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Should you add a specialization to your MBA?

An online MBA from Boise State Online is a valuable asset for professionals looking to advance their careers and improve their leadership skills. Adding an emphasis area, or a specialization in a particular field, to your online MBA can make your degree even more valuable by providing you with applicable knowledge and skills in your desired field.

Three Boise State MBA students discuss their courses in the Boise State University College of Business and Economics building.

What is the Difference Between an MBA and a Specialization?

A specialization, otherwise known as an emphasis, is a way for you to focus on a particular field of study in addition to your base MBA courses. Concentrating on a specific area can make you more attractive when looking to advance in your career. You can gain new skills immediately applicable to your day-to-day, giving you a competitive edge.

A traditional, or general MBA program, covers a wide range of topics and allows you to choose electives to round out your degree plan.

An online MBA with an emphasis delves deeper into a particular area of interest and offers a more thorough understanding of the subject matter through a set of applicable elective classes. This can be especially valuable for you if you already have experience in a particular field and want to further your knowledge and skills. An emphasis area can also help you develop expertise in a rapidly growing or emerging field. This could help you stay ahead of the curve and position yourself for success in a rapidly changing job market.

Adding an emphasis area to your current or planned MBA degree plan couldn’t be simpler. Emphasis areas add zero costs and do not require additional time to your education, with all the required materials incorporated into your degree plan without the need to pay for extra credits or enroll in additional semesters.

Do Employers Value MBAs with an Emphasis?

Specializing your MBA can signal to current or future employers that you are committed to growing and developing in your selected field. Often, our students are asked “What was your MBA in?”. Having an emphasis is a way to answer that question and discuss your unique education and qualifications.

Additionally, specializations can set you apart in a hiring search or for promotion consideration. Having a specialization can often make it easier to get an interview or explain to a recruiter why you are a fit for a specific role. An emphasis can add a competitive edge and show that you have a certain set of desired skills that are pertinent for a specific industry.

How Does an Emphasis Impact My Networking Opportunities?

Students choosing an emphasis with Boise State’s Online MBA Program have the best of both worlds. They get to interact and learn from a diverse group of professionals in their ten core courses. Then, with their three emphasis courses, students can deepen their network with a smaller group of students – often those who are well-established in a similar industry or discipline (e.g. Construction or Marketing).

What Kind of Emphasis Can You Add to Your MBA?

Boise State offers MBA emphasis areas in the following fields, in addition to a general MBA:

  • Business Analytics*
  • Construction Management
  • Cyber Operations*
  • Finance*
  • Healthcare Leadership
  • Management
  • Marketing Leadership

*New offerings as of 2023

Boise State’s student success coaches are experts at helping you choose which specialization they would like to add to their MBA. Additionally, you’ll have dedicated advisors help you throughout your academic journey. Your advisor can help you explore emphasis areas and the best fit for your personal and professional goals.

Which MBA Specialization is Right For You?

With seven emphasis areas available, making the right decision can seem intimidating. Before diving into a specialization, examine the career outlook and practicality of the field you want to pursue or advance in.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is a great place to explore current career trends and job availability in almost any industry. Additionally, Boise State has compiled lists of possible career fields for MBA graduates based on the emphasis you are most interested in.

MBA in Business Analytics: Prepare for a data-driven future and learn how to speak the language of business analytics to improve your decision-making and strategy.

MBA in Cyber Operations: Bridge the gap between the boardroom and your IT department by developing your business leadership skills and technical knowledge of cyber operations.

MBA in Finance: Pursue a rewarding career in financial management and gain specialized knowledge of financial markets, analytics and investments.

MBA in Management: Develop the effective communication and managerial skills employers seek for in-demand leadership positions.

MBA in Construction Management: Get equipped with the skills and credibility you need to rise as a leader in architecture, engineering or construction industries.

MBA in Healthcare Leadership: Whether you are a clinician or other health professional, this program helps you develop the core management and decision-making abilities that are fundamental to improving the business of healthcare.

MBA in Marketing Leadership: Work across teams in your organization to integrate marketing, strategy, data analysis and product development.

Ready to take the next step in your career?

Explore MBA emphasis areas

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