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Choosing the Right MBA Concentration for Your Career

Posted February 18, 2013 by Bo Breuklander - Staff Writer - AACSB International

The task of choosing an MBA concentration may be daunting, especially with the growing number of track choices. But before you choose just any track that looks interesting, keep in mind that your choice should ultimately come down to what you want to do with your career. For instance, how can having a specific concentration help you gain the job you want following graduation? Will this concentration gain the attention of prospective employers who view your resume? What types of advantages will you have after graduation with the particular concentration?

Depending on how you answer the questions above, you may choose a generic concentration or one that is a more focused option. Today's MBA programs, particularly those at AACSB-accredited schools, offer a wide array of concentration choices. To help you learn more about the unique concentrations that are available (in addition to the traditional concentrations such as accounting, finance, management, and marketing), we've gathered information on several AACSB-accredited schools that offer unique MBA concentrations.

Energy and Environment
The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, USA

"In this concentration, students will learn about the energy industry, how energy and environmental issues will affect businesses in the future; tools for analyzing energy and environmental problems; and strategies that business can use to succeed in an economy in which energy and environmental issues are much more important than they have been in the past. The variety of business and non-business electives listed below provide the opportunity for a student to choose courses to fit his or her interests, ranging from a focus on specific energy topics to a more general coverage of energy, environment, and sustainability topics."(

Social Entrepreneurship
The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University

"The Concentration in Social Entrepreneurship is designed for students interested in using their MBA skills in the entrepreneurial pursuit of social impact. MBA skills are seen as valuable and much needed in the social sector, and the core MBA program provides a strong foundation for any student looking to become a successful social sector leader. However, MBAs looking to use their skills and talents for social impact must approach their work thoughtfully, recognizing the unique challenges, opportunities, and qualities associated with trying to create social value. The Social Entrepreneurship Concentration exposes students to the skills, knowledge, and perspectives necessary to pursue social impact entrepreneurially, effectively, and pragmatically. This concentration is designed to serve students who aspire at some point in their lives to be social entrepreneurs, executives in social-purpose organizations, philanthropists, board members, or leading volunteers in their communities and the social sector."(

Risk Management
Watson Graduate School of Management, Oklahoma State University

Calculating risk has become a main focus of controlling profit margins, enrolling in a risk management program may help you maintain a competitive edge in the market.

"The risk management concentration gives students a solid grounding in quantitative financial economic tools and methods as well as firm general management foundation from the rest of the MBA curriculum." (

Business Intelligence
Watson Graduate School of Management, Oklahoma State University, USA

This concentration prepares students for jobs in the data analysis, management, statistical methods and financial analysis, and marketing. "The business intelligence concentration requirements will meet requirements for students to earn a SAS certification in data mining, as well as provide a solid general management foundation from the rest of the MBA curriculum."(

Telecommunications Management
Watson Graduate School of Management, Oklahoma State University, USA

Since the Internet became prominent, computing and telecommunications have vastly changed the way people communicate and do business.

"The telecommunication concentration provides students with an in-depth understanding of information systems. It provides a solid general business foundation from the MBA curriculum in combination with graduate level TCOM courses." (

Pharmaceutical Management
Rutgers Business School, Rutgers, USA

"Over the last decade, some of the most exciting advances in healthcare have been the result of pharmaceutical research and development. These life-enhancing discoveries have fueled amazing growth in this multi-billion dollar global industry, creating a new demand for talented, motivated individuals with a special knowledge of the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry.

Designed to answer this need, the Rutgers MBA in Pharmaceutical Management is a unique gateway to one of America's most respected and socially beneficial industries."(

Latin American Business
Hough Graduate School of Business, University of Florida, USA

"This concentration combines broad international business skills with specific understanding of the economic policies, legal and business structures, and socio-cultural traditions that shape the context of Latin American business. Language proficiency in Spanish and/or Portuguese is not required for the concentration, but is strongly recommended for students who subsequently decide to pursue positions in Latin American departments of US firms or in Latin American based industries."(

Security Analysis
Hough Graduate School of Business, University of Florida, USA

This concentration “studies financial statement analysis, security applications and corporate finance valuation problems.” (

Sports Administration
Hough Graduate School of Business, University of Florida, USA

This option is “designed to educate students to become administrators in a variety of sports settings. Included are the areas of intercollegiate, professional, and highly organized amateur sports.” (

Asset Management/Sales and Trading
Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, USA

"This concentration is designed to extend the valuation principles learned in the first-year curriculum to solve complex problems faced by asset managers and sales and trading professionals. The courses expose students to a variety of different financial markets and give students a deeper understanding for how companies are valued, which are critical components for either managing a client’s funds or executing security trades." (

Consumer Marketing
Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, USA

"This concentration builds on brand management and will prepare students for careers in organizations where brand leadership is critical—in traditional consumer packaged goods, consumer durables, consumer services, consulting firms and even NFPs. This track focuses on the end-user as "customer,"offering the opportunity to gain insight into how customers search for information, processes that information, make purchase decisions, and become loyal, engaged consumers."(