Should you major in Business Administration?
Should someone major in Business Administration? Well first of all, why is that being talked about on a site about finding creative ways to lower the cost of your college tuition?
In our “what should I major in” post, we discussed the importance of degree return on investment (ROI) and that is ties into your overall cost of college when you factor in the cost of tuition and the eventual earning potential that you have.
With that said, the path you chose has financial implications in a few aspects and with Business Management and Business Administration being such popular degree majors, it’s important to see if it’s worth it.
Plus I have an undergraduate and graduate degree in Business so I have some thoughts on this topic.
Why Business Administration?
The year was 1999 and the time had come to choose my major. I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had the stereotypical wants: good paying job, security, not working on the weekends etc.
I remember that I wanted to work for the government at one time and my father called up a contact that we had when it came time for me to choose a degree and he said “he can pick anything so business would be fine.”
I also come from a long line of successful businessmen so when it came time to choose a major I said…”okay let’s do business administration.”
Questions to Ask Yourself
Looking back, maybe I would have had a more refined AIM. Maybe I would have created a more focused College Plan.
Here are some thing to ask yourself if you are looking at a major in Business:
- Do you have the entrepreneurial spirit?
- Are you fascinated with corporate structure
- Do you want to work in a variety of different business settings?
- Are you a good communicator?
- Do you like people?
- Are you willing to work flexible hours depending on the needs of the business?
- Are you bothered by sitting in a cube or office all day?
Why is the Business Degree the most popular?
I can tell you from my experience that it was almost the default choice for those who knew they didn’t want to pursue education, humanities, psychology, and communication but where also unsure as to what they wanted to go.
I also think it’s popular because:
Start career faster
Due to its varied nature and the fact that companies will hire you with an undergraduate degree in Business, it allows you to get your foot in the door early and have the ability to move up the ladder.
In a business administration or management degree you will learn many aspects of business – accounting, marketing, operations, international business will all be included in degree program curriculum. All important and will give you an idea as to which sect you would like to pursue.
Path to Management
These degrees are intended to groom you for management. It allow you to focus on your skills and also give you the opportunity to be in social settings where you will established your potential management skills.
Many companies or even fields are completely fine with an undergraduate in business to get hired. I had no higher education experiencer when I was apply to the places of employment and I was hired. You can then refine your focus for your master’s degree.
Learning how to work in groups which will emulate the setting you will face in the workforce is something you experience during your degree.
In each and every one of my classes, there was a group project. It’s trying and it tests you as you will have to deal with multiple personality types. However, that is business in a nutshell.
The skills you will learn will be cutting edge with the way businesses are constantly redefining themselves. They will learn many practical skills that will allow them to perform very well in dynamic work environments.
If you think of the top companies right now, they all have a global presence. This leads to a development of skills and an increase amount of opportunity worldwide for your career.
Reasons Not to Pursue a Business Degree
There are some pros to a business degree for sure but now I’m going to peel back some of my layers here and tell you why it may not be in one’s best interest…
What are you exactly learning?
What do you exactly learn when pursuing a business degree? Well, I can tell you first hand that it’s a lot of theory and a lot of case studies about how businesses operate etc. In general most don’t learn a lot though and they are frantically going through the motions to get their assignments completed. In fact, I might even say that a better hands-on experience is while in college to start a side hustle where you are learning and applying these concepts at the same time. The business world is entirely different in the “real world” as opposed to the classroom.
The “I’m graduated now what scenario”
So I remember when my sister graduated college. She was going to become a teacher. Once she obtained her degree, she searched for a job and spent the whole summer doing so until she found a teaching position. Fast forward three years later and I graduated with my business degree, I literally said okay now what??? There was no real AIM. Now that may have been specific to me however, some of you out there may eventually feel the same way with regards to business due to it being a very general degree.
Everyone has a business degree
The more I started networking and talking to people, the more I noticed that there were a lot and I mean A LOT of people out there with a business degree. I didn’t feel that special to be honest. In fact undergraduate business major’s account for about 1 out of every 5 bachelor’s degrees awarded each year.
Higher unemployed % and lower starting salaries
Due to the competition and lack of AIM, those that receive the general business degree are a higher statistic for unemployment and for a lower starting salary. Sometimes out of pure desperation we will take a job that’s not really idea, it could be unstable, and doesn’t pay well. So what happens, then as we get older we get in a vortex and will pretty much be searching for a new job every 3-5 years.
This may apply to many other degrees and career routes as well. More often than not your business degree will lead you to a sales position and the hours entailed in those positions are long. When you work your way up to management, the hours are even longer. If you move up past management and into a director position……you guessed it….long long hours. Some might struggle with this so it’s important to know the type of person you are.
From my experience and research I am not sure how well a business degree will cater to one’s entrepreneurial cravings. Sometimes theoretical business courses are outdated and the professors may be out of touch with what’s really going on. It’s changing so fast that one constantly needs to be moving and pivoting themselves. If you have a real strong desire to be in business for yourself, the best advice I can is to start as young as you can, gain experience, make mistakes, learn, and then eventually if you want to top it off with a degree later on then that can be a possibility.
So what to do next…
If you are seriously considering business, think about what section of business you are wanting to go into, define and hone in on companies where you may want to work, and network. If you want to do your own thing and own a business, then there are lots of free courses and programs out there to learn from.
However, please note the nature of this degree as opposed to others. I’ve seen many get an undergraduate in Business Administration and then refine their path for their Master’s degree. There are lots of options which is great but those options can lead to confusion as well.
Try to get familiar with the Bureau of Labor Statistics and in particular the section on business careers with high pay.
I would love to hear your thoughts on Business Administration as a career and if that is something you are wanting to do.
That’s all for now.