Which MBA Specialization Would Enhance My BA / PM Career?

 
How Do I Become A Business Analyst?
How Do I Become A Business Analyst?

This question was submitted by Anit Patel, a Business Analyst & Software Tester from Sydney, Australia.

I have completed my B.E in Computer Engineering and my Masters in Information Technology (IT).

Now I am working in Software Testing from more than 4 years at the moment. Now, I am looking towards a career in Business Analysis or Project Mgmt.

I will also be more interested in doing BA in Banking Domain later on….

What would be the best way to proceed in my situation ?

I am planning to do a part-time MBA from next year and I am a bit confused as to what subjects I should select considering my situation.

At the moment I have been working as a Senior Testing and Junior BA in my current Software Development Company.

Please guide me if possible.

Answer To – Which MBA Specialization Would Enhance My BA / PM Career?

In the Midwestern United States, there is a state of Missouri known as “The Show Me State“. The idea behind the name, “Show Me“, indicates that the people of this state tend to believe something only after it has been shown to be true.

Like the “Show Me State”, business analysts / project managers also work in a “Show Me” industry because Information Technology (IT) is a performance based culture!

If Information Technology (IT) careers were like other professional careers (e.g. attorneys or doctors), an MBA would not only be helpful but essential to success.

However, the business analyst / project management career for example, is still considered to be new enough … that it is still defining itself. So, the business analysis / project manager’s career is focused more on performance than on how many post-graduate degrees you have piled on top of your Bachelor’s Degree.

No matter how many additional degrees you attain, as a business analyst / project manager you will be expected to demonstrate on-the-job proof of your actual knowledge and skills.

And, No college degree by itself will be enough to qualify you for a business analyst / project management job. So, you ultimately must be able to “Show” proof that you can perform well on the job.

What Really Is Required of a Business Analyst or Project Manager?

One of a business analyst’s core goals is to bridge the gap between the Information Technology and business unit. Companies are looking for someone who understands how technology can service their specific business goals.

This means that an ideal candidate for a business analyst or project management position will not only have head knowledge but hands-on experience as well.

Hiring managers are looking to hire business analysts or project managers who exhibit the skills needed to perform well on the job.

These skills include:

  1. Excellent analysis skills
  2. Excellent Communication Skills
  3. Gathering Requirements and excellent verbal communication, interviewing and negotiation skills
  4. Documentation and excellent written communication skills
  5. Excellent Problem Solving Skills
  6. Technical Knowledge
  7. Excellent Time Management Skills
  8. Excellent Leadership and team-building ability
  9. Managing Requirements

These are skills that are learned and perfected only with hands-on experience and not by acquiring college degrees or MBA specializations.

If want a job in a specialized domain, such as banking, employers will want you to demonstrates subject matter expertise in the banking domain alongside previous business knowledge in that specific industry.

The Business Analysis Banking Domain Requirements:

The banking domain is varied and your needed expertise skills will be based upon which area of banking you desire: retail, investment or corporate banking.

Retail banking skills to learn include learning financial operations, payment transactions, fraud management and anti-money laundering (AML).

Investment banking would require knowledge and skill in working with Hedge funds, asset management, Foreign Exchange (FX) and risk management.

Working specifically with wealth management or private banking requires someone skilled in regulatory requirements, treasury, cash and knowledge of Society for Worldwide Internet Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT).

Whether you pursue business analysis, project management or specialize in a banking domain, five rules of thumb to keep in mind when seeking to further your business analysis or project management career are:

  1. Always take a direct path to your goal. The shortest distance between two points is always a straight line. The same is true in pursing the business analyst or project manager career in any domain.

    Don’t waste your time chasing after illusive goals that may do nothing more than puff up your ego or sound good on paper.

    Focus only on learning what will take you to where you want to go in your career.

  2. Never compare apples to oranges. In other words, the requirements for a business analyst or project management career cannot be compared to the requirements for jobs in mid-level or executive management where a post-graduate degree or management degree like an MBA is needed.

  3. Never fill your resume with empty pursuits. In other words, if you want to be a business analyst or project manager, do so by stepping into the shoes of one!

    Only after learning the the skills; required for your career should you worry about pursuing an MBA or some other degree to fulfill your personal educational desires.

    So, focus on an MBA, only after you have learned the skills needed to be the best business analyst or project manager you can be.

  4. Focus your education on business analysis or project management alone. Learn business analyst / project management techniques, skills and practices through online courses that work well into any busy schedule and offer real world and hands-on experience as part of your learning.

  5. Expand your skills by learning a specific domain. Once you learn the skills needed of a business analyst or project manager, you can then add to your abilities by learning specific industry skills in specialized areas like banking.

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