which mba specialization is best for software engineers

IT is a big industry in India. Every year lakhs of graduates take jobs in this industry in the hope of making it big. But many get stuck in the monotonous world of programming. The only way for them to get away from programming seems to be getting into people and project management. That may not appeal to everybody. For those who want to explore other lucrative options invariably feel that they need a degree in management to move up the ladder. But since most of these aspirants have a prior work experience, they need to clearly think through where they would want to land up post MBA. This clarity of their goal helps them to take the decision more objectively.

Decide what do you want to do after MBA?

The very step in deciding which MBA you should pursue, you need to decide what you want to do post MBA. Considering that you have a prior experience in software engineering, here are some popular choices –

    1. Move into a different function in an IT company (e.g. Presales, consulting, account management or sales or more from outsourcing industry to a product industry)
      Many software engineers do not enjoy programming but they do not necessarily want to get out of the IT industry. They aspire to get into other functions in an IT company like Presales, consulting, account management or sales.Such students would be better off taking courses related to services management and operations. Some institutes offer a combined specialisation in IT and operations management. This specialization exposes the students to the important concept in IT service companies like Global Deliver Management, different delivery models, etc. An exposure to sales would also help since besides delivery, sales is a major area in an IT company.
    2. Move from outsourcing industry to a product industry
      Some software engineers do not necessarily hate programming. They just do not want to keep working in custom work for clients and instead get in depth in technology and build products.Such students will find it relevant to pursue courses in marketing and IT management. Besides if they have a technology product in particular industry in mind, they would find it helpful to take course related to that industry. For example if one wants to get in to ERP products for Finance industry, taking up basic finance courses will certainly help.
    3. Get into a different industry but still leverage my understanding of technology
      Some software engineers want to completely get out of the technology industry and leverage their understanding of technology in other core industries. An example of this would be somebody wanting to work in Technology functions in not IT companies like Finance or Manufacturing.While such students may not be very clear about which industry they want to get into, they would still find it useful to take up basic courses in the IT, operations and marketing.
    4. Get into a different industry where my technology skills may not be needed (e.g. equity research, strategy consulting etc.)
      This is the most popular option for IT engineers. They want to shift into a different industry preferably finance or consulting. In such cases taking core IT or operations courses in completely unnecessary. Instead advanced courses in finance and marketing can help more in better positioning yourself for these industries.Talk to alumni with software background

The best way to further explore your options you should talk to –

  1. Alumni from you company who got an MBA
  2. Alumni from your target school with software background
  3. Fellow students preparing for MBA entrances
  4. HR departments in your target industry

This will help you capture the collective wisdom in MBA ecosystem and better equip you for your decision.

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