I Want to Major in Business, But... Addressing Common Student Concerns
When looking for ways to manage your educational strengths and improve your career prospects, it’s common to become overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices. It’s also easy to find reasons to dismiss certain fields of study. That being said, it might not be a great idea to cross majoring in business off of your list of options without further consideration.
In order to understand better where your educational path may lead, it’s actually a good idea to troubleshoot what might be difficult for you personally when it comes earning a degree. The good news is that Business degrees help people pursue careers in a diverse number of roles and organizations. Want to use your talents and knowledge to find work that is meaningful and exciting but aren’t sure if a Business degree would be for you? We’ve asked people who’ve chosen business for their degree to help clear up some common concerns that may be holding you back.
I want to major in business, but...
... I'm not great at math
Finance and accounting are big components of any Business degree program, and that can understandably be a little intimidating if math has not been your strongest subject so far. While it’s true you’ll likely need to pass some college-level math courses and certain business-related courses will include a fair amount of number-crunching, it might not be as tricky as you think.
“Yes, you need to be able to do simple algebraic calculations as well as basic math,” Dr. Jennifer Trout, Department Chair of Human Resources and Organization Leadership and Business Management at Rasmussen University. “The biggest thing, though, is understanding what those numbers mean. For example, 50 percent market growth rate and 50 percent debt ratio of a company. Is that good or bad?”
"The biggest thing is understanding what those numbers mean."
While interpretation and putting figures into context can be challenging, the math used in many business courses is practical and relates to concrete concepts. You’re not working on theoretical physics equations; in most situations you’re adding, subtracting, multiplying and projecting into the future based on inputs.
Jim Wang, founder of WalletHacks, came from a software engineering background and found the math used in his graduate-level business courses presented a different type of challenge. “It relied more on working in teams and coming up with solutions to problems where you didn’t have all the inputs,” Wang says. “Unlike a math problem, there is often no single right answer.”
In addition to working with peers to simulate real-world peer experiences, Jamie Hejna, owner of Ollie Marketing, suggests approaching the math involved in Business majors with classmates and tutors. “I struggled to develop a strong understanding of financial and managerial accounting,” Hejna explains. “I was able to pass both classes by studying extra hard and meeting with tutors.”
At Rasmussen University, you’ll have access to academic support in a variety of places. Library and Learning Services offers guides, webinars and live chats for students across subject areas. Peer tutors provide one-on-one tutoring sessions to help bolster your confidence and gain fresh insight on how to navigate the material from someone who understands exactly what it’s like to be a student.
... I'm not exactly sure what I want to do after college
The idea that you must have a clear plan prior to beginning a business program is a common misconception, according to Alex Czarnecki, founder and CEO of Cottage.
“The fact of the matter is that a business program is perfect for those who do not have specific career goals,” Czarnecki says. “As you progress through your studies, you may discover that you prefer human resources to finance or marketing to management.”
The Rasmussen University School of Business offers a variety of options where you can further explore your own interests and talents. Accounting, Finance, Healthcare Management, Human Resources and Organizational Leadership, Marketing, and Supply Chain and Logistics Management are just some of the programs that help prepare you to make a post-graduation plan. If these specialized programs don’t seem like the right fit, a Business Management program can provide an excellent educational foundation for a variety of careers.
The Career Services team at Rasmussen University also works hard to assist students with resources to help them pinpoint where they can shine in the workforce. Job-search strategies, resume building, interviewing techniques and employer networking are just some of the ways the school aids students in professionally readying themselves for their desired careers.
... I'm not sure of the work environment
If you’ve never worked in an office or for a large corporation, you might think a Business degree will be a big transition in terms of work environment. If you’re worried you won’t fit in with the white-collar crowd, you’re not alone. Thomas Jepsen, founder of Passion Plans, felt similarly.
“One of the biggest misconceptions around people studying business is that their only attire is suits, suits, suits,” Jepsen says. “I had a preconceived notion that everyone would be showing up looking smooth every day, which—fortunately—turned out not to be the case.”
In addition to being great for entrepreneurs who prize their individual style, Business degrees can also work well for those who might have reservations about the traditional picture of nine-to-five office work. John Levisay, CEO of The Pro’s Closet, believes that there are many examples of why this conventional assumption is changing.
“While there are still businesses that prefer this model, these days there are just as many that lean toward the unconventional,” Levisay says. “Especially since the pandemic began back in 2020, many businesses are embracing flexible hours, telecommuting, job sharing and shorter workdays.”
Tri Nguyen, founder and CEO of Network Capital, agrees, saying that Business degrees do prepare you to work in large corporate environments, but that’s not the only setting they lend themselves well to. A Business education, Nguyen says, also “prepares you to work in government, retail, advertising, healthcare, market research, nonprofit, insurance, real estate, manufacturing, service firms, entrepreneurship and hospitality. Your abilities are transferable.”
All programs at Rasmussen University are also infused with developing transferable soft skills in students that serve as the basis for any job: communication, critical thinking, digital fluency, diversity and teamwork, ethics and professional responsibility, and information literacy. The aim is to ensure graduates have a refined toolkit of soft skills that can be applied in practically any professional setting.
... I don't know if I can fit it into my schedule
Finding a way to make your schedule doable when you’re juggling work and family responsibilities is always a challenge and is unique to every student.
“I took things one step at a time and would aim to balance the course load when I could,” says Michelle Roshanzamir, founder of MVR Creative. “Like not having all classes be math or numbers heavy or the opposite every semester.”
Jeffrey Zhou, CEO of Fig Loans, also saw balancing work and school to be an on-going process, and he depended on other ways to keep himself motivated and healthy. “Self-care is incredibly important to sustain your energy, motivation and health during this demanding time, so figure out what that means for you,” Zhou explains. “For me, it meant finding time to go to the gym, clear my head and just think about the workout at hand. This time away from my studies gave my brain a break and refreshed me for studying, and it was something I could do with friends too!”
Because the Business programs at Rasmussen University were designed for online learning, you’ll enjoy the flexibility of being able to learn at your own pace, at a time that’s best for your schedule. With 24/7 tech assistance and online support, you can access your coursework, contact your teachers, conduct research and find resources to help you complete assignments, no matter the time.
... I'm worried it'll be boring
If there’s one thing that Business degrees bring, it’s variety, according to Sara Cemin, founder of Realia Project. “Prior to joining for my MBA, I thought it was all finance and marketing,” Cemin recalls. “How wrong I turned out to be! It was indeed finance and marketing—but coupled with strategy, economics, operations and so many other things that form the building blocks of the corporate world.”
Creativity is key to finding great business solutions, whether you’re in marketing, accounting or human resources. According to Apeksha Kothari, COO at Rare Carat, getting her Master of Business Administration gave her better skills in managing multiple outcomes. “The coursework requires getting comfortable with ambiguity,” Kothari says. “I had to let go of my preconceived notions and learn to go with the flow. The point of school is to learn—don’t get so caught up in ‘doing things right’ that you miss a chance to improve your skills.”
Perhaps the broad usefulness of this field is its biggest appeal. Dr. Trout says she often hears people wonder if there’s a place for art and creativity in a business education.
“Business is in everything no matter what area you might interested in,” says Trout. “From childcare to graphic arts, a Business degree can give you the skills and knowledge to run those businesses or work in those fields.”
Conquer your concerns
Still not sure which way you want to go? Don’t worry—you’ve got this. Learn more about what kinds of jobs a Business degree can prepare you for with “The Beginner’s Guide to Different Types of Business Degrees.”