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July 15, 2005
Finance or marketing -- which MBA specialisation is the best?
We threw open the discussion to Get Ahead readers and got a mix of responses from students, working professionals and experts.
Here are some diverse reader responses:
If you wish to become the CEO or owner of an organisation in the future, choose marketing. It will be highly difficult for a finance MBA or a systems MBA to run an organisation in a scenario that is becoming increasingly competitive, as you may not think from the customer/ market point of view.
Businesses are run in markets and the customer is the king. Only marketing enables you to create new, fresh, adaptive value propositions for the market and move with the future.
-- Arun, MBA. Currently works with TCS
I'd like to talk about the new generation curriculum that has been introduced at all top B-schools. For example, the Symbiosis Centre for Management and HRD separates subjects into majors and minors until the last year. But now, to keep pace with the market demands, they have the 'cafeteria approach' where a student is given the option of choosing his subjects so he fulfils a minimum number of total credits.
For instance, I am hardcore finance fan but have all good marketing subjects; I believe you have to be an allrounder to do well. So the name of the game is a general MBA with a focus on a specific field.
I have an excellent mix of marketing, IT, finance subjects -- with finance subjects dominating. I don't miss out on a single good marketing or IT subject.
Marketing options: Strategic marketing, brand management, supply chain management, sales and distribution mapping, market research, rural marketing, to name a few, should be a must for every MBA grad.
IT and systems options: Data mining, RDBMS, spreadsheet analysis is a must-know for every MBA who passes out.
B-schools themselves have changed their courses to suit the market; there are no more hardcore finance or marketing graduates who are going into the market of late.
-- YV Siva Ram, PGDM (finance and marketing), Symbiosis Centre for Management and HRD.
The debate over finance vs marketing is, in my view, uncalled for. At the end of the day, the choice made by the students is determined not only by the money and liking for the subject, but also by where one gets his first break.
For example, take the case of premium B-schools where there are plenty of finance jobs available. The people who study here are the ones who make more money. On the other hand, when it comes to small B-schools, we find more students opting for marketing.
There were students in my batch who had a natural flair for marketing but went for finance just because they believed finance pays more both in the short and long run. Sometimes, it has been a question of chance rather than choice when a student lands up in a B-school like the IIMs, where no specialisation is specified with the degree.
A student good in numbers but not so good in academics may find himself in a marketing or systems company.
For an average student, the choice boils down to a combination of money and liking for work where the money coefficient is very high. The best PSU bank in the country may offer the best work profile, but a poor salary will not attract the best talent. In some cases, it may be the other way round where a student may leave a high-earning job because he/ she dislikes the job profile, but that is more the exception than the rule.
Based on my experience of teaching at one of the best coaching institutes in the country, most of the male aspirants want to end up in finance. At the end of the day, we find more marketers in the market than finance guys.
So who wins? I end at the note where I started: it is a demand-supply game. The only difference is that the market is different for premier schools as compared to the rest. So are the curves.
-- Satyam Darmora, Worldwide Risk and Information Management, American Express.
As far as responsibilities are concerned, both the specialisations are on an equal footing.
But, considering the analytical skills involved and the immense monetary potential of banks and FIs, a finance MBA has a clear edge over others.
-- Deepak Kumar Sethi, Indian Institute of Management
I did my MBA in finance from Coventry University, UK. There's great scope for finance, as you have the scope of working in any part of the world. This is not the case with marketing.
-- Raghavendra Swamy, MBA Finance, Coventry University, UK
What's your take? Is a finance MBA better than a marketing MBA? Or will any kind of MBA do? Do let us know.
Don't forget to add your age, educational qualification, the institute/university where you studied, what you are doing at present and your contact number.
The last date for sending in your views is July 20. E-mail us now!