Is a Business Degree Worth It or Worthless?
By Brianna Flavin on 09/12/2023
You’ve always liked the sharp, fast-paced look of the business world and can see yourself loving that kind of career.
But you’re not sure which job title suits you best. If you’ve looked into Business degrees, you may have gotten some mixed signals on whether or not they are worthwhile. Is a business degree worth it? Is a business degree too broadly focused? Will it lead you to where you want to go? Will it keep your options open?
These questions occur to plenty of potential students and are worth getting some answers on. Obviously, no one knows how valuable a major will be to you personally—but plenty of professionals who earned their degree in Business have something to say about what it did (or didn’t) do for their careers. Hear what industry statistics and Business majors of years prior have to say about the value of the degree, and you’ll be better equipped to decide if it’s the right choice for you.
“Majoring in Business exposed me to many different disciplines,” says Jeffrey Hensel of North Coast Financial, INC.
“It gave me the ability to pursue a vast amount of different careers. A basic knowledge of accounting, finance, economics, marketing and management in addition to a business-related specialization is a huge asset for any individual in the job market.”
The versatility of a Business degree
The wide base of education in a Business degree is well known in the professional world. This means employers in many different sectors might be looking for Business majors to meet certain needs in their companies. Even if you plan on working in a corporate setting, it’s always nice to know that other industries would be interested in hiring you. Besides, the last thing you want is an education that boxes you in.
Keeping lots of options open is a huge benefit of a business degree.
“One of the best things you can do is pick a major like Business,” says Ryan Fitzgerald, owner of Raleigh Realty. While marketing wasn't necessarily a huge focus for Raleigh when he started school, his marketing courses wound up changing his life. Fitzgerald built a website and mobile app and quickly realized how valuable the skill really was.
“As a result of these skills, I now am in the one percent of income earners.” Fitzgerald says. “This major will give you the skills to take your career in any direction, whether it's technology, finance, entrepreneurship or marketing. You have options.”
Let's look at some of those options for a moment.
Industries for professionals with a business degree
Think about this for a moment...every industry needs business degree skills. Sectors in government, agriculture, construction, education, healthcare, media, technology, you name it! Professionals with business degrees work in Hollywood, hospitals, technology firms, non-profits, factories, shipping companies, schools...the list goes on and on.
A business degree program will teach you extremely versatile skills you can apply to any business.
Whichever industry interests you most, a business degree will allow you plenty of roles to focus on. You could earn your business degree in...
and so much more!
All of these roles have their own mini-worlds full of options to move around, change industries and rise through the corporate ladder.
Versatility remains one of the key draws for a business degree—every organization has financial obligations to manage and decisions to make, even if they’re not the stereotypical, buttoned-up, Fortune 500 workplace that may spring to mind when speaking of business.
“From my experience, most people who majored in Business are versatile and are suited to do almost any job,” says Justin Nowroozi, market research analyst at OWDT. The education you receive in a Business track can be applied to many different jobs outside of the business world. If you eventually decide to pursue something else, your education as a Business major would still be very applicable.
“I would choose a Business major time and time again, because it really sets you up for success across an array of careers,” says Alyssa Jeffers, digital marketing coordinator for LRG Marketing Communications. “Many majors have the potential to start their own practices or firms, but without a strong knowledge on the inner workings of a business, the success rate is lower.”
These degrees can lead you to some seriously in-demand business job titles.
The skills you’ll develop earning a Business degree
The goal of any good Business degree program is to send students away with a skill set they can use to thrive professionally.
Fortunately, these skills are useful in many aspects of life. Students who learn them well will have a strong basis to excel in the world of business—and beyond.
“The most important thing I learned was about how to sell an idea,” says Kimberly Faith, author of Breakthru Branding. “Even in this space of executive coaching, I still use the influencing skills I learned as a Business major.” Faith initially learned persuasive techniques under the umbrella of marketing, but quickly realized how useful they were in other areas. “Everything in life is about convincing someone of something.”
“The most valuable skill I obtained from my Business classes was critical thinking,” Hensel says. “When working in the business world, one is constantly faced with challenges, obstacles and opportunities. Failure to properly use critical-thinking skills can lead to disaster in the business world.” Hensel says the projects, readings and case studies required in his Business classes were essential in developing critical-thinking abilities.
As you can see, the ability to persuade and to apply critical thinking to a problem are both broad and useful. But Business majors learn another high-level, valuable skill—so high-level, it’s almost a frame of mind.
“Business majors usually learn how to navigate quickly and adapt to change,” Faith says. “Those skills are needed more than ever with the rate of change companies are facing today. I think Business majors have a unique ability to position themselves for industries facing large-scale change.”
Diving deeper into Business degrees
Now that you’ve heard from the pros on whether they think a Business degree is worth it or not, you might be interested in looking into some of the more specialized majors under the Business umbrella.
If that’s the case, learn more about your option in our article, “The Beginner’s Guide to Different Types of Business Degrees."
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was originally published in 2018. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2023.