It’s no secret that business is one of the most popular fields of study for college students. Degrees in business and related subjects like finance, accounting, management and economics are traditionally chosen by those who are looking for versatile coursework based in practical, real-world topics that can be applied to many careers. The choice is a smart one. Business graduates are in high demand nationwide with many earning impressive salaries.
While there are a variety of business degrees, the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) are the most prevalent. These comprehensive business degrees offer an education in a variety of subjects and are applicable to different stages of career development. Some areas of study that make up business administration degree programs, either directly or as supplementary topics, include accounting, finance, entrepreneurship, marketing, law, human resources, mathematics, management, economics and more. These subjects provide flexibility and enable students to gain a foundation in core topics while developing skills that help ensure career success. Business coursework has a strong emphasis on practical application and real-world experience through case studies, problem solving, team building and collaboration.
One of the reasons a business degree is so valuable in today’s workplace is that it can be applied to many careers. Graduates of high-quality business degree programs go on to work in marketing, accounting, advertising, banking, public relations, sales, management and other roles. Many of these jobs come with high salaries as well, though specific earnings depend on skill level, experience and other factors. The 2013-2014 PayScale College Salary Report found that entry-level business professionals earn an average of $43,500, while the average mid-career salary is $71,000. Finance careers are even more lucrative, with graduates earning $49,200 in entry-level positions and more than $87,000 in mid-career positions. Furthermore, the TopMBA.com Jobs & Salary Trends Report found that MBA holders earn almost $109,200 in the United States and Canada.
The return on investment for business degree holders is strong as well. A report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York states that business majors have earned a return on investment (ROI) of 17 percent on their degrees for more than a decade, outperforming liberal arts, leisure and hospitality, and education. Earnings improve with continued education, which is why Poets and Quants reports that more than 20 percent of people with business degrees go on to obtain a graduate degree and increase their earnings by 40 percent.
The skills that can be gained through the study of business administration provide broad knowledge that can be applied to all core business processes. In addition, students acquire skills that are targeted to specific fields like those discussed above. The “soft skills” developed during coursework are highly transferable as well, and help to position graduates as leaders with the ability to perform tasks effectively. The following are five key skill areas that make business degrees ideal for the modern job market.
Good communication is essential for business success. In order to work toward the same goal, team members and leaders must be able to communicate with one another clearly. From job responsibilities to client expectations, the important role of oral and written communication within a business can’t be overstated. Good communication prevents misunderstandings and mistakes in the workplace, enabling problems to be solved quickly with minimal friction. Communication skills improve business processes overall as well. It is vital that different departments be able to work together efficiently as a unit to remain profitable. Successful interaction between these teams results in the creation of successful products or services. Lines of communication must be open in order to provide the best dynamic possible. Finally, communication between upper management and employees creates a positive atmosphere and strong morale.
No business can succeed without talented managers. To achieve the common goal of a business, a leader works to get the best outcome possible with the resources available. The modern business world is very management-focused, because smart organization is required to combine labor, capital and materials and create a product that will succeed in the marketplace. This skill set, which is developed through business coursework, allows business professionals to maximize productivity through mutual cooperation and coordination. Skilled management allows for a sound organizational structure, creating and maintaining an environment that promotes greater efficiency and higher performance.
Ethics, the principles and values used to govern activities and decisions, are an important part of business success because they guide organizations and employees to conduct business processes with integrity. Small Business by Demand Media notes that “the ethical philosophy an organization uses to conduct business can affect the reputation, productivity and bottom line.” This is why ethics courses are taught as part of the business curriculum at many colleges and universities. When students develop high ethical standards, they can become good employees and eventually principled leaders. Executive level professionals and management who demonstrate ethical work practices enhance a company’s reputation among customers and the community. This, in turn, can improve business. Ethical employees who meet quality standards and complete their work with honesty make themselves into a valuable organizational asset.
According to an Indeed.com study, employers are seeking critical thinking skills in new hires more than ever before. This research found that the number of job postings that mention critical thinking have doubled since 2009. Problem solving and critical thinking are two of the most important skill areas for business graduates because they enable professionals to seek out new perspectives, question their own points of view and analyze them in order to make the best decision. When business programs draw on critical thinking skills, they train students to be successful by looking at the world in a multidimensional way. A 2013 “Year-End Poll of Employers” by the Graduate Management Admission Council reports that 98 percent of employers believed business graduates need to know how to use data for decision making. The skills involved in critical thinking, analyzing data and problem solving help businesses grow and develop new markets and products.
This “hard skill” area is another important focus for business degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Professionals in all industries rely on economics to make both short- and long-term decisions that affect the profitability of their companies. Economics provides a comprehensive view of a business and how it relates both to society and the marketplace. This allows business leaders to craft more effective strategies. In addition, a keen knowledge of finance allows professionals to create persuasive arguments for positive change within their organization.
Business Administration at Husson University Online
For those interested in a quality business education that covers these skill areas and more, Husson University Online offers both an online Bachelor of Science in business administration (BSBA) and an online Master of Business Administration (MBA). These practical degree programs empower students to excel by working with expert faculty members who have years of experience. Husson’s online business programs prepare students for a variety of careers by focusing on functional areas like marketing, finance, human resources and more. These programs also offer opportunities for specialization through BSBA concentrations in management and marketing, and MBA concentrations in healthcare management, organizational management, and biotechnology and innovation. Business degrees are as valuable as ever in the job market, and students gain the skills required for success through the Husson experience. You can learn more about our business degree offerings here.