What candidates can expect from an MBAChen Wan Lim
An MBA typically consists of four main parts: (i) core curriculum; (ii) electives and majors; (iii) experiential learnings and; (iv) leadership training. The core curriculum will give candidates a strong foundation in academic related subjects such as finance, accounting, economics, corporate finance, human resources, marketing, business strategy and management.
The electives and majors will then drill further and deeper into specific subjects related to the specific MBA course with the main purpose of equipping candidates with specific skill sets. Examples would be entrepreneurship, operations and human resource management.
Experiential learnings are purposed to teach candidates by allowing them to experience a subject matter first hand. This could be visits to companies, serving on non-profit organisations, case studies and creating a company in a lab. Leadership training then teaches candidates to lead by conducting classroom discussions, group projects and mentorships.
As a potential candidate, one could typically expect the following:
The many group projects, case studies and classroom activities will instil leadership qualities in candidates. There is perhaps no room to be shy and reserved. Candidates are expected to voice opinions, participate in healthy debates and to be challenged. In addition, candidates are also expected to study the theoretical aspects of leaderships and be able to apply them in the real world.
Running an organisation of ten employees or a thousand employees have their own challenges. Candidates can expect to learn about effective communication across an organisation, cascading vision and mission from the management to the subordinates and aligning employees towards the common organisational goal.
Regardless of the nature of the business, be it trading, service or manufacturing, marketing is an important part of business success. Understanding the core business well enough to market the company successfully is what candidates are taught in an MBA course. Case studies are also discussed to look for alternative solutions to best market a particular product or service.
Human resource management on its own is part science and part art. There are theoretical concepts of human resource management such as to devise an optimal organisational structure, strategically match core competencies with job functions and to integrate various departments to achieve a common goal. In essence, candidates will be able to understand the formal relationship between employer and employee and to derive the best out of that relationship.
Corporate governance is an area that is gaining more popularity in Malaysia since the emergence of various financial scandals. This body of knowledge covers topics such as the study of organisational structure, levels of decision making, legal, ethical and social aspects of doing business.
Area of specialisation
Apart from the core subjects above, candidates can expect to specialise in a range of or areas such as entrepreneurship, supply chain management, international business, operation management, construction management, information technology, agriculture management, health care management and the list goes on. These areas of specialisation are the key selling point for MBA holders to command a higher salary and higher positions within an organisation and to allow them to transition to other career paths.