Gone are the days of the standard MBA, because the 21st Century MBA is all about specialization. How will you enhance your MBA to meet your career needs?
Other than the JD/MBA, your father’s MBA was pretty boilerplate. In fact, the MBA of the 20th century, while serving leaders well, rarely offered concentrations or specializations beyond the standard general management designation. On the one hand, this was brilliant, since schools could claim that every graduate of their program was ready to handle essentially any business situation. MBA graduates eventually became bosses, and bosses needed to be generalists by nature. As long as they knew a little something about everything and mixed in a heaping helping of leadership skills, MBAs were off to the races up the proverbial corporate ladder.
The new economy has brought with it new demands for business leaders.
No longer is it good enough to have a general understanding of business. The intersection of business and technology demands graduates of top business schools to be tech saavy and entrepreneurially- minded. Schools have responded with a variety of innovative curricular changes including mini-mesters, allowing students to take more classes, additional coursework offerings in leadership and technology management. Additionally, MBA programs all over the world now allow and even require students to choose a concentration or major area of study. Beyond the standard areas of finance, marketing and operations, schools now offer students the ability to focus in cutting-edge areas such as IT management, supply chain, and data analytics.
Most importantly, MBA programs have opened up the ability for students to register for classes in other areas of the university.
Supplementing a regular MBA curriculum with classes from the Law School, School of Public Policy, or college of engineering has allowed MBA candidates to custom-design their education and graduate with a very unique and customizable set of skills. This allows MBA candidates to tailor their post MBA vision around a specific industry or area which can often position them in a very unique way for recruiters.
Even HBS, the last bastion of the general management MBA curriculum, offers and even encourages cross-registration in other colleges and schools at Harvard.
Breaking the one-size-fits-all MBA approach, while beneficial in many ways, can also create confusion amongst students and also with hiring companies. There has never been a more important time to thoughtfully consider the design of your MBA coursework and to consult with someone who can help guide your thought process.