Now more than ever, MBA students have an incredible depth and breadth of options available. From real estate, to museum leadership, to sports management, to the emerging field of financial technology (FinTech), there is an MBA specialization for everyone.

Don’t believe us? Here is a sampling of the specialization areas offered by various MBA programs:

  • Marketing
  • Real Estate
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Health Care Management
  • Information Management
  • Production/Operations Management
  • Strategy
  • Technology
  • Accounting
  • General Management
  • International Business/Global Management
  • Business Analytics
  • Strategic Management
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Sports Management
  • Hospitality Business Management
  • Strategic Leadership
  • Museum Leadership
  • Corporate Finance
  • Finance – Investment Banking
  • Entertainment
  • Nonprofit Sector
  • FinTech

Now that you know your options, should you specialize or generalize?

As you start your business school journey, it may be helpful to research areas of specialization and decide whether you want to specialize while earning your MBA — and, if so, which area or areas might be right for you. Business school should be an exploratory process, so it’s perfectly acceptable to be unsure prior to starting an MBA program. But it is also helpful to know what possibilities are out there.

If you need an extra push to start considering specialization, here are some reasons to research your options before applying to MBA programs:

  1. You may not want to specialize. You may want to be a generalist. In this case, a general management track is one option. Those who choose this track have an opportunity to pursue a broad course of study that positions them for general management and/or a management consulting position.

  2. Not every school offers every concentration.

  3. Some MBA programs require students to choose a concentration or specialization. At others, declaring an area of expertise is optional.

  4. MBA hopefuls who have a clear career plan can choose the school and specialization that best serves their needs, making the most of their time in the program.

  5. MBAs may want to consider the reputation of a school in choosing a specialization. For example, there are schools known for marketing, and schools known for finance. Recruiters direct their hiring to those programs producing the highest performers.

  6. You may want to specialize in an area that has broad applications across many industries. This may better serve your short and long term career goals.

  7. If you’re undecided, you need options. It’s important you land at a school with enough specializations to allow you to choose one, without settling.

A Final Note:

A specialization can advance any MBA student’s career by helping them hone in on an area of expertise. But students should be wary of any area that may quickly become obsolete. With industries morphing rapidly and digital innovation driving much of the this change, a wise student should consider a specialization that will remain relevant. Or better yet, find one that will remain in high-need.

Nedda Gilbert

Ms. Gilbert is a certified social worker and 30 year educational consultant with an interest in helping college-bound and graduate school students manage the process and stress of admissions effectively. She is one of the senior founding managers of the Princeton Review Test Preparation Company, and the author of The Princeton Review Guide to the Best Business Schools and another book, Business School Essays that Made a Difference (Random House). She is a guest contributor to Forbes Magazine on college and college life. Ms. Gilbert is also certified as a collaborative family law professional in New Jersey. She received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and MS from Columbia University.