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Find the Best Business School for Your Desired Career Outcomes

Find the Best Business School for Your Desired Career Outcomes main image

MBA specialization” may seem like an oxymoron to some. After all, the driving purpose of attaining the degree is to become a leader in an organization. To accomplish such a feat, one must know a little bit about every aspect of the business. As a result, many top programs highlight their general management approach to the curriculum.

On the other hand, the world is ever more complex. Organizations need those who can lead with specialized skills in specific niche industries. Here at QS, we argue that top programs need a little bit of both – general management and more specialized skill building.

“The more we talk with global prospective students, the more we recognize the need to break down these rankings by anticipated career and industry path,” says Alex Chisholm, Head of Business School Analytics at QS. “Even though the MBA is a generalist degree at its core, many business schools have become well recognized for more specific placement tracks.”

That’s why we are reigniting our efforts to provide applicants with the best up-to-date information on the MBA programs that can better help them enter particular industries and achieve career success.

What’s your specialty?

The QS MBA Rankings by Specialization 2019 ranks the best 50 MBA programs in each of seven areas of specialization – consultingentrepreneurshipoperations managementmarketingfinancetechnology, and information management.

The ranking is based on career placements, employer reputation, and research strength. To be clear, a school does not necessarily need to have a specialized degree in that area to rank on the list. Instead, their performance in our ranking may be an indication of the reach their program has in a particular industry through its alumni and how employers perceive its students and graduates.

A third indicator, research strength, measures the extent to which professors at that school are studying relevant topics, as it’s a good sign they have connections and expertise in that specialism.

Find your fit

Why should applicants care? Well, part of the decision MBA candidates make when applying to business school revolves around their career aspirations and the network they will build. There is no doubt going to a school that churns out investment bankers on Wall Street will help a graduate get a foot in the door. It’s wise to pay attention to the available data.

For instance, while 22 percent of graduates from Stanford Graduate School of Business, the number one ranked program for marketing, entered a relevant job role, 44 percent of graduates from Babson College F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business, which is ninth, took on roles in the field. This information may be enough to convince some students to widen their business school search when deciding where to apply.

Our ranking also reveals trends which aren’t readily apparent from the MBA programs available at each school. Stanford, for example, offers a general management MBA but our ranking shows its graduates are very entrepreneurial and frequently start their own business. Being located near Silicon Valley, known for its slick startups, makes the campus a hotbed for new ventures. As a result, aspiring entrepreneurs can give themselves an edge by enrolling here.

Recognizing these aspects of the culture on campus changes the game for those applying to business school. While MBA candidates should never live and die by any ranking, they can use this one to make informed decisions about fit. These specialization MBA rankings allow candidates to figure out which schools can put them on the path to success in their chosen career.

Broaden your horizon with the MBA

In an ironic twist, these MBA specialization rankings also make apparent the versatility of the degree. The days when newly minted MBAs shuffled off to either a bank or consulting firm are long gone. Graduates have a slew of options, including heading technology, compliance, and marketing at different businesses. They run hospitals and doctors’ offices. Or they manage the business end of a professional sports team. Truly, there is no limit to where they can apply the skills they pick up at business school.

In an ever-competitive job search, every strength counts. Having a graduate business degree in their back pocket can set candidates apart, especially if they earned it at a top school.

Determining their future career prospects and which business schools best align with those goals is the first step in the business school journey. Consulting lists, such as the QS MBA Rankings by Specialization 2019, can help them understand where their aspirations are more likely to come to fruition.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

Nunzio Quacquarelli

Nunzio is the founder and CEO of QS. Following completion of his own MBA from the Wharton School, he has gone on to become a leader in education management with over 25 years of experience in the industry. He is truly passionate about education and firmly believes in the QS mission to help young people to fulfill their potential through educational achievement, international mobility and career development. 

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