people from the Marketing background.
For best results, join top B-schools that offer you an exposure to international markets and global marketing techniques.
MBA in Operations equips you to deal with Production Management or Shop Floor Management. You learn how to come up with and maintain process flows, develop vendor and inter-departmental relationships, do ancillary management etc. to ensure smooth and efficient business operations. With Business Operations as your MBA specialization, you may start off as Product Manager or Technical Supervisor and reach the position of Chief Technology Officer (CTO) or General Manager of a company, especially in manufacturing, engineering and IT sectors.
"Operations Management requires an eye for minutest details, zero-error efficiency levels, excellent negotiation skills, ability to sale the ship through storms with the calm of an able sea captain, technical know-how of all the processes you are handling, and general ideal about manufacturing, sales, and distribution channels of the company you work in. An MBA degree in Operations definitely helps you master all this and equips you for future challenges", says Vikas Tripathi, who is a Plant manager for more than a decade.
"MBA Operations open up career opportunities for you in the fields of material and supply chain management, quality control, logistics, inventory control, and production planning and improvement. However, people who are looking forward to join IT industries should choose MBA IT instead. MBA Operations does include some of the aspects of Software Project Management but only with a limited scope", says Prof. Deen Dayal, faculty of a reputed management institute.
Business Operations offers a varied and fast-paced work environment. Operations Management specialization can be further sub-divided into:
- Production or Manufacturing Operations
- Service Operation
Most candidates with engineering backgrounds go for MBA Operations, as it gives them an edge over their peers in product development and designing, intranet development and process optimization. Companies, too, give preference to MBA Operations students with technical or engineering backgrounds during campus placements. More about Operation Management
Operations Manager often reach positions like Plant Manager and Chief Operating Officer (COO) and directly involved with process standardization, analysis and forecasting. Those who choose to work as consultants can be seen involved with outsourcing, resource management, customer service, pricing and manufacturing optimization as well as marketing optimisation.
Also read: Top 10 MBA specializations in 2012
Information Technology (IT)
Information Technology (IT) or Management Information Systems (MIS) has recently emerged as one of the most important MBA specializations. For those who have IT background (as a software engineer or IT graduate), MBA IT can open up positions like System Analyst, Technical Systems Manager, Technical Consultant, and Business Development Manager - all the way upto the position of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) or Chief Technology Officer (CTO). IT, ecommerce, and related industries often offer good placements to MBA IT graduates. More about Information Technology as a career
"If you are a good programmer, have technical skills, and have knowledge of their business domain, you can choose Information Technology or IT as your MBA specialization. You can then help develop Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions for business development, sales and marketing, accounts, project management, HR functions and all other business processes. You can always look after e-commerce and outsourcing aspects of businesses that have shown tremendous growth in the past decade", says Geetika Sachdeva, a senior software programmer.
"MBA in IT opens up gates of Fortune 500 companies for you in India and abroad. Indian IT professionals are respected worldwide and with an MBA background, you just become irresistible for best multinational companies (MNCs)", says Rohit Bhalla, HR expert working in an IT industry.
In the high-tech environment of today, MBA IT opens up several career opportunities for you as:
- Business Analyst: where you can interact between customer requirements and document them properly for developers.
- Pre-Sales or Business Development Manager: where you prepare presentations for clients and basically, translate technical innovations of your company in terms understandable by laymen.
- Sales or ERP Consultant: where you deal with customizing ERP solutions (like SAP) to suit client requirements.
- Project Manager: where you are directly involved with implementing a project - right from planning and estimation to managing resources to time management.
- QA Manager: where you are responsible for assessing and controlling the quality of the software solutions being provided to clients.
- Functional or Process Consultant: where you configure and re-configure processes and chalk out verticals to complete efficient operations within an IT company.
- Management professionals with technical skills gain tremendous respect among their peers in today's world.
Human Resources (HR)
Human Resources or HR is one of the trickiest jobs in the corporate world. From Recruitment and Selection of personnel to deciding Compensation to Employee Training and Development to Job Analysis and Performance Appraisals, an HR manager is the ringmaster in the business jungle. Besides, those who choose MBA in HR can also develop themselves as Industrial Relations Manager or developing cross-cultural working environment in multinational and global companies, which are highly specialized jobs. More about career as HR Manager
"A Human Resources Manager is required by all the sectors, whether they are in boom or gloom. HR Management is virtually a recession-proof job. Whether a company is hiring more people to fulfill its expansion plans or firing people to cut down on their costs, they will always need HR experts to help them with personnel management", says Amit Tyagi, HR Manager for last five years in an MNC.
"If you have good communication skills, have a charismatic personality, and are dependable and confident, MBA with HR specialisation can help you launch a career in human resource development, industrial relations, and personnel management. HR is not only about common-sense. You have to have specific skills and aptitude for the job. HR personnel are the first points of interaction between a company and its employees and an efficient Human Resources department plays a critical role in keeping business operations smooth and effective", says Lolita Sahni who has done MBA HR from a reputed management institute.
Human Resources Management is concerned with internal marketing of a company. The credit for how your employees work for you and how well they understand HR policies of the firm depends on HR. Recently, India has noticed a big change in the way people view HR professionals. Salary packages are getting fatter, and educational institutions known for their Human Resources programmes are getting adequate support from the corporate world.
XLRI Pune, IIM Lucknow, TISS and MDI Gurgaon reported 100% placements in their HR programs. The average salary for MBA HR at MDI Gurgaon was Rs 8 lakh per annum! Since only 10% of MBA aspirants choose HR as their specialization field, it seems that Marketing and Finance has higher level of corporate interest. But the truth is that if you do MBA in Human Resources from a good B-school that offers high-quality curriculum with an expert faculty programme, you will find several good career options in the global marketplace.
Your MBA specialization basically depends on your personality, skills, and career goals. The traditional fields of Marketing and Finance will always remain popular. Those who prefer to crunch numbers and are comfortable relegating to the background with balance sheets may do well with Finance specialisation. Those who love to interact with clients, are creative and innovative, and can influence people easily can choose Marketing as their specialisation.
Business Operations is the best MBA specialisation for those who have technical or engineering backgrounds and love looking after men and machines, and backend processes where the real action takes place. Human Resources or HR is a stream for people's person and is a job for those who have a charismatic personality that can mobilize employees and inspires trust and loyalty for the company. Information Technology or IT specialisation is for management graduate who are geeks at heart who love computers, gadgets, and latest technology.
Share your opinions on how to choose MBA specialisation, which field you recommend for management aspirants, and whether you would like to stick to popular MBA specializations or rather go for a unique MBA course. Here's a discussion on best MBA specialization going on in our Shiksha forums.
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