Should You Major in Business? 4 Reasons to Say 'Yes'
You make decisions every day. Most decisions, like where to get your hair cut or what to wear, are pretty simple to consider and choose the path forward. But when these decisions come with potentially big ramifications for your future, it’s only natural to take a little more time to do your research and make sure you’re feeling confident in your decision.
Choosing if you should major in business is one of those big decisions. Finding the right major can have a pretty big impact on your life, so let’s take a closer look at the case for majoring in business.
Why should you major in business?
If you’re strongly considering a business-related major, you’ll want to know the top factors for determining if earning a business degree is worth it. We’ve identified four fundamental factors every would-be business major should consider.
Factor 1: A Bachelor’s degree opens up most of the industry’s job opportunities
We used real-time job analysis software to examine more than 950,000 business-related job postings from the past year.1 The data revealed that 60 percent of employers are seeking candidates who hold a Bachelor’s degree. This means that earning a degree separates you from the applicant pool of non-degree holders, making you eligible for significantly more business jobs.
When majoring in business, you should know what level of education to pursue and what will provide you with most career opportunities. Earning a degree will help you develop the expertise that employers desire for their future leaders and managers.
Factor 2: There are plenty of employment opportunities
As you earn your degree, you will develop a variety of skills that can be applied to jobs in almost any industry. Business skills are so versatile, you’d be hard pressed to come up with a company in any sector that doesn’t need them for at least some positions.
Looking at popular job titles, however, can give you a good idea of the work most graduates do no matter which sector they work in. These are the top five job titles for professionals with a Bachelor's degree in business:1
Business analyst: Business analysts (often called management analysts) find ways to make a company better through the study and implementation of process improvements. They advise managers on how the organization could be more efficient and profitable by finding ways to reduce costs and increase revenues, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
As a business analyst, you would spend most of your time collecting information about problems or potential problems in the organization, talking with personnel, analyzing financial data and employment reports and recommending solutions for improved performance. This is a great position for anyone who likes the challenge of solving complex problems.
Financial analyst: “Financial analysts provide guidance to businesses and individuals making investment decisions. They assess the performance of stocks, bonds and other types of investments,” the BLS reports. Much like a business analyst, financial analysts are out there to maximize the company’s performance, but their area of expertise is the money.
As a financial analyst, you can expect to recommend investment opportunities, evaluate your organization’s financial history, study current economic trends, meet with company officials and prepare written reports on your findings. If you have a good head for numbers and details, this could be a great fit for you.
Office manager: Office managers, also known as administrative service managers, can have varying responsibilities. Their overall role is to supervise employees, maintain the facility, keep records and direct office activity. In short, these are the people that keep an office environment running smoothly.
As an office manager, you’ll be responsible for setting goals and deadlines in your department, recommending changes to improve operations, planning budgets and keeping the facility safe and up to health code standards. If you are excellent at balancing multiple priorities at once, and have strong people skills, this could be the role for you.
Marketing manager: “Marketing managers estimate the demand for products and services that an organization and its competitors offer. They identify potential markets for the organization’s products,” the BLS explains. This role regularly works with employees in sales, public relations and product development to ensure the business is offering a product that meets consumer needs and demands.
Marketing managers are not only in charge of the marketing that a company is currently doing, but also are involved in the marketing a company could or should be doing in the future. Creative thinking and strategic ability are very important in this position. If you see yourself as a strong strategic planner and communicator, this might be a great role for you.
Sales manager: Sales managers are in charge of the sales teams in an organization. Their duties include setting sales goals, analyzing data and training in new sales employees. They will also spend time resolving customer complaints, preparing budgets, seeking new customers and directing the overall distribution of goods.
“Sales managers also stay in contact with dealers and distributors. They analyze sales statistics generated from their staff to determine the sales potential and inventory requirements of products and stores and to monitor customers' preferences,” the BLS reports. This role is perfect for someone who has the natural communication and people management skills of a salesperson combined with a good head for numbers.
Factor 3: You’ll gain transferable skills
There are many different skills employers look for from business majors, but what makes business graduates stand out is their value even outside of the business world. The skills developed in a business degree program are often highly-transferable. This gives business graduates more wiggle room to accommodate changes in their life plans than graduates from programs who are relatively narrower range of job options.
Our analysis of business-related job postings identified the following as the most common business skills employers are looking for in new employees:1
- Microsoft Excel (and other Microsoft Office software)
- Project Management
- Business Administration
- Customer Service
Factor 4: Earning & advancement potential
Our analysis of business-related job postings found that 48 percent of job openings prefer candidates with three to five years of business experience.1 This shows that there’s plenty of potential openings for business majors hoping to climb the corporate ladder.
Working in these positions can come with substantial earning potential. Check out the 2016 median annual pay for the five business job titles we identified above, according to the BLS:2
- Business analysts: $81,130
- Financial analysts: $81,760
- Marketing managers: $127,560
- Office managers: $90,050
- Sales managers: $117,960
Business degree holders who work their way up into management positions certainly have reason to be happy about their earning potential—all of the median salaries above are much higher than the national average of $37,050 for all occupations. This potential for growth can provide motivation for anyone worried about stagnating in their future career.
As you prepare to make one of the big decisions in your life, these factors should help you decide that business can be the right path for you. That said, whether you should major in business or another subject is ultimately your decision. If you’re convinced a Business degree is right for you, it’s time to narrow down your focus even more. To get a better idea of your options, read, “The Beginner’s Guide to Different Types of Business Degrees”.
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1Burning-Glass.com (Analysis of job postings requiring a business degree, May 1, 2016 – April 30, 2017).
2BLS 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. Employment conditions in your area may vary.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published April 2013. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2017.