The credentials arms race has meant a proliferation of MBA’s over the last couple of decades, but that is certainly not to say that an MBA is not currently in demand. This does not even account for the array of specializations that there are now, which provide not only the in-depth business administration education one would expect from an MBA program, but specialized knowledge for an increasingly complex economy demanding specialization.
When an employer sees an MBA on a resume, they think of a number of things–dedication, commitment, professionalism, technical skills, and theoretical knowledge. When they see an MBA with one of the below specializations, they see the unique and easily quantifiable value. Below are the top MBAs that will get you hired and why you should consider them as you plan your graduate-level business administration education.
The role of the modern HR department continues to evolve and saw an immense increase in strategic importance throughout the 2020 pandemic. From spearheading diversity and inclusion initiatives to advocating more for employee rights and benefits to helping organizations find, assess and deploy human capital more efficiently from both inside and outside the company, HR is responsible for a lot of organizational success right now. Because of that, companies are starting to pay more attention to HR personnel and HR departments.
This is good news for anyone with an HR MBA specialization. An MBA in human resources gives students the skills and experience to understand how HR and larger business strategies and imperatives combine, with a focus on HR’s role as an agent for growth within the organization. This is also a useful degree for those HR professionals considering a return to school in order to upskill and increase their value or for business professionals trying to make the switch to leadership positions in HR.
Healthcare administration is one of the fastest-growing fields of business specialization today, and for good reason: The Baby Boomers are a large demographic and present both opportunities and challenges for the healthcare sector. One thing is for certain: this very large demographic needs healthcare, which means there will be an increased need for new healthcare facilities, providers, and businesses, and naturally, specialists to administrate all of it.
The healthcare industry, in general, is one of the more secure to get into with respect to job prospects because, while telehealth certainly exploded during the 2020 pandemic and the industry is not immune to automation and digital transformation, there is still a large human component to healthcare requiring sophisticated administration. Healthcare administrators are needed in both the public and private sector, in countries around the world, and command competitive starting salaries and benefits.
Advanced management builds on the solid foundation of technical skills and business knowledge offered by more general MBA programs. It provides more sophisticated management techniques, particularly with respect to project management and negotiation–both executive and leadership level competencies. These are universal skills that are widely applicable across industries, making studies in advanced management some of the more useful out of any MBA specialization.
Additional advanced management skills include advanced communication, HR, culture-building, and bridging, problem-solving, and collaboration skills. Again, these are all skills that combine to create well-rounded, competent business leaders–human capital that is valuable wherever it is found.
IT is another sector that has grown and will only continue to grow in importance in the coming years, as digital transformation requires professionals with specialized knowledge of cybersecurity, automation, and building out, scaling, and maintaining IT infrastructure. What’s more, information technology and security are becoming essential components of jobs well outside of the scope of traditional IT and IT departments are increasingly being asked to collaborate and integrate with disparate parts of the organization.
IT is no longer a completely siloed business function working out of a supply closet but is viewed as an integral part of growth and broader strategy in an increasingly digital world. An MBA with a specialization in IT provides the business acumen and IT understanding necessary to bridge communication and functional gaps–skills that will only grow in demand over time.
Organizational development–often synonymous with what has come to be referred to as “change management” –traditionally has not received the attention it deserves, but it is fast becoming a valuable and sought-after specialization by employers for a variety of reasons. Organizations are undergoing dramatic change right now and will continue to experience both industry, broader economic, and labor force upheavals well into the future.
The fourth industrial revolution is not even in top gear yet, and the need for business professionals who can help steward organizational change, particularly while so many employees work remotely, will be paramount. The MBA specializations often overlap well with traditional HR for people who already have HR training, but it is essentially a new field, born out of and necessitated by the uncertainties of the current economic and organizational era.
Supply Chain Management
There is a demand for competent supply chain managers in virtually every industry. A business that produces something for and delivers something to a consumer needs this skill set in order to organize production, maintain upstream and downstream relationships within the supply chain, and stay plugged into the prices of components and raw materials. An MBA in supply chain management provides the same rigorous fundamentals you would get in any MBA education with a specialized focus on the management of supply chains and supply chain economics.
When most people think of a master of business administration, they likely are not fully appreciating the breadth of specialization one can pursue within this well-respected and highly sought-after education. The increasing complexity of our economy requires increasing specialization–that is true for all industries.
While there is much to be learned from a general MBA, choosing one of the above specializations will put you in very good stead to find gainful employment after graduation in exciting and stable industries with great career prospects. Choosing an education–even a graduate education–means planning for future economic demand and uncertainty.