What is MBA?

Masters of Business Administration (MBA) is a post graduate program that, regardless of the specialization, will provide you with conceptual, theoretical and practical training in various aspects of business-like economics, operations marketing, basic accounting, corporate finance etc. It is a multidisciplinary course that trains graduates to establish their name in the field of management. However, if the student has a bent towards one specific area of management, a specialized MBA can be pursued in that specific facet. The pros and cons of a specialized MBA are elaborately discussed later in this article.

Various Specializations of MBA

You can pursue an MBA in any domain you like. However, the only thing that you should ensure is that it should suit your caliber. If a candidate feels that an MBA in Marketing will come to fruition in the future, he should go for it. Likewise, suppose a candidate has a knack for understanding human behavior and can potentially help an organization connect with appropriate employees to get specific tasks done. In that case, he should invest his time to pursue an MBA in Human Resources Management. Likewise, if a candidate has got a feel for figures, an MBA in accounting or finance will snugly fit in his career trajectory. The specializations for MBA can either be generic (like the ones we mentioned above) or domain-specific. Domain-specific MBA trains the candidate in one particular domain rather than several. The program can be anywhere from 18 months to 2-year time duration and can be taken online or offline. Both the modes provide equal value addition.   

As the course commences, candidates are explored to a whole different form of teaching. During the initial terms, candidates are trained in generic subjects of management. The sole purpose of including management-focused topics is to channel the candidates' cognition into a techno-managerial branch. This practice gives the initial bank shot to candidates seeking out in the management domain. As the second year commences, students can opt for specialization according to their preferences. The prime purpose of an MBA is to hone your decision-making abilities to increase your value as a business professional in your future job. Also, it would be best if you chose a stream in line with the current market trend, job market, acquired skill set a decent compensation package. To begin with, here is a compiled list of most popular MBA specializations that you can go for:

  1. MBA in Marketing Management

  2. MBA in Human Resource Management

  3. MBA in Finance

  4. MBA in Operations Management

  5. MBA in International Business

Let us break down these courses one by one for your better understanding and knowledge:

  1. MBA in Marketing: Marketing management has always been one of the most prominent MBA specialization.  This particular stream equips candidates with solid marketing and sales skills like brand management, content marketing, advertising, Public Relations, salesforce management, product marketing, marketing analytics and consumer trends. Initially, as per the set rules of an MBA degree, your course will inculcate basics of accounting, finance, economics and management applications. An MBA in marketing management concentrates on working with real time case studies through experiential learning and ends with a capstone assignment.

In the major economies of the world, organizations are scavenging the most for talented marketers to help achieve their business goals and build a certain visibility and reputation in the market space. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLA) predicted an impeccable rise in demand for marketing jobs in the overall marketing industry and finds that by the year 2026, the requirement for PR specialists will increase to 9%, 10% for content marketers and marketing managers and 23% for market research analysts. The numbers are still on the increase. Hence, now is the correct time in many years to embrace marketing as a career! Here are a few career opportunities you can keep in mind after pursuing MBA in Marketing Management:

Career Opportunities

Base Average Salary

Marketing Manager

8.5 lacs per annum.

Product marketing Manager

20 lacs per annum.

Content Manager

7 lacs per annum

Digital Marketing Manager

8 lacs per annum

Media Strategist

11 Lacs per annum

MBA in Marketing Management Roughly takes 18-30 months' time to complete. If you are currently a full-time working professional, you can pursue executive MBA in marketing management which can act as an accelerant to help you achieve that coveted promotion you were yearning for since a long time. Pursuing an MBA along with your job will also result in gaining incredible insights on a broader scale and help you build connections with your peers which will be an important asset in the future.

  1. MBA in Human Resource Management: MBA in Human Resource Management majorly focuses on people management. This particular type of MBA specialization can be pursued if you are interested in establishing a direct communication with people for the purpose of talent scouting, recruitment and career guidance. You need to have immense patience and maturity to pursue this specialization and yield maximum results. Every organization considers their employees to be an invaluable asset and now, every organizations are bent upon the restructuring their guidelines to make them more employee friendly and biodiverse. As an MBA in HR, you will be learning how to manage a huge employee base within a company and techniques of employee retention that will help you keep the employees motivated, focused and hence, loyal to the organization.

An MBA in HR will also teach you HR automation process which is a recent practice believed to automatically increase the efficacy of an HR professional to focus on leadership tasks within a company like consulting, decision making and strategizing. Also, interestingly, the global Human Resource Management market size is expected to increase at a CAGR of 11% from 2019-2025. Hence an MBA in HR is one of the most prominent specializations to go for at the moment and plays a crucial role for a company in the interest of recruiting new, talented and experienced professionals to be a part of the company. Due to this reason, a company takes MBAs in HR very seriously. They can avail handsome salary packages right after they finish their post-graduation. Here are various career opportunities to consider if you plan to pursue MBA in HR:

Career Opportunities

Base Average Salary

Human Resource Manager

7 lacs per annum

Talent Acquistion Specialist

15.9 lakhs per annum

Employee Relations Manager

7 lacs per annum

Chief Human Resource Officer

49 lacs per annum

Director of HR Training and Development

40 lacs per annum

Staffing Director

15.65 lacs per annum

  1. MBA in Finance: MBA in Finance is in the most literal sense, a lucrative degree program which will be of immense value for candidates who want to earn well and live an extravagant life post-graduation. Yes, with a lot of money, comes a lot of efforts. MBA in Finance is one of the most complicated specializations which requires you to have strong mathematical, accounting and theoretical skills, all of which will prove as an added benefit and bring you one step closer to your potential goals. Many high-end multinational organizations like the Boston Consulting group, Deloitte, Accenture, Ernst and Young, Visa etc The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Survey states that businesses and financial occupations will grow at a rate of 10% till 2026. This rate of increase is equivalent to almost 7,75,000 new jobs. Financial and business professionals’ remuneration is 44% higher than the national average remuneration! 

An MBA in Finance can be your gateway to land directly in c-suite roles, provided you pay attention to what you learn in the classroom. Stipend based Internships in major financial corporations also play a very important role while you pursue this particular specialization as it would help you get the hang of the economical standpoints of an organization and get real world experience. The major domains that you would study about as a finance student would be corporate administration, Mergers Acquisitions, corporate restructuring, risk analysis, mutual and hedge funds, international markets, macroeconomics, international finance etc. Those who have got their financial skills in place and procure knowledge to control and manage the company’s capital investments need not worry about the job market for the next decade! Here are the some of the career opportunities you can attain post MBA- Finance.

Career Opportunities

Base Average Salary

Investment Banker

10 lacs per annum

Risk Analysts

7 lacs per annum

Credit risk Managers

10 lacs per annum

Treasury Officers

22 lacs per annum

Manager Consultants

26 lacs per annum

Corporate controllers

17.5 lacs

If you are an MBA Finance candidate with a prior management or cost accounting background, you can pursue degrees like CA (Chartered Accountant), CPA (Certified Public Accountant), CMA (Certified management accountant). These certifications would help you get noticed internationally and accelerate your career by working in Americal or British financial organizations.

  1. MBA in Operations Management: It is one of the most chosen specializations as it provides impeccable career opportunities. MBA in operations management basically helps you learn how to manage the operations that are conducted every day within an organization. It also teaches you how to work cohesively in order to handle complex business situations and meet business goals. The subjects would mainly include business statistics, materials management, enterprise resource planning, financial accounting and management, logistics, and supply chain management. These subjects will teach you how to survive within an organization and manage the ups-and-downs of the market.

At the moment, LinkedIn has about 40000 job listings for operations management. The US Bureau of Labour Statistics states that the average salary of operations research analysts is a whopping $72,100 USD per year and their employment is projected to grow 25% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than average of all occupations. Hence, an MBA in operations management is an excellent choice for people who are highly organized, active and willing to learn enthusiastically. Here are some career opportunities to look for post MBA in operations management:

Career Opportunities 

Base Average Salary

Operations Manager

7.6 lacs per annum

Production Analyst

6 lacs per annum

Quality Analyst

7 lacs per annum

Distribution Manager

10.25 lacs per annum

Purchasing Manager 

8 lacs per annum

  1. MBA in International Business: If you are aiming for a career which helps you gain a global perspective of Business, then an MBA in international business is a snug fit for you. This course intends you to make an exceptional international business professional who has an understanding of business operations conducted on a global scale and their utilization in improving the domestic business. As an International Business candidate, you will learn all about everything there is to learn about the current trends of global economy, trade laws, foreign exchange, custom regulations, international logistics and strategic business management. In India, you can pursue MBA in International Business from IIFT New Delhi, which is one of the most prominent institutes in the world. According to PayScale, the average pay of MBA in International Business graduates is $93000.

MBA in international business acquaints you with all the facets of global economy, which makes it recognizable and acceptable worldwide. Hence, you can easily migrate and settle overseas after pursuing this course. More and More international organizations are harboring MBA graduates in International business to make their international processes more effective and easier. Candidates who consider this specialization are hired by some of the top multinational corporations like Bank of America, Deloitte, Accenture, Mckinsey and Company, Morgan Stanley etc welcome MBA in international business candidates with a hug. Here are some career opportunities to expect after MBA in international Business: 

Career Opportunities

Base Average Salary

Global Marketing Manager

31 lacs per annum

International Sales Manager

14.53 lacs per annum

International Trade Compliance Manager 

17 lacs per annum

International Logistics Coordinator

6 lacs per annum

Business Development Co-Ordinator

5 lacs per annum

Note it, MBA in International Business can be your gateway to some of the highest paying jobs. The highest package ever awarded to a candidate who pursued MBA in International Business from IIFT Delhi is a whopping 75 lakhs per annum!

Accreditation of MBA Programs in India

Most MBA programs in India are accredited by AICTE or UGC however many MBA programs also have prestigious international accreditations. For example, the prestigious IIM Calcutta's programs are accredited by AACSB and AMBA making it the only Indian B-school with both these global accreditations.
An MBA program is basically of two types in terms of the duration of the program: Two-year Full Time Program and One-Year Executive Program.

MBA Two-year Full Time Program

The two-year MBA is the most common and most sought after MBA program of most of the Indian B-schools (some exceptions being ISB Hyderabad and Great Lakes, Chennai which are renowned for their one-year programs). While some B-schools offer a Post Graduate Diploma (PGDM) some offer a Masters Degree (MBA). MBA is offered by colleges that are affiliated to a university. All the colleges not affiliated to any university offer a PGDM which is a diploma. However, it doesn't make any difference whether it's a diploma or a MBA degree as the recruiters go by the reputation of the B-school and the caliber of the student.
IIMs and XLRI, despite offering a diploma, are two of the most prestigious B-schools of India.

The program has 6 terms (also known as trimesters) of 3 months each. Both the years have 3 trimesters each. A student pursues a 2 month long summer internship after the end of the first year.

Also read : MBA Entrance Exams 2021

MBA Specialized Management Programs

Many colleges offer domain specific management programs. Some of the colleges are:

A student of the specialized course gets an in-depth knowledge of the stream and can market himself as a specialist.

MBA Summer Internships

The 2 month long summer internship is a regular aspect of the course curriculum in any B-school across the country. The summer internship placements take place in the second term giving the students the glimpse of the final year placements. The students pursue their internships at prestigious organizations. The organization assigns project(s) to the intern which the intern is meant to complete in the 2 month internship period.

  • An internship gives the student a perspective of the industry and the corporate world. The student gets a chance to apply his classroom knowledge and skills to use.

  • A student pursuing an internship in his sector of interest puts him in a good stead as he gains relevant experience in what he wishes to move ahead with in the second year/final placements.

  • Also, it gives the student a fair enough knowledge of a sector other than that of his interest.

Organizations generously participate in the summer placements, especiallyin the top B-schools, offering the interns a handsome stipend. Not only is the summer placement a glimpse of the final placements, in many cases the organizations offer the interns a pre-placement offer (PPO) welcoming the intern to join the organization after the completion of the MBA.

MBA Winter Internships / Short Term Projects (STP)

Not very common at Indian B-schools, the winter internships happen in December-January, towards the end of the first year. In some cases, this is more of a short-term project with a company that would run parallel with the 4th term of the MBA program.

MBA Final Placements

As compared to a simple graduate who enters the hierarchy at the executive level, an MBA would start off his career from the junior or mid management level. Various and diverse profiles are offered to top B-school students like Management Consultant, Marketing Manager, Project Manager etc.
MBA from the top B-schools easily puts the student in good stead to draw a starting salary of 10 - 20 lakhs. For the Top 10 B-schools, the average packages are generally between 16 - 20 lakhs. There has been a steady rise in the average pay packages of these top B-schools over the last few years.

MBA One-year Executive Program

One-year Executive Programs are targeted at working professionals with atleast two to three years of work experience, looking for further growth in their career. Most of the prestigious B-schools of the country offer one-year executive programs.

  • IIM-A PGPX – Ahmedabad (More info here)

  • ISB – Hyderabad (more info here)

  • IIM-B EPGP – Bangalore (more info here)

  • IIM-C PGPEX – Kolkata (more info here)

  • XLRI PGDM (General Management) - Jamshedpur (more info here)

  • S. P. Jain (General Management) - Mumbai (more info here)

  • IIM-L (IPMX) - Lucknow (more info here)

  • Great Lakes – Chennai (more info here)

The one-year executive programs are well accepted in India. For instance, the average package at IIM-A's PGPX has gone up till 26 lakh. A candidate with 2-3 years of work experience should go for a reputed executive program which will add value to his career and will bring a quantum jump in his career.

What makes MBA a better choice?

The most pertinent question that should actually be the first step towards the MBA exam preparation is - "What makes MBA a better choice?". This, at the same time, is also the most ignored question throughout the prep. Usually, there is hardly any clarity in an aspirant's mind about what is he expecting from his MBA degree. To be able to think clearly about this, it is required to look beyond the general perceptions about MBA and to understand what an MBA degree would give you.

Perception Vs Facts for MBA

When it comes to an MBA, people have self-made notions which they believe to be completely true and logical. However, these assumptions are hyped up to a great extent and far from what are the true aspects of an MBA. Here are some common perceptions vs real facts that you should consider before stepping up for MBA:

Perception: "Great B-school ensures a great job.”

Reality: Not completely correct. Infact, the competition gets fiercer at a great B-school. But certainly, a great B-school ensures that a student gets lot of great opportunities. It eventually boils down to the caliber of the student as to how ready and prepared he is to utilize the opportunities to his benefit.

Perception: "An MBA degree would catapult me to extremely high levels of corporate remuneration”
Reality: Again, not completely correct. The well written placement reports of B-schools with great ‘figures’ written all over them cannot be taken for granted. There are some pitfalls that a student needs to be aware of. The pay packages that a company offers have to be taken with a pinch of salt. These pay packages usually have a variable factor ranging from 100 to 400 percent. The ‘Highest Salary’ figure shouldn’t even be a parameter to choose a B-school. Only a handful of students, at times only one, manage to bag that kind of an offer. Usually the students are offered the ‘Average Salary’ or even lower than that.

Perception: "MBA would give me my dream job, just the way I’ve always imagined it”
Reality: Although, MBA offers great variety of specializations and certainly the job spectrum widens after the MBA, but the dream job profile is not always at the student’s discretion. What kind of a profile a student is offered mostly depends on the type of companies that visit the B-school for placements and also on the specialization of the student. Also, in order to bag a dream job profile, the student is expected to have worked hard enough to back it up with enough proof that he is genuinely interested in that field.

Perception: "It takes great amount of intelligence and exceptional past academic scores to clear CAT and get into one of the top B-schools”
Reality: This couldn’t have been more far away from the truth. Certainly, a good academic record will make it easier for a candidate to make it to the cut-off for B-schools that lay a lot of emphasis on profile (e.g. IIM-B, SP Jain) and will also help the candidate to portray a better image on the interviewer. But, only a few B-schools have more than 10-15% weightage of past academics in the overall selection process. Statistics would tell that the students without impressive academic scores have also made it through to the top B-schools.

Better Reasons to go for MBA

Now that the major myths about MBA have been busted, let us put things into perspective to understand what can an MBA degree give the student and how the student should look towards MBA to make it more fruitful for him.

  • Better Job Opportunities: An average graduate usually gets frustrated due to extremely limited job opportunities and limited type of job profiles. An MBA widens the spectrum of job opportunities and job profiles for a student. An MBA from the top B-schools takes the student to higher levels of management, making them managers and senior managers, which surely does mean a higher position in the organization but also means higher responsibilities. An MBA degree from the top most B-schools gives a person the credibility to hold leadership roles in an organization.

  • Greater Career Growth: A mere graduate might take many years to escalate in the corporate hierarchy and might still not move beyond a certain level. It does become important for a graduate to have a higher degree to reach the senior management levels. An MBA graduate from a top B-school starts his career from the mid-management or senior management level and has far more better chances of escalating upwards to become a CEO, CFO, CIO, CTO etc.

  • Larger Perspective of Business World: A good MBA program imparts not only knowledge but also good business acumen to the student for him to become more receptive to changes in the world and better equipped with problem solving tactics. A simple employee of an organization, serving in the lower half of the hierarchy, might not have the access to relevant information about business. MBA makes business knowledge a familiar territory, hence making the student a valuable asset to the organization.

  • Greater Challenges : MBA widens the student’s limits of learning. It gets the student out of his comfort zone, deal with the latest issues, apply the newest management techniques and just constantly challenge him with different situations.

  • Consolidated Corporate Network : The first step towards a fruitful college life is having a good network of encouraging and supportive friends. The only difference at a top B-school is that the friends here would be more career oriented and would be some of the top future managers. This puts the student in a good position in life as he gets to interact with colleagues, professors and teaching staff (usually former or current business people, with great on-field experience).

  • Better Pay Packages : Lastly, there is no denying the fact that an MBA degree from a good B-school brings with itself greater pay packages. To say the least, for a simple graduate engineer, the salary after an MBA becomes at least triple. Over the years the top tier B-schools have maintained the tradition of high salary packages being offered to its students even in the times of recession.

Learn all about benefits of pursuing an MBA by downloading our MBA Beginner’s Guide

MBA: Relevance (or Irrelevance) of the Type of Academic Background

The biggest myth that we didn't bust earlier (and saved it for this section) is that it's not necessary at all to have done business courses (like BBA) prior to the MBA to become a better manager. This myth is a far cry from the student's background statistics of B-schools where a majority of the students are engineers and the remaining are from various other backgrounds.
Infact, top B-schools encourage diversity in classrooms. Diversity helps to create an environment where productive debates and differing viewpoints can be used to foster innovation.

  • Engineers: Beginning by quoting a statistic, in the last three PGP batches at IIM Bangalore, there have been 90% engineers in each batch (Read More: IIM Bangalore). IT engineers involved in software development and testing tend to pursue an MBA to move out of their monotonous work profile of coding programs. Although they might eventually become project managers in 5-7 years without the MBA, an MBA accelerates the process.

  • Lawyers: An MBA after law makes perfect sense for those looking to open their private law firm. Although, it’s debatable whether an MBA degree is really required to open a law firm but there are sufficient arguments that can be given to support MBA. A business degree before opening a law firm will give the person valuable business insights that would surely become a great competitive advantage.

  • Agriculturists: Leading B-schools of our country have specialized agriculture-oriented programs. These programs broadly cover marketing, (emphasis on rural marketing and retail management) finance (emphasis on micro finance, commodity trading and lending and risk management), supply chain management (logistics in retail), and taxation. It also details all the relevant and applicable fields of Agriculture.

    These programs are offered by IIM-Ahmedabad, SIIB Pune and a few more B-schools.

  • Doctors: While doctors contemplate whether to pursue MD or MS, there is MBA as a very valid third option. Doctors with a management degree can find great jobs in hospital administration and management. Not only this, but they can be a valuable asset to companies who develop surgical or electronic medical products for e.g. GE and Philips. Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Maharashtra offers Master of Hospital Administration. Manipal Institute of Management and Faculty of Management Studies, New Delhi offers MBA in Hospital Administration and Health Care Management.

  • Teachers: An MBA degree puts teachers in a leadership position. Teachers get to venture out administrative positions which help them to be able to influence the growth of a much larger group of learners and not just a classroom full of students.

Basically, academic background cannot be a hindrance if a person wishes to purse an MBA as MBA is a very generalist program.

Pursuing MBA with Work Experience vs without Work Experience

For a fresher or a student in his final year one of the biggest decisions is whether to write CAT that year or get some work experience and pursue MBA later. Here it is important to break another myth that having work experience is an important factor to get into the IIMs. The fact is that apart from IIM Bangalore and Indore none of the IIMs have assigned more than 20% weightage to work experience. As a matter of fact, there is no weightage to work experience at IIM Ahmedabad, as they give 100% weightage to CAT scores. This clearly shows that having work experience doesn't make a big difference as it is always made out to be.
It is advisable that the candidate appears for CAT and other MBA exams right from his final year of graduation. This would give the candidate time to prepare for the exams as it might become extremely difficult to start preparations along with a job. Having no work experience is never a demerit for a fresher.

However, it's important to mention that having work experience would definitely help the candidate by giving him a perspective of corporate processes and scenarios.

Executive MBA or Full-Time MBA?

The minimum work experience required for an executive MBA is around 2 - 2.5 years. The executive MBA is usually a one-year program targeted at professionals who have already had sufficient exposure to the corporate world and wish to enhance their existing career paths. The executive MBA programs have higher fees than the normal full-time programs. For the working professionals, employers might pay a part of the fee or even the complete fee. Institutes like JBIMS Mumbai
The full-time MBA programs are ideal for fresh graduates who can afford to delay working. This would eventually put them quite ahead of non-MBA graduates in terms of job prospects. The bottom line of this is that for a graduate with 3 or more years of experience, Executive MBA is advisable as it would provide the benefit of MBA in a shorter span of time minus the internship (which becomes almost irrelevant after 3 years of work ex.).

MBA India Vs MBA Abroad

The first point in this respect is that, considering how common MBA has become, an MBA program must make a big difference on the resume. The quality education offered, professional exposure and personality development is the key to the brand value of all reputed B-schools.

  • Indian MBA Programs : The most reputed B-schools in India accept the scores of the CAT exam conducted by the IIMs. The PGDM programs at the IIMs are one of the highest ranked management programs in the world. From the world perspective, institutes other than the top three IIMs don’t feature to be compared with reputed MBA programs of the USA and the UK. The not-so-good B-schools are easy to get in but they won’t add much value to the resume and eventually to the career. If a student is able to convert the calls of the top three IIMs he should prefer to go to these IIMs as more or less the top three IIMs are equally at par with most of the best B-schools of the world. Backed by good placements, IIMs are a better option than most of the foreign MBA programs as they don’t provide any placement assistance and the candidate needs to venture out his job prospects himself.

  • MBA Abroad : The foreign MBA programs are applied through valid GMAT scores. The few advantages that the foreign MBA programs provide are:

  • International Faculty: There is a huge amount of diversity not just among the students but also among the faculty. Reputed B-schools of the world are able to bring together the best minds from around the world who exhibit quality teaching.

  • Internationally Accepted Programs: Almost all the programs of reputed colleges of the USA and the UK are accepted worldwide. A word of caution here is that the one year programs of UK are not accepted in India.

  • Better Scope for Research: Top B-schools of the world provide great resources for research work. Some of the best researches of the management filed are done at premier institutes like the Harvard Business School.

It can be concluded by saying that if the aspirant has a global perspective in mind and eventually wants to settle abroad, he may go for the international programs. The Indian higher education system has reached a level where the top IIMs are at par with best international programs.

What other than/along with MBA?

An MBA aspirant must also consider is appearing for exams like Bank-PO, GMAT and GRE. This would fall in line with their eventual aim of doing a good masters degree and excel in life.
A candidate who is not able to score well in CAT and clears the Bank PO exam can work at a leading PSU bank of India. The PSU banks have a good reputation and this would be a valuable work experience. The student may just excel in that field itself or he can appear for CAT and other MBA exams in the subsequent years along with this stable job.