Tips for Preparing MBA Specialization Questions

In B-school interviews, candidates are often asked to indicate their preference from their MBA specialisations list. This is mostly followed by questions related to the basic concepts of that specialisation. In this article, we shall appreciate various tips to prepare for the particular function of management for an MBA entrance interview.
How is Specialised MBA different from General MBA?
There are two kinds of offerings in most B-Schools – a General Management Program and a Specialised one. A General Management Program takes you through the various functions of management in the first year and poses an opportunity to specialise in one or more functions in the second year of study (assuming a two-year tenure). On the other hand, a Specialised Program is designed to provide inputs specific to a particular management function/domain right from the beginning, thus focusing predominantly on the core area of specialisation.
Importance of Specialisation-Based Questions
The interview panel expects you to know the fundamentals of the specialisation you prefer. This displays your conviction and clarity of mind.
Knowing which function/domain to specialise in presents a distinct competitive advantage and shows your goal clarity. So, it is strongly recommended that you prepare a particular management function and engage with the panel on a specific note. This serves as a potent differentiator and even facilitates better handling of the question ‘Why MBA?’.
Marketing Management: Key Areas for MBA Interview
If you want to opt for marketing management, then you must familiarize yourself with the basics of this function. Given below is this MBA specialisation's list of important concepts for B-school interviews:-
  • Operational definition of Marketing, with a focus on customer needs and the role of marketing in satisfying those needs more efficiently and effectively than the competition.
  • Difference between marketing and selling, with an understanding that selling is only one part of the marketing spectrum, which includes areas like market research, product management, and customer relationship management. Further, while marketing is more relationship-oriented, selling is purely transactional.
  • Steps in the marketing process, beginning with an understanding of customer needs, designing the value proposition, strategizing the 4Ps (Product, Price, Place, Promotion), organizing sales & distribution, managing customer satisfaction etc.
  • Commonly used terms in the marketing environment, like branding, segmentation, positioning, targeting, marketing strategy, product life cycle etc.
  • Practical aspects of marketing, with an understanding of marketing practices adopted by various brands/companies.
  • List of top companies excelling in Marketing Management and relevant details w.r.t these companies.
  • Details w.r.t any one brand/product, either domestic or international, with an appreciation of the journey of the brand/product through its various stages.
  • Analysis of some recent advertisements, with emphasis on the effectiveness of the advertisement, the overall appeal, the relevance of the message in the advertisement etc.
  • Career progression challenges in the field of Marketing, with a basic understanding of paths like product management, advertising management, sales & distribution, market research etc.
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Human Resource Management (HRM): Key Areas for MBA Interview
HRM requires an understanding of the following topics:-
  • A working definition of HRM, with a focus on the role of HRM being to enhance workplace productivity and organizational effectiveness.
  • Steps in the HMR process, including areas like recruitment, selection, training & development, motivation & team dynamics, performance appraisal, remuneration, separation etc.
  • Commonly used terms in HRM, like human capital, employee productivity, gap analysis, job description etc.
  • The concept of Human Capital, with reference to the stock of knowledge, habits, and social and personality attributes, is embodied in the ability to contribute to an organization so as to produce value.
  • Challenges in contemporary HRM, with an understanding of employee retention, cross-cultural fit, generational shifts etc.
  • List of companies with good HRM policies.
  • The challenges of International Human Resources Management, dealing with complex issues such as differences between cultures, legal systems, and economic systems.
  • Career progression challenges in HRM.
Finance Management: Key Areas for MBA Interview
If you are opting for finance, then you need to pay attention to the following concepts:-
  • A working definition of Finance Management with a focus on the efficient and effective management of funds in such a manner as to accomplish the objectives of the organization.
  • Commonly used terms in Finance Management, like financial resources, banking & non-banking finance, investment banking, financial ratios etc.
  • The concept of value maximization, with an understanding of managing financial resources so as to maximize value to all stakeholders.
  • Banking sector, with reference to functions of the central bank (RBI in case of India), commercial banks, banking regulations, monetary policy etc.
  • Challenges around the stock market, with an understanding of the capital market, market capitalization, bullish & bearish markets etc.
  • The Union Budget and the Economic Survey, especially the analysis of the most recent one.
  • Career progression challenges in the domain of Finance Management.
Other MBA Specialisations' List
Apart from the above three conventional functions of management, you may also choose to opt for the following, depending on the B-school you are applying to.
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  • Operations Management, concerned with designing and controlling the process of production and redesigning business operations in producing goods or services.
  • IT Management, as a discipline whereby all of the information technology resources of a firm align with the needs, goals, and priorities.
  • International Business Management, as the function responsible for handling global management challenges like diversity in the business environment, cultural differences etc.
  • Strategy, with reference to designing effective business strategies for sustainable business development.
  • Agri Business Management/Rural Management, with a focus on the business aspect of agriculture production& its international trade, understanding of challenges in food, agriculture and allied sectors etc.
FAQs on MBA Specialisations List
1. Which is best specialisation in MBA?
As of the current times, MBA in marketing, finance, HR, entrepreneurship, operations, and their associated fields are the most pursued and trending specialisations.
2. Which MBA specialization is best for govt jobs?
MBA in HRM, finance, and marketing are the most preferred fields for government jobs. PSUs, banks, and several other government-related organisations hire MBA graduates.
3. How many MBA Specialisations are there?
There are more than 30 MBA specialisations offered across various B-schools of India.
4. Which MBA is best for CEO?
A CEO is expected to have knowledge of all the functional domains of management. So, most aspiring CEOs go for General MBA/PGDM. However, the specialised MBA programmes are also considered equally good.
5. Which MBA specialisation has more scope in future?
MBA in finance and related streams (including the IT/Technology allied fields) is known to have the highest scope at present, as well as future.
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