WHU | Logo

Which MBA program is right for you? -
Classic MBA vs. specialized MBA

MBA in General Management: The classic MBA
The classic MBA is a general degree program for business management. It was established in 1902 with a view to giving MBA graduates access to higher positions in international management. Those who have completed an MBA in General Management are considered to have taken courses in all key functional areas of management. This includes accounting and finance, marketing, product management, business law, human resources management, micro- and macroeconomics, sales, and information technology. The program also helps in the cultivation of soft skills. As future managers, students must prove themselves in exercises relating to teamwork, communication, and presentation skills. Most MBA degrees focus on the MBA in General Management, as it conveys fundamental knowledge in the field. Due to its generalized approach, this classic MBA degree program is geared toward graduates from any field and is especially suited to those pursuing a management role or executive position.
A class of students learn about the difference between a specialized and a classic MBA

Specialized MBA programs: A matter of dispute

Through the international spread of the MBA degree, different specializations have emerged over the years. These specialized MBAs are designed for those who wish to further their studies in a specific sector. During the first year of the program, before the focus turns to the particular specialization, the aforementioned classic management topics should be addressed in order to have a general foundation to build upon. A specialized MBA is perfectly suited for entering or switching to a specific sector. That’s why specialized MBA degree programs are particularly popular in Germany. There are currently over 40 specializations, and the following section will take a closer look at three main areas of emphasis.

From digital business to healthcare management: The specializations

Besides the MBA in Digital Business and the MBA in Healthcare Management, there are other popular areas of emphasis, of which we have selected three here to describe in further detail. Perhaps one of these could be the right one for you.

  1. MBA in Entrepreneurship
    Within the MBA in Entrepreneurship, the focus is on preparing students to establish their own business someday. Besides imparting skills for setting up a new business, this degree program is geared toward training new managers for existing businesses. The program offers advanced global insights into the areas of business administration and upper management, while also imparting knowledge on business management, business law, and human resources management. Additionally, it teaches students about startup, growth, and innovation processes, including the development of a business plan. Furthermore, necessary soft skills for management positions are systematically cultivated over the course of the program.
  2. MBA in Project Management
    The MBA in Project and Process Management equips graduates with the necessary skills for introducing process-oriented organizational approaches into day-to-day business operations and managing projects in the best possible way. Optimizing processes is essential for every business that wants to remain competitive. This degree program teaches the key elements of risk management, strategic management, and controlling. Some businesses look for project and process managers on a temporary basis, which opens up possibilities for freelance jobs.
  3. MBA in Engineering Management
    Those with expertise in scientific and technical fields can combine their skills with business knowledge in the MBA in Engineering Management. This specialized MBA serves as an interface between business administration and industrial engineering. Within the scope of the degree program, you’ll expand your knowledge in areas such as quality management, product and life cycle management, and collaboration engineering. Graduates of this MBA degree program are equipped, for instance, to take on management roles in the manufacturing industry, specifically in areas requiring financial and personnel responsibility. In the field of science and engineering, they can do such things as manage production processes, conduct technological development and optimization measures, and plan production logistics from a business standpoint.

Conclusion: Classic MBA vs. specialized MBA

The classic MBA is a general, comprehensive management degree program. But it’s also possible to choose smaller, specific areas of further focus within the MBA in General Management. At WHU, in addition to the required core modules, you can also take elective modules. In the specialized MBA programs, however, the focus is on a previously defined field. If you are not necessarily pursuing an international management role, you can have peace of mind in choosing a specialized MBA program. These degree programs allow you to expand your existing skills and knowledge, increasing your career prospects within the corresponding business sector. In either case – whether the MBA in General Management or a specialized MBA – it’s important to establish practical relevance during the course of the program. This is usually accomplished through working on case studies, initiating group projects, or conducting exercises on things such as developing a business plan. Furthermore, you should ensure that your chosen university imparts the necessary knowledge in the classic management subjects. The school’s international orientation and accreditation are also important. This article explains what exactly you should consider when it comes to accreditation.

Join Germany's #1 MBA program that offers a broad understanding of all aspects within business, leadership and personal development, a diverse alumni network, and endless career opportunities.

Contact the MBA Recruiting Team for more information.

WHU | Logo