MBA Specializations

Sometimes a plain old MBA just isn't enough. We look at MBA specializations in strategy, luxury, energy, finance, IT and entrepreneurship!

There are a good number of MBA specializations available to suit different career aspirations so we’ve put together this list explaining some of them.
Whether you want to head an e-commerce site or market a luxury label, there is likely to be a specialization to suit you.
Generalist MBA programmes teach a set of core courses such as accounting and finance, and then let students specialize in a specific area through their electives if they want to. Specialized MBA programs are even more focused on a specific industry or function.  
Strategy is all about growth, defeating your competitors and opening new markets. It's important for managers to understand how and why firms grow. HEC Paris has a Strategy Track for those of you who seek to hone your business skills beyond the basics and learn to make strategic decisions in uncertain situations.
The electives on the track include Corporate Strategy and Development, Management Buyouts, Geopolitics and Sustainable development. The Track also provides a balanced combination of visits from business leaders, experience sharing, reflection, and real-case pedagogy.
HEC Paris’ top employers include Schneider Electric, BNP Paribas, GE, A.T. Kearney, Boston Consulting Group, Nomura, Booz and Company, L’Oreal, UBS and CapGemini and this elective has been popular with them.
ESSEC Business School offers an MBA in International Luxury Brand Management for people dedicated to a career in the international luxury brand business.
The one year MBA is modelled on a leadership training programme. It begins in the summer, when students get familiar with luxury products and learn the fundamentals of the general disciplines and skills required for any MBA such as finance and accounting.
The second period strengthens business knowledge and presents luxury market trends. The third period focuses on luxury brand management while the fourth period tackles management issues specific to the luxury sector. At the end of the program, students work in teams to carry out a two-month field project for a luxury brand. 
ESSEC Business School normally recruits students from all over the world who also go on to very international careers.  Some recent examples include a Brazilian grad hired as Business Development manager for Lancel in Hong Kong; a Belgian/Taiwanese student from Switzerland working as Communication Manager for Chanel in China; a Japanese grad working as travel retail area manager for Elizabeth Arden; an Indian student now working as a marketing manager at Remy Cointreau; and a Canadian student now working as Trainee Store Manager for Louis Vuitton in China!
Global Energy
Warwick Business School launched the Global Energy programme with the goal of developing strategic leadership for the energy industry. The school works with over 500 companies who sponsor individuals and groups, or contribute to the Warwick MBA programme. Many of the global energy students are sponsored by their employers.
The programme combines residential learning with self-study, online sessions and face-to-face opportunities to talk with leading academics, industry experts, and fellow participants. Students are encouraged to address real work issues as part of the study programme so that solutions and ideas have an immediate and positive impact in the workplace.
Students also work on a consulting project for their firm during the study programme. Further advantages of Warwick’s Global Energy MBA include being eligible for over £2million of Warwick Business School scholarships.
All self-funded applicants will be automatically considered for an award of 50% of the first year's fees. Warwick Business School has a great network:  over 37,000 alumni in over 140 countries.
Finance as a specialization is incredibly popular among MBAs. Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance (SAIF) was established a few years ago with the mission to educate brilliant men and women to run trading floors and investment banking divisions as Shanghai becomes a global financial centre by 2020.
The full-time programme is taught in English, and the part-time programme is taught in Chinese in the first year and in English in the second year. Both programmes run for two years with the aim of cultivating innovative business leaders with finance expertise. The school recently obtained its AACSB accreditation. 
SAIF welcomes students from all over the world regardless of their prior professions. Professor Chun Chang, who is the Executive Dean of SAIF explained that SAIF is different from other public institutions in China because the school has more freedom to decide its programme for itself. The SAIF executive team can hire faculty from abroad, with teaching and research experience in other countries, to apply their knowledge to China’s environment.
Students are also exposed to virtual trading practice based on real-time stock fluctuations. The school hosts numerous debates and seminars featuring worldwide gurus of finance, with expertise in both Western and Chinese markets. A tailor made career service provides students with the most sought after career options.
Last year, SAIF students were employed at the likes of Shanghai Securities, Orient Securities, HSBC Holdings, Morgan Stanley Asia, China Construction Bank, China Financial Futures Exchange, Ebay, PayPal and Goldman Sachs. Its 2012 Employment report showed that 100 per cent of graduates secured jobs immediately after graduating with 91.03 per cent of them in the finance industry.
Information Technology 
Information Technology plays an increasingly pervasive role in organisational competitive advantage. The Perth Graduate School of Business offers a specialization in IT that is targeted at people seeking a better understanding of the role of technology in business.
According to Professor Phillip Dobson who is a Senior Lecturer and Course Coordinator for Project Management and Information Systems at the Perth Graduate School of Business, the IT specialization units provide a unique introduction to the role of business processes and enterprise systems in organisational success.
Students learn about the critical role that IT plays in supporting business processes. Guest speakers from major projects underway in Western Australia are frequent lecturers within each unit and assignments are practical and focused on organisational issues in Australia.
Entrepreneurship centres and programs are gaining prominence at business schools around the world. EMLYON Business School values entrepreneurship and strongly integrates it into the MBA  curriculum. They school covers three aspects of entrepreneurship: traditional entrepreneurship (starting your own business); corporate entrepreneurship (employing entrepreneurial skills even if you don't start your own businesses right after they graduate); and social entrepreneurship.
Professor Veronique Bouchard teaches an elective in the third term called corporate entrepreneurship and international strategy. She told us that since she joined the school in 2000, it has reinforced its interest in entrepreneurship.
Prior to joining EMLYON, Prof. Bouchard earned a Phd in Management Sciences and an MBA at Wharton. She worked as a strategy consultant at the Boston Consulting Group and ran her own consulting practice before joining EMLYON. 
Prof. Bouchard is in charge of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Project that all EMLYON MBA students undertake. Students do a consulting project on business development for a company. They choose their companies in November and form teams that work closely with the company and produce three reports during the project. Each team has a professor who follows them closely and in total they spend about 300 hours with their companies. 
Compare Business School programmes in our MBA Rankings Table !

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