If people want to get ahead in life, a business degree is a practical strategy to help get them there. The hope is the major will position them to land a job that will be financially rewarding in the future. But the truth is that there are many fields of business and not all business degrees are equal. Though all business specialties are designed to feed into different jobs, the career track, earnings and lifestyle vary considerably.
The reason for this is due to the different specialization and skills that various business fields require. While some focus on general business and management skills, others train on the hard skills of math and technology.
These are among the business degrees that can lead to fulfilling careers and pay well:
Accountants often land great jobs right after college and they also tend to grow their compensation as they gain more experience in the business. Many accountants work at large accounting firms (Ernst and Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte and KPMG) while others work directly for companies. All organizations are in need of accountants and there are often opportunities to move up into managerial or leadership positions within firms.
Accountants conduct audits, consult on product and business investments, and perform tax planning. They work very closely with a company's financial team because they are in charge of ensuring compliance with accounting regulations and reporting rules. Other accountants serve as consultants and may help with money saving strategies and aid firms in maximizing their profits. Accountants working on auditing are responsible for producing key reports monthly, quarterly and annually. In order to produce these reports and participate in strategic decisions, they must be knowledgeable in financial laws and many aspects of a company's business.
Financial analysts are indispensable members of any company, but especially for multi-corporations and large investment firms. Finance experts analyze the financial performance of the entire business as well as different units. They assess projects for their financial feasibility, making recommendations on everything from whether a company should spend the money on upgrading its human resource software to whether expanding into a new country or creating a new product are attractive. Within banks they review whether to make loans to other businesses, advise firms on the most efficient means to raise capital or analyze whether the stock price of a company makes it attractive to buy.
Their skills in interpreting financial statements, calculating financial ratios, and writing reports about their findings are highly in demand within traditional companies, commercial banks, financial firms or consulting companies. Employment prospects and compensation are already attractive and likely to stay strong in the future.
Business Administration (and General Management)
Although graduates with a degree in general Business Administration sometimes face a slow start right after college, they have great potential for stepping up the ladder within companies and building a long-run successful career. Their degree opens up to a lot of entry-level positions, including in corporate training or rotational programs. Starting with general skills in business, they deepen and broaden their skillset over time and can improve on their specialization through a graduate degree program.
For many undergraduate business majors (or those who study other fields), a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) is an attractive route to get further qualifications and find attractive positions in companies. Within such programs, they are eligible to choose from a variety of MBA concentrations which allow them to broaden their skillset in business. A postgraduate degree may lead to increases in pay and opportunities for promotion.
As the world becomes more global, the ability to work in different countries, cultures and business environments becomes attractive. Exposure to international business helps ensure you are highly skilled in communication and able to assist in negotiations, contract agreements, and representing your firm internationally. International business experts are often sent to deal with business partners abroad and handle important business affairs in other markets. Above all, they must possess the intellectual capacity to handle multiple viewpoints given the broad cultural, economic and social backgrounds their partners come from. More opportunities become available if they earn their masters degree. Many students will combine a specialization in finance, economics or management with international business.
This degree is perhaps one of the highest-paying jobs for new graduates. Economists are well versed in analytical and research skills that are needed in business to carry out a variety of analyses. Some econ grads are doing studies on trying to model how different economic scenarios (a recession or an expansion) will impact company sales. They may be asked to analyze industry trends. They may consult on how a company sets prices and estimate whether they would be advised to raise them or not.
Econ grads are not only needed at specific corporations but can work in numerous industry and government organizations. Economics can be combined with specific interest in a subject such as technology, education, healthcare, and other fields. Economics can be applied in assessing many areas that touch business such as antitrust and regulatory policies, intellectual property, or educational reforms.
While a business degree can set you on a path for a career and a job in the business world, it is important that you pick a major and specialization that suits your interests, your skills and allows you the opportunities for a successful career. By considering degrees and careers in accounting, finance, business administration, international business, and economics, not only can you can earn a good living but also find an exciting career with opportunities for advancement.