By Michael Feder
Business degrees are versatile. Most programs provide you with a solid base in business fundamentals that can help you throughout your career. However, these courses of study also give you the chance to specialize in a specific area. That’s why it’s essential to select the right business degree for your plans.
It’s important to find a business-related degree that matches your career goals. This can be more challenging than you think because a lot of the initial coursework in different programs overlaps. It’s necessary to assess the entire curriculum and see if it will help qualify and prepare you for your desired career path.
In addition, it’s important to understand that while a business degree may prepare you to apply for jobs in the business world, graduating does not guarantee that you will get such a job right away or that you will command a high salary. It also does not ensure that you will have success starting your own business.
Choosing the right business degree will, however, provide you with the fundamental skills necessary to succeed and the knowledge needed to specialize in your chosen area. Determining if an undergraduate or graduate degree is necessary for a job is also critical. Some jobs require employees to possess a master’s degree, which would require earning both a relevant bachelor’s and master’s degree.
Here are the top degree options to enter popular careers in the business sector.
Marketing focuses on promoting products, services or brands to consumers. As a marketing professional, you can use a wide range of techniques. Marketers can focus on social media marketing, traditional print and broadcast advertising, and online campaigns.
In this career, you can focus on one specific type of marketing or be involved in a broader campaign that uses a variety of media sources.
A Bachelor of Science in Business with a marketing focus is a traditional four-year degree that teaches students marketing principles and strategies and how to apply them to both conventional and new media. These programs also develop public relations and promotional skills that give students the knowledge to assess campaign performance and research a target audience.
Entry-level jobs, such as a content strategist, marketing specialist, public relations associate or sales associate, often require a degree with a marketing focus. With experience, opportunities for further employment include marketing manager, public relations specialist, or advertising and promotions manager.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), salaries for marketing professionals in the U.S. range between $96,380 to $150,930 per year, depending on the region, exact title and position duties, and the employer.
If you want to act as a decision-maker for a company, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Management degree is a good first step. This four-year program provides a solid base of knowledge. You will learn about management, operations, human resources and financial aspects of a business.
Entry requirements for management degree programs vary depending on the school, and some universities require introductory coursework before admittance into the management program. With a management degree, you can prepare to pursue an exciting career path with many opportunities for leadership.
The salaries for management personnel vary significantly with the size of the company. For example, according to BLS, the salary range for human resources managers is between $71,180 and $208,000 per year.
The salary ranges are not specific to students or graduates of University of Phoenix. Actual outcomes vary based on multiple factors, including prior work experience, geographic location and other factors specific to the individual. University of Phoenix does not guarantee employment, salary level or career advancement. BLS data is geographically based. Information for a specific state/city can be researched on the BLS website.
The BLS Projected Growth for 2020-2030 is published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This data reflects BLS’ projections of national (not local) conditions. These data points are not specific to University of Phoenix students or graduates.
Supply chain management involves overseeing the flow of materials and goods for a company. In this career, you source and ship materials and components to manufacturers or distributors and then ensure the end product cost-effectively gets to the consumer.
Undergraduate education for this discipline should provide training in logistics, pricing and economics. You will also likely need to learn about taxes and import/export regulations, which can affect the supply chain.
Different schools may offer different programs to allow students to specialize in supply chain management: a Bachelor of Science in Business with an Operations Management Certificate can provide a solid grounding in supply chain management principles; while a Master of Information Systems may provide a more advanced technical approach to modern supply chains and logistics.
Pay varies widely from company to company. Logisticians make between $44,190 and $122,580, according to salary range data provided by BLS.
Wondering “What can you do with a business degree?” Read more about the topic on our blog!
Depending on your career plans, you can take your studies beyond the undergraduate level with a Master of Business Administration (MBA). An MBA can be worthwhile for several reasons. It can teach you specific technical or leadership skills, expand your network of professional contacts, and help you make a transition into a new industry.
An MBA can also increase your earning potential. Though a higher salary is not guaranteed, BLS reports that employees in “top executive positions” often require at least a bachelor’s degree and “considerable work experience.” BLS goes on to say that top executives at large companies may have an MBA.
Master’s degree programs typically last two years, but you can find accelerated options for an MBA. These programs are often tailored for working professionals who will continue with their employment while studying. However, different from traditional programs, these competency-based programs allow students to move through a field of study more quickly by demonstrating competency for a particular area.
MBAs typically help prepare you for leadership roles or specialized positions within a company. In these roles, you often have strategic planning and decision-making responsibilities.
Executive-level salaries vary widely, so although an MBA can help prepare you for an executive position, the degree does not guarantee employment or a specific income. BLS estimates the salary range for top executives is between $45,850 and $208,000, depending on the location, experience, education and the size of the company.
Finance is another key aspect of organization operations that’s integral to ultimate business success. A master's in finance focuses on the financial aspects of the business world. For example, graduate students in this program learn financial analysis and advanced topics in economics and investing.
You’ll also need an undergraduate degree before beginning master's-level studies. Bachelor's programs in math, accounting, finance, business or economics offer great preparation for a master's degree in finance.
In addition to executive-level positions, such as a chief financial officer (CFO), a master's degree can help prepare you for work as a financial analyst, investment manager or financial advisor.
According to BLS, the salary range of financial analysts is between $48,760 and $159,568, and for financial managers, $70,380 to $208,000.
Overall, the best business degree is the one that provides you with the knowledge and skills to enhance your chosen career path.
Modern operations can blur the lines between traditional management and technology applications. The management of information systems is a critical part of virtually every business. Companies rely on data to inform operations and help make critical decisions. If you pursue an IT degree focused on information systems management, you will learn the technical and communication skills to act as a bridge between technical staff and business decision-makers.
A Bachelor of Science in Information Technology is typically a four-year, 120-credit program that teaches students business principles and necessary technical skills, such as the design and operation of information systems and cybersecurity.
With a technical bachelor's degree, you can work in a variety of IT positions. For example, you could serve as a computer and network administrator, cybersecurity expert, network architect, computer systems analyst or information systems manager.
According to BLS, demand for qualified IT pros is projected to grow by 13% in the coming decade. BLS records the salary range for network and computer systems administrators as between $75,230 and $89,910 per year. Systems analysts earn a salary range of between $82,560 and $96,430, and information systems managers earn $150,930 to $166,770 per year.
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