Which Business Major Should I Choose? A Personal Guide to Fit Your Goals
By Robbie Gould on 10/31/2023
When you start looking into a business degree, you can find yourself lost in a labyrinth of options. Which business major should you pick? It’s a common dilemma for many aspiring business students. You are not alone.
A business degree can open the doors to various fulfilling (and possibly lucrative) career opportunities, but some of that depends on choosing the right major for your skills, interests and future goals.
You could make a massive pro/con list and research every business major available. But before you hit that level of investment, take some advice from a business school professor who’s worked with plenty of business students in this same bind.
Here’s a guide through that advice, along with essential questions you should ask yourself when considering different business majors.
First of all, remember that a degree in business is versatile
There’s no need to add extra stress to choosing a business major. Yeah, your choice will definitely lay a path before you. But it’s a path, not a corner you are backed into forever.
Earning a degree in business can be exceptionally valuable.
Whether you're looking to start your own business, work for an established company or explore various industries, a business degree could be a great help because the versatile education equips you with skills you can transfer into many industries and apply to today's competitive job market.
“A business degree is always a good choice because it teaches skills and instills competencies applicable to infinite professional roles,” says Christa Reyes, Assistant Professor in Rasmussen’s School of Business. “It’s a great choice for those who are not 100% sure what they want to do professionally.”
A degree in business can help you learn the following, very-versatile, skillsets.
- Leadership and management skills
- Analytic skills
- Financial literacy
- Problem-solving abilities
- Communication skills
- Global perspective
- Networking skills
Whichever direction your career takes you, these abilities will serve you well.
Questions to consider when choosing your business major
Okay, so how do you choose?
Ask yourself the following questions and make note of which way you lean on each one. Your responses will guide you toward the best business major for you.
First, Professor Reyes says you should consider your interests and strengths. Maybe you can rule out a few majors right away because you aren’t interested. But be sure not to sell yourself short when it comes to your strengths—you might not yet know which aspects of the business world will come naturally to you.
“Don’t let ‘imposter syndrome’ guide your career or degree aspirations,” Reyes says, explaining that she’s worked with many students who thought they weren’t bright enough or dedicated enough for a certain business program because of their experiences in high school.
“Now, they find themselves academically successful and loving learning this time around,” Reyes says. “If you are committed, motivated, resilient and driven, you can complete any degree option, and the faculty at Rasmussen are dedicated to helping you do so.”
1. What are my interests and passions?
Write down what most interests and excites you about the world of business. Cast the net broadly here and include areas of interest based on you past experiences or hobbies. Do you love tracking stats or analyzing the performance of an athlete or musician?
Do terms like visual storytelling or consumer psychology excite you?
Consider the following majors…
If you love numbers and problem-solving
Consider a financial analysis, accounting or economics pathway – these fields are intricately tied to quantitative analysis, critical thinking, strategic decisions, precise numerical work and other left-brained tasks.
If you're creative, enjoy communication and get bored easily
Marketing (international marketing, too) or advertising might be a great fit. These are dynamic and ever-evolving industries, ensuring that you won't face monotony. You'll be putting your time and energy into creating and reiterating, so you can flex your imagination and creativity.
2. What are my strengths and skills?
An honest self-assessment of your strengths and skills is essential. Are you good at managing people and resources? Can you spot trends and analyze data effectively? Do you despise public speaking? Identifying your strengths (and weaknesses) will help you match your skills with a compatible business major.
If you possess strong leadership, communication and organizational skills
Consider international business, business administration or entrepreneurship. These fields heavily rely on effective leadership and communication, allowing you to influence teams and drive projects forward. International business will specifically emphasize global management and communication skills.
These majors can provide a well-rounded foundation for general leadership roles.
If you are analytical and enjoy routines and research
Business analytics, data science or supply chain management could be a good fit. Relying heavily on data-driven decision-making and meticulous attention to detail, these fields involve advanced data analysis and intricate planning.
3. What is my preferred work environment?
Different business majors can lead to diverse work environments. Some business roles are primarily desk-based, while others involve more interaction with clients, customers or colleagues. Think about your ideal work setting and reflect on where you do your best work.
If you prefer a corporate setting
Human resources management, finance or accounting might be suitable. These routes allow you to play a crucial role in managing personnel and fostering a positive workplace culture within a corporate setting.
If you enjoy a dynamic, client-facing role and you're a people-person
Sales, marketing or entrepreneurship could be a better fit. Sales and marketing involve engaging with clients, understanding their needs, promoting products or services and engaging with consumer markets. Entrepreneurship, too, often requires direct interactions with customers and partners as you grow your business.
4. What are your long-term career goals?
Consider where you see yourself in the future. What kind of roles and responsibilities align with your aspirations? Are you looking for stability, flexibility or a mix of both?
If you value long-term job security
Consider healthcare management, HR, accounting, finance or management information systems. These roles offer stability due to the consistent demand for healthcare services, the nature of business (regarding finance and accounting), and the fact that HR departments are indispensable for maintaining a healthy work environment. Safe to say, these industries aren’t going anywhere any time soon.
If you value entrepreneurial aspirations
Entrepreneurship or business management may be a good choice. These majors provide you with the skills and knowledge needed to start and manage your own business successfully. They are designed to foster your innovative spirit and equip you with the tools to bring your business ideas to life.
5. What are the earning potential and job market options for each major?
While it's not the sole factor to consider, your earning potential and market prospects should be a part of your decision-making process. Research the salary expectations and job opportunities for each business major you're considering.
If you are ambitious
Finance, accounting and data science often lead to well-paying careers. These fields have the potential for competitive compensation, especially for bright, ambitious professionals who are willing to work towards advancement.
These professionals are in high demand for their skills in analyzing and extracting insights from data, which are particularly valuable in today's data-driven business world.
If you value stable job market prospects
Healthcare management, human resources and supply chain management usually offer consistent employment opportunities because they are essential components of essential industries.
Taking the next step forward into a business degree program
Going for a business degree in general is a smart move because it teaches you practical skills that can be useful in many professional positions.
Rasmussen has numerous business programs that are in-sync with what employers are looking for. If you’ve narrowed down which type of business degree you might want, you’re ready to research one of those programs more in-depth.
If you are more the “learn by doing” type, a Business Management degree program will offer some of the best versatility and exposure to many career paths in the business industry.
"It’s universally applicable in all industries," says Reyes. "The specializations in that program, business intelligence, IT project management and logistics and operations, are aligned with the necessary skills of today’s business leaders.”