Helps Students Locate Niche MBA Programs

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The Graduate Management Admissions Council reports that many business schools are revamping their programs to include niche Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees because of a drop in full-time MBA program applications. offers online resources to help prospective MBA students focus on specific programs and careers.

According to the Graduate Management Admissions Council, business schools across the nation have responded to a 78 percent drop in general Master of Business Administration (MBA) applications with an overhaul of their MBA programs to allow for niche degrees. Prospective MBA students can find schools that offer specialized programs on, an online business school directory. Educational resources on such as the school search tool can help students keep up with changes in college curriculum and business hiring practices.

The decline in general MBA applications may be due to recent shifts in employer hiring practices. In order to cut training costs, businesses have shifted from a preference for employees with general MBAs to students with specialized degrees.

"Everyone wants to have some strategic advantage over someone else. When we all offer the same thing, we all ask, 'How do we distinguish ourselves?' stated Dale Doreen, director of the International Aviation MBA at the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. In an Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB) newsletter, Doreen continued "An industry-specific program allows a school to develop a strong reputation separate from the rest of the market."

Students looking for career specific MBA programs can use the "Search for MBA business schools" tool ( to locate programs offering specializations. This tool enables students to narrow their searches based on program, state/region, or school and to locate niche MBA programs relevant to the student's interest. Some of the specifications listed on include:

  •     Accounting
  •     Organizational Management
  •     Technology Management

Business Week reports that mid-tier schools face the most difficulty with declining numbers of general MBA applications. To compete, many schools are focusing on giving students targeted, real-world experience frequently missing in traditional MBA programs. A 2004 survey by the AACSB projects that over the next three years about 300 business schools will either add academic programs or substantially revise their curricula. Association president John Fernandez says, "More than 50 programs already have made significant revisions."

A recent Corporate Recruiters Survey revealed that 55 percent of the survey's respondents reported a conservative approach to hiring. Such companies are cutting in-house training costs by favoring candidates with previous industry experience, which is one aspect of earning a specialized degree. Graduate Management News reports that Citigroup recently reviewed the resumes of 200 MBA students from 15 business schools. They hired only two people, both of whom had specializations. is an MBA resource site that helps business professionals boost their careers. The site offers a school search tool, tips and advice, and an MBA book review for professionals and students interested in educational and career advancement in the business field.


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