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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Advantages of dual specializations in MBA

Masters of Business Administration (MBA) graduates have become an important part of every industry. With the growing economy, we see MBA aspirants focusing on certain specialisations such as sales, marketing, finance, operations, HR and so on. Certain candidates also opt to pursue MBA with dual specialisation. Such degrees are offered by various B-Schools and colleges across India.  
Some of the common dual specialisations taken up by students are Marketing and Finance, Marketing and Operations, Marketing and HR, Operations and Human Resource Management (HRM), HRM and IT, IT and Marketing and so on.

Candidates can pursue dual MBA in full-time, part-time, online, executive and correspondence modes.

Why is there a growing demand for dual specialisations? What’s the market value and advantages of dual MBA specialisation? Is there are cons to this?

Let us examine each factor in favour of specializations in MBA individually.

1. Market Benefits
As the market opens up, various industry requires candidates with strong multitasking abilities. There’s a massive demand for candidates who can fit into diversified roles with adequate efficiency. And an MBA degree with dual specialisation solves this demand-supply gap.
One of the most popular dual specialisation is Marketing and Finance. Both specialisations are integral part of the industry. Various combinations of marketing, finance, human resources, operations, strategy and IT are quite in demand.

2. Exposure to New Topics
Dual specialisation means more exposure. And more exposure leads to more knowledge. A student is able to tap in to vast domains simultaneously. They develop distinct domain knowhow and perform different tasks simultaneously with equal efficiency.

3. Placements
One of the biggest benefit is that candidates are eligible to sit for various companies during placements. Knowledge in two domains means you can apply for at least two kind of profiles.

3. Increased Job Opportunities
Like placements, candidates benefit tremendously with dual specialization in two different domains. So while looking for employment opportunities, one can apply to a wide variety of roles.

4. Career Shift
Another advantage of dual specialisation is making a (comparatively) smooth career shift. For instance, one decides to pursue MBA in Marketing and Finance. Thereafter, the candidates goes on to work in sale and marketing domain. After a few years, candidates can make a shift to finance domain. However it is not as easy as it sound. We’ll discuss it in the disadvantages sections.

5. Entrepreneurship
MBA in dual specialisation is especially beneficial for new and existing entrepreneurs. As per their requirements, entrepreneurs can opt to choose specialisations as per their business requirement. For instance if the entrepreneur wants to keep the marketing and finance portfolios or business intelligence and marketing with them, they can easily opt for dual specialisation with the required specialisations.

6. Wider Network
Networking is a valued skill in MBA. Companies and recruiters expect MBA graduates to have a wide range of network for success business transactions. Dual specialisation means a wider network from two domains. That’s a hard skill to match.

Disadvantages
We listed five points in favour of dual specialisation. While we do not discourage anyone to pursue MBA in dual specialisation, it is not recommended by most recruiters and companies.
According to an HR manager at Accenture, “It gives the impression that the aspirant is juggling two specialisations simultaneously. They become the jack of two courses but master of none.  We prefer hiring candidates with single specialisation as this reflects focus and in-depth knowledge on the topic.”

It is assumed by some that dual MBA degrees are too broad by nature. Lack of focus is one of the biggest arguments that employers pit against dual specialisation. MBA graduates are expected to manage a team and make informed decisions. They become future leaders, visionaries and CEOs. Two specialisations enforces the ‘lack of focus’ perspective.

Dual specialisation also has a more challenging and wide curriculum. Candidates need to juggle wie theories and different perspectives. The study pressure is much higher. Many candidates end up confusing both the streams.

However, if you are very sure of developing skills in two domains and know you can use it to full potential, go ahead with the course.  

To solve this problem, B-School and MBA colleges accept offer major and minor specialisations. In this, the students can take up one specialisation as the major subject, pursue fewer credits in minor specialisation.

According to another school of thought, dual specialisation or single specialisation hardly affects the employment prospective of the candidate. Employers are looking for certain skill sets and they don’t care about the specialisation. So you have a sound background with desired skills and confidence, you’ll be able to secure the job.

No matter what you decide to do, make sure you are pursuing the dual MBA programme from a top institute.  The reputation and education standard of institute can directly affect your employment prospects.

Author profile:
Ipsita Sarkar writes on MBA and B-Schools for Shiksha.com.


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