By Dave Tomar
A business degree can take you virtually anywhere you want to go. As a business major, you'll learn core business leadership theories; develop practical business leadership skills; and study related disciplines like human resources, communications, and economics. The resulting combination of knowledge and skills could qualify you to work in an endless array of organizations, industries, and sectors. The business degree is the most popular degree in the United States, a fact owed at least in part to its incredible versatility. A business major is a bit like a skeleton key, a credential that can unlock infinite doors. But what exactly makes the business major one of the most versatile degrees? And what can you do with a degree in business?
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According to the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), business is by far the most popular major among American college students. The NCES reports that, of more than 1.9 million bachelor's degrees earned during the 2015-2016 school year, 372,000 were business degrees. The degree's versatility may be one reason more college students are drawn to business than any other discipline.
To learn more, we reached out to Debbie Campbell, Vice Dean at Temple University's Fox School of Business. With more than 29 years of experience in higher education, Vice Dean Campbell is an expert in the areas of strategic marketing, curriculum development, policy implementation, and academic advising. Vice Dean Campbell served on the Temple University implementation team for installation of the Banner enterprise-wide higher education system, and serves as a founding member and the faculty advisor for the Temple Veterans Association.
Campbell explains that "With a business degree, students are able to critically understand and analyze the ins and outs of how we do business across the globe. So, the degree is versatile in that it prepares students to think critically, but it's also versatile in that you can take it with you around the world and be successful."
If you're ready to get a business degree today, check out The 30 Best Online Bachelor's in Business Administration Degree Programs.
Otherwise, read on to find out exactly what makes the business degree one of the most versatile college majors:
1. Business Majors are in high demand
Vice Dean Campbell notes that businesses and organizations of all shapes and sizes are in constant need of qualified managers, leaders, HR specialists, and other business professionals. Campbell points out that "Business school graduates are always in high demand, and that's the case around the world."
This demand is certainly reflected in the robust compensation earned by those in business leadership roles. The most successful business majors, those who go on to become executives, CEOs, and business owners, stand to make a ton of money. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, top executives holding at least a bachelor's degree earned a median annual salary of $104,980 in 2018.
And this is a highly attainable salary for those with the skills, ambition, and qualifications to lead. According to the BLS, the number of top executive roles will increase at a rate of 6% by 2028, with the economy collectively adding more than 150,000 new business leadership positions. Naturally, these leadership needs span numerous industries, and many of these positions demand real-world experience. This means your options are numerous, and the paths leading to them are varied. There is great demand for practical business leadership skills, but you must determine how and where to apply these skills.
For some ideas on how to do exactly that, check out Business Administration — From College to Career.
2. Business majors are prepared for the global economy
Over the last two decades, the proliferation of web technology and the deconstruction of geopolitical barriers have shaped an increasingly global economy. Businesses at every level, from the largest corporations down to sole proprietorships, interact with vendors, clients, and partners across international borders, in spite of language barriers, and through sometimes vastly different cultural lenses. As Vice Dean Campbell notes, today's business major is keenly attuned to these realities.
Campbell explains that "a strong business school provides a global curriculum, which is especially relevant given today's digital, global economy."
Business majors gain a uniquely well-rounded perspective on our global economy. This perspective has value in nearly every industry and business sector. Graduates with a working knowledge of our ever-shrinking planet can take this knowledge into an almost infinite array of opportunities.
And if you think your knowledge and skills are particularly well-suited to bridging the gap between companies, countries, and cultures, check out The 10 Best Online Bachelor's in International Business Programs.
3. Business Majors have a lot of career options
The versatility of the business degree stems in large part from the fact that the term "business" can refer to almost anything that involves the exchange of goods, services, money, and labor. As a business major, you can choose to pursue almost anything that involves these key features.
Vice Dean Campbell points out that "A business school graduate has practically unlimited opportunities throughout the working world. Whether you have an interest in the banking world or are a sports fan, there will be opportunities to build a career in a field that interests you. The skills you gain from business schools are applicable to just about every industry."
In fact, one of the biggest challenges you'll face as a business major my be winnowing down your focus to the field that seems like the best fit for you. For an idea of just how varied your choices are, check out the 100 Best Business Careers.
4. Business majors develop far-reaching skill sets
Business degrees are versatile not simply because you can apply your credentials in so many fields but also because the underlying skills you develop throughout your education will be practical and valuable in innumerable contexts. You'll gain leadership, organizational, communication skills and much more on the way to your business degree.
Vice Dean Campbell observes that "To be successful in business, students need to know skills such as teamwork, networking, dependability, and leadership, and all of those skills are key to a strong business school curriculum. If you aspire to work in a marketing field, business degrees teach adaptability. If you want to work in journalism, business degrees teach communication."
Such is to say that the skills you gain with a business degree will serve you well in work and life, and may ultimately allow you to create your own opportunities. You needn't aspire to a corner office or a corporate car to benefit from the practical skills that come with your business degree.These skills can also serve you well if you're already successful in business but could use some formal or practical education. Read on to find out how Small Business Owners can benefit from Online College.
5. Business degrees can open unexpected doors
Perhaps the coolest thing about the business degree is the absence of limitation. As noted above, as a business major, you can become almost anything that you can envision. Indeed, with the valuable knowledge and practical skills you'll gain, you open yourself up to unforeseen opportunity.
The combination of your education and abilities may uniquely qualify you for exciting start-up opportunities, newly developed leadership roles, experimental enterprises, and fruitful partnerships. As Vice Dean Campbell points out, "Because of the significant amount of soft skills that go hand in hand with a strong business program, graduates can succeed in numerous employment areas. Professionals can gravitate toward public relations, sales, advertising, and more. Graduates of Fox, for instance, have worked in labor relations for the City of Philadelphia, acted in films and television shows, and even taught new generations of students at Fox."
While we can't promise that your business degree will make you a movie star or immediately qualify you to run for mayor of a major metropolitan city, we can say that the possibilities of this versatile of degrees are endless.
Of course, opportunities may be endless, but they are not easily seized without hard work. To this end, many of the best leadership opportunities are reserved for those with advanced degrees. If you hope to scale the heights of your company, industry, or sector, do not depart basecamp without first checking out The 50 Best Online MBA Programs.
We probably don’t have to convince you to major in business. It’s the most popular degree in the world. Clearly, plenty of you are getting the message. Now, it’s all about your search for a truly versatile and excellent business degree.
So what should you look for in a business education? Vice Dean Campbell asserts that "Every strong business program should look to provide its students with the best possible experiences and outcomes."
What exactly does that look like? For a better idea, check out The 30 Best Online Bachelor's in Business Administration Degree Programs.
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