What to do with a Bachelor's Degree in Business
What can you do with a degree in business? The answer is both incredibly simple, and extensively complex.
The simple answer, a business degree prepares you for a career in business. Now, because the term "business" covers all manner of industries and subjects, the degree of the same name is likewise applicable across a wide playing field of options.
An undergraduate (bachelor's) degree in business will help you understanding the fundamentals of how an organization works, thus opening you to a seemingly endless number of possible career paths across a wide range of industries and roles such as accounting, finance, human resources, marketing, management, operations, and more. From a project manager at a small insurance firm to lead accountant for a major fashion brand to executive assistant to entrepreneur, your business degree can help you get there.
The real question is: where do you want to go? What do you want to do? And with a degree as wide reaching as this one, how will you set yourself apart?
Which Business Degree is right for you?
Studying "business" is a pretty generic term all by itself. In fact, the ample buffet of different business degrees out there might surprise you. One way to distinguish yourself from the pack is to pick an area of specialization. Some of these include Accounting, Advertising, Administration, Management, Technology, Communications, Economics, International Business, Entrepreneurism, Operations, and much more. A specialization in any one of these areas can give you a boost when applying for jobs. Plus, having a specialization is not likely to disqualify you from other jobs later down the road. If nothing else, it helps demonstrate a clear sense of direction — a trait which employers find attractive.
A degree from a prestigious school can mean a significant increase in salary, and nearly 40% of Fortune 100 CEOs have the degree. That said, it is worth mentioning that business degrees don't hold the same clout they once did. The market is saturated with job-seekers holding this very degree, and if your motivation is to make money, you may want to check out recent statistics showing the average earnings of those with this degree. The salary may be lower than you imagined.
Depending on your objectives, a degree in one a field like accounting or economics, with a minor or emphasis in business may be a smart bet. Examine your motivations and career goals before deciding whether business is indeed the right degree for you.
In a market saturated with wannabe businesspeople (it's estimated more than 20% of U.S. undergraduates are business majors), experience is often more important than the name on your degree. Get a part-time job or internship. Start your own online business and document the journey. You get the idea. Your real-world experience just might be the difference between you and the 5 other resumes on your future boss' desk.
Network, Network, Network
Sometimes it's not what you know, it's who. This old saying holds especially true in the world of business, where the ability to make connections, collaborate, and forge partnerships is the lifeblood of the industry. Constantly seek to connect with other professionals and students, build a list of contacts and maintain that list. Offer help when you are able. Remain genuine in your relationships. Someday that woman you met at the gym may help get you a meeting with the employer of your dreams.
An undergraduate degree in business doesn't necessarily help you when applying to MBA programs. Many schools value the diversity of having an educational background in another area. Also, your grade point average, test scores, and work experience are likely to play a much more important role in admissions decisions. Furthermore, as a business professional, there are a staggering number of options for additional short-term training and certifications to keep you one step ahead in your chosen career. With a solid base in basic business principles, there is always room for continued professional development.
Considering a career in business? Check out our ★ list of schools offering business degrees.