Is a Business Degree Worth It or Worthless?
You’ve always liked the sharp, fast-paced look of the business world and can see yourself loving it. 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 the 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.
Business degree classes
One aspect of majoring in Business is the classes and courses the degree will cover. Business is a very diverse field in terms of job duties. Because of this, many programs offer a wide array of classes to help students discover what they enjoy and are suited for.
“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.”
This foundation of business-related subjects can provide students with a great skill set for evaluating and making rational life and career choices.
“Looking back on my time in school, the most valuable skills I learned were in a marketing class,” says Ryan Fitzgerald, owner of Raleigh Realty. 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.”
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 business, it’s always nice to know that other industries would be interested in hiring you.
“Most people who are heading into college don't know what they want to do with a profession,” Fitzgerald says. “Plenty of people in their 30s and 40s are still searching for what they want to do in life.”
If you are on the fence about what you want to do after graduation, a versatile degree is an important factor.
“One of the best things you can do is pick a major like Business,” 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.”
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 could 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.”
The skills you’ll develop earning a Business degree
Even beyond specific classes, the goal of a Business education 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.”
Business degree earning potential
You can see how classes, skills and the Business degree itself are valuable, but do Business majors fare well when it comes to literal, monetary value?
Industry average salaries are a decent indicator of what you might expect in your career. Though they only represent an average and aren’t in any way a guarantee, they can help you set realistic expectations for both your entry-level and advanced positions down the road.
So how do Business majors fare? Our real-time analysis of entry-level job postings for candidates with Bachelor’s degrees in Business revealed an average salary of $57,020.* The same analysis applied to job postings preferring candidates with over nine years of experience revealed an average advertised salary of $104,982.
It’s important to note that these salaries represent the average between all industries hoping to hire a Business major. Those numbers will change depending on your field and your specific job. That said, this information can give you an idea of the earning potential unlocked by a Bachelor’s degree in Business.
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."
*BurningGlass.com (analysis of 188,145 jobs requiring a business degree, Jun. 01, 2015 – May 31, 2016). Salary data represents national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary.