The Enduring Value of a Business Degree
Even in times of economic prosperity, the value of a college degree cannot be overstated. Yet, not all college degrees are created equal. Some degrees are designed to move a student directly into a very specific field for which an individual needs specialized training and experience. Other degrees impart to the student more general skills and expertise which will serve him or her well in a variety of professions. A business degree belongs in the latter category: the skills developed and knowledge earned are applicable in all sorts of professional fields.
Business Classes: What the Degree Entails
Depending on the school, many business majors take classes that discuss general business principles and economic trends as well as courses that focus on the analysis of real-life case studies. Students are often able to declare a specialty, such as finance or marketing, on which to concentrate.
Classes a student will take to earn a business degree can vary.
When pursuing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, a business student will likely take courses in these subjects:
- Global Business
- Managerial Accounting
- Financial Accounting
- Finite Mathematics
Some subjects covered when pursuing a higher degree in business, like a master’s degree, might include:
- Communication for Business
- Managing the Legal Environment
- Operations Management
- Strategic Management
- Human Resources Management
- Corporate Information Technology
- Survey of finance
Through these classes, students learn all aspects of the business world and learn to exercise both analytical and creative skills. They also learn how to hone their interpersonal skills to communicate successfully with clients and colleagues. Regardless of what field a business major enters, having a strong background in clear, effective communication and team leadership will always be a huge advantage.
Business Careers: The Most Common Jobs
A business degree can be helpful in any kind of industry, whether with a for profit or a not-for-profit business because every industry requires employees who have a firm grasp of the skills and expertise that are gained along the way. These skill sets are valuable in any field. Even so, there are some fields towards which people who’ve earned business degrees tend to gravitate. Some common career choices in the field of business include:
- Human Resources
- Industry and Retail Buying
- Insurance Underwriting
- Systems Analysis
- IT Consulting
Business Salaries: What Are They Really Worth?
Business majors experience the third-highest starting salaries on average, behind engineering and computer science majors. The mean annual wage for those employed in business is around $69,000, though which field a person specializes in, and the degree they hold, will affect their salary as well. Below are some of the most common professions for business majors and their average annual salaries.
|Profession||Average Annual Salary|
|Industry and Retail Buying||
Master’s in Business: the Top Salaries
These days, an undergraduate degree in business is just one of the options available to students. There are several routes to take, whether a student chooses to take an online course, go to school for an associate’s degree, or pursue an MBA. A 2010 study found that part time MBA graduates’ median pay increased 41% over their pre-MBA pay immediately upon graduation, and had gone up 56% in the first five years after graduation. For people already working in business, the appeal of a part-time degree that could increase earnings so dramatically is undeniable.
While a master’s degree may provide the student with the highest salary in the long run, it also takes longer to complete. An associate’s degree or a degree completed through online courses is an excellent way to earn a business degree without having to leave the work force (which could mean that the student graduates without accruing any debt). Those are serious advantages in today’s job market.
Unsung Business Benefits
Perhaps the greatest unsung benefit of a business degree is the one that really encompasses what business is all about: the ability to network. Through professors, alumni relation offices, and classroom peers, obtaining a business degree helps one obtain all kinds of connections that can be helpful down the road. The ability to communicate, collaborate, and lead a team that comes with earning a business degree makes for capable, responsive business people entering the work force.
*Source Reference: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. http://www.bls.gov