MBA market is getting crowded A specialised course could set you apart

Want to differentiate yourself in the market? You might want to look at specialised MBA courses instead of the plain-vanilla variant, which, to be fair is still the most sought after qualification by recruiters.

This year, according to The Economic Times, when Bharti Airtel decided to hire fresh management graduates, the telecom giant also visited Mumbai’s National Institute of Industrial Engineering, which offers specialised programmes in areas such as industrial engineering and industrial management, along with the expected list of premier business schools.
Here's why a specialised MBA might be the right investment for you

1) Growing demand

Airtel's Global Chief Human Resources Officer Srikanth Balachandran told the financial daily that the company had increased its focus on hiring talent in specialised areas. Airtel isn't the only big name hunting for such talent, Lenovo, the report added, is also looking for folks with specialised MBA degrees for its India operations and beyond.

"In the last year, our requirement for them has shot up in the areas of analytics business in India. We also have a marketing hub which does creative work for our Europe and US offices. These kinds of roles can be filled well by specialised MBA graduates," Rohit Sandal, Lenovo's India HR director, told the financial daily.

2) Global trend

However, if corporates in India are just catching on to the trend, global companies and institutions of higher education seem to have been in the loop for far longer. Back in 2015, The Economist cited a report by the Association of MBAs which said that employers were increasingly looking for recruits holding MBAs with sector-specific skills. Further, that they were looking to the business schools to match that demand by offering more specialised courses.

Of course, while Indian institutes are still looking to offer specialised MBAs geared towards well-established sectors, foreign varsities have taken a broader approach. For example, according to the news report, the University of Liverpool offers a course in managing a thoroughbred-horse-racing business while the Bordeaux Business School offers a course in managing vineyards.

3) Going abroad? In some countries it is essential

The article in The Economist highlighted another trend, in certain parts of the world a specialised-MBA was more sought after by recruiters than a normal MBA. Germany, the report said, was one such country. Quoting Rainer Sibbel of the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, the report said special sectors such as healthcare, where doctors and medical professionals might be fast-tracked into management roles, required courses like International Healthcare MBA offered by the institute in question. However, the average student in the course had prior degrees and years of experience in the healthcare sector, and it did not appear to be a course meant for freshers.

4) More Indian varsities are catching on

Institutes do their homework and if they have been investing their time and resources into offering niche course, you can be sure that they seem a legitimate demand out there in the market.

Take Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS) for example. According to online HR publication, NMIMS has specialised MBA programmes in pharmaceuticals, entrepreneurship, family business and social entrepreneurship. It has also partnered with global real estate company JLL to offer specialisation in ‘Real Estate Consulting and Transaction Services’ to technology management students.

According to the ET report, you can opt for a specialised programme in business analytics at the Chennai-based Great Lakes Institute of Management), or you can opt for specialisations in rural management, retail management, sports management, and healthcare management at the Welingkar Institute of Management. Further, the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies offers courses in management courses specific to the oil and gas, aviation, infrastructure, ports & shipping, and power sectors.

According to education portal, the top five specialised MBA courses in India in 2017 dealt with finance, marketing, operations, information technology and human resources.
The Dehradun-based College of Management & Economics Studies University of Petroleum Energy Studies (UPES), Bengaluru-based Hindustan Business School and Jain University offer specialised MBA in aviation. UPES, Noida-based Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology and Gandhinagar-based School of Petroleum Management offer specialised MBAs dealing with the oil and gas sector. Gurgaon-based Management Development Institute, Badarpur-based National Power Training Institute and Pune's Symbiosis Institute of International Business offer MBA courses aimed at the power and electricity sector. Delhi-based Indian School of Business has also started offering specialised MBAs, including one in digital marketing.