Business Degrees: Worth it or Useless These Days?

If you are eager to pursue a career path in business, then a business degree can be worth it. It can get you into white collar careers in business management, HR, PR, and consulting.

If you put your effort in, a business degree can open a lot of doors for you.

But, a business degree is not necessarily for everyone. Many people have started their own businesses without a degree and been very successful.

Here is a detailed outline of what a business degree is all about.

What Is a Business Degree Major?

Business studies covers a wide range of subjects from accounting to entrepreneurship, which makes it a key educational component for those looking to specialize in the business world.

Between 2018 and 2019, almost 1 in 5 bachelor’s graduates were business majors.

A business degree trains graduates for careers in budding industries such as finance, technology, marketing, management, and healthcare.  But your corporate career as a business strategist may take you into high-power jobs in pretty much every sector.

What Jobs can you get with a Business Degree?

A business degree is a launchpad for a range of job opportunities. Here is a quick look at some of the most in-demand jobs you can get with a business degree.

JobDescription of JobAverage Salary (US) / Annually
Account managerAn account manager is responsible for managing relationships and sales with particular clients.$56,017
Marketing managerCharged with managing the positioning and promotion of a brand, a marketing manager works to boost brand awareness.$66,849
Business analystBA works with organizations to boost their systems and processes.$62,052
Sales representativeSales reps sell and showcase a product to agencies, organizations, and businesses instead of directly selling products to customers.$48,435
Human resources specialistAn HR specialist assists an employer with finding adequate job candidates to facilitate career growth.$52,042
AccountantCharged with recording financial information, accountants get to work with tax returns, financial reports, transactions, budgets, and more.$51,894

Pros and Cons of a Business Degree

Every degree has its own pros and cons. A business degree has great benefits for graduates who are interested in business management. However, earning a business degree also has its downsides. It’s important to take a look at both the advantages and disadvantages of a business degree to know if this option is worth exploring.

1. Benefits of a Business Degree

According to these experts, a business college major is among the least-regretted fields of study. Most people who study business don’t regret it at all.

Here are the many benefits that a business degree can provide:

  • You develop soft skills like communication and team-work as well as hard skills like accounting and creating a business plan
  • Options for a lucrative white-collar career
  • Business management is an in-demand job
  • You’ll gaining marketable skills and knowledge
  • You obtain the necessary foundations knowledge to start your own business
  • You have networking opportunities at university that can help you get a job

2. Negatives of a Business Degree

For some, working in business can be one of the most satisfying aspects of life. But for others, it can be extremely demanding and exhausting.

Take a look at the disadvantages below to know what you should expect:

  • Competition is pretty stiff, and it doesn’t stop once you graduate. You will constantly be competing with a ton of other business majors to land a job.
  • Pursuing a business degree is a very difficult financial commitment.
  • Graduates often have to attend grad school to boost their employability.
  • It can be difficult to juggle home life and career—especially when working in business management in a large company.

What are the Requirements for a Business Degree?

Every college has its own requirements for aspiring business graduates. At least a 2.5 GPA is usually necessary to qualify for colleges that have a major in business. But, the GPA will vary based on the program you selected. For instance, GPA entry requirements range from 2.75 to 3.0 in the Oregon State University.

An average student admitted to Harvard Business School in 2020 had a 730 median GMAT score and 3.7 undergrad GPA with more than 4 years of working experience.

Although these numbers could indicate success, they won’t necessarily guarantee admission. But of course, Harvard is one of the hardest business schools to get into!

is a business degree worth it

What is the Average Salary for Business Graduates?

The type of business degree you get will be a determining factor in the amount of money you earn.

For example:

  • With a Master’s in Business, you can expect an average yearly salary of $83,500.
  • With a Bachelor’s majoring in Business, the typical earnings are about $64,000.
  • With an Associate degree, you can expect an annual salary of $51,000.

Associate degrees are incredibly common in the United States, meaning that you would often need additional skill sets to stand out in the crowded market.

Notably, economics and engineering majors earn more on average than business majors. The average economics degree salary is $68,376, whilst the average engineer wage is $91,010.

What Business Majors Are There?

Business majors offer several career paths. Choosing the right major can be a stepping-stone to a lucrative career in a range of fields. The table below can help you make an informed decision about some of the majors you can take.

MajorDescription / Explanation of the Major
Business administration and managementWith this major, students learn how businesses operate. All while honing their leadership skills.
International businessCapable of combining economics, business, and foreign language, students can get ready to work in global corporations, businesses, banks, and other international enterprises.
FinanceStudents can use this major to learn how to work with streamlining operations via budgeting, investing, and more.
AccountingTasked with teaching students how to maintain financial accounts, the major prepares graduates to become accountants.
MarketingThis major studies the promotion and branding of services and products to a much broader audience.
SalesA major that gives students a general overview of business while specializing in public relations, marketing, and economics.

Skills Learned In A Business Degree

1. Soft Skills

  • Problem-solving
  • Logical & critical thinking
  • Decision-making
  • Self-motivation
  • Efficient time management
  • Teamwork and communication

2. Hard Skills

  • Writing business plans
  • Accounting
  • Report writing and presentation skills
  • Resource and project management

Final Verdict: Are Business Degree Worth It Or Worthless?

A business degree provides students with a foundational understanding of the requirements for running a successful small or large business. You will learn about finance, economics, and accounting.

Becoming a manager or a finance director can be very rewarding, especially for those who’ve dedicated years to advance their career.

However, a business degree is not without its flaws.

Because of how popular business majors are, it is difficult to land your first job. Plus, it (on average) provides less paid than engineering or economic majors.

So, if you don’t enjoy working in the industry, then you might want to look for other options. But, if a career in a corporate business environment is your goal, then a business degree is worth it.

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Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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