In the past, an MBA was resolutely a generalist degree. Even though the last portion of the program generally featured elective courses, thereby offering a chance to gain expertise in a specific field, there was no presumption that a student would enter any specific field. A large number of schools have changed this. There are now specialized MBAs designed for those who wish to enter hospital management, family business management, fashion management, health care, agribusiness management, luxury goods marketing, defense manage­ment, church management, premium brand management, and so on. A conservative count would put the dif­ferent subjects on offer at 50 or more.

As with the master’s degrees in single subjects, one key question is whether you need a broad range of training or need simply to develop expertise in a more limited realm. If you are clear that you will remain in or enter a given field, there is no reason to avoid an MBA geared to that field. Both the struc­tured curriculum and the networking possibilities are of potential value. Note, however, that many of the leading business schools have eschewed such special­ized MBAs. Consequently, you should be in no hurry to attend a specialized course at a lesser school if you can get into a reasonably flexible program at a leading school.

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