I would like to earn an MBA degree, but am not sure how to choose the right specialisation.

When considering an MBA, the most important thing you should look at is the career you wish to pursue. The industry (or company) that you wish to work in can determine everything from your choice of business school to the length of your MBA (one year vs two year).

Many companies and industries require an MBA for you to get past a certain level – look up job descriptions and talk to senior management in those industries to understand how they view an MBA.

Is it something they prefer or is it absolutely critical if you are to grow in that company? Once you have understood their preference for an MBA, look at their recruitment strategies.

This is an often overlooked yet absolutely critical aspect of an MBA. Do they recruit straight from a business school (often called on-campus recruiting)?

Do they prefer to have an internship programme for MBA students, after which they provide full-time offers?

Many industries use the internship model to ‘try’ you out and then offer you a full-time role at the end of your summer internship (which happens between year 1 and year 2).

However, if you are interested in working in the tech industry, internships aren’t as important and a one year programme could be a better option.

Next, look at the type of graduates and placements of business schools. Does this particular institution do relatively well in your chosen field? Do they have strong partnerships with companies in that industry? Are there specific courses that will give you a competitive advantage and are there well-respected professors?

Your academics and desire to work will also play a central role. Nearly all MBA programmes require you to do the GMAT, and the more prestigious programs require GMAT scores of 700+ (out of 800) and stellar academic and work records.

As you may have gathered, choosing an MBA means you may have to start thinking about your future well in advance. However, it is important to note that many people do MBAs to switch industries or take time off to re-evaluate what they want to do. If you are in such a position, I would recommend doing a two-year MBA.

Understand where your skills are weaker and see which MBA programme is best for helping you in those areas.

Sanjeev Verma is an international education counsellor.