Business Degree: The Options and Career Paths Available with It

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What Can You Do with a Business Degree

A business degree is one of the most versatile undergraduate degrees you can earn. Whether you're thinking about becoming the next Bill Gates or if you're leaning towards a career in accounting, a business degree could be the first step towards a long and profitable career.



What Is a Business Degree?

businessmen

As you undoubtedly realize if you're considering a business degree, the world is built on business. A business degree offers a general overview of some of the elements needed to run a successful business. Typically, a business degree offers courses in accounting, finance, management, and entrepreneurship. There are so many possibilities open to those who obtain a business degree that one of them is bound to appeal to you.

People with business degrees work in finance, marketing, sales, media, human resources—the list is practically endless. Many people who pursue business degrees open and run their own businesses.

Different Types of Degrees

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 There are different types of business degrees involving different levels of education. What level of education you consider will depend on what your goals are, your finances, and the time you have available.

Associates Degree in Business Administration

An associate's degree is a two-year degree that presents an overview of business principles such as marketing, accounting, and management. Many community colleges offer Associate's degrees, which is great because they are usually lower-cost options and close to home. This could be a great way of getting your feet wet. If you decide business is for you, it's generally pretty easy to transfer to a four year school and continue on to a Bachelor's degree.

Some classes you may take are:

  • Introduction to business management
  • Principles of marketing
  • Introduction to accounting
  • Business writing

Bachelor of Business Administration

A bachelor degree is a more thorough study of business from a four-year college. Not only will you take common core classes (which arguably make you a more well-rounded individual) you will study business leadership, management skills, and communication skills. Some classes may offer projects that put these skills into practice. Seniors pursuing a business degree frequently obtain internships which give students an excellent introduction to working in the business world. Many times these internships lead to full-time employment after graduation.

Classes you may take:

  • Business law
  • Business ethics
  • Information systems
  • Economics

Master of Business Administration

A Master of Business Administration is an advanced degree of study, generally two years beyond the Bachelor degree. There are also alternatives such as an accelerated MBA program, which usually takes a year.  A Master's degree is especially desirable if one wishes to pursue a leadership role in business. Frequently, people who are employed in the business sector already and looking to advance in their careers pursue an MBA.

Many programs are offered at night or on weekends to accommodate students who are employed full-time. Also, online learning may make it easier to fit into a busy schedule. An MBA is a valuable asset to anyone interested in a business career.

Classes you may take:

  • Organizational development
  • Corporate finance
  • Organizational psychology
  • Applied statistics

What Can You Do with a Business Degree?

accounting and finance

Those pursuing business degrees have an almost unlimited amount of careers and paths to choose from. Many of the skills you earn from studying business are easily applied to any profession, should you decide to change careers down the road. Here are just some of the more common career options for business degree graduates:

Accounting and Finance

Those who work in accounting and finance manage the money. Many businesses fail due to poor financial management, so it could be argued that accounting and finance people are the most important people in the entire corporation. You may review your company's financial profile, both past and present. You make recommendations for how to improve the company's financial outlook.

You may advise clients and/or corporations on taxes. You may be a part of mergers and acquisitions. You may even be tasked with detecting white collar crime. The employment outlook for accounting and financial jobs is expected to grow through the next few years, and there is always a need for people who are good with money.

Management

A good manager is hard to find and extremely valuable to a company. Managers must have excellent communication skills, leadership skills and conflict resolution skills. Higher level management can be reached by the mid-level of a one's career, but a business degree is an excellent platform from which to start. Managers tend to be paid highly, and if you're really good, the sky's the limit as far as salary goes. CEO's are basically visionary managers.

Sales

While a sales job may not sound glamourous, there are many jobs available in marketing and sales. If you're an introvert, there are jobs where you never leave the office. If you want to see the world, many sales jobs require travel.  Every industry depends on some form of sales and promotion—colleges, hospitals, corporations. You can choose almost any industry. Sales jobs typically make good money—many top sales people earn over six figures a year.

Marketing and Advertising

If you are creative, a career in advertising and marketing may be perfect for you. You may work in publishing, television, or online. You may be involved in brand management, market research, or public relations. You may analyze markets and make recommendations as to how to capture a bigger market share. You may work with creative people who need someone with practical skills to keep them focused. You may even run your own advertising or public relations firm.

Human Resources

Human resources is the hiring, recruitment and management of business personnel. You may be involved in recruiting for specialized positions, explaining benefits to employees, training new hires, and resolving conflict among employees. It can be a very stressful job, and because of this communication skills are an essential part of a career in human resources.

Business Ownership

Many people who study business do so because they dream of running their own business. Running your own business means you're the boss—you can set your own hours, manage your time, and do things your way. You also have to turn a profit so that you can make a living, so many business owners work a lot more than those who work for someone else. You'll develop your own business plan and execute your own strategy. All profits are yours, and all losses are your responsibility. But you'll be working for yourself, which is appealing to many people.

Business Consultant

Similar to running your own business is being a business consultant. This person examines struggling businesses from all angles, evaluates where things could be improved and makes recommendations to management. They evaluate numbers and data, figure out how to drive up profits and cut the fat from the budget. The business is free to disregard your suggestions, but your can just move onto your next project. This might be a good option for those who like undertaking different challenges, or those who get bored easily.

Is a Business Degree Right For You?

business woman

Although a business degree will provide you with many opportunities in many industries, you may be wondering if a business degree is really what you want. Everyone needs people with good business skills—even non-profit corporations. What are some other reasons someone might choose a business degree?

Critical Thinking

A business degree will teach you to solve problems, think for yourself, and deal with tough situations. These are applicable skills in any industry.

Data Analysis

Being able to evaluate numbers and to interpret what they mean is a skill that many people don't have but need. Someone good with data analysis can recognize patterns and help businesses get on the right track.

Communication Skills

Communication skills are the bedrock of success in almost any profession. Studying business will teach you effective communication skills, conflict resolution, crisis management skills, and interpersonal skills. You can take those with you even if you change careers later.

Leadership Skills

Leadership is having a vision for a company (or anything, really) and being able to identify the steps needed to get there. A business degree will teach you leadership skills, which will be valuable in your professional and personal life.

Understanding your Audience

Everyone has an audience they need to appeal to—teachers need to reach students, parents need to get their children to listen, managers need to send their message to the employees. Understanding who your audience is can help you ace the job interview.

Conclusion

A business degree offers a very broad range of options. People with business degrees work in almost every industry, in every corner of the world. Even if you ultimately decide to pursue another career, a business degree will have taught you many valuable and easily transferable skills. And if you choose to stay within the business world, a business degree will give you an edge over the competition. Even if you are not sure what you want to do for a career, a business degree is practical and flexible, making it an ideal choice.

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