General MBA vs. Specialized MBA: Which Should You Pursue

The Master in Business Administration is focused on business management, but the specialized MBAs delve deeper into financial, team management, or digital marketing knowledge.

The MBA is the Master in Business Administration that allows training in business management and acquiring the skills and abilities necessary for any manager. The content covers all the functional areas of a company: financial management, strategic management, marketing, human resources, communication, or operations, among others.

However, there are also MBAs specialized in one of these departments, such as the MBA in Finance, the MBA in Human Resources, or the MBA with a specialty in Marketing, to name a few examples. These programs, in addition to teaching the contents of the MBA in terms of business management and direction, go deeper into the area in which they are specialized, so that students develop the specific skills required by that department.

There are also MBAs specialized in foreign trade, the luxury sector, fashion, digital marketing, or tourism companies. At VERN and IBAS we compile three of the most common: the MBA in Finance, the MBA in Human Resources, and the MBA in Marketing.

Read More:  Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration “BBA”: Full Guide

Specialized vs General MBA

Specializations during an MBA have become a pattern and many schools have schemes with additional certifications, diverse areas of concentration, or dual degree alternatives. However, the original idea and base structure of how an MBA program was created had more to do with a strong concentration on ALL management aspects of a company, without leaving aside or exchanging one area for another.

There are many arguments for and against a specialized MBA vs a general one, so I will go over some of the most important points to consider. As in any decision, in the end, the profile of each individual and the objective sought counts a lot.

  • MBA with Specializations

MBA programs are recognized worldwide as a quality standard in leadership and management capacity. An MBA must therefore provide a fundamental foundation that covers the general aspects of a company and give its graduates the tools to make correct decisions in a globalized market.

At the same time, there are many students who, coming to the program with previous experience, would like to intensify their expertise in a specific area or who, perhaps, looking for a change in the industry, try to complement their professional profile with expertise different from the one they have been developing for years. For any of these reasons, the argument in favor of specialization during an MBA program comes from opportunities in the labor market. A company with a specific need will look for that professional who, having a strong base of knowledge and managerial experience in various fields, has an extra that gives him a unique combination and thus stands out in a pool of candidates.

MBA programs generally cover the fundamental foundations during the first year and leave the second year for elective courses or specializations. Therefore, the argument in favor insists that MBAs with specializations still contain sufficient general components so that their graduates have the necessary tools for correct performance in a managerial position. Note that we must differentiate between those MBA programs with specializations and those that are specialized MBAs. While the first covers the basic and fundamental courses in leadership and different areas within the management of a business, the second focuses from the first moment on an area of specialization.

Read More: What is the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Relationship


  • A General MBA

In the case of the General MBA, the argument in favor comes from the vision that a leader is required to identify opportunities and make decisions in search of sustained growth. In this argument, “specialists” focus too much on one aspect or area within a company and may in that sense overlook alternatives that someone with general training and vision could identify.

A general MBA program gives its students the ability to make associations within different areas, without favoring anyone and making decisions with a comprehensive vision. What a General MBA achieves is to give the graduate tools to identify connections that cross the borders of various areas more quickly than someone who has a specialized profile.

Now, no matter how general an MBA program is, it will always have a component of elective courses. On the other hand, the profile of each student already brings specific expertise in a certain area. In this case, it is quite difficult to talk about purely general MBAs, since, in my opinion, these do not really exist. However, there are some programs that essentially have a fairly general approach or tendency vs. others that are certainly specialized.

Now, the argument in favor of a General MBA is made by itself, if we consider that all MBA candidates enter a program with the intention of growing professionally. So, if they come with a specific profile, it is logical that growth comes from the acquired tools that complement their profile, that is, general ones. If you are looking to eventually become a C-level, then this complement comes with generalized expertise in the various areas of a business.

It is important to note that a company needs both profiles. You cannot survive in the market without having specialists or generalists. However, those who have a greater global vision of the different areas and aspects of a business will have greater opportunities to climb the career ladder.

By definition an MBA cannot offer true specialization and remain an MBA. If a student’s passion is really in a specific area, then doing an MBA is not the way.

In reality, every decision will have various aspects that cross the borders of different areas, so every CEO or General Manager will then have to make decisions considering the impact on each of these and even if they have a team of specialized advisors, the Final decision and analysis will depend on the overall strategy which definitely needs an overview.

Contact with IBAS: +201000498154

7 Best MBA with Specializations

Below, you will find some of the best specialized MBA programs so you can decide which one is most suitable for you. They are taught in Business Schools and Universities in order to provide value in professional performance.


  1. MBA Specialized in Finance

An MBA Master’s degree specialized in Finance is focused on the economic area of ​​the company. It is suitable for professionals who want to advance their career in the area of ​​corporate finance or work in financial institutions.

The best MBAs specialized in Financial Management offer specific knowledge and skills in financial management, stock market analysis, reporting, investment banking, accounting, international finance, financial planning and forecasting.

  • Why choose to study an MBA specialized in Finance?

The demand for professionals with an MBA degree specialized in Finance is high due to the need for companies to have managers capable of analyzing financial markets, trends, risks, etc. All this in a global and competitive environment.

An MBA in Finance enriches the professional profile as a result of strengthening analytical and decision-making skills regarding the economic resources of companies of any sector and size.

In addition to the knowledge of an MBA such as corporate communication, business management, marketing, operational processes, strategy, leadership, etc., the professional with a postgraduate MBA with a specialization in Finance becomes a competent expert in corporate finance. Now, we are in a very positive moment to study this program due to globalization, constant economic changes and the great competition that characterizes the market. Many organizations demand competent professionals in these areas.


2.- MBA Specialized in Marketing

Many professionals who dedicate themselves to marketing do so for different reasons: having studied a university degree in business administration, economics or commerce. But if you have little experience or want to update your knowledge with a specialized and solid training base in marketing, this MBA master’s degree with a specialty in Marketing may be a good idea.

The best MBAs in Marketing are capable of providing outstanding differentiation compared to other candidates applying for the same job position. Therefore, studying a master’s degree in business administration and management with a specialty in Marketing is a good option to access management positions in the marketing area of ​​a company.

Why choose to study MBA specialized in Marketing?

Studying an MBA specialized in Marketing opens up opportunities that facilitate advancement Marketing a wide variety of positions of responsibility in companies. In addition, it favors opting for promotion to senior management positions. 

Acquire knowledge about strategic planning and marketing techniques aimed at the appropriate target audience.

Train decision-making on commercial aspects based on well-founded data extracted from market studies.

Follow a comprehensive academic itinerary on management, business management, strategy, digital marketing, operations, finance, processes and human resources management.

Read More: What is logistics management: functions and types?


3.- MBA with Specialization in Project Management

An MBA with a specialty in project management or Project Management focuses on the training of qualified professionals in project management in multiple environments and sectors according to international standards.


The Master’s syllabus covers the subjects of an MBA – Master in Business Management – ​​and delves into the topics of project valuation, PMI projects, project monitoring, quality management, budgeting and notions of international trade.

  • Why study an MBA in Project Management?

Learn to successfully manage all phases of the life cycle of a business project.

Acquire skills to perform strategic management functions that lead the company to competitive excellence.

Improve knowledge and skills in order to occupy leadership positions in the direction and project management area of ​​an organization.

Enhance the curriculum to improve at work or enter the labor market by increasing the competitiveness of the professional profile due to the skills acquired in finance, marketing, logistics, production, strategy and human resources.

4.- MBA with Specialization in Big Data

Big Data in recent years is a field of great growth due to the existing demand for professionals specialized in data analysis. This demand for professionals occurs both in companies in the technology sector and in companies in other sectors.

Students of a Master’s MBA with a specialty in Big Data obtain multidisciplinary training that is very useful to take advantage of opportunities in the technological field and the Internet.

  • Why choose to study an MBA specialized in Big Data?

Gain knowledge about data management and the most effective ways to collect, organize and analyze said data.

There is currently a high demand for digital professionals qualified in data analysis with advanced knowledge.

Choosing this MBA specialization opens up professional opportunities in the finance, IT, insurance, etc. sectors.

Understand how companies operate in the digital environment and be able to lead the change from traditional businesses to the digital environment.

Contact with IBAS: +201000498154


5.- MBA Specialized in Digital Transformation

The double degree of MBA and Digital Transformation provides the knowledge to manage the departments of a company such as operations, marketing, sales, finances, strategies, etc. But it places special emphasis on digital transformation. Digital administration, electronic commerce and data management are areas that have more weight in organizations every day as a consequence of the integration of technology in commercial activities.


  • Why choose this MBA specialization in Digital Transformation?

Professionals related to technology, the Internet and digital transactions find in this higher education the way to advance to management positions. 

Develop the digital skills most valued by recruiters and companies.

The curriculum focuses on how different technologies, robotics, machine learning, process automation, etc. affect companies. This allows graduates to direct and implement actions for digital transformation. 

Update management knowledge, understand digital technologies and know the trends that will have a great impact on the future of business.


6.- MBA Specialized in Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurs often need specialized training to grow their businesses. These learning initiatives benefit both participants who have already started their business adventure and those seeking to launch a business project. The best MBAs specialized in entrepreneurship usually last two years with the possibility of studying the program online.


The classes in an MBA focused on entrepreneurship focus on students acquiring knowledge about all aspects related to innovation and implementation of transformational changes in organizations. These skills are also valued by employers when hiring. They value knowledge in business management and also that they have developed a business mentality.


  • Why choose to study an MBA specialized in Entrepreneurship?

Learn techniques and tools to validate and direct a new business model or company.

Advanced knowledge of business management to build a company from scratch.

They are aimed at students with an entrepreneurial spirit who can put their skills into practice by working in new companies or startups. Also, for those who work in an organization that is in the process of expansion or change in its business model.


  1. MBA with Specialization in Human Resources

A Master in Business Management and Administration specialized in Human Resources is structured around learning techniques and tools to manage human teams. The study plan integrates specific knowledge in hiring legislation, selection processes, remuneration policies, business culture, negotiation techniques, performance evaluation, training plans, etc.


Students of the best MBAs specialized in Human Resources aspire to be managers in the human resources area or are professionals in the field who aspire to improve their careers.


  • Why choose to study an MBA specialized in HR?

There is a high demand for qualified professionals in human capital management with specific training in the operation of other areas of the company. The purpose is to have an impact on the company’s positioning and differentiation from the competition.

Become experts in developing a business culture and detecting areas of improvement in key business positions to achieve the company’s objectives.

Develop leadership and strategy formulation capabilities according to the needs of the organization.


A traditional MBA trains you to perform functions in intermediate and/or management positions in an organization. Learning a Master in Business Administration is focused on mastering business fundamentals such as leadership, communication, strategic planning, and analysis. Generally, the curriculum is divided into knowledge of subjects such as marketing, finance, ethics, economics, human resource management, and operations. In parallel to the study of the MBA subjects, students during an MBA course carry out a business plan or company creation project in which they put into practice what they have learned.

A specialized MBA is also a Master’s Degree in Business Management, but unlike a traditional MBA, it is focused on learning at a deeper level in a specific business area or sector. The most common specializations are in entrepreneurship, industrial engineering, or human resources, but without stopping studying areas such as marketing, strategy, operations, or corporate finance.

Studying for an MBA with a specialty is the starting point to direct your career toward a specific professional area. A traditional MBA is focused on the global training of the management activity of each area of ​​a company in any sector or industry. For this reason, it is important to be clear about your professional objectives and interests to determine which is the best Master’s MBA specialization.

Specialized MBAs emerged to cover the labor market’s need for positions filled by qualified professionals with specific skills in business management and direction in a specific professional sector. Students learn business management techniques based on the characteristics of the sector with the aim of detecting areas for business improvement.

 Now, if you want to do an MBA, we recommend that you review the offer that VERN and IBAS have, which offers Masters and MBAs in different categories.

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