With a new year upon us, you or someone you know may be considering either going back to school or starting at university to enhance and achieve your future career goals. Perhaps you’ve heard a lot about obtaining an MBA or at the very least, gaining skills in business through a business major and business degree A business major is a solid choice.
What is a business major?
Contrary to popular belief, a career in business isn’t always the end-goal of a business major. It seems counterintuitive, but in fact a business major could open a world of opportunities thanks to the broad focus of studies and disciplines. Business students gain understanding in the fundamentals of many sectors, including marketing, economics, finance, accounting, international business, project management, just to name a few. As business majors move forward in their studies, they may choose to specialize in a particular area of interest, But if they opt out of tailoring their major in a certain direction, the general business major still opens countless doors to a good career, bright future, and ultimately, your Careerbliss.
Should you become a business major?
According to U.S. News, “A business major is for students seeking a broad-based education in many areas of business, with the option to specialize. Students will learn how different types of companies function in local and global economies. With a business/commerce general major, students have broad career options. General management, business ownership and employment at a corporation are all viable career paths for those with a business background.” (USnews.com)
- Business degrees are in high demand
When it comes to getting a business-related job, a majority of employers prefer hiring a candidate who holds a business degree. You don’t have to have an MBA to get a job. Oftentimes, a Bachelor’s degree is sufficient to get in the door with a great company where you can start to grow. This can open the door to countless opportunities within a company, or move you along in your career with a new company down the road.
- Business degrees are versatile
Like a humanities degree, the skills you learn as a business major far transcend a simple job description or skillset. Business majors study many disciplines related to business, and therefore acquire a well-rounded knowledge and skill set that can fit easily into a wide variety of jobs, whether or not they’re business-related. And if you do want to stay within the realm of business, your skills can easily be transferred into sales, marketing, finance or business administration. And that’s not even considering the hard skills you’ll gain of creating and maintaining budgets, managing projects, customer service, Microsoft Office Software, and much more.
- Business majors develop great soft skills
Business degrees come with more than textbook knowledge. Business major take part in a variety of projects throughout their academic careers that prepare them for the real world in a big way. Not only do they have to constantly practice their communications skills through projects and presentations, but through their projects, they develop an entrepreneurial spirit, soft skills such as flexibility, problem solving, giving and receiving feedback, sympathy, adaptability, and so much more. Those soft skills alone may be worth every penny of a business degree as you head out into a world of well-paying jobs that value your academic background.
What kind of jobs can you get with a business major?
Business majors can secure a number of great jobs. Common jobs for business majors include: Insurance Agent; Buyer, Marketing Coordinator; Financial Analyst; Loan Officer, Business Intelligence Analyst; Human Resources staff, Sales Representative--and that’s the short list. The possibilities are real.
Not only does a business degree prepare you for a variety of great jobs, but it also provides the experience, the knowledge, and the confidence to venture out on your own to start a business.
Top business major types
- International business
- Human resources
- Health services administration
- Management information systems
- Business administration and management
- Master of Business Administration
Differences between an undergraduate business degree and MBA
The Masters of Business Administration degree is an advanced degree earned after the initial four year undergraduate degree. The 4 year BBA (Bachelors of Business Administration), while being a highly versatile degree, has some major differences as far as teaching and class formats, usage, salaries, and opportunities.
Class and teaching formats differ, giving BBA vs MBA students a far different experience, and different skill sets. While MBA focuses more on team collaboration, BBA classes involve a mix of individual and team projects, though individual assignments are often more common. BBA classrooms are more focused on listening to a professor teach, while MBA classrooms are more focused on facilitating discussion between students.
Placement Data from the University of Texas McCombs Business School of Business showed BBA graduates earned an average salary of $54,151, while MBA graduate average salaries are around $107,000.
While many companies want to hire employees with a BBA degree, an MBA is not only desirable, but required, for more advanced and/or management jobs. Having an MBA may also qualify you to teach at some colleges and universities.
Choosing the best business major for you
Your choice of a business major type is a reflection of a number of things, including who you are, what your interests and strengths are, and the type of lifestyle you want to afford. There are a number of factors to consider as you ponder which business major type is right for you.
- Consider your interests
If you choose something you already enjoy doing, or a topic you enjoy learning about, you’ll be more likely to stick with and excel in your studies.
- Consider your strengths
If you have a way with numbers, for example, you might be a natural in some type of finance or accounting degree. Think through your strengths and skills to determine a natural fitting business major that you’ll love.
- Consider your future life
While salary might not be your main preoccupation as you consider a major, it should be a consideration because it will affect the lifestyle you can afford. Some business majors are higher paying than others. Think about how you want to live, and then find the business major type that can help you afford that life.
- Consider your career goals
If you have a sense of where you want to take your career in the future, think through the type of business degree that will help you get there in the most streamlined way.
Universities that Offer Undergraduate Business Programs
U.S. News published a ranking of undergrad business programs based on peer assessment surveys. While this list is not exhaustive of the great schools across the nation that offer undergrad business programs, it offers a great place to start based on surveys by peers. Check out the full list here.
- #1 University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA
- #2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA
- #3 University of California--Berkeley in Berkeley, CA
- #4 University of Michigan--Ann Arbor in Ann Arbor, MI
- #5 New York University in New York, NY
- #6 University of Texas at Austin in Austin, TX
- #7 Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA
- #8 Cornell University in Ithaca, NY
- #9 University of North Carolina--Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, NC
- #10 University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA
What is the salary potential for someone with an undergrad business degree?
Those with an undergrad business degree still tend to earn much higher than the national average for other occupations, especially after gaining several years of work experience in their fields. While workers across the count earn, on average, $37.050, those who hold business degrees can easily approach or exceed $100K. Consider the average median annual salaries for the jobs below (Bureau of Labor Statistics):
- Business analysts: $81,130
- Financial analysts: $81,760
- Marketing managers: $127,560
- Office managers: $90,050
- Sales managers: $117,960
Famous names who studied business
Not all business majors (or minors) end up in business. Some do. Some go a completely different direction with their degrees. Being a business major opens many doors to an exciting and fulfilling future. To get a sense of the possibilities available for business majors, let’s take a look at some well-known names and faces who studied business administration.
- Indra Nooyi: Business executive serving on board of directors at Amazon; former CEO of PepsiCo
- Abigail Johnson: billionaire businesswoman and president/CEO of Fidelity Investments
- Samuel Robson Walton: son of Sam Walton the founder of Walmart
- George W. Bush: former president of the U.S.
- Sara Palin: politician, author, commentator and reality TV personality
- Tommy Franks; retired general of the U.S. Army
- Vicente Fox Quesada: businessman and former President of Mexico
As you can see, a business major can take you in a variety of (dare we say limitless?) directions. With a little research and consideration, you can find the business major that is right for you, whether it’s an undergrad business degree or an MBA. Choose your passion. Choose your major. Choose your life. Choose your CareerBliss.
The CareerBliss Team
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