Forget the “Don’t Major in Business!” trend-pieces that go viral on Facebook every few months. As Calvin Coolidge said a century ago, the business of America is business, and as far as anyone can see, few degree fields are as beneficial as business management majors.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports healthcare occupations are on the rise. They are the fastest-growing sector of employment. Management and business is growing steadily and represents the highest-paying field.
In the era of globalization and the internet, business is a tried-and-true successful career path. This is true in technical areas like accounting and statistics. It is also true in human-centered areas like leadership and human resources. Business is business, and it’s here to stay.
The College Consensus mission is to provide the full scope of the higher education and job market scene for people planning to become management students, go back to school, or make career changes. We’ve compiled a handy guide to degree options in Business and Management. It includes hot business majors and job market performance. For help in financing your education, be sure to check out our Top 25 Scholarships for Business School students.
What are the In-Demand Business Management Major Options?
People used to begin in the mailroom and worked their way up in a company. Having a business management degree was enough to set a professional apart. It signaled “management material” to the top brass. Now, a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (BBA) or Master in Business Administration (MBA) a necessity to get your foot in the door. But a general business management degree isn’t where it stops – you can also pursue a specialization. Some of the most in-demand right now, and pretty much for the foreseeable future, include:
- Human Resource Management
- International Business
- Supply Chain Management / Logistics Management
- Project Management
- Management Information Systems
These are pretty obvious – corporations always need accountants. Accountants who specialize in taxation are especially valuable, since tax accounts for much of a business’s expense. Business will always need someone to manage workers. It needs someone to keep track of who those workers are and what they need. Management and human resources are perennial. And finance and marketing make the American economy go ’round.
A smart choice is a specialization that is useful across various fields. Don’t choose a specific one to limit your employment options. Choosing a specialty that will allow you to work for any kind of sector is wise. pretty much any location, then you can feel confident that you’ll find work when you need it.
Are There Any Online Options for Studying Business Management Majors?
Business has proven to be one of the best fields for online degree programs, for many reasons. For working professionals who have already begun their careers, an online MBA or Master’s in Management degree (MIM) is a great choice. It is a convenient way to earn a higher credential for advancement and promotion.
Early- and mid-career professionals are already in an office environment. They do not need the practice in collaboration and teamwork that an on-campus program would emphasize. They are already engaged in it on a day-to-day basis.
Online programs are also suited to the self-motivated self-starters who want business degrees. Students pursuing careers may not need the same amount of guidance or hand-holding that on-campus students may require. They should consider one of the top online business schools.
Check out our recent online business management program rankings:
- Best Online Accounting Master’s Degree Programs
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Are There Complementary Majors or Fields to a Business and Management Major?
When thinking about complementary business majors or minors, there are a couple of directions to consider: a curriculum that can contribute to a business specialization, or that can contribute to career development and advancement. For instance, students who are in or want to enter the healthcare sector may want to major or minor in health policy or health administration, while those going into a field like energy may find an environmental science minor helpful. This specialized, expert knowledge can give employers confidence that you know the on-the-ground specifics of the industry.
Other double majors or minors can make a graduate more marketable, or give some specialized skills that will be valuable in their careers in general:
- Computer Science/Programming
- Business Communication
- Business Statistics
- Second Language
Each of these can help a candidate stand out on the job market – fluency in Spanish, Chinese, or Arabic may put you over the top in a job that requires international travel, while skill in writing and speaking can make for a more effective manager or spokesperson.
Advanced or Alternative Business Degree Options?
The MBA is usually the standard degree, and effectively the highest practical credential. Doctorate degrees in business do exist, but they are fairly rare and typically ceremonial; a prominent international business person may be awarded a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) or PhD in Business Administration as an honorary degree, for instance.
Very few professionals go beyond the master’s level in their education, and in fact a doctorate in business may be considered a liability on the job market – too much education can be seen by employers as a sign that you’re more serious about school than work.
With the high demand today for specialized credentials, especially by working adults stuck in entry-level of mid-career positions, there are a great many alternative options available, including accelerated MBAs and graduate certificates, many of which can be earned completely online. Alternative certifications are especially useful for working professionals who just want to tack on some extra expertise, like Leadership, Organizational Behavior, or Human Resources, that will help distinguish them on the job market.
What Kind of Career Might I Pursue?
According to Payscale, most of the top successful business careers are in accounting – positions like Tax Director, Accounting Officer, and Budget Director. These are specific administrative roles in a corporation that can be obtained by taking an accounting path.
Other business-related careers include roles like:
- Actuary (risk assessment)
- Business Operations Management
- Financial Management
- Management Consulting
- Business Analyst
- Director of Nonprofit Organizations
- Loan Officer
- Human Resource Specialist
The most growth is in technical areas that, frankly, not everyone can do. Many people can be middle managers, but top-shelf Statisticians, Accountants, and Analysts are worth their weight in gold.
Required Skills or Personality Type?
For the most part, in business you’re going to work in an office environment, so if you hate regular schedules and people telling you what to do, look in a different direction. Today’s business environment puts an emphasis on teamwork, collaboration, and cooperation, so good people skills and management skills are a necessity.
More than specific skills – which can be learned – success depends on effort and intentionality. Employers look for:
- Critical Thinking
These are qualities that keep you going through tough times and demanding projects. The brilliant employee who breaks down under pressure is not as valuable as the reliable employee who gets the job done no matter what.
Current corporate culture also prioritizes availability and going beyond the call of duty. Traditional 9-5 work weeks are a thing of the past; global business is 24/7, and so is office life. So learning to compartmentalize, balance work and life, and be able to know when to say yes, and when to say no, is crucial. These may be things they teach in business school, but more likely, you learn them the hard way – firsthand.
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