Choosing MBA Concentrations

A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at AIU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.

According to a recent study, a business degree is one of today’s most popular degrees conferred.1 For many of those considering a master’s degree in business (MBA), one benefit of MBA programs is that many offer students the ability to choose among MBA concentrations or specializations, depending upon the institution, designed to align with their career goals. For some, selecting what they believe is the best MBA concentration or specialization given their professional goals could be an easy or obvious decision, but for others, more than one potential option may exist.

What Are MBA Specializations?

“MBA concentrations” and “MBA specializations” are often used synonymously, although some institutions, like AIU, may differentiate between the terms. As a general matter, MBA concentrations and specializations offer students the option to focus their studies on a particular area of business. Students are free to select what they feel could be the best MBA concentration or specialization to align with their personal goals or interests.

AIU offers students the option to choose among a number of MBA specializations that focus on industry-specific topics. Whether you aspire to advance to more senior management roles in your current career path or are seeking an entry-level role in an entirely different industry, earning an online MBA with your desired degree specialization may help you pursue your goals. If you’re already an executive with years of experience, your career goals might be better served by pursuing a different MBA program not discussed here—the Executive MBA (EMBA).

The core courses for all MBA specializations at AIU include Global Financial Management, Business Research for Decision Making, A Managerial Approach to Marketing, and Strategic Management. These business school courses on key management topics are designed to lay the foundation for all of the specializations offered by AIU’s online MBA program.

AIU’s Online MBA Specializations—An Overview

Whether you’re an experienced professional looking to further your career or someone who is looking to make a career change, one of the best MBA program options for you could be an online MBA program like the one offered at American Intercontinental University because of the flexibility offered. In fact, AIU offers a number of MBA specializations to choose from. Below is an overview of each.

Accounting

The best MBA specialization for any individual may often be one that aligns with their particular skill set, so if you’re interested in advanced math and financial analysis and would like to develop your strategic management skills, a master’s in accounting may be worth investigating. A master’s in business with a specialization in accounting may appeal to those interested in pursuing a career as a certified public accountant (CPA), internal auditor, or financial analyst, to name just a few possible career paths. With AIU’s online MBA program in accounting, you can explore not only how to use and analyze financial data, but how to make advanced financial management decisions. Because accountants are found in all types of organizations, AIU’s specialized accounting courses offer students the opportunity to study topics in government and not-for-profit accounting as well as financial management for international business.

Finance

If pursuing a future in investment banking, financial planning, management analysis, or similar careers sounds appealing, then an MBA specialization in finance may be what you’re looking for. While researching the best MBA programs for them, students interested in finance may also be considering related MBA specializations such as accounting. So how do you choose? You might want to start by comparing the specific courses offered in these two MBA programs. Courses offered in AIU’s master’s program with a specialization in finance is designed to provide the chance to study economics for global managers and corporate finance theory, along with other core subjects pertaining to strategic management that are germane to the finance industry.

Healthcare Management

If you’re looking for a degree that merges management skills with healthcare strategy, choosing an online MBA in healthcare management may make sense for you. The healthcare management field offers a number of career paths, and perhaps you’ve even heard of or considered one of the managerial roles within this sector—healthcare executives, or healthcare administrators. These professionals need to possess at least a bachelor’s degree, but master’s degrees are common as well.2 Combined with relevant work experience, earning a Master of Business Administration could potentially increase your options for finding a job in this field, and possibly others. AIU’s MBA program in healthcare management is designed to offer advanced coverage of various, relevant topics, with courses that address healthcare compliance issues, for example, or that aim to provide insight into legal and ethical implications within the healthcare sphere.

Human Resource Management

If you’re interested in recruiting and personnel decisions as well as matters related to the administration of company policy, you might consider choosing an MBA specialization in human resource management. Whether you’re seeking an entry-level job or are a seasoned HR professional, this business degree specialization is designed to provide advanced knowledge of the field within a business context. AIU’s online MBA in human resource management offers courses on HR strategy, employment law, and international management and leadership, which can help give students the opportunity to master a deeper understanding of some of today’s important issues in the field.

Management

Just because you want to earn your MBA doesn’t necessarily mean you want an industry-specific career path. Perhaps you’re looking for an MBA specialization that will allow you to hone your management skills generally. If this sounds like you, a business admin master’s degree with a specialization in management may be a great MBA specialization to match your business school goals. Courses on economics for the global manager, quality management, and a managerial approach to marketing are just a few of the topics you could study as part of this degree’s managerial skills-focused curriculum.

Marketing

If you’d like to pursue a career in a field that combines art and science, and if job growth is among the important factors influencing your decision to choose one MBA specialization over another (employment of advertising, promotions, and marketing managers is strong and projected to grow 10 percent from 2016 and 20263), then you may want to choose a master’s in business administration with a specialization in marketing. With a marketing specialization you can work to develop advanced knowledge about marketing research and campaigns and how to design and implement marketing plans. AIU’s online MBA in marketing is designed to provide a strong foundation enhanced by the study of advanced critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, communication, and analytical skills that may aid you in pursuing your professional goals.

Operations Management

Do you like planning and logistics? Then if you haven’t already considered a specialization in operations management, perhaps you might. In addition to AIU’s core MBA courses, your classes could cover topics such as using operations management for competitive advantage or international business operations management. Within this particular advanced degree program, you also could opt to take courses on relevant, niche topics, such as an introduction to transportation, logistics, and supply chain management.

Project Management

Choosing an MBA specialization in project management might be the right fit for students who are detail-oriented, pragmatic, and possess an optimistic mindset,4 and for whom the ability to possibly work in different industries is appealing. Project management jobs are needed in all types of industries, from healthcare, to information systems, to manufacturing, and beyond. In AIU’s MBA in project management degree program, your curriculum could include specialized courses on planning, execution, and closure, as well as key courses on business research and marketing to round out your learning experience.

Technology Management

If concentrations in management or project management pique your interest, then you may also want to investigate an MBA specialization in technology management. A master’s in technology management could benefit those who would like to pursue careers as information systems managers or project managers. Choosing to pursue an MBA in technology management can offer you an opportunity to study fundamentals and principles of information systems and take industry-specific courses, such as AIU’s class on leadership, management, and communication of technical knowledge.

Ready to learn more? Explore AIU’s online MBA specializations in greater detail.

1. Institute of Education Services, National Center for Education Statistics, “Fast Facts: Most Popular Majors,” available at https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=37 (visited August 12, 2019). Conditions in your area may vary.
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, “Medical and Health Services Managers,” available at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm (visited August 12, 2019). Conditions in your area may vary.
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, “Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers,” available at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm (visited August 12, 2019). Conditions in your area may vary.
4. American Management Association, “Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Project Manager?” available at https://www.amanet.org/articles/do-you-have-what-it-takes-to-be-a-project-manager/ (visited August 12, 2019). Conditions in your area may vary.

AIU cannot guarantee employment, salary, or career advancement.
REQ1460372 9/19

Flexible Programs Personal Support | AIU

Classes Start December 11, 2019