An MBA is the answer to several career setbacks and challenges. However the most deciding factor on achieving substantial returns from your MBA investment is the specialization that you choose.
There are different schools of thought when it comes to deciding an MBA specialization. Some refer to industry trends, college placements, fat-salaried jobs etc.

While industry trends are never permanent and are subject to ups and downs, do you want to risk your one long shot of doing an MBA based on some industry recently picking up? If your college has excellent industry relations with most of the marketing firms and placements are easy would you go ahead and opt for marketing as your specialization? Everyone knows that Investment Bankers get fat paychecks, would you go ahead and opt for Finance without considering what it takes to win it out there in the battle ground?
Think about your sustainability in the industry when you progress to mid and higher management roles where competition is fierce irrespective to your domain and/or industry.

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Many of us ignore the most concrete basis of deciding our specialization subjects – Core Competencies and Skills – The most rational way of deciding your specialization is by knowing what you are good at and mapping it to a suitable specialization. This would enhance your chances to shine and do great in your specialization throughout your academics as well as your career because of your proven skills.

Below is the mapping of prevalent profiles pertaining to each specialization with the competencies and skills.

Skills & Competencies Specialization Profiles
Extrovert, Networking skills, Tech Savvy, Excellent Communicator Marketing
Most of the profiles like Sales, Branding & Advertising, Market Research, and Product Management would require these skills to excel.
Problem Solver, Analytical skills, Ambitious and Self-motivated, Knack on numbers, Logic & ReasoningFinance
Cash & Credit management, Risk and Insurance Management, Investment Banking, Finance Management, Financial Analysis are the hot profiles for Finance students that call for these skills.
People Oriented, Excellent Listeners, Change Enablers, Change Managers, Oral and Verbal Communication, Convincing Skills.HR
Recruitment, Industrial Relations, HR Development, Personnel Management, Compensation and Payroll management, Job Analysis, Performance Appraisals. Most of these profiles mostly require to factor in human preferences and needs which is tricky but always in-demand.
Attention to Detail, Negotiation Skills, Business Process Understanding, Zero-Error Efficiency, Technical KnowhowOperations
Supply Chain management, Quality Control, Logistics. Inventory Control are some of the evergreen profiles in Operations.
IT Process Understanding, Technically Adept, Coding ExperienceInformation TechnologyAn MBA in IT can open up gates for software engineers to ambitious profiles like ERP Solutions Designer, Functional Consultant, Project Management, IT Sales and Solutions, IT Business Development

If you have the right skills, you are sure to do great in your chosen specialization with a long term perspective. Deciding the apt specialization is not enough though. You need to understand the salient aspects of the job prospects pertaining to each specialization before you decide to step into the industry.

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