Business Major Guide

Business Major Guide

Majoring in business is a great option for anybody with an interest in business administration, business management, finance, or entrepreneurship. As a business major, you’ll learn basic business theory as well as practical concepts related to sales, marketing, accounting and more.

You’ll also have a chance to focus on specific aspects of business, including human resources, hospitality, real estate, entertainment and much more. In fact, the business degree is an extremely popular degree because of its versatility. As a business major, you’ll pursue your own concentration—whether your interest is in sales, promotions, international business, or any of the countless other options at your fingertips.

If you’re ready to start earning this highly versatile degree at one of the most prestigious schools in the world, get started with a look at the Most Influential Schools in Business.

Or to find out what you can expect as a business major, read on…

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5 Reasons to Major in Business

1.Business majors are versatile.

The business major is popular for a reason. You can do practically anything with this degree. If you have an interest in project management, marketing, or small business administration, you’ll love majoring in Business. Majoring in business is also a great option for students who are interested in learning about retail management, corporate citizenship, entrepreneurship, hospitality, real estate, and much more.

2.Business majors learn practical skills.

Many of the skills you’ll develop as a business major will be applicable in other areas of life and career. Business majors typically incorporate the kinds of 21st Century skills like collaboration, communication, creative thinking, and technological literacy. Even if you don’t plan to start your own business or lead a company, these skills will be valuable as you pursue your professional goals.

3.Business majors often pursue advanced degrees.

In addition to opening numerous career pathways, majoring in business can help prepare you for pursuit of an advanced degree. Many business majors will go on to pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. This is a graduate degree where you’ll get a chance to dive even deeper into your concentration while improving your appeal to employers and enhancing your earning power. Many, but not all, MBA programs require you to pass an admission exam called the GMAT.

4.Business majors have above-average earning power.

That said, an advanced degree is not required. A Bachelor’s Degree in business can still adequately prepare you to enter into the job market. Moreover, a business major offers students among the best returns on investment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, This median annual wage for business and financial occupations was $69,820 in May 2019, which was significantly higher than the median annual wage for all occupations of $39,810.

5.Business majors are often highly influential.

Moreover, those who go on to great influence in business are consistently among the most influential figures in the world, in any discipline. Today, top business influencers are driving innovation through their research on lean startup methods, social marketing, global entrepreneurship, and more.

Find out who the Most Influential People are in Business today!

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What Kinds of Business Degrees Are There?

The great thing about majoring in business is that you have a lot of options. Business degrees come in a wide variety. The level of degree you pursue will depend on what you hope to do with your major.

Small business owners in particular may be interested in pursuing a degree in Small Business Administration.

  • Associate of Business: An associate degree in business provides a basic foundation in business studies and can create entry-level opportunities in sales, retail management, administrative assistance and more. This two-year degree can be an affordable way to get a head start on a bachelor’s degree at a four-year college.
  • Bachelor of Business: The bachelor’s degree in business in the most popular degree in the U.S. This is because this four-year degree provides an extremely versatile foundation in business and creates access to a wide range of opportunities in commerce, human resources, finance, and so much more.
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA): Typically a 2-year program, the MBA is designed for students interested in management and organizational leadership opportunities. An MBA can make you a more competitive candidate for leadership roles and improve your opportunity for organizational advancement.
  • PhD in Business: The doctoral-level degree in business is largely reserved for those interested in conducting research or pursuing professorship in business.

*Note: Many, but not all, degree programs offer the choice between Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. Likewise, many, but not all, advanced degree programs offer a choice between Master of Arts, and Master of Science degrees. In most cases, the primary difference is the diversity of course offerings. “Science” degree courses will focus almost entirely on the major discipline, with a deep dive into a specific concentration, including laboratory, clinical or practicum experience. An “Arts” degree will provide a more well-rounded curriculum which includes both core/concentration courses and a selection of humanities and electives. The type of degree you choose will depend both on your school’s offerings and your career/educational goals. Moreover, there are sometimes numerous variations in the way that colleges name and categorize majors. The degree types identified here above are some of the common naming variations, but may not be all-encompassing.

An international business degree can help students build skills and competencies that open career opportunities in a wide range of fields. Find out more about this versatile degree.

Thinking of a graduate degree in business? Check out What Can I Do With a Master’s Degree in Business? for more information on obtaining a graduate degree in this field.

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What Are Some Popular Business Concentrations?

Your “concentration” refers to a specific area of focus within your major. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) provides a complete listing of college degree programs and concentrations (Classification for Instructional Programs), as sourced from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). According to IPEDS, the following are among the most popular business concentrations:

  • Business Administration, Management and Operations
  • Accounting and Related Services
  • Business/Managerial Economics
  • Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations
  • Finance and Financial Management Studies
  • Hospitality Administration and Management
  • Human Resources and Management
  • Marketing
  • Real Estate
  • Telecommunications Management
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What Courses Will I Take as a Business Major?

Your concentration will determine many of the courses you’ll take as a business major. Likewise, you will be required to take a number of requisite courses on foundational topics such as accounting and organizational management. However, you will also have the freedom to select an array of courses that most interest you. As a business major, you’ll have the chance to craft a well-rounded educational experience that ultimately furthers your professional goals.

Common Business courses include:

  • Business Administration
  • Business Ethics
  • Accounting and Finance
  • Commercial Law
  • Franchising and Franchise Operations
  • International Finance
  • Organizational Behavior Studies
  • Marketing Research
  • Selling Skills and Sales Operations
  • Construction Management
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What Can I Do With a Major in Business?

The short answer to this question is, whatever you want. Whether you want to run a four-star hotel, start your own boutique shop on Main St., or crunch numbers for a Fortune 500 company, majoring in business is a good starting point. Your business major can lead to a wide range of career opportunities, including these top jobs:

Curious how far you can go with a major in business? Start with a look at the top influencers in the field today!

Still not convinced? Many students struggle with what to study in college. We have developed a comprehensive guide to college majors that can help you get clarity around college majors and programs.

Thinking of a graduate degree in business? Check out What Can I Do With a Master’s Degree in Business? for more information on obtaining a graduate degree in this field.


Check out the Most Influential Schools in Business and get started on your path to a business degree.

And if you’re shopping for the right college, be sure that you’ve reviewed our Resources on critical issues like Accreditation, Scholarships, Financial Aid, and more!

Get tips on everything from the best paying jobs in each field to the top jobs of the future with a look at our Guide to Starting a Career.

Or jump to our student resource library for tips on everything from studying to starting on your career path.

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Student Submitted Questions on Business Major Guide

Kelli asks, “How does a business major differ from a finance or economics major?”

Dr. James Barham’s answer: Each of these majors offers a distinct perspective on the world of management, financial systems, and commerce. Business majors tend to have more of a broad and comprehensive approach with practical applications and versatility. A major in finance tends to be heavily quantitative with a focus in money, investments, and financial institutions. A major in economics tends to focus on analytical skills and a theoretical foundation in the production, distribution, and consumption of goods. Similar to a business major, a major in economics tends to have diverse applications.

Donald asks, “How does a business major prepare me for starting my own business?”

Dr. Jed Macosko’s answer: A major in business provides a broad and thorough foundation in various aspects of running a business, such as operations, strategy, and management. It will help you build critical thinking skills, help you manage projects efficiently, teach you about investing and funding, and show you how to conduct market research. Some programs will have a concentration in entrepreneurship which could be extremely beneficial. Additionally, some colleges and universities might have incubator programs where aspiring entrepreneurs can build their businesses and receive guidance.

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