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How to choose between a specialized MBA program and a general MBA?

Deciding to pursue an MBA is a major career choice which requires a significant amount of investment of both time and money. Therefore, choosing between a specialized and a general program is like choosing the right life partner for your career.

The right program has the potential to boost your career and open several career opportunities. As per your career goals, you will find that each program has various advantages to offer. In this article, we have listed some of the advantages and disadvantages of general and specialized MBA’s to help you reach an informed decision.


Specialized MBA


  1. A specialized MBA offers in-depth business education in the chosen management function for eg marketing, operations etc. In case you are keen on a particular management function, a specialized MBA will be the better choice.
  2. If you are clear about your career goals and the career path you want to follow then pursuing a specialized program will give you an extra edge in the industry.  
  3. Students who have completed their graduation in one of the management domains rarely switch to a different domain. Hence, a specialized program might be more valuable for them. 


  1. The education you receive will be constrained to one domain of management, so it is essential to make sure that you are certain about your professional aspirations before you sign up for a specialized MBA program.
  2. Switching from one management domain to the other will be difficult down the line. For instance, if you pursue a specialized MBA in operations you may find it hard to switch to marketing.


General MBA


  1. With a general MBA students receive in-depth business education across management domains. They get to learn the fundamentals of all the specialities. 
  2. A general MBA is a better choice for those looking for a career switch. It gives them the opportunity to study the foundation courses in the first year and then decide electives as per their interest in the second year. 


  1. In a general MBA program the competition will be much stiffer in terms of job opportunities. Students will have to be proactive about their choice of electives and decide in which management function they want to work.
  2. For general MBA, it will be essential that you pursue your education from a top B-School.

The most effective way to decide is by weighing your interests carefully and on the basis of that explore some of the best management programs, understand what each entails and then make your choice.