An MBA, sometimes referred to as a Masters in Business is a respected qualification taken by professionals looking to develop their business acumen, leadership skills and knowledge. As a result, MBAs are typically focused at those with an ambition to aspire to management roles in their chosen fields. Whilst the benefits of studying an MBA are clear, for those considering one, a decision must be made as to whether they would be better suited to a general or specialist MBA.
General or Specialist MBAs – what’s the difference?
A general MBA provides professionals with a sound grounding in management and leadership skills that can then be applied to a wide range of business spheres. They will enhance their overall leadership capabilities and business insight by learning key skills such as strategic thinking, interdepartmental planning and entrepreneurial development. Studying a general MBA will leave the graduate well placed to join senior management positions in a wide range of sectors.
In contrast, a specialist MBA will focus one particular subject as opposed to being broad in scope. Disciplines range from Finance to Digital Marketing, and give those studying the opportunity to build in-depth knowledge in their chosen field.
Although this article will aim to explain the benefits of a studying a specialist degree, it is important to state that there is no right or wrong decision. Your choice will depend on your own circumstances and preferences.
Why Choose a Specialist MBA?
A specialist MBA is perfect for a professional who is already clear about the sector they wish to work in. The course allows professionals to hone management skills and apply them to a desired field of expertise.
Specialist MBA graduates still massively enhance their business understanding and potential, but also gain an unparalleled understanding of the sector they are passionate about.
The hard work and fees involved in achieving an MBA are statistically proven to enhance career progression. A study by the AMBA, the professional body responsible for the accreditation of MBA’s, revealed that 32.5% of respondents were at Junior Management level prior to starting their MBA studies. This figure dropped to 18.8% after graduation and fell again to 5.1% a few months later. Furthermore, AMBA data also shows that as of 2014, the average salary of an MBA graduate stood at over £82,000.
Build a Successful Network
The friendships you make on your course don’t have to end with your graduation. Studying a specialist MBA puts you around like-minded people who share a passion for your chosen sector. Building a network around such people can be extremely useful. It is likely that a relationship forged during your MBA could lead to advice, support or even job opportunities later in your career.
The Possibility of Funding
Many employers actively encourage staff to pursue further training in the knowledge the skills they learn will benefit their organisation in the long term.
Seeking funding to complete an MBA around your work demonstrates commitment and dedication to employers. Also, as many employers offer funding under the provision you continue to work for the company for an agreed amount of time, it offers stability to the employer and enhanced knowledge and credibility to the professional. It’s also worth mentioning that many employers actively help employees who are studying around their work commitments.
Is a Specialist MBA right for you?
Completing a specialist MBA is challenging and certainly requires a lot of commitment, however, the rewards are clear. Upon graduation, a professional will have enhanced their career prospects, improved their knowledge and understanding of their chosen field, and made solid contacts they can utilise throughout their working life.
Whether you’re certain an MBA is right for you or if you simply want more information to help you make an informed decision, there’s plenty of material available to tell you about every aspect of an MBA; from the hard work involved, to the career progression benefits.
If you need some help funding your MBA program, Prodigy Finance offers loans for MBA students with competitive interest rates, based on future affordability without the need for a co-signer or additional collateral. Find out more.
Prodigy Finance is one of many potential funding options for international postgraduate students. Other student funding options are available and Postgrad.com advises you to research all your options thoroughly before making such a commitment. Postgrad.com accepts no responsibility for your choice of loan and does not endorse or support Prodigy Finance. Prodigy Finance Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, and entered on the Financial Services Register under firm registration number 612713.
Michael Palmer is a writer for Manchester Metropolitan University, who offer an MBA course with three specialisms; Financial Services, Digital Management, and Strategic Health and Social Care.