Are you struggling to select your university major? You surely know that millions of first-time and returning students major in business during their undergraduate years, but perhaps you’re not sure it’s right for you. You just don’t fancy yourself a businessperson, perhaps.
Not so fast. It’s a wide, wide business world out there. Many graduating business majors never don suits. Many go into lines of work that have little in common with traditional business activities.
“‘Business’ is not a monolith,” says Fergus Cleaver, senior accountant and shareholder at New Zealand-based Cleaver Partners. “Whether you fancy yourself a pragmatic, by-the-numbers manager or a lofty visionary with uncanny ability to paint the big picture, there’s undoubtedly a niche available for you in the business world.”
So, if you’re not a buttoned-up Type A, never fear. You still have plenty of defensible reasons to get a business major—like these 10.
1. It’s Practical
Majoring in business with a management mba is a pragmatic choice, and not just because it offers a clear path to career success or more advanced credentials. It’s also practical because, well, business is practical. Business coursework provides valuable insight into owning and managing enterprises. Business internships and practica offer even closer looks at where the rubber meets the road. And most business professors and advisers have years of practical experience under their belts.
2. It Offers a Clear Path to Impressive Credentials
Another word about that “clear path.” While there are no guarantees in life, a business degree looks good on a CV. That’s great for undergraduates looking to hop into the workforce immediately after graduation. It’s even better news for undergraduates looking to burnish their business pedigrees—and lifetime earning power—with an advanced degree. The surest way to earn a Master of Business Administration, for instance, is to major in business as an undergrad. Step one, step two. Couldn’t be simpler.
3. It Doesn’t Require You to Be a “Businessperson”
Business majors don’t have to be “businesspeople” when they grow up. (Who are businesspeople, anyway?) Business degrees signify competence, not expertise, meaning they look good to employers seeking level-headed, well-rounded candidates—not just strivers hoping to strike it rich on the next Facebook.
4. It Rarely Looks Bad
Ever hear of someone losing out on a job opportunity because of their business major? Probably not. To get a business degree, you need to apply yourself consistently for years on end and absorb countless complex concepts that leave lesser heads spinning. Plus, most business degrees involve practical, on-the-ground instruction from people with actual business experience. It’s hard to make a serious case that these are bad things.
5. It’s Widely Available
Most higher education institutions offer undergraduate business degrees. Not all are created equal, of course, but the fact remains that you don’t have to select your university based on the availability of some obscure major.
6. It’ll Serve You When You Least Expect It
The sheer breadth and depth of knowledge and synthesis required to earn the degree is a powerful asset for business graduates. After graduation, you’re sure to encounter unexpected situations in which your business knowledge makes a real difference: negotiating a new car purchase, evaluating the prospects of companies you hope to work for, even managing your family’s personal finances. You know what they say: Knowledge is power.
7. It Has Super Common Prerequisites
Business majors are widely available, and their prereqs are pretty common too. If you know you want to major in business well ahead of time, get a head start by taking necessary prerequisites at your local junior college.
8. It’s an Eye-Opener
A business major isn’t quite a key to the city of life, but it definitely illuminates concepts that once seemed mundane or opaque. Why do all the food trucks cluster at the one particular corner? Why is my boss so fixated on this one silly project? Why do something like one in two new businesses fail within four years, and what can I do to improve my odds?
Well, depending on your preferences. If you enjoy rolling up your sleeves and seeing real business owners solving real problems on the ground, you’ll enjoy getting a business major. If you’re more of an ivory tower type, well, there are better options.
10. OK, It’s Often Lucrative Too
Newly minted business undergrads don’t shake out on the top of the income heap, per NACE. But they don’t do so badly for themselves either.
Are you a business major? Or did you miss your calling?