What Are the Common Specializations for MBA Programs?

Find out some common concentrations in MBA programs. See what courses you'll take, and get details about MBA programs in general. Schools offering Business degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of MBA Specializations

Common Master of Business Administration (MBA) specializations include accounting, finance, human resources, management and marketing. MBA degree programs at some schools may offer other niche specializations, such as health care management, entrepreneurship and international business.

Important Facts About MBA Programs

Online Availability Full programs are available
Prerequisites Completion of a bachelor's degree (for no specific major), prior business experience or classes, and GMAT
Common Courses Technology and Operations Management, Leadership and Organizational Behavior, Financial Reporting and Control, Leadership and Corporate Accountability
Possible Careers Chief Technology Officer, Financial Manager, Investment Banker, Marketing Manager, Management Consultant
Continuing Education PhD in Business Administration/Doctorate of Business Administration

Accounting or Finance

In an accounting concentration, you'll learn to track assets and liabilities, cash flow, profit and loss. Recognizing financial trends and preventing accidental or deliberate misuse of resources are also focuses of an accounting concentration in an MBA program.

If you concentrate in finance, instruction will focus on planning and budgeting for sustainability and profit. You'll also learn to weigh potential gain vs. risk, research the markets and make investments. Insurance and real estate financing are some potential areas of study.

Management or Human Resource Management

With a MBA specialization in management, you should be able to analyze an institution's internal efficiency and effectiveness. This process includes recognizing outside threats and opportunities. You'll also learn to plan, organize, motivate and control an institution's activities.

Writing job descriptions and employment contracts, interviewing applicants, evaluating worker performance and assessing training needs are all areas that you'll likely study in a human resources MBA concentration. In addition, you may learn to manage labor disputes and ensure compliance with labor laws.

Marketing or Management Information Systems

Courses in a marketing concentration will teach you to consider market demand, competition and economic effects on customer purchasing. You'll gain the skills needed to establish brand awareness and customer loyalty for an employer.

A management information systems MBA concentration will involve learning to analyze an employer's information needs and design computer and communication systems to meet those needs. You'll also learn to collect and report information usefully, and plan and deliver user training.

Other MBA Program Specializations

Globalization and technological change create new business needs - these factors have inspired some of these MBA specializations. The following areas of specialization may be less common than those above.

  • Entrepreneurship: You'll learn to analyze the need for a product or service and create a new organization that's positioned to successfully meet the need.
  • Environmental Risk and Management: Areas of focus for this concentration include analyzing company processes for environmental impact and insuring compliance with environmental and health and safety laws.
  • Health Care Management: You'll learn to manage organizations within the growing health care field in this MBA concentration. Graduates can work for hospitals, HMOs or insurance companies.
  • International or Multinational Business: Managing a business across wide economic, legal, governmental and cultural differences will be a focus of this MBA concentration. These skills could lead to jobs with overseas corporations or departments.
  • Supply Chain Management (Logistics): In this concentration, you'll study the process of getting material where and when it's needed without excess inventory or bottlenecks. Courses may include economics, operations research, strategy, global sourcing and marketing management.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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