How to know which MBA program is right for you

August 14, 2018

You’ve made the decision to pursue an advanced degree in business, but how do you know which MBA program is right for you?

Do you specialize in an area such as human resources, project management, or health care management? Or, do you opt for a more general, self-designed MBA program?

Laura Sankovich, Faculty Chair of Capella University’s MBA program, provides some answers to commonly asked questions about the differences between a self-designed MBA and a specialized MBA.

Q. What is the main difference between a general MBA and a specialized MBA?

A. While the core courses are the same in both options, the specialized MBA provides a deeper dive into a particular subject. For instance, if one wanted to focus heavily on a specific aspect of business such as project management, it might be a good idea to pursue a specialized MBA program.

A self-designed MBA provides a broad skillset, preparing students for many different industries or functions within their jobs. A specialized MBA is a good option for people who know exactly where they want to spend their career versus someone who may look forward to developing a broader skillset that can be used in many industries.

Q. What are some top things to consider before pursuing an MBA (specialized or not)?

A. Think about your career goals—what about them would make an MBA valuable? Is this the right path or is there another way to get into the profession, get your feet wet, and then decide if an MBA is the right approach to advance your career? If you want to learn business operations and core business knowledge, an MBA is a great choice regardless of industry or discipline. An MBA can shift your thinking because you have a deeper understanding of what happens behind the scenes of a profitable business. Think about your current mindset and what you want to know or develop as future skills.

Q. What are the MBA degree options at Capella?

A. The Self-Designed MBA has seven core courses and three electives. This option encourages students to build their skills through courses they choose in all areas of business including leadership, strategy, marketing, and business analytics. Electives are also available in other areas of study like IT, health care, or psychology.

The specialized MBA options are in human resource management, health care management, and project management. Students who are interested in expanding their careers in these specific industries would fit well in these programs.

Q. Do the programs’ structures vary? How so?

A. No matter whether you choose a general MBA or a specialized MBA, Capella programs offer seven core courses, three electives, and a capstone – all online. The specialized MBA programs are designed to be intensive, or rather, designed for those interested in or already immersed in particular industries—health care, project management, or human resources.

Regardless, the MBA program—specialized or not—provides value at many levels. Think about your background and goals, and then check out the options based on your criteria.

Explore Capella’s online MBA program options to find the one best suited to you.

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