The Business of Zeroing In
The students who are planning to do MBA this year have two options. The majority of B schools in India offer general MBA programs, which is a holistic management science. Another option you have is that of specialized MBA.
The Spread of Specialized MBA Programs
B school trends may come and go, but one that seems to have legs is the creation of specialized MBA programs. MBA is not just about the general management but about getting specific knowledge on an area in which your interest lies. If you are clear with your objective on which field you want to pursue MBA in, instead of pursuing general MBA, you can directly go for the specialized MBA program.
Many top private B schools offer specialized MBA programs apart from their flagship program of PGDM. If you want to stand out of the league and direct your career to a particular direction, you must take the other route to walk, away from the usual.
The trend toward specialization has crept into most fields over the past few decades, but few have embraced the shift more enthusiastically than graduate schools of business. The percentage of business school students enrolled in specialized programs has risen to a great extent as each year, more and more students are enrolling for specialized MBA.
Instead of exposing them to theory or the big picture of their discipline, specialized programs tend to zero in on practical and commercial applications. Niche MBA programs tend to attract students who know exactly to which industry they are heading, as well as older students with business experience who may want to change fields.
Is a specialized program always a good choice for an MBA student?
Not necessarily. While established programs have placement records on par with those of their general MBAs, many newer programs have not yet established the kind of recruiting relationships that guarantee students high-paying jobs at graduation. And graduates always run the risk of getting hamstrung by their specialties later in their careers, when an industry downturn forces them to look outside their specialties for opportunities.
Chart your own path:
Some students who have gone through the specialized programs say they are best for those with a firm idea of their future goals, and who are keen to chart their own path. For students who aren't comfortable breaking away from the pack or seeking out professional contacts in unconventional ways, a specialized MBA might not be the best choice. This is especially true for less known schools, where big companies often don't recruit. Students in these programs agree that making industry connections can require a lot of initiative from the student. In some cases, specialty programs are not as well-received by the targeted employers as students would hope.
Are Specializations Credible?
All MBAs hold certain core attributes that are valued by employers seeking to hire the managers of the future, and general MBAs teach their students to think strategically and analytically. However, if you add to this a specialization that matches with future career goals then the combination can fast track a candidate to senior management.
Some people think that prospective employers are reluctant to hire people from such specialized programs because they lack credibility. After all does Hilton Hotels really need to hire an MBA in Hotel Management rather than an MBA generalist from a top school? The answer is not a simple one, and it all comes down to the credibility of the course in question. Students should be wary of small universities that are just using marketing skills to promote "hot topic" courses without having the depth to deliver a high quality course.
Specialized MBA - A Job-oriented Program:
Specialized MBA are generally a job-oriented program that makes sure that a student gets a customized qualification which he/she can put into maximum practical use in the workplace. The courses offered in job-oriented specialized programs provide credible qualification to the students which enable them to grow in their specialist area so that they become better managers later on.
There are various options available in the management field but most of the students are not aware of it. There is a huge boom in all sectors of our economy such as in telecom, financial services, banking, insurance, organized retail, IT, ITES, consulting, aviation, hospitality, tourism, FMCG sectors. So, good managers are high in demand to run their companies but there is a huge gap in the demand supply chain. The demand for good manpower is unmet by MBAs, this is mainly because many MBA graduates suffer from knowledge and skills deficiency.
The job-oriented specialized programs have come into focus because of the demand for trained manpower at the entry-level, which is too large for current B-schools to fulfil. Recently, many sector-focused institutes have been set up to fill this demand-supply gap. Some of these institutes are Institute of Finance, Banking and Insurance: Global Retail School, Mudra Institute of Communication Ahmedabad, IMS Pro-school etc. Many leading organizations have started such institutes.
An MBA graduate will be faced with three options to choose from:
- The first option is to go through the traditional route of pursuing an MBA program;
- The second option is to consider pursuing the job-oriented programs; and lastly,
- The third option is to apply directly to the companies, but the employability of an average graduate is very low.
So, the safest option is the second one, if you are not able to manage entry into an MBA program. One need not be an MBA to land a job in a reputed company. In order to start your career, a sector-oriented specialized program is good enough. As these job-oriented programs are of lesser duration, they save time and cost. And after gathering a few years of work experience, you can go for a general MBA that will make your future career path stronger.
Sectoral Growth and Specialized MBA in India:
In India the sectoral growth in tourism, hospitality, aviation, finance, retail and other sectors have created demand for specialized MBAs. With the result, the demand for such type of courses is on the rise. Specialized MBA courses offer sectoral specialization apart from the conventional functional specialization. A specialized MBA course prepares students for the specific nuances of business in a particular sector within the context of the broad field of business and management. Specified skills and experience give the student competitive edge in the job markets. Some information about important specialized MBA courses is given here:
- Tourism related Management Courses
- Health Care & Hospital Administration
- Rural & Agri-Business Management
- IT related Management Courses
- Family Managed Business
- Communication Management
- Tourism related Management courses
The options for institutes in India include rural management (Institute of Rural Management, Anand, Gujarat; NMIMS, Mumbai), forest management (Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal), retail management (KJ Somaiya and Welingkar, Mumbai), telecom management (IIT-Delhi), insurance management (NMIMS, Mumbai), human resource management (XLRI, MDI, TISS) among others.
Specialist MBA vs General MBA: Be sure of your domain:
Specialized MBA programs are meant to give a proper direction to your higher education and provide the right launch pad for a focused career. The sectors in which there is high demand for specialist MBAs in India are: Retail, Construction, Communication, Rural, Pharmaceutical, Telecom, Banking Finance Insurance (BFSI), etc. to name a few. You can opt for specialized MBA courses that cater to the manpower needs of the aforementioned sectors.
The specialized MBA programs will give you a boost in your career if you choose the right specialization for you. The benefits of doing specialist MBA is that each sector requires qualifications which are useful for the sector's unique career requirements. There is tremendous potential for the students joining specialized MBA Programs in terms of Managerial career opportunities and long term growth potentials to Leadership positions in their specific sectors.
General MBA and specialized MBA have their own strengths and weaknesses. Hence, before taking any final decision, you should take into consideration all the aspects. Let us analyze the strengths and weaknesses of both these types of MBA.
- The general MBA courses give you a holistic learning on all aspects of management.
- After learning all the nitty-gritty's of management in the first year, you can take up a specialization of your choice and understanding in the second year.
- Your knowledge base will be much wider and you can shift to other sectors as well, as you have the requisite knowledge of all the sectors.
- You do not get the in-depth knowledge of a particular sector but information about all the sectors.
- While starting your career, you do not have a particular sector or specialized area to join
- Studying about a particular sector of your choice provides you the expertise on the subject
- You are ready to face and meet the demands of the market after the completion of your course
- You get to study the specific domain of your choice rather than taking a holistic lesson and worry about your career path after the completion of the course.
- Your knowledge base gets narrow owing to learning about a particular sector
- You do not have much options in terms of pursuing career
- If you are not sure about your choice of specialization and opt for a particular sector specific MBA, it will hamper your entire career unlike general MBA where you can choose specialization in second year and it's easier to switch the specialization in your career as well.
Before you select a particular sector for your specialist MBA, make sure that you are taking the right decision. Many a times, aspirants who decide to do specialized MBA with the thought of an assured job in the particular field, opt for a specialization randomly without much introspection. This can be dangerous. This will not only hamper your studies for the two year but your career will also take a toll if the sector is not meant for you.
Options galore for MBA in specialized areas:
List of B-schools and the specialized MBA programs that they offer are as below. Although, the list is not exhaustive, but indicative.
MDI Gurugram offers Post Graduate Programme in Human Resource Management (PGP HRM) and Post Graduate Programme in International Business (PGP IB).
PGP HRM is designed to encompass various managerial functions, which are essential for future HR professions. The program ensures a proper blend of academic and industrial learning.
PGP IB is designed to prepare future leaders who will understand the global mindset as well as appreciate the world economy, politics, cultural realities, geography. This is a dual program which is partly delivered in India (MDI Gurugram) and partly in Europe (ESCP Europe Campuses) at Paris, Berlin, Madrid and London.
IMI New Delhi offers Post Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management (PGD HRM). This program offers 60 seats. The application for this program will be done through CAT scores followed by GD PI processes.
Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management, Delhi
Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management, Delhi offers 3 specializations in their Post Graduate Diploma Program and they are PGDM in Finance, PGDM in Research & Business Analytics and PGDM in Logistics and Supply Chain Management.
PGDM in Finance allows students to develop critical thinking ability and problem solving skills. It allows students to understand the business challenges and recognise the interplay of finance in other disciplines.
PGDM in Research & Business Analytics, provides in-depth knowledge, techniques and application of research & analytical concepts in the improvement of business process and decision-making. The program classroom and industry based learning for better understanding of the students.
PGDM in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, helps students in understanding the structure and functioning of supply chain in today’s global business environment.
FORE School of Management, New Delhi
FORE School of Management, New Delhi offers PGDM International Business Management (IBM). According to FORE School of Management, this program aims at preparing students to take up careers in corporate and family businesses engaged in International Business Operations.
The admission takes place through CAT scores, performance in GD PI, academic performance and work experience.
BIMTECH Greater Noida
BIMTECH's specialized MBA's are PGDM (International Business), PGDM (Retail Management), PGDM (Insurance Business Management) and PGDM (Sustainable Development Management).
PGDM Insurance Business Management provides specialized management skills in marketing, finance, I.T., HRM, besides equipping the students with an in-depth knowledge in the core subjects of insurance and risk management.
About the other specialized MBA program, BIMTECH mentions, "PGDM- Sustainable Development Practices incorporates the suggestions of Brundtland Commission on Environment & Development."
PGDM (International Business), PGDM (Retail Management) and PGDM (Insurance Business Management) offers 60 seats each. PGDM (Sustainable Development Management) offer 30 seats. The fees for these programs vary from each other. The fee for PGDM (International Business) is Rs. 7.5 lakh, PGDM (Insurance Business) fee is Rs. 6 lakh, the fee charged for PGDM (Retail Management) is Rs. 7 lakh and the fee for PGDM (Sustainable Development) is Rs. 5 lakh.
The admission for PGDM (International Business) would take place through CAT. The other programs accept scores of CAT, XAT and MAT, followed by GD PI and Write Up.
T A Pai Management Institute, Manipal offers PGDM Healthcare (PGDM - HC) apart from the regular PGDM program. The admission of the PGDM - HC takes place through the scores of CAT, XAT, MAT, GMAT or GRE followed by GD, Case Analysis and PI. PGDM - HC offers 60 seats. The tuition fee for the program is Rs. 8.25 lakh.
TAPMI mentions, "Based on scores in CAT, XAT, GMAT, GRE, MAT and academic excellence, work experience, extra-curricular and clarity of purpose, candidates are short-listed and invited to participate in the subsequent TAPMI Admissions Process (GD/PI)."
NMIMS Mumbai offers 3 MBA specializations and they are MBA in Human Resources, MBA in Pharmaceuticals Management and MBA in Decision Sciences & Analytics (NMIMS)+ MS in Business Analytics & Information Management (Purdue University, Krannert School of Business).
MBA in Human Resources develops the competencies and the right attitude for today's business environment.
MBA in Pharmaceuticals Management offers rigorous field work and academic teaching to prepare candidates for the Pharmaceutical industry.
MBA in Decision Sciences & Analytics (NMIMS)+ MS in Business Analytics & Information Management (Purdue University, Krannert School of Business) offers learnings through both technology and classroom and impart all the technical knowledge required for enhancing the business data. This is a dual degree program offered by NMIMS (India) and Purdue University (USA)
The specialized programs offered by Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar are PGDM Human Resource Management (PGDM - HRM) and PGDM - Rural Management (PGDM - RM).
PGDM - HRM is the Postgraduate Diploma in Management (Human Resources), an AICTE approved two-year full-time residential programme.
The admission for PGDM HRM takes place through the scores of either CAT or XAT. The final selection will be made on the basis of the candidate's performance in the XAT or CAT as well as in the Group Discussion and Personal Interview and past academic record and relevant work experience.
PGDM - RM program: The two years PGPRM course injects professionalism in the field of rural economy.
For the admission to the PGDM - RM program, XIMB accepts scores of IRMA entrance exam, XAT or CAT. The final selection will take place through GD and PI. Past academic records and relevant work experience will also be considered.
We School Mumbai and Bangalore offers PGDM program with specializations in Marketing, Retail, Finance, HR, Systems and Operations. The Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management is the flagship program of the institute. The program nurtures world-class managers with analytical tools, business philosophies and exposure to real-life unstructured situations.
There are 180 seats offered in the Mumbai campus and 60 seats in Bangalore campus. The admission takes place through the scores of CAT, XAT, ATMA, CMAT or MAH CET, followed by GD and PI. Past academic records and work experience are also taken into count.
Xavier Institute of Social Service, Ranchi offers specialized programs which are PGDM Human Resource Management (PGDM HRM), PGDM Rural Management (PGDM RM), PGDM Information Technology (PGDM IT), PGDM Finance and PGDM Marketing.
The PGDM HRM program offered by XISS seeks to equip students with practical knowledge and requisite skills to be effective in their profession.
Regarding the PGDM RM program, XISS says, "This course prepares the students to meet the challenges posed by the profession and moulds them into change agents-facilitators in the process of development."
According to the B-School, the PGDM (Information Technology) programme is designed to meet the challenges of rapid changes in our society.
Talking about the objective and scope of the PGDM Finance program, XISS states, "The basic objective of this course is to develop future finance managers by providing knowledge, skills and practical orientation in financial field. The objective is to enable the students internalize the key business concepts, learn to analyze problems, develop strategies, communicate ideas and motivate people to action."
The PGDM Marketing program enables the students to get the right skills and knowledge for the requisite profession. XISS mentions, "The focus of this course is to develop future managers with the right combination of knowledge, skills and practical orientation in order to equip themselves with the right vision of a world class manager."
There are 75 seats in PGDM HRM and PGDM RM programs and 60 seats each in PGDM IT, PGDM Finance and PGDM Marketing programs. The admission takes place through XAT scores, GD PI and past academic records.
IFIM Business School, Bangalore
IFIM Business School Bangalore offers PGDM Finance and PGDM International Business (IB) apart from the flagship PGDM program. Both these programs offer 60 seats.
PGDM Finance offered by IFIM Business School is an intensely structured program where the students have the option to take up electives and build expertise across verticals like Financial Markets, Banking, Valuations and Insurance.
The PGDM (IB) program is the result of increasing pace of globalization that has created a need to develop competent cadre of business executive who can understand and analyze the trends in international business.
The scores of CAT, XAT, MAT, ATMA are considered for the PGDM (Finance) program. Apart from these exam scores, IIFT scores are also accepted for the admission in the PGDM (IB) program. Students will have to write an SOP (Statement of purpose), attend GD and take the personality interview. Weightage is also given to school, college marks, extracurricular activities and work experience.
Apart from the flagship PGDM program, IFMR Chennai offers two specialized programs, PGDM - Development & Sustainable Finance (D&SF) and PGDM Financial Engineering (FE).
PGDM (D & SF) program - PGDM in Development & Sustainable Finance focuses on addressing the critical need for having a more integrated and sustainable financial system, thereby contributing positively to the societies where we live and work. This program not only makes students aware of theoretical underpinnings of development but also gives them the opportunity to implement class room learning through various live projects.
According to IFMR, the PGDM FE program has been designed to provide management graduates with rigorous training in applied quantitative finance.
The admission takes places through CAT or XAT scores. Shortlisted candidates are required to participate in GD & PI.
Asia Pacific Institute of Management, New Delhi
Asia Pacific Institute of Management, New Delhi offers specialized PGDM programs in Marketing, International Business, and Banking & Financial Services.
The B-School mentions that the PGDM Marketing program takes a holistic approach, helping to create complete marketing managers, who can balance the needs of various stakeholders - customers, owners and society at large.
PGDM IB program - The Post Graduate Diploma in Management (International Business) program has been designed to fulfill this need of Transnational Business.
The PGDM Banking & Financial Services Program takes a holistic approach, helping to create complete financial managers, who can balance the needs of various stakeholders - customers, owners and society at large. These managers will be able to share the long term vision of their organizations, assess the market needs for their services, the environment and the competition, formulate strategy and implement plans for achieving organizational goals.
The admission to the above mentioned programs take place through CAT and MAT scores followed by GD and PI.
Apart from the flagship MBA program, NIIT University offers a specialized MBA in MBA in Finance & Banking. "The programme aims to develop well-equipped professionals who can successfully respond to the challenges posed by the continuous changes in the economy, customer expectations, competitive field, regulatory system and technological environment pertaining to the banking sector. The programme aims to help the professionals develop decision making capability in an uncertain world," says NIIT University.
The selection process will be conducted by ICICI Bank with participation of NIIT University.
Applicants will be shortlisted on merit and will be invited for the selection process. For short-listing emphasis will be laid on the quality of work experience. The shortlisted candidates will have to undergo entrance test, Psychometric profiling and GD PI. Past academic qualifications and work experience will also be considered.
Nirma University, Institute of Management
Institute of Management, Nirma University, Ahmedabad offers a specialized MBA program on Family Business & Entrepreneurship. The institute states, "It aims to equip young people with modern management knowledge and skills, family business management techniques and an entrepreneurship approach."
This program offers 120 seats. The selection process takes place through entrance test conducted by Nirma Institute followed by GD and PI.
AICAR Business School, Maharashtra
AICAR Business School, Maharashtra offers program in PGDM Banking, Insurance & Finance. The B-School mentions, "The course focuses on the sectors of Banking, Insurance - both life and general insurance, and Financial Services. It is intended to prepare and train professionals with in-depth knowledge and skill sets to take up the challenges of working in three critical financial services of our economy and build a high performance leadership base in the sector."
The selection process takes place through the scores of CAT, XAT, MAT, MAH CET or ATMA. The shortlisted candidates have to undergo GD, PI, Presentation or Case Analysis. Past academic records and work experience will also be considered.