6 MBA Paths to Pursue Based on Your Passions Instead of struggling to carve out a place for yourself in a program, find one that's tailor-made for you.
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Business is dynamic. It requires adaptive reflexes and a strategic mindset. It's also contingent on many moving parts and unexpected skillsets and demands a high level of continuous learning and leadership development. For those who eat, sleep and dream business, there is no other path.
Whether you're a newly minted college grad or have been out of the classroom for quite some time, chances are that you've considered an MBA — and likely found that the standard program with set schedules and inside-the-box content doesn't match your needs.
To provide insight into a more unique form of business education, we spoke with California Lutheran University, who offer both MBA and EMBA (Executive MBA) programs that can be tailored to your learning style and schedule. Their advice? For those seeking flexibility and curated content, consider programs that provide specific career tracks, like the six listed below.
With the availability of products and services across geographic boundaries, the future of the workplace is global. But having the knowledge of how international business works, as well as how to enter new markets and thrive in them, has yet to become common knowledge.
With a focus in international business, you'd be groomed for a role in management, sales, human resources, finances and marketing for both multinational companies and start-up and tech companies launching in new markets. If you have the drive to think globally, travel often and navigate complex cross-cultural relationships, this track is a perfect fit.
The world of marketing is crowded and requires you to not only be adaptable and willing to take risks, but also be analytical, creative and adept at understanding people. Having a solid understanding of the nuances of business marketing specifically is a valuable skill to add to your personal brand.
A career in marketing promises the standard roles of digital marketer, manager and executive, as well as opportunities to specialise in analytics, advertising, brand management or email marketing. Whether you want to work in-house, build an agency, work for a start-up or freelance on the side, having an marketing concentration provides a strong foundation to launch your career.
You've probably heard of the "talent gap', which speaks to the void of qualified candidates, particularly at a senior level, in IT professions. With a focus in information technology, you'll be in the unique position of possessing the exact skills that recruiters crave.
You'll gain the skills to pursue a leadership career in data or project management, technical writing, web development or business analysis, particularly in the fields of emerging tech and innovation. You'll also likely have access to modern technology infrastructure that promises cutting edge, hands-on experience.
Finance will always be in demand. If you're already in the financial field and wanting to up your game, or if you want to enter the world of business with a golden ticket in your hand, a finance track for your MBA would be a good fit.
While the most obvious career paths include financial analysis, trading and managerial roles, having a solid foundation in finance is also valuable for becoming an investor. At Cal Lutheran, the finance track dives into investment and portfolio management as well as entrepreneurial finance, helping you build your knowledge for future investment pursuits.
Human capital management
People are the backbone of your business, and as your company begins to scale, so does the need to invest in your internal culture and HR management. A human capital management track provides essential insight into not only employee recruitment and retainment, but also the legal and resource requirements of managing staff.
With this track, you could pursue talent acquisition or general management, or even become an HR specialist. You could also consider becoming a consultant, trainer, advisor and/or public speaker, particularly for growth stage companies and established teams who are wanting to develop niche aspects of their business, such as impactful diversity initiatives.
When you launch a business, you take on multiple hats, covering everything from finances and HR to marketing, operations, business development and public speaking. Specializing in entrepreneurship gives you a leg up, so when you're facing an endless cycle of networking, number crunching and brainstorming, you'll have a core set of skills to draw on. With this education, you could launch your own business, lend an entrepreneurial mindset to an established company or even become a consultant, coach or educator working with entrepreneurs.
Another option to hone your leadership skills or achieve your next big win in entrepreneurship and business is an executive track, or EMBA. This program features small class sizes, one-on-one coaching and professional skills workshops with experienced professionals and business leaders.
Whether you opt for an MBA or EMBA, investing in your professional development makes good business sense. The worst that will happen is you develop your ability to adapt and persevere — and in the world of business, you can't go wrong with that.