1 MBA SPECIALIZATIONS Marketing Management Designations like Product Manager, Brand Manager, Market Research Analyst, Territory Manager and Marketing Manager are all careers for people opting for the Marketing stream in MBA studies. Marketing has traditionally remained a very strong specialization option for students because of the elements of strategy, warfare and creativity in this field. Also whatever be the state of the market bullish or recessionary marketing people are never out of, or in search of, a job. Marketing includes Sales, Brand Management and specializations such as Market Research & Advertising. Sales responsibilities include achieving sales targets, mobilizing resources such as advertising budgets and executing special schemes and promotion drives. Marketing responsibilities include new product development, pricing, market research and sales forecasting. Brand Management is a progressive field where you are responsible for successful management of brands. Product Management or Brand Management, depending upon whether the product is a manufactured product or a consumer packaged good require MBAs to control and co-ordinate and take responsibility for the growth and profit viability of a product. Promotional opportunities are very much there and a successful Product/Brand Manager might go up the corporate ladder to Category Manager, to even the Vice-President of Marketing or Marketing Director. Service Marketing is a relatively new segment of the Marketing pie, and is being increasingly seen a separate category because the service side of all organizations are becoming important to retain customers. This is thus a parallel track to Product Marketing in many cases, and the main functions in service sectors like hotels and education. In the service sector, because of the relative importance of this function of marketing, the designation might be Marketing Manager, a person who oversees customer relationship, satisfaction and loyalty. To help in all marketing tasks, is the very important function of the Market Research Manager. It is the market researcher who compiles and collated all data regarding customer demography, tastes, segmentation and database
2 marketing operations. This job is extremely statistical in nature and requires specialists with a yen for numbers. In the advertising world, the Account Manager rules. She performs many of the functions of the Product Manager, but on the agency side, handling company accounts and campaigns logistics. Marketing is the discipline that is the most famous amongst Management Graduates. People with good communication skills, leadership qualities and who are raring to go places generally find it extremely interesting. The career in Marketing has the maximum to offer in terms of responsibility, challenge, innovation and growth. Thus, marketing can be your bread-n-butter if you are willing to take the plunge! Companies that are in the business of selling the following categories of goods. Consumer Non-Durables (CND) are products that are in-between FMCG and durable goods, for instance, paints and lubricants. Some of the better known companies in this category are Asian Paints, Madura Coats, Castrol, Seagram, UB Group. Consumer Durables (CD) are goods that are durable, such as a TV set or a Washing Machine. Companies that are popular recruiters from this category are Blowplast, BPL, Philips, Titan Industries, Godrej, GE, Whirlpool, Hero Honda Motors, LG, and so on. Advertising and Market Research Leo Burnett, LOWE India (erstwhile Lintas), J. Walter Thompson, Ogilvy & Mather, Indian Market Research Bureau, ORG - MARG, Gallup. Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) are products that have a short shelf life and are instantly consumed. The front runners in this category are companies like Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Colgate-Palmolive, Marico, Cadbury, Nestle, Dabur, Pepsi, Godrej Soaps, Reckitt Coleman, Gillette. Finance Management Careers in Finance and accounting follow one of two distinct paths. An MBA in Finance can either be in Public accounting or in corporate accounting. Public accountants provide accounting services to other businesses. Public accounting firms like the famous Arthur Andersen or KPMG are usually
3 partnerships and engage in audits of companies and giving their expert opinions on the financial affairs of the companies. An MBA here can provide a holistic view of the company affairs and hence works with a broader function base than, say, a Chartered Accountant or a Master of Accounts (USA). Besides most audit firms also provide a host of consultancy and advisory services which an MBA is in a better position to do. The MBA degree s broad curriculum also helps him give opinions and suggest solutions on client management, and other strategic issues. In Corporate Accounting, an MBA is needed to manage the company s financial resources and make sure that there is optimal use of resources. Therefore, functions like budgeting, financial planning, resource allocation etc. come under the ambit of the MBA. The designations could be that of Finance Manager, or Financial Analyst and the career path could lead all the way to Chief Financial Officer (CFO). An MBA with a Finance Specialization learns a variety of subjects like Corporate Finance, Costing, Budgeting, International Finance, Working Capital Management and Investment Banking, Securities and Portfolio management. The job opportunities could be in Corporate Finance, Banking, Investment Banking in leading financial Institutions, Securities Analysis in brokerage firms, etc. Many people may not be aware that operations in the securities market is one of the biggest industries in India, or for that matter, in any country in the world. This is a career for people generally interested in quantitative skills and who would like to do a lot of planning, managing of resources and policy formation. "Number Crunching" is how most people would describe a career in finance! How best to manage money and its consequences is what Finance is all about. This specialization is a hot favorite amongst engineers. This is a career for people generally interested in quantitative skills and who would like to do a lot of planning, managing of resources and policy formation. "Number Crunching" is how most people would describe a career in finance! How best to manage money and its consequences is what Finance is all about. This specialization is a hot favorite amongst engineers. This is a career for people generally interested in quantitative skills and who would like to do a lot of planning, managing of resources and policy formation. "Number Crunching" is how most people would describe a career in finance! How best to manage money and its consequences is what Finance is all about. This specialization is a hot favorite amongst engineers.
4 As a finance specialist one is expected to be good with numbers and a keen learner as the function requires one to interface with accounting, auditing, investor interest management, taxation, etc. A combination of MBA with finance specialization and Chartered Accountancy is considered a steppingstone to a lucrative consultancy career. Firms that hire in this area are: Consultancies AF Ferguson, Deloitte & Touche Consulting, Accenture, BCG, McKinsey & Co., KPMG, Booz Allen & Hamilton. Banks Citibank, American Express, Credit Lyonnaise, Exim Bank, HDFC, Bank of America, HSBC, Standard Chartered Grindlays. Other Financial Companies Morgan Stanley, CRISIL, ICRA, CARE, GE Capital, UTI, Lehman Brothers, ICICI Bank, HDFC, Goldman Sachs and so on. Human Resources People are the most valuable asset of a company. This view is now accepted almost in all sectors and industries. MBAs in this field generally specialize in Compensation, where they decide on the packages to be given to employees if they have a knack for number crunching or in Personnel where they are in charge of Recruitment and Selection, Job Analysis, Performance Appraisals and the Grievance Redressal Cells. They may also be in charge of Employee training and development. Some new areas in HRD are Change Management, when a company adopts new management practices or after an Acquisition or a Merger. Other specific sections are Affirmative Action Planning and Equal Employment Opportunities. These areas ensure that there is no discrimination in recruitment and that it is done only on merit basis. These areas are not very prevalent in India, except in the Public sector where Affirmative Action takes the form of Reservations for SC/ST/OBCs. Most people say that HR Management is the management of the next millennium. That is, if you can manage your people well, they, in turn, will take care of your organization well. This has become the most important specialization in management over the recent years. Most people say that HR Management is the management of the next millennium. That is, if you can
5 manage your people well, they, in turn, will take care of your organization well. This has become the most important specialization in management over the recent years. Most people say that HR Management is the management of the next millennium. That is, if you can manage your people well, they, in turn, will take care of your organization well. This has become the most important specialization in management over the recent years. HRM is all about helping a company reach its goals by focusing on people management. The two broad categories of HRM are: 1. Plant (Factory) Personnel The Plant Personnel function of HRD deals with maintaining healthy and positive industrial relations. The activities here include recruitment, payrolls, appraisals, administration, and all matters concerned with the Workers' Union. A stint in Plant Personnel offers exposure to handling highly sensitive issues such as discipline and union negotiation. Top firms like ITC, HLL, Coke specifically recruit candidates for the personnel management function. 2. Corporate Personnel Corporate Personnel deals with HR activities in the corporate set-up that includes all managerial and supervisory staff. It covers all aspects from an employee's entry to exit, such as recruitment, attendance, leaves, pay, appraisals, audit and exit interviews. A lot of modern HR practices such as ESOP, 360-degree feedback and flexible timings have been pathbreaking initiatives by some bright HR manager. You should possess good communication and inter-personal skills and present yourself as accessible, competent and charismatic. Two well-known HR firms are William Mercer and Noble & Hewitt. Apart from these all the top firms need HR professionals as it is one of the basic service functions in every company. Information Systems Management The last few years have seen the emergence of Information Technology (IT)T/Management Information Systems (MIS) as a major function of any industry, from being just a departmental function earlier. Indeed, no part of business is untouched by Information systems because of the growth of e- commerce and telecommunications. Operations MBAs require IS in procurement roles. The marketing MBAs use market research, and segmentation to formulate strategies; Finance MBAs require IS in equity research and corporate finance and even HR MBAs require IS in Change
6 Management consulting! This is the reason that more and more MBAs are taking up extra credits in Information systems and IT even if they major in some other subject. For people specializing in MIS, the career path is quite rosy, if skewed in favor of engineers and technical graduates. One can join as System Analyst, and then go on to Technical Systems Manager and ultimately on to Chief Information Officer (CIO). Systems and Consultancy is almost synonymous with computers. Systems activity is a support function which is responsible for customized-development of IT solutions in all areas from automating attendance punching to putting daily sales and distribution data online, to developing Enterprise Resource Planning solutions. Consulting is provided to organizations to devise strategies for new initiatives in IT, Marketing, HR, etc. In the IT Industry, the options could be Project Management in a software development company like Infosys and TCS or Sales and Marketing in IT companies like IBM, Wipro, etc. An Engineer-MBA with a sound understanding of business concepts is seen as the best fit for the job of a project manager in software development, but a non-engineer is no disqualification either. For a successful Systems and Consulting career, you have to possess good analytical skills, be a good teamplayer and have an unending quest for knowledge. Companies that usually recruit for Systems are: IT Companies: SAP, Motorola, Satyam, HCL, TCS, Infosys, I2 Technologies, Wipro Infotech, Mindtree Consulting, etc. Over the past one decade the thing that has most astonished people in terms of growth is the IT Industry, popularly referred to as "INFOTECH" or "SOFTWARE". In all spheres of life, computers are becoming part and parcel of all human endeavours and a career in computers shows unmatched promise, potential and a veritable goldmine in terms of innovation. India too, has not been far behind as far as "Software Development" or Infotech growth. With the Government's policy of reforms in 1991, the entire Infotech market has seen a quantum leap. This has enthused job opportunities for computer-savvy individuals like never before. But these days a degree in Computers is not enough. Generally most industries seek graduates who have a flair in both Management and Computers. For such people, the career is an MBA in Systems. A major boom in the next five years is expected in the field of Internet related Electronic Commerce. In fact, most of the IT majors are concentrating on this
7 area as it promises one of the highest growth rates due to the fact that India still has one of the lowest per capita PC penetration. Once the boom starts, experts predict it would be mind boggling. In fact, several enterprising young people have started companies that are dabbling in E-Commerce already. Engineers are best suited for a specialization in Systems. By the way, did you know that the world's largest bookstore is a website? (www.amazon.com) Manufacturing Management In Operations Management the two basic divisions are the Manufacturing or Production Operations and the Service Operations. The basic purpose is to increase efficiency to its optimal level. Most MBAs in this line complement their Operations specializations with a lot or credits in IT and Systems. An MBA might start off as a Manufacturing Manager, Product Supervisor and go on to Technical Product Manager of the division. Further Career growth may include General Manager of a division and finally up to Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of a company. In the service sector Operations include the same overall functions of Quality Assurance and Process Improvement, with focus on capacity constraints, queuing and outsourcing processes. Production specialization is generally preferred by engineers. Generally people with very specific inclination towards Production / Shop-floor Management go in for this. Manufacturing is one of the most important areas for any product-based business. Many techniques and theories have been developed by management schools which focus on issues relevant to the area. These skills are specially useful to those who are engineering graduates. The four types of opportunities are in : 1. Productivity Improvement 2. Quality Control 3. Inventory Control 4. Production Planning Operations Management is a comprehensive production-related responsibility that includes Inventory Management, Vendor Development, Purchase Management, and also areas which demand multi-disciplinary skills like Supply Chain Management and ERP (enterprise resource planning). A typical career would see one handling a few plants/vendors initially, followed by the responsibility for an entire factory, eventually leading to a role requiring a more strategic view like global sourcing for materials and imports. The focus of the production specialist is not on engineering problems, but on the managerial implications of engineering problems. The specific skills
8 required are behavioural, technical, and statistical. These techniques are largely applied to manufacturing organisations. MBAs with this background stand a bright chance with several consultancy firms. Operations is a new stream that has come in the recent years and is getting popular very fast. People with this specialization are basically inter-disciplinary in nature. The responsibilities are huge and so are the returns. The market has welcomed this specialization with open arms. An operations person basically deals in the various internal and external movements and flows within an organization that affect its efficiency. These flows could be processes, relationships, vendor development, ancillary management etc. Again here, engineers are the most preferred of the lot. The skills required for any of the above jobs are eye for detail, people management skills, ability to negotiate, calmness in tough situations, sound technical knowledge, etc. Every manufacturing and sales and distribution company needs good operations guys. Here are the names of some of these firms: Larsen & Toubro, GE, Godrej & Boyce, Asian Paints, Philips, Crompton Greaves, Siemens, Mahindra & Mahindra, Maruti Udyog, Voltas, etc. Management Consulting The MBA degree gives one the best course to get into Management Consulting. A consultant is a person who is hired by businesses to give expert opinions on various functions with a view to make optimal usage of the company s resources. Although a person might get into the Management consultancy firms without the benefit of an MBA, usually they leave after two years of service or so to pursue an MBA degree as that is the bast way of vertical growth in that firm. Most of the top Management Consultancy firms of the world like Arthur Andersen, KPMG, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Ernst & Young and Deloitte & Touche started off as Auditing concerns and later branched out into Management Consulting. The types of consulting services available vary widely according to specializations in MBA done. The areas in Consultancy for Operations/Manufacturing MBAs are Business Process Reengineering, Manufacturing Consulting, Operational Effectiveness and Strategic Consulting. HR MBAs may get into Organization Design or become Compensation Benefits or Change Management Consultants. IT MBAs frequently become Systems Consultants or HRIS Consultants or Database Consultants. General Management MBAs usually go into Strategic Consulting. The growth path of
9 an MBA in a Consultancy firm is such that they usually start by being Associates or Senior Consultants. Then they go on to Managing Consultant to Senior Manager to Associate Partner/Partner. General Management General Management is mainly for people who have some specialty already, and want to increase their oeuvre. Others pursue General Management as a corollary to some other core discipline. This is because there are practically no entry-level jobs in GM. Entrepreneurship Enterpreneurship is chosen by two kinds of people. One, who have familymanaged businesses to handle or take over immediately after passing out from the institute, and the other kind who have ideas they want to implement in a new business after passing. The second kind is now very much in vogue, especially with the mushrooming e-commerce culture where every idea has a possibility of fruition in a flourishing business. The dot-com craze is a case in point. These ventures ate typically characterized by a large amount of risk, but with equally high returns if they succeed. Many ideas are implemented with an eye on an IPO (Initial Public Offering of stock) where they might be able to innovate and grow with the money flowing in. Small Business Management is again either for people who have a SSI (Small-Scale Industry) Unit waiting for them to handle or those who want to start one. Also the other career option is that of Strategic Consultancy to such small businesses. Prateek Rai
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