If you’re looking to go back to school to get your MBA in 2019, you probably have a lot of questions. Finding the perfect MBA program involves a variety of factors, including whether the school offers or encourages specialization. This can have a huge impact on your future career and employment prospects. Specializations are a great way to deepen your education, and if you choose a specialization that’s relevant, you’ll be on top of some of the most lucrative, fast-growing industries in the world.

To help you get a sense of where the market is going, here are some of the top MBA specializations for 2019.

What is an MBA?

MBA, which stands for Master of Business Administration, is a professional graduate degree that some people undertake if they want to learn more about formal approaches to business. You don’t have to have an MBA to be successful in your field, but many people feel that it helps when choosing a career path. It can also help elevate your career prospects as many of the people promoted to B-level positions and higher have an MBA.

There are several different types of programs that you can explore if you’re looking to continue your education with an MBA. Many standard MBA programs are two academic years or around 18 months of solid coursework with a summer break in between. These programs will generally require you to work at night or not at all as you’ll be expected to dedicate your time to coursework.

There are also accelerated MBAs, which take slightly less time than the standard MBA program. Accelerated MBAs usually take around one calendar year. These programs are intensely focused and require a lot of work if you want to be able to complete your coursework on time.

There are also part-time or evening MBAs, which take slightly longer than two years — often between three and five years — but will allow you to maintain your full-time position while taking classes at night or on weekends.

What are MBA specializations?

Depending on which school you enroll in, you may be asked to pick an MBA specialization. Some schools offer general MBA degrees, but most of them will ask you to pick a specialty, which can also be called a concentration or a major. These specialties are usually decided at the end of your first year.

Once you’ve picked your specialty, you’ll choose relevant electives, and at the end of your degree, you’ll have a level of general knowledge, as well as specific knowledge related to your chosen field. Many people feel that choosing a specialty shows their determination to enter their chosen field and will give more in-depth knowledge that will be useful to a specific career path. Some popular specializations include finance, accounting, or human resources. However, as industries change, different schools offer more relevant specialties that will help you stay on top of the market in 2019.

Here are some of the most sought-after MBA specializations in 2019.

1. Accounting

Although it may be one of the oldest specializations, the importance of accounting cannot be overstated. Good accountants are integral to any business, regardless of size, scope, or industry. They’re the ones who are able to steer a business through financial difficulties and guide their investments in a sensible way. In order to graduate with a specialization in accounting, students need to take classes in federal tax law, different types of auditing, financial statement analysis, and more. These specific classes are taken in addition to their core course material.

After graduation, students can expect to earn around $69,000 per year, starting in a position like accounting manager. After that, their MBA will likely assist them in getting promotions to positions like financial controller or director of finance. The ultimate goal for a person with an MBA in Accounting is likely CFO or VP Finance. Accounting is considered an extremely stable career path, and the demand for qualified accountants is steadily increasing year after year.

2. Change Management

The corporate sector is in a period of continual change, with shifting demands that change depending on the market. Good businesses should be agile, and those that are not are quickly falling behind. Many students today take advantage of this trend by enrolling in an MBA with a specialization in change management. During their education, they’ll learn about different management systems, managerial styles, and how to implement new policies. Classes may also cover subjects like conflict negotiation, managerial skills, organizational power and politics, and managing growth.

After graduation, students with this specialization are often hired as change consultants or brought on full-time as change managers. Salaries for change managers typically average around $91,000 and can hit upwards of $130,000. There’s been greater awareness of this field in the last few years, which has led to an increase in salary as well as job availability. Businesses are just now realizing how much guidance is necessary to support an organization in transition and are willing to pay for this expertise.

3. Cybersecurity

Anyone who has so much as glanced at the news in the last few months will realize how important cybersecurity has become. Businesses like Facebook, Google, and Apple have access to so much of our personal information and shielding it from misuse has never been more important.

Getting an MBA in Cybersecurity is perfect for someone who already has a solid understanding of the tech sector and wants to ensure that their knowledge keeps pace with a rapidly expanding industry. MBA students with this specialization will take classes on database management, information security, and regulatory compliance, as well as their regular core classes.

Once they’ve entered the workforce, cybersecurity analysts should expect to receive around $70,000 in salary per year. Experts will be able to take home salaries of at least $100,000. This is about to become an extremely important industry, as companies will need to prove to consumers that they can be trusted with their personal information. A knowledgeable expert on cybersecurity should be able to take their pick of employment opportunities.

4. Entrepreneurship

If you’ve dreamed about owning your own business, then entrepreneurship is definitely the career path for you. An MBA with a focus in entrepreneurship will give you all the tools you need for success. As an entrepreneur, you’ll need to be able to speak knowledgeably and manage all aspects of your business, which includes marketing, accounting, and human resources. Investors are not willing to work with people who are unable to support their vision with cold, hard facts.

The business world is rewarding disruptors more than ever before. Investors want to be involved in the next big thing — not a reinvention of an already-existing product. There’s money to be made by people who are driven and have innovative, world-changing ideas. If that’s you, you’ll need a solid business education in order to maximize your creative talents. The average person who graduates with an MBA in Entrepreneurship will take home around $98,000 per year, and sometimes upwards of $175,000. Typically, students with these degrees are working in fast-growing sectors like tech, and if they’re not self-employed will gravitate towards operations or management.

5. Environmental Management

It’s undeniable that global warming is having a negative effect on the Earth. As residents of this planet, it’s up to us to make a change towards environmental sustainability.

An MBA in Environmental Management or Sustainability gives you a solid education in business management and administration with a focus on the environment or sustainability. You’ll take relevant classes on global warming and its effect on international business practices, clean energy, environmental finance, and environmental law. Having this specialization on your resume is a great way to show that you’re able to offer value to potential employers in this vital field.

If you’re looking to make a positive impact on the environment, the best way to do it is through a large corporation that has the reach, resources, and ability to affect real change. As a sustainability manager or director of sustainability operations, you’ll be able to shape policy and practices that will have a huge effect on the environment. Most people who graduate with an MBA in Environmental Management or Sustainability are able to take home salaries of around $75,000-100,000, depending on the company.

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