Peter O`Connor, Essec Business School
While many are increasingly questioning the value of a generalist MBA, specialised programs continue to go from strength to strength. Not only do specialised programs give participants the knowledge, skills and competencies of a generic MBA, but by combining these basic skills with a comprehensive immersion in a specific sector, they clearly demonstrate the commitment, as well as enhance the employability of the participant.
Obviously when choosing such an option, candidates need to be clear about their career goals and about making a long term commitment, but for mature MBA candidates about to invest tens of thousands of Euros and at least a year of their lives, this is something that they should have already reflected on deeply.
Some programs try to go halfway, offering a generic core curriculum coupled with multiple minor specialist tracks. While better than nothing, such an approach fails to capitalise on the total immersion that comes from doing a more specialised program, where every waking minute is devoted to better understand the sector in question.
In today’s hyper-competitive world, the depth of understanding that comes from having done a deep-dive into a particular sector helps participants stand out from the crowd and accelerates their management careers. As more schools realise that one size no longer fits all, we can expect to see more growth in highly specialised MBA programs targeting increasingly specific niches. As long as these continue to enhance participants’ job prospects and boost their career progression, this can only be described as highly positive.
Peter O’Connor, Ph.D. is Professor of Information Systems at Essec Business School France, where he also serves as Dean of Academic Programs. His research, teaching and consulting interests focus on technology, distribution, e-commerce and electronic marketing particularly applied to the hospitality sector. He has previously held a visiting position at Cornell University and worked in a variety of positions within hospitality management, in sectors as diverse as luxury hotels and contract food services.