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Should I Choose An MBA In Marketing Or General MBA?

If marketing is your bag and you want to go to business school, should you choose an MBA in Marketing? Chris Healy of Alliance Manchester Business School weighs in

Tue Nov 30 2021

In this Applicant Question, Chris Healy, head of MBA marketing and recruitment at Alliance Manchester Business School, explores whether an MBA in Marketing is the best route

Many MBAs now try to focus their program specifically on their specializations—and marketing is no doubt one of the most popular.  

Some of these schools are very well established and some try to carve out a niche, for example I saw an MBA to become a soccer agent recently.

On the other hand, some schools retain the ethos that Harvard had when it invented the MBA: that first and foremost it should be a general management qualification. We retain the same ethos at Alliance Manchester Business School and it’s something I believe very strongly.

A general management degree

An MBA should be teaching you your core business disciplines such as economics, finance, accounting, strategy, operations, and of course marketing, because they are the fundamentals of business.   cd137cda7caa536a24ab4988cf585df02f7b37f4.png

All MBAs allow you to personalize through electives as a minimum. You could in theory just pick marketing-based electives, which would then demonstrate you have focused in one particular area.  This approach would allow you a wider range of programs to choose from as you could take this approach with most MBAs instead of just looking for specific Marketing MBAs.

However, I advocate a different approach, where you look at the range of electives offered by a school and select say one element of marketing, one element of finance, one element of tech, and others.

Business schools aspire to develop future business leaders who need to be adept across all disciplines and not just one particular area.  

Recruiters want diverse skill-sets

Recruiters aren’t generally looking for MBA graduates that are only specialists in one area—they can do that by recruiting Business Master’s graduates. MBA recruiters want to hire people who yes, have marketing knowledge and skills, but also who know about negotiations, who are able to analyze big data, and most importantly those who are strategic thinkers.  

The Manchester MBA, for instance, has an elective called Fintech, Digital Banking and Blockchain that is something that is very current, but isn’t just attractive to those wanting to go into finance. 

It’s also open to those MBA students who have aspirations of being leaders in their respective industries. I often advise MBA applicants not to make decisions for the short term but to make them for the medium to long term and that’s why I think having a broader, wider knowledge base makes most sense.

I’ll end with answering the question very simply.  Should I select only marketing based electives and curate my own marketing MBA? Probably not. 

Should I look to broaden my horizons by selecting courses that will teach me about marketing, disruptive technologies, the digital economy, sustainability and entrepreneurship? Definitely yes!

Read another Applicant Question:

One-Year MBA: How Can You Make The Most Of Your Experience?

Student Reviews

Alliance Manchester Business School




On Campus

The course structure

The course is well structured and organised effectively. Every subject in the field of international business is covered in the course module. The lectures are of excellent quality and are simple to comprehend.   ·      The lecturers are also very knowledgeable about their subjects, quite thorough, and very helpful when it comes to answering questions and giving additional information on their subject.   ·      Students can easily access the assignment, lectures, and seminar content thanks to the blackboard technology. Students also benefit greatly from the reading materials that are posted on the blackboard.




On Campus

Practical Business Experience

3 live consulting projects, Non-for-Profit consulting, Commercial Business Consulting and International Business Consulting projects within the programme, provide us with a great opportunity to exposure to the real business world.




Quality education and student support system

What I love about The University of Manchester is the fact that, alongside with the excellent education it provides, it also takes care of the well being of the students and supports them throughout the year.




Endless networking opportunities!

I would 100% recommend this university! Throughout my 4 years there I received endless guidance and support from the amazing staff; both professors and student support teams. A particular highlight was the insightful guest lectures, networking employability events and career meetings, these significantly helped in preparing me for my future career.




Fantastic University!

AMBS provides excellent teaching and outstanding facilities, both of which combine to make a great learning experience. The teaching staff make sure we have plenty of resources to aid our learning, and always make sure we are making the most of our studies. The business building itself is the most impressive on campus, and provides plenty of places in which we can work.




Great facilities and support

It is a great university that provides extra support for its students. The teachers are very helpful and willing to support you and the environment is just great. It offers good facilities, study spaces and workshops that can help in your experience as a student.




New building, innovative teaching methods

The staff is very well prepared and pays a lot of attention to the student. The building is new and full of updated facilities. Teachers propose intriguing learning methods and there are plenty of international students to learn from.




It's an amazing University!

I think that AMBS is among the most well rounded universities in the UK. The cultural diversity among the students as well as the faculty is what catches my attention the most. The campus is very new and beautiful and has all kinds of facilities.




Quality and QS World Ranking

AMBS has the diverse set of batch where the students get the opportunity to mingle with the students coming from different parts of the world. The group of faculty is also very diverse having different skill set. I'd always recommend it for studying masters in business analytics.