Choosing a Business Major
Business programs cover various aspects of business and prepare students for entry-level jobs or graduate school. Although courses vary by business major, some classes common in business majors may include: accounting, economics, statistics, management, finance, public speaking, operations management, and marketing.
When choosing the best business major for you, you should consider the field you'd like to work in after graduation, as well as the interests you have. Each field has its own career options, educational requirements, and job prospects, and these should also be taken into consideration when you decide on a major. Some common business majors include the following:
- Management information systems
Accounting programs teach students how to use mathematics for business and tax purposes and prepares them for a career in an accounting department or as a certified public accountant (CPA). While aspiring CPAs usually need additional education after a bachelor's degree, an accounting program prepares students for taking the CPA exam or working in other aspects of business.
In addition to core business administration courses, classes in an accounting degree program may include the following:
- Business ethics
- Financial and managerial accounting
- Information systems and communications
Graduates of accounting degree programs may pursue employment as accountants or auditors. While accountants perform tasks like computing taxes, creating financial statements and finding ways for companies to improve profitability, auditors are responsible for ensuring financial records are correct and don't contain any fraud. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), auditors and accounts will experience 11% employment growth between 2014 and 2024, which is about average. In May 2014, the median wage for this group of professionals was $65,940.
Finance majors learn about the stewardship of finance in corporations, institutions and individuals. Students may study applications of financial analysis, strategy, management and dealing with money on an open market.
Classes in a finance degree program may include the following:
- Entrepreneurship principles
- Business finance
- Debt and money markets
- Financial management
Possible career options for finance majors include employment as financial analysts or financial planners. Financial analysts use financial and economic data to help companies and individuals make decisions about investments, including stocks and bonds. Personal financial advisers, on the other hand, help individuals make decisions about insurance, investments and taxes. The BLS reports that there will be very fast employment growth of 30% for financial advisers and fast growth of 12% for financial analysts between 2014 and 2024. In May 2014, the BLS reported median wages of $78,620 for financial analysts and $81,060 for personal financial advisers.
Management Information Systems
Management information systems degree programs focus on applying technology toward the business world. Students learn to understand and detail the change in technology and computer applications within a company or organization.
Classes in this degree program may include:
- Database management
- IT manager statistics
- Economic analysis
- Digital transformation
A possible career option for management information systems graduates is to become a computer and information systems manager. These professionals recommend technology for businesses, manage data security, manage other information technology professionals and install software and hardware as needed. The BLS expects fast employment growth of 15% for this career between 2014 and 2024. Computer and information systems managers earned a median salary of $127,640 in May 2014.
Marketing degree programs deal with the pricing, distribution, branding, sales, advertising, retail management and promotion of a product or service. Students study human nature to predict consumer behavior.
Classes in a marketing program include:
- Personal selling
- Marketing research
- Marketing strategy
- Export marketing
- Marketing analytics
Marketing program graduates may work in various roles, including as market research analysts and marketing managers. Market research analysts are responsible for determining the services and products that customers demand, as well as the target markets and pricing. Marketing managers lead entire marketing programs, as well as do some of the tasks of market research analysts.
From 2014 through 2024, the BLS expects very fast growth of 19% for market research analysts and about average growth of 9% for marketing managers. The May 2014 median wages were $61,290 for market research analysts and marketing specialists and $127,130 for marketing managers.