Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs are now offering various specializations for those looking to focus on a particular aspect of business administration. Louisiana State University Shreveport offers four different specializations:
- Master of Business Administration with a General Business Specialization.
- Master of Business Administration with an Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise Specialization.
- Master of Business Administration with a Human Resource Management Specialization.
- Master of Business Administration with a Finance Specialization.
Each program provides a solid foundation in generalized business management study focusing on integrating theory and practice including leadership skills, fundamentals of finance and marketing, organizational management and human resources. Yet specialization options give those pursuing an MBA the opportunity to tailor their study toward their specific interests. This can help future entrepreneurs, small business owners and high-level business executives develop a competitive advantage within their chosen niche.
Generalized Versus Specialized Business Administration Study
Master’s programs in areas such as finance, accounting, organizational management and other administrative specializations have existed for quite some time, giving professionals a thorough education in their area of work. But MBA programs have typically been more generalist in approach, offering candidates foundational knowledge in all aspects of business administration.
The thinking is that professionals in business management are better suited for their jobs if they have developed broad, actionable knowledge and applicable skills. This allows them to effectively manage those in more specialized positions, allowing the specialists to exercise their expertise. Intelligent responsibility delegation also lets the higher-level administrator focus on the bigger picture of a company’s vision, product and image development, and wealth creation. They must also maintain positive relationships, communication, and productivity. When managing so many sides of a company, generalized business knowledge is absolutely necessary.
So why are more and more MBA programs offering specializations? The answer is that the world of business is changing rapidly, especially after the Great Recession of 2008 when many large corporations crashed, jobs disappeared, and company revenue and employee salaries plummeted.
In the years following, people had to be creative to find success in the shrunken economy. The decline of big business as well as the exponential increase in digital technologies and small business ventures opened the door to innovative models of entrepreneurship. Flexible, real-time, market-based small business models like the lean startup developed, focusing on rapid product release, customer feedback, and immediate revision and product improvement. This “build-measure-learn” loop allows entrepreneurs to start a business with minimal up-front investment, immediately responding to market factors and quickly pursuing opportunities to achieve competitive advantages.
Along with the move toward entrepreneurship and small business came the desire for more specialized skill sets. Partners in a small business venture need to understand a wide array of business practices, models, and strategies, while focusing on different aspects of their business to efficiently delegate tasks.
And, even within the world of big business, companies began to specialize more in certain aspects of commerce, product development and services. Many large corporations, which formerly ran all operations in-house, splintered into specialized subsidiaries. This decentralization of specialized business also resulted in the need for managers with leadership and administrative abilities as well as more in-depth knowledge specific to the company’s product or service. Consequently, having a degree in generalized business administration with a desirable specialized skill set has become advantageous to professionals entering the job market or looking to move up within executive management.
LSUS MBA Program Specializations
As the previous section illustrated, MBA programs establish a foundation of business- and leadership-related skills. Specializations go more in depth in certain areas, but much of the program coursework is shared between MBA degree options.
LSUS’s online MBA program coursework focuses on giving candidates a thorough understanding of theoretical strategy while integrating this developed knowledge with practical application, completing the experiential education cycle and preparing professionals for real-life work. All LSUS specializations include extensive generalized MBA coursework, although candidates with a prior business bachelor’s degree who have already taken such courses are not required to repeat them.
As business administration is largely concerned with wealth creation and ensuring measurable benefit to company stakeholders, a portion of LSUS’s generalized MBA coursework is devoted to the study of financial business matters. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Studying data, both internal and market-based, and its analysis and application in decision making.
- Analyzing economics and ramifications for management.
- Studying managerial financial techniques.
The following business-specific methodologies of management and design are also an important part of LSUS curricula:
- Decision-making based on the quantitative study of business management science and statistical analysis.
- The in-depth study of marketing, analysis of the managerial role in marketing, current trends, marketing towards specified target audiences, modern data-based marketing tools, etc.
- The analysis of effective organizational management, structure and policy making.
Essential to all management and administrative study is the development and analysis of effective leadership, including coursework that covers these topics:
- The study of effective communication theory and strategy, clearly articulating vision and goals, expectations, evaluative review and job requirements. This is a complex topic, integrating positive communication role modeling, the exchange of actionable feedback, and appropriate, effective response to dilemmas, conflicts, crises, and any other problems in need of intervention.
- The study of organizational behavior: The psychology behind the way people are motivated and behave in groups as well as organizational processes and strategies to effectively manage these behaviors and produce necessary motivation within the group and individuals.
Master of Business Administration with an Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise Specialization
This specialization caters to entrepreneurs in a startup, family enterprise, or other small business situation. Essential to this focus is the ability to harness creativity and the entrepreneurial spirit to deliver innovation within successful business models. It involves opportunity recognition and risk-taking coupled with an understanding of financial feasibility and strategic management. This specialization also includes coursework on the unique dynamics of family relationships within the context of family-run business enterprises.
Master of Business Administration with a Human Resource Management Specialization
For those interested in the complex inter-relationships inherent to a company’s workforce and upon which that company’s success is built, this specialization may be of particular interest. Coursework focuses on strategies for effective human resource management including the process of selection, compensation structures, performance, and the study of applicable labor laws and ethics.
Master of Business Administration with a Finance Specialization
Understanding the complexities of financial markets, economic theory, quantitative analysis and critical thinking can give professionals aspiring to high-level corporate management positions a distinct advantage in today’s competitive job market. Coursework surrounds both the foundational knowledge of financial markets, institutions, and systems as well as contemporary issues such as global investment markets, investment strategies and international finance.
Master of Business Administration with a General Business Specialization
In addition to the above three specializations, LSUS offers an MBA in generalized business studies, including all general coursework as well as the candidate’s choice of two electives from the other MBA specializations. This can be an enticing program for business professionals who wish to have in-depth, specialized knowledge in different content areas, whether for the purpose of diversified competitive advantage or because they are an entrepreneur or small business owner responsible for carrying out multiple roles within their company.
Through specialized programs such as LSUS’s online MBAs, degree candidates can choose from a number of options tailored to their specific interests. A variety of professionals, including startup entrepreneurs, family enterprise owners, and corporate executives can leverage the specialized knowledge and skills gained from such MBA programs for success in the demanding world of modern business.
Learn more about the LSUS online MBA programs.
Have a question or concern about this article? Please contact us.