If you are one of those people who do not know which business degree they want to study and for whom choosing the correct business degree specialization is a bit difficult, this article will be helpful. Your interests, objectives and career plans in the short term and long term are the most important factors in choosing the right business degree specialization.
Over and above your desire, many factors can impact your choice, such as universities offering your chosen degree, their entry requirements and desirables, fees and scholarships, rankings, faculty and infrastructure, what is being taught, and teaching methodologies, etc.
Choosing the right business degree
Choosing the right business degree can be challenging as there are many business degree programs available right after high school, after graduation or even after some years of job experience. You will have to dedicate a few years of your life to your business study program, and it may be an even bigger responsibility to sustain yourself (and your family, if there is one) during this period.
By following the tips compiled here, you will not only have a firm understanding of your wants and needs, but also know which business degree to pursue and from where.
- What is your interest?
The first step is to firm up your interests and requirements. Ask yourself, why do you want a business degree? What do you want to do? Where do you think you will be at the end of the degree and after some years? What would be the resource requirements?
Jot down the answers to these to firm up your interest as the probability of success increases if you choose the Business Essentials certificate degree according to your interest.
- Purpose of your degree
The purpose of your business degree could be to make or shift to a career in business, upgrade your skills and knowledge in business, or just further your education in your field. You should be clear about the purpose of your desired business degree.
- Study mode
The study mode is an important factor when choosing a business degree program. Graduate business degrees are available in multiple study modes: full-time resident, full-time non-resident, part-time, weekend, on campus, off campus, online, distance learning, and many more. An understanding of the study mode is essential when making your decision because you will have to manage your studies with work and other responsibilities.
A traditional classroom on-campus degree may not be suitable if you want to go for business education after a bachelor’s degree, while working, or if you have a family and children. For such situations, many options of an online or part-time business degree are available. For full-time professionals, options of online, work-integrated, weekend or one-plus-three (one week/month classroom, three weeks/months online) degree programs are available.
- Available business majors (or degrees)
A business degree is one of the most popular majors in the world these days. The degree in business is not as simple as it used to be some years ago, as the only business degree was the MBA. Today, a business degree is available with multiple, diverse, conventional (non-technical) and non-conventional (technical or newer) majors, and choosing a specific business major can be a daunting task. To meet your career interests, it is important to know the available business major options, their features, strengths and other factors. An overview of some of the most common business majors and what you can do in that field are described here to help you make the right decision.
It is smart to choose a specialization in a business major rather than a broad business degree. The only point of consideration is that you have to make a big decision at the very start of your education. However, choosing, in the beginning, will give more direction to your education.
Every university usually offers several specializations within the business degree, and you have to choose one that appeals to you the most, based on your strengths, career plans and interests.
Common conventional business majors are accounting, finance, marketing, and management, while human resource management, international business, cyber security, information systems, healthcare management, and many more are more specific, unusual or technical. There are many more specializations being offered by universities based on the demands of the business world.
Accounting is a competitive field, and is one of the common conventional but valuable business specializations you can choose. You will learn specific skills that you need to oversee a company’s finances, which is good if you like numbers and logic. A bachelor’s degree in commerce (accounting) also provides a good foundation to get your master’s degree in accounting.
Accounting is often referred to as ‘the language of business’, and it is all about having an eye for detail. It is projected to grow almost twice as fast as the average job growth rate. You will learn how to translate financial data to help make important decisions.
Another common conventional business degree is finance, which could be the ticket to a high-paying job in a bank, investment or finance company. This business degree will give you the right tools to forecast every venture that an organization pursues, requiring more mathematics than accounting. The finance major will provide you with a solid foundation in investment management, corporate finance, accounting, business strategy, financial analysis, economics and statistics. You can become a financial analyst, financial advisor, broker or banker.
Finance and accounting are two sides of the same coin, but the two fields often overlap or blend. Some universities also offer dual specialization.
Another popular conventional major is management, which provides learning on how to optimally use available resources to achieve goals in different types of organizations. The focus is on the management of operations in the organization. It is considered a general business management and administration specialization with a good set of tools to manage any company’s operations.
A more diverse business major that works in almost any field is the marketing major, another common specialization. Marketing gives a good business foundation with the study of consumer behavior, market research, branding, advertising, promotion and digital marketing, including international marketing. With this specialization, you may work in public relations, product management, analytics or advertising. Good communication skills are essential to be a good marketer.
A business major in economics is not a degree in economics. It is a valuable major. It involves the study of supply and demand, macroeconomic and microeconomic principles and theories, employment issues, quantitative research, competition and pricing strategies and theory with a management perspective. The managerial principles of economics spill over into every facet of every industry. An analyst tracks sales, costs and profits and drills down to draw impact on marketing decisions.
Human resource management
Human resource management (HRM) is a popular business specialization. Human resource experts primarily serve the welfare of employees (human resources) in an organization and get the best output from them. With the HRM specialization, you can have a leadership or administration role as a human resource manager, compensation analyst, people welfare officer, etc., and help organizations in managing their greatest resource. Staffing techniques, business laws, ethics, employee compensation and development are some of the courses that you will study in HRM.
Business is global today and faces global competition with the interconnected economy. A business degree with a focus on international business can be a good choice if you have a flair for working with global people and corporations. In addition to the basic core business courses, you also will study courses in global economics, marketing, management, accounts and finance, international law, international trade, supply chain management, strategic management, etc.
In the new business specializations, healthcare is one with a lot of prospects for jobs. This specialization trains you for the management of healthcare facilities such as hospitals and other healthcare organizations, healthcare rules and regulations, and managing and leading healthcare workers.
Other business degrees
The above is a small part of the list of business degrees. There are many, many more specializations on offer from different universities. A few more specializations available are:
- Business analytics
- Information systems operations
- Organizational leadership
- Project management
- Public relations
Now that you have an idea about the possible options, you can make an informed decision about the business degree.
- Tips for selecting a business major
A business degree can be either a bachelor’s degree (BBA, BBM, BMS, etc.) or a master’s degree (MBA, MMS, etc.). A bachelor’s degree in business provides a foundation for a master’s degree, but is not a necessary requirement. It is possible to do a master’s in business with any bachelor’s degree that may or may not be in business. Specializations in business degrees are offered at both levels, but more options are available at the master’s level.
The most important decision you have already made is to pursue an academic career in business. You can now compare the courses and finer details in the curriculum.
With the knowledge of different business degrees/majors available, here are some tips for deciding which one is best for you. The one decision you should focus on is choosing the field of business or specialization you want to study.
Research degree options online
Researching degree options online is a great place to start. Online resources give plenty of details about different business degrees available across different platforms. Researching by spending some time on online resources is worth it and will help in narrowing down the options.
Talk to someone
Talking to a professional in a specific business specialty can clear your vision about the specialty and provide a good idea of what it is all about. Friends, teachers, colleagues, peers and relatives can also be considered.
Professional academic advisers, career counselors, professors and friends can provide you with direction for choosing the specialization of business subjects, as they know what you are good at.
Take a few classes in specializations
Take admission in a general business degree, and you can attend some introductory classes in various specializations. You can choose the business track based on how you find the introductory classes.
Other possibilities to consider are internships, social media business groups or business clubs.
With all these tips, you will have a better understanding of the types of business degrees, specializations, and how to select the best option.
- Write a list of universities offering degrees you are interested in
There are hundreds of universities in each country offering business degrees. Choosing five of these is not easy. First, filter universities offering the degree specialization you are interested in. Some criteria for filtering could be entry requirements, fees, curriculum, study mode, location, ranking and alumni.
After making this list, find out as much about each of these in the list as possible. If feasible, visit the university, attend the open days, and talk to people who have been there.
- The cost of the degree
The fees you pay are another crucial consideration when choosing a university degree. Business education is not cheap. The cost of the degree would include accommodation, transportation, study material and other miscellaneous costs.
- Financial aid and scholarships available
Business education costs are huge, and choosing a degree depends on your ability to pay for it. It is worth exploring the available scholarships and financial aid options before you decide to drop a university degree due to financial reasons.
- Narrow down your options
With all the available information analyzed, it’s time to narrow down the list of shortlisted universities and business degree programs and consider their pros and cons. This will help in finalizing the top choice.
By meticulously following the tips provided, you will be able to choose your degree, specialization and university wisely. This one-time decision will considerably impact your life.