Marketing as a MBA Specialization: The Most Misunderstood Learning Vertical

Marketing as a MBA Specialization: The Most Misunderstood Learning Vertical

By Dr. Kisholoy Roy

Among the various options that students have in which they can do their post graduate studies, management studies is one of the most sought after avenues of learning. There are institutes in the country that are affiliated to certain universities and they offer MBA degrees while there are some who are just AICTE approved and they offer PGDMs. The rest offer something called PGPM.

We know that students from across learning verticals come to take admissions to management education at the PG level. There are students from Science, Commerce, Arts and even students who have pursued business administration at the bachelor level somewhere (BBA).


Mostly during summer internships and at the beginning of the 2nd year of the two year MBA course, students are asked to opt for a specialization. My personal observation says that students from Arts background, girls and boys who are little introvert often are found to opt for HR as specialization while those who have pursued commerce choose Finance simply because they have a strong feeling that this will be their comfort zone. Exceptions can always be there in cases like these. There are a miniscule percentage of geeky students who at times choose IT (if it is on offer) as their specialization. A major chunk of students opt for marketing across institutes in the country.

Often as a faculty when I have tried to get into the minds of these students, I have found that a majority of the students have been wooed by the appeal that marketing as a subject of study possess. Topics like advertising, promotions, branding, interesting facts about consumer psyche and the overall learning ease of learning are some of the reasons students take up marketing. But while the students belonging to other specializations know what exactly they will be doing after they complete MBA, the marketing students especially in the second rung b-schools of the country remain under a false impression that they will land up doing creative and strategic jobs in brand communications. As a matter of fact, maximum jobs on offer for marketing students are related to hard core sales and it is here that the real irony crops up. When I ask my students that how many of them are really interested in sales as a career post MBA, I find two to three hands being raised in a class of 50-60 students and that's pathetic. They just do not wish to be in sales as a profession.

It further shows that how misunderstood marketing as a learning vertical of any MBA program is. Marketing does not offer jobs in AC chamber and neither it offers well paid desk jobs. Marketing is a dynamic subject and it requires people to be on the move, to be near the consumer, to learn from them. It is extremely target oriented that does allow anyone to sit and watch things around. If these aspects are not well understood then marketing will remain the most misunderstood learning vertical in any MBA curriculum.