What do specialised MBA programmes look like today?

specialised m4a

MBAs remain the flagship programme at most business schools; now, Associate Director Stephanie Mullins and colleague Kyle Grizzell at specialist business education PR consultancy BlueSky Education explore what can happen when you specialise the MBA using industry examples. 

The Master’s in Business Administration – the recognisable MBA – has been the postgraduate degree most heavily associated with business schools for decades, providing theoretical and practical business management training. MBAs provide an overview of business management as a whole but many more schools are now starting to offer specialised MBAs. These MBAs offer more of a focus on management in a specific sector, providing students with in-depth knowledge and expertise in an area of their choice.

We’ve taken a look at a few excellent examples of specialised MBAs offered by business schools today:

UCL Global Business School for Health, UK – MBA Health

The UCL Global Business School for Health is a newly launched business school in East London, offering programmes focused on health and healthcare management, including their MBA Health. This course offers the teachings of a traditional MBA while incorporating health and healthcare management into the core of the curriculum, involving input from academics and professionals from both the business and healthcare worlds. Students on this course also have the opportunity to travel to a low- or middle-income country to learn about the local health system and devise a solution to a healthcare system challenge as part of their Global Health Challenge project.

A second project, the Health Consultant Project, allows students to work directly with an organisation in the public, private, or not-for-profit sector. A career coach will help students find a good placement aligned with their career goals and agree on a consultancy report to deliver with the chosen partner organisation.

Individuals from various backgrounds can embark on the MBA Health as long as they are determined to become exceptional leaders in healthcare. They might be a manager, clinician, business specialist or medical consultant interested in enhancing their career, or perhaps an individual with healthcare management experience looking to lead at a higher level. They could also be a professional with little experience, intent on pivoting their career into the health sector.

ESSEC Business School, France – Global MBA Strategy and Digital Leadership or Luxury Brand Management

ESSEC Business School in Paris offers two majors for their Global MBA: Strategy and Digital Leadership or Luxury Brand Management. The major in Luxury Brand Management enables students to enhance and develop their ability to successfully manage a luxury brand or product. The course involves a number of carefully selected partners and contributors from brands such as Burberry, Calvin Klein, Estée Lauder, Louis Vuitton and many more, which participate through case studies, career fairs, conferences, and company visits.

The major in Strategy and Digital Leadership allows students to tackle business problems with a strategic approach to improve organisational performance and manage changes due to digital transformation, with the opportunity to study in France or Singapore in their third term. Students also benefit from guest speakers and events from companies such as Google, Twitter, Deloitte, McKinsey and more.

Students of either MBA major can take advantage of the ESSEC Global MBA Talent Center, which builds partnerships with major companies and institutions to support individuals and help kickstart their career in their desired industry.

European School of Economics, Italy – MBA Film Production

The MBA Film Production offered at the Rome campus, one of the European School of Economics’ many campuses across Europe, emphasises practice underpinned through live industry projects and includes modules such as Contemporary Film Production, Film Marketing, and Film Financing, alongside traditional business modules such as Financial Accounting and Economics. Students also have the opportunity to complete an internship where they can evaluate their career objectives and build practical experience. In the past, this has included internships with companies such as Filmmaster, an Italian company responsible for well-known commercials for successful brands such as Birra Moretti, Pokémon GO, Amazon, Polaroid, and Vodaphone.

This MBA is designed for students that will typically not have undertaken a production-based specialism at the undergraduate level. Experiencing constant change due to advancing technologies, the film and entertainment industries are vital to a world that feels like it is moving towards a work-less, create-more society.

As people find that challenges facing various sectors increasingly need in-depth and complex solutions, business schools will continue to devise specialised MBA programmes that train individuals to solve these specific problems.