Choosing Your MBA Specialisation

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Business
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A Master of Business Administration (MBA) has traditionally been seen as a way to develop general business skills that can be used to take the next step in your career. This can be beneficial to all business students, but an industry-specific skill set may be more valuable for certain students.

VU Online offers both specialised MBA programs and an MBA without a specialisation.

These specialised MBAs allow you to focus on a particular area, and at the same time, study core units that provide a broad business education.

Do I need a specialised MBA?

A specialised MBA is the best option for some, but not all students.

If you are interested in a specific industry or profession, a specialised MBA can give you an advantage over fellow job seekers, as potential employers know you will be able to hit the ground running. You will also gain a broad business education, so you won’t be pigeon-holed into a particular career.

A general MBA program makes more sense if you are unsure about your long-term aspirations. But a broader business education can also be an asset for certain paths such as leadership roles, some business strategy roles and entrepreneurship.

How many different types of MBA specialisation can I choose from?

There are three VU Online MBA specialisations that you can choose from: Finance, Change Management and Economics for Business.

Finance

The Master of Business Administration (Finance) degree is a strong option for students who want to build their financial skillset. The program covers four core areas of finance and financial management and includes a capstone project that gives employers proof of your capabilities.

MBA (Finance) career outcomes

The MBA (Finance) can give you skills that can be applied in a variety of corporate finance positions depending on your experience. These can include:

  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
  • Financial Manager
  • Head of Finance
  • Financial Director
  • Financial Consultant

Let’s look at the responsibilities and salaries of a Chief Financial Officer and Financial Manager.

Chief Financial Officer

A Chief Financial Officer is responsible for managing a company’s budget, liaising with fellow executives and the company’s financial providers about company finances. The CFO is also responsible for identifying potential investment opportunities, such as other companies or capital expenditures. The average salary for a Chief Financial Officer is AU$157,110[1].

Financial Manager

A Financial Manager focuses on maximising the long-term health of an organisation. A Financial Manager’s duties include data analysis, managing financial resources of the company and supporting the executive management team. The average salary for a Financial Manager is AU$99,316[2].

Change Management

The only constant in the business world is change, so professionals who want to drive change and can adjust quickly to new business conditions are always going to be in high demand. An MBA with a specialisation in Change Management will help you grasp the challenges involved in driving change within an organisation and develop your leadership skills to effectively implement change.

MBA (Change Management) career outcomes

With an MBA (Change Management), you will have skills you can apply in a variety of roles. These can include:

  • Human Resources Director
  • Project Manager
  • Operations and Logistics Manager
  • Change Management Consultant

Below, we will go into more detail on the roles of Human Resources Director and Project Manager.

Human Resources Director

A Human Resources Director is responsible for creating and implementing employment policies and procedures, as well as managing programs that impact employees’ work experiences. The role varies depending on the size of the organisation, but skills in change management can be helpful in many situations. From implementing new policies to restructuring entire companies, HR Managers are often on the forefront of changes in the workplace. The average salary for a Human Resources Director is AU$145,061[3].

Project Manager

Project Managers are key employees for companies in many industries. They are responsible for managing projects from start-to-finish, ensuring that projects are completed on time, on budget and within scope. An effective project manager is flexible and adapts well to different situations, which is why having skills in change management are extremely valuable. The average salary for a Project Manager is AU$140-150,000, but that can vary considerably depending on the industry[4].

Economics for Business

Local and global economies are more interconnected than ever. An MBA with a specialisation in Economics for Business will give you the ability to leverage economic theory to identify business opportunities and develop strategy.

MBA (Economics for Business) career outcomes

An MBA (Economics for Business) can open countless opportunities for graduates. You can apply these skills in roles like:

  • Director of Strategy
  • Senior Business Analyst
  • Senior Strategy Manager
  • Executive General Manager
  • Analytics & Insights Manager

Here, we will look at the responsibilities and salaries of a Director of Strategy and Senior Business Analyst.

Director of Strategy

A Director of Strategy has to oversee all of the long-term variables that can impact an organisation and create strategies that position the company for sustainable success. Being able to identify successful opportunities is a crucial skill in this role, so being able to apply economic theory to real-world situations can give you an edge as a Director of Strategy. The average salary for a Director of Strategy is AU$150,000[5].

Senior Business Analyst

A Senior Business Analyst is responsible for assessing an organisation’s financial and operational risks, searching for ways to make business processes more efficient. In this role, interpreting economic principles like forecasting and supply vs. demand can be extremely beneficial in creating growth. The average salary for a Senior Business Analyst is AU$120,548[6].

Master of Business Administration

An MBA without a specialisation may be the right choice if you are still weighing up your career options or would benefit from a broad skill set that encompasses leadership, business strategy, entrepreneurship and more. The business management skills provided by a general MBA program can give you the tools you need to thrive as an entrepreneur building a startup, a high-ranking member of a large organisation, or something in between.

MBA career outcomes

A Master of Business Administration degree can be an asset in a number of areas. The skills gained in an MBA can be applied to roles such as:

  • Chief Executive Officer
  • Marketing Director
  • Director of Business Development
  • Senior Managing Consultant

Let’s focus on the Chief Executive Officer and Marketing Director roles.

Chief Executive Officer

A Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is the highest-ranking individual in a company – they are responsible for making high-level decisions and setting the direction of the company. A CEO needs to possess strong stakeholder management skills and excellent decision-making skills, which can all be honed through postgraduate study. The average salary for a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is AU$157,680[7].

Marketing Director

A Marketing Director is responsible for managing the marketing activities of a company, handling marketing strategies, campaign execution and staff management. They also must measure the return on investment (ROI) of their campaigns to guide future marketing decisions. Top-notch Marketing Directors are creative, but also have excellent business instincts. The average salary for a Marketing Director is AU$142,289[8].

Deciding on the right MBA specialisation

By undertaking an MBA, you can expand your knowledge and skills, become a more marketable job applicant, and build your professional network. If you have clear career goals, you may already know which MBA program is suitable for you.

However, it’s not always easy to make a decision. If you’re still unsure as to which path to take, you may want to think about the knowledge and skills you wish to develop, and whether the course aligns with your career goals. Do some research by downloading a brochure and comparing the units in each degree. You can also contact our Student Enrolment Advisors for more personalised advice and information by calling 1300 043 531 or emailing futurestudy@online.vu.edu.au.

Studying with VU Online

You can fast track your career with our award winning Block Model. Designed for busy people, you can tailor your studies around your personal and professional life. Our MBA is 100% online and you will study just one unit at a time. This allows you to study part-time and complete your degree in only two years.

It’s important to us you select the right MBA program that suits your needs. If you require further assistance, please reach out to our enrolment team today on 1300 043 531 or email futurestudy@online.vu.edu.au

1Chief Financial Officer salary source: Payscale

2Financial Manager salary source: Payscale

3Human Resource Director salary source: Payscale

4Project Manager salary source: Australian Institue of Project Management

5Director of Strategy salary source: Glassdoor

6Senior Business Analyst salary source: Talent

7Chief Executive Officer salary source: Payscale

8 Marketing Director salary source: Payscale