The Different Focuses in Business School: Which Path is Right For You?


Demand for full time MBA programs is again on the rise. In fact, many schools recorded double-digit increases in the number of applicants in 2013. Driving the increase were students applying to more schools and international applicants. As the number of applicants increased, the number of seats available remained essentially the same -- driving down acceptance rates. The competition is getting fierce.

If you are one of the many thinking about applying to business school, it's important to have a grasp on why you want to get an MBA, what an MBA can do for you, and what you want your MBA focus to be. Most schools provide a good grounding in the essentials of management education, as well as have specific areas of focus they are particularly known for. Stanford, at the epicenter of Silicon Valley, is known for entrepreneurship and Wharton has historically been known for supplying the financial industry. You will want to familiarize yourself with these different MBA focuses in business school and which best fit your needs and your career goals. Here is a breakdown of the most common business school programs:


Entrepreneurship is the process of starting a business or a similar organization. The entrepreneurship MBA focus teaches students how to build a business from scratch. Students will learn how to build business models, how to secure financing, how to manage employees, and how take an idea from nothing and turn it into a flourishing business.

Schools frequently associated with providing an entrepreneuriship MBA focus are: Babson, Stanford, MIT, Harvard and University of California at Berkeley.


Accounting is the measurement and processing of financial information. MBA focuses in accounting help students learn how to measure and communicate the financial processes and activities of an organization. The data gathered in accounting can be used to determine the financial status of a business. Students interested in this area are typically thinking about positions in Corporate or as a Consultant. Schools best know for their accounting MBA focuses are: University of Texas, Wharton, University of Illinois, Booth and Ross.

Finance and Economics

Finance deals with how assets and liabilities of an organization are going to be allocated. The finance MBA focus teaches students about financial instruments and portfolio management, banking, corporate finance and international finance. Schools most noted for their programs include: Wharton, Chicago Booth, NYU Stern, Columbia and MIT.


Marketing is the process of communicating the value of a product or a service and anticipating what customers would buy in the future. The MBA focus in marketing teaches students how to measure and predict what customers would buy. The knowledge to create a sound marketing strategy is a must-have skill for any business leader. Schools most noted for Marketing MBA focuses include: Kellogg Northwestern, Wharton, Stanford, Harvard and Booth.


Core Management courses are the foundation of all business degree programs. Management is an organizational approach to coordinating the efforts of various people within an organization in order to best accomplish goals. Proper management involves planning, using resources in an efficient manner, and interpersonal skills. Schools best known in this MBA focus are: Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Ross and Kellogg.

If none of the above MBA focuses appeal to you, here are a couple more programs that top-ranked business schools offer:

  • Human Resource Management
  • International Business
  • Media
  • Private Equity
  • Real Estate
  • Social Enterprise
  • Value Investing

While all of these MBA focuses will be touched upon during your time at business school, it's important that you know what you want to focus on during the mba application process. Top-ranked business schools look for students who have shown a clear interest in one of the aforementioned programs through their resume and experiences.

For more about how you can benefit from an MBA and which business school to choose, talk to one of our InGenius Prep business school admissions experts.


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