If you've decided to pursue an MBA, you'll need to choose between a general and a specialized program. Both offer distinct advantages, depending on what you hope to accomplish professionally. Here are some of the pros and cons of general and specialized MBAs for those who are having trouble deciding:

Specialized MBA or General MBA

Specialized MBAs


  1. Specialized MBA students receive an in-depth business education in one field (e.g. finance, accounting, entrepreneurship, etc.). If you're interested in a specific industry or profession, a specialized MBA can give you more targeted management experience.     
  2. Similarly, if you already have an idea of the career trajectory you want to pursue upon graduation, a specialized MBA can give you more of a head start than a general program would.     
  3. Many specialized MBA programs are only one year, and several allow students to study while they're still working, giving you more flexibility.     


  1. The expertise you acquire will be limited to one area, so it's important to be sure about your professional ambitions before you commit to a specialized MBA program. It may also be difficult to change careers down the line—for example, if you earn a specialized MBA in accounting, you may have a harder time transitioning to a marketing role than you would with a general MBA.    
  2. Specialized MBA programs encourage (or require) students to have relevant experience in their field before applying, so if you're just getting started professionally, you may have a harder time.   

General MBA


  1. A general MBA offers students a broad base of knowledge in business and management. You'll learn the basics across all specialties and develop skills that can be applied to many practice areas in almost any industry.     
  2. Acceptance to general MBA programs doesn't require a certain educational or professional background—all you have to do is take the GMAT and put together a compelling application.     
  3. In addition to business and management experience, general MBA programs focus on strengthening leadership, creativity, communication, and critical thinking skills, which are imperative to success in any field.     


  1. A general MBA won't necessarily direct you toward a specific profession or industry, so students will need to be proactive about exploring opportunities before graduation. ​

  2. Most MBA programs (though not all) are full-time and take two years to complete—which means more tuition and fewer opportunities to gain professional experience. Students will need to be sure they can handle the investment    

For more help determining which MBA program will help you achieve your career goals, check out these MBA resources.

MBA Program Suggestions

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