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Elizabeth A. Davis

5 Tips on Choosing a Specialization

by Elizabeth Davis Monday, August 31, 2015

The Wisconsin MBA Program prides itself on a career focused approach to MBA education. The specialization model, where applicants identify one area of emphasis at the onset of their MBA program, allows for a deep dive into an area of interest while also gaining a general management core skillset. The combination of the two allows our students to hit the ground running and become successful leaders.

So what happens if you don’t know what specialization is the right fit for you? I’ve put together five tips in order to help you narrow down your options.

1.       1. Reflect on the past.

It’s important to start the specialization selection process by doing some self-reflection. Think about the different jobs you’ve had and what you enjoyed in each of these roles. Conversely, what didn’t you like? Soon enough you’ll begin to see patterns and use this to pinpoint potential areas of interest.  

2.       2. Think in overarching themes.

Once you’ve done some reflection on previous roles and experiences it’s time to think in terms of the overarching themes of interest. Finance? Marketing? Supply Chain? Operations? Human Resources? Real Estate? Want to work in non-profit or cultural organizations? Thinking broadly will allow you to quickly narrow down your specialization possibilities.

3.       3. Become a detective.

Once you’ve done some self-reflection, become a sleuth. Identify jobs you’re interested in and dive into learning what the day-to-day experience is like. Sit down for informational interviews with people who have the jobs you want, and pick their brain about their past experiences and the skills you’ll need to be successful in these roles. Make sure you always follow up with a thank you note!

4.       4. Find out what it’s actually like.

The best way to see what life is actually like in a particular specialization is to speak with the students in them. Come to an information session, engage in an online chat, sign up for a campus visit, or attend a preview weekend. All are great ways to interact with Wisconsin MBA students one-on-one, and have meaningful conversations about their experiences.

5.       5. Talk with us.

Are you still unsure about which specialization is right for you? That’s okay- that’s what the admissions team is here for. We’re happy to meet with your or talk over the phone to discuss your interests and what specialization could be a good fit with your career goals.

The Wisconsin MBA Application is live September 1, 2015. For more information about application requirements and deadlines, please see our website