What's the Best Business Major?

Dec 28, 2019

Determining the best business major to pursue depends on the person asking the question. It's important to think about the kinds of courses that must be taken, what jobs are available, job outlook and what kind of salary can be expected, both upon entering an occupation and at the mid-career point.

What is the Best Business Major to Consider?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES, 2019), in 2015-2016 nearly 2 million bachelor's degrees were awarded, and almost 20% of those degrees went to business majors. This is more than were awarded in any other area of study. NCES also states that in 2016-2017 business majors with master's degrees accounted for more than 23% of the master's degrees awarded. Again, business majors were awarded more master's degrees than any other major.

If you are asking, 'What business major should I choose?' you should know that business majors typically select from a variety of concentrations at both the undergraduate and graduate level. The most common of those concentrations are accounting and finance. However, there are several other concentrations from which to choose, and some of those include the following:

Common Courses for Business Majors

For those who are considering a major in business, it would be a good idea to look at the core courses every business major must take, as well as the courses in the area of concentration. It is common for all business majors to take courses in accounting, business law, finance, management, and marketing. Courses in these areas provide students with a strong foundation from which to launch into the courses in their concentrations of choice.

Occupations for Business Majors

There are thousands of potential jobs available for business majors. Below is a list of jobs for which over 60% of the people in those jobs are business majors, according to Payscale.com (2019). Both entry-level and mid-career salaries (10+ years experience) are presented to let you see the potential salary growth in each occupation.

Job Title Typical Major Avg. Salary Entry Level 2019* Avg. Salary Mid-Career 2019* Job Growth 2018-2028**
Accounting Supervisor Accounting $52,935 $67,097 16% (financial manager)
Auditor Accounting $51,512 $63,143 6% (accountant and auditor)
Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Accounting $52,233 $69,603 6% (accountant and auditor)
Chief Financial Officer Accounting $91,237 $115,442 -5% (chief executive)
Corporate Controller Accounting $74,640 $91,414 16% (financial manager)
Cost Accountant Accounting $48,660 $60,896 6% (accountant and auditor)
Financial Analyst Finance $53,890 $67,396 6%
Financial Controller Accounting $62,183 $81,431 16% (financial manager)
Staff Accountant Accounting $46,787 $52,535 6% (accountant and auditor)
Tax Accountant Accounting $51,639 $63,162 6% (accountant and auditor)
Tax Manager Accounting $81,340 $95,735 16% (financial manager)

Sources: *Payscale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Highest Paying Business Majors

If salary is the number one priority, there are several jobs that offer experienced business graduates six-figure salaries. Below is a list of the top four highest-paying jobs for business majors according to Payscale.com:

Job Title Typical Major Average Salary Mid-Career 2019* Job Growth (2018-2028)**
Vice President, Finance Accounting $152,000 6% (top executive)
Chief Financial Officer Accounting $115,442 -5% (chief executive)
Finance Director Accounting $115,000 16% (financial manager)
Portfolio Manager Finance $101,000 6% (financial analyst)

Sources: *Payscale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

For anyone exploring a business major, it is important to take many variables into consideration. Of course, the first variable may be interest in a particular concentration. Next, potential salary growth might be considered. The information provided here may help future business majors make decisions that best suit their needs.

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