In our previous blog post, I wrote about the impact of choosing specializations in MBA or during other professional courses and the impact on career success.
Choose the wrong specialization and lead a frustrating life, while stuck in the wrong job or with low salaries. Choose it right and see a world of opportunities open up.
Here I’m sharing 5 points that you would want to consider, while choosing a specialization.
1. Your Interests:
Think about which areas of work may interest you. This may be based on what you’ve read or heard from sources that you can trust. Like seniors, faculty members, industry professionals, guest speakers, news articles, blogs etc. You should know the difference between your interest and public opinion.
For example, some people may comment that Marketing and Sales are the same thing and if you don’t link Sales, then you won’t like Marketing also… But the truth would be far from that,
starting with the fact that Marketing and Sales are 2 very different areas of work. Blindly going with general public opinion may be the worst thing you could do to yourself.
2. Natural Strengths:
Do you know your natural strengths? Your strengths may be based on a combination of your skills and natural instincts. You don’t need to be an expert to discover this but you might need some help here. Use some smart tool that shows you work related scenarios in different domains. Go through those scenarios and see if you can understand those. Try some problem solving. If you’re able to understand those scenarios and come up with smart responses, then you know that you’re probably going to be good in that domain.
This way you could get to know your natural strengths. When you choose a specialization based on your natural strengths, your chances of succeeding in that area of work significantly rise. Also, your abilities to learn new stuff, to handle a crisis and to beat your competition also go up. All of this leads to better career options and a faster growth.
3. Skill Gaps:
Find out where your obvious weaknesses may be. You don’t need to depend on only academic exam results to know this. In fact, if your curriculum syllabus is not keeping pace with the changing Industry trends, then ask yourself if your exam scores are the best indicators of your future success?
Take the help of a smart tool, which would help you understand what areas of work you may be naturally uncomfortable with or where you may not be naturally sharp or able to compete well. If you identify your weaknesses early on then you have the chance to work on them, in order to overcome them. Even if you decide to choose a specialization, which matches with your areas of weakness, you at least know where you need to do the most amount of hard work.
Overall, ignoring your areas of weakness may be as bad as playing a game of poker with your eyes closed. You might as well throw your money away!
4. Your Competition:
Let’s say you are pursing a professional education (like MBA/BBM/Engineering etc.) and your classmates are whom you are competing with, for the best jobs, internships, and projects. If possible, try to find out what your competitive position is within your class, college, city or state. Companies that consider you a prospective employee will also look at other colleges/students within your city or state. For example, if our company were to be hiring from the NCR region in India, then we would equally look at Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida and surrounding areas for sourcing and shortlisting candidates. This is common practice amongst all employers.
You cannot afford to ignore your competition at any level. Your skills and abilities in an absolute sense are 1 thing but when you’re competing in a large group then they’re totally different because now everything is relative. You might be good, but imagine if everyone else around you is just much better. What does that make you? A loser I guess!
Use a tool or some smart solution that allows you to compare your skills, abilities and natural strengths with your peers in the same class, college, city or even country.
5. Academic Performance:
This is an indicator of how well you understand your domain concepts. If your concepts are weak in a topic, then you’re probably going to find it quite tough to apply your mind in an actual work place setting, to get the job done. This indicates if you’re setting yourself up for failure or a tough ride ahead in your career.
Any smart tool that you use for addressing critical points #2, #3 and #4 above, will show you results that also correlate well with your academic scores. You might see at least 70% correlation between the 2 systems if the tool is good.
Tapstart (www.Tapstart.com) is 1 such tool that is helping students across India take smart decisions on Specialization Selection. Having reached out to students across 95 cities, covering 100+ skills and with over 1 lakh questions answered by students… Tapstart gives you a highly reliable indication of natural strengths and weaknesses. When we correlated the Tapstart scores/recommendations for some Indian MBA students with their academic performance in the future, there was a statistical correlation of more than 90% in most cases. Even if you averaged this out over a larger student pool, the correlation with actual strengths/weaknesses would have been well above 85%.
To summarize, the 5 factors that you should consider while choosing a specialization that’s right for you: Your Interest; Your Natural Strengths, Your Weaknesses; Your Competition and relative standing; Your Academic Performance.
Give Tapstart (www.Tapstart.com) a shot. It’s absolutely Free to try.