Should You Major in Business?

Business is a booming field these days. As a major, it can give you a critical foundation for many high-earning careers, and help you gain skills that will allow you to succeed in practically any profession.

 

In fact, even those who don’t enter a strictly “business” field will benefit from a business mindset. That’s because the knowledge touches a diverse range of fields, from healthcare to journalism to the arts.

 

Should you major in business? Keep reading to find out the top careers for people who study this important field and the best schools for preparing for it.

 

Overview of the Business Major

 

Business is a huge field that encompasses a wide range of niche topics and majors, such as economics, accounting, leadership and management, marketing and sales, finance, and many others. Some colleges have a business school or department that houses different majors, like the aforementioned specialties. Others ask business majors to select a concentration to hone their studies. Some students choose to double major or minor in another subject so they can gain the knowledge to apply their business skills in, say, law or healthcare. 

 

Coursework focuses on helping students learn basic business principles and gain management and teamwork skills. It also usually includes foundations in areas like finance, statistics, ethics, and global perspectives. 

 

Whether or not they majored in business at the undergraduate level, some students earn an MBA or another business-related graduate degree, which allows them to further specialize and increase their earning potential, as well as enter their careers at a higher level than they would otherwise. Most full-time MBA programs last two years. 

 

What Can You Do With A Business Degree?

 

1. Accountant 

Median Salary: $51,474 ($40,000-71,000)

Projected Growth: 4% (as fast as average)

 

Is math your thing? Then you could have a future as an accountant. These professionals work with organizations and individuals to manage their financial matters. The work involves analyzing data, developing budgets, and working with clients or leadership on planning for the future. Their role is essential to increase financial returns and leverage the company or individual’s financial assets.

 

2. Financial Analyst

Median Salary: $61,224 ($47,000-82,000)

Projected Growth: 5% (faster than average)

 

Here’s another one for the math-minded among us. Financial analysts focus on increasing profits, too, but they look at bigger-picture investments and other financial resources, conduct audits on the business’ strengths and weaknesses, and devise strategies for increased profit return. They also make recommendations on how to best use a company’s money and other resources.

 

3. Management Consultant

Median Salary: $87,672 ($60,000-144,000)

Projected Growth: 11% (much faster than average)

 

Management consultants are usually brought in to help organizations solve problems, contribute to projects, devise plans and solutions, and evaluate data to improve businesses overall. Although they often work for outside firms or independently, companies may employ them in longer-term capacities to assist with large-scale initiatives.

 

4. Operations Research Analyst 

Median Salary: $78,739 ($49,000-122,000)

Projected Growth: 25% (much faster than average)

 

Like many positions on this list, the operations research analyst has the goal of improving business practices across an organization. They might look at individual teams or the big picture, allowing them to gather and study data to create solutions to problems, and develop new strategies for conducting operations.

 

5. Corporate Attorney

Median Salary: $103,018 ($69,000-190,000)

Projected Growth: 4% (as fast as average)

 

For this profession, you’ll need a law degree in addition to your bachelor’s. But for many people, that could lead to a lucrative, satisfying career representing and working with businesses. Corporate lawyers deal with issues like securities, workplace discrimination, mergers and acquisitions, incorporation, and many other legal matters. A business degree will help you understand the principles at the cross-section of law and business.

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Best Colleges for Business Majors

 

1. University of Pennsylvania

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Acceptance Rate: 8%

Undergrad Enrollment: 10,019

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1440-1560/32-35

 

The renowned University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League school based in Philadelphia, has a lot to offer across its 12 schools, four of which include undergraduate programs.

 

One of these schools is The Wharton School, the first collegiate business school in the world. Today, it continues to top most lists of the best schools of its kind. Undergraduates earn a BS in economics while choosing a concentration like Accounting, Business Analytics, Real Estate, or Marketing. 

 

There are also several programs that combine business studies with other disciplines, like The Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business, which leads to earning a BA in International Studies from the School of Arts and Sciences and a BS in Economics from Wharton.

 

Learn more about UPenn and what it takes to get accepted.

 

2. Cornell University

Location: Ithaca, NY

Acceptance Rate: 11%

Undergrad Enrollment: 15,043

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1470-1560/32-34

 

Situated in picturesque Ithaca, Cornell is also an Ivy League school and home to eight unique schools. Unlike at many other universities, candidates apply directly to their school of choice.

 

In the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, students can pursue either a BS in Applied Economics & Management through the Dyson School or a BS in Hotel Administration through the School of Hotel Administration. Within each of these schools, you can further specialize by choosing a concentration. Examples of concentrations at Dyson are Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Finance, and Strategy, while SHA’s include Corporate Finance, Hotel/Restaurant Development, Human Resources, Law, and many others.

 

SC Johnson is also home to many different graduate programs, leading to degrees such as an MBA, MPS, and PhD. There are also dual-degree programs available.

 

Learn more about Cornell and what it takes to get accepted.

 

3. California Institute of Technology

Location: Pasadena, CA

Acceptance Rate: 6%

Undergrad Enrollment: 938

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1530-1560/35-36

 

One of the top STEM schools in the world, Caltech does, in fact, offer programs beyond the science and technology curricula for which it’s most known, ones that set up students to solve complex world problems and challenges. 

 

Through the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS), students can study business, economics, and management, an option that emphasizes entrepreneurship, finance, and strategy. Many students double-major in BEM and a science or engineering option, but it can also be a standalone option, too.

 

The program aims to equip students with a grounding in economics; knowledge of finance, risk management, business strategy; and more. They will also learn how to analyze and solve problems, as well as look at the broader impacts of business and management on the world.

 

Learn more about Caltech and what it takes to get accepted.

 

4. Washington University in St. Louis

Location: St. Louis, MO

Acceptance Rate: 16%

Undergrad Enrollment: 7,822

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1450-1560/33-35

 

WashU was originally founded to address the lack of institutions of higher learning in the Midwest. Today, WashU is one of the most prestigious universities in the United States. Known as the Ivy of the Midwest, the university offers a number of outstanding programs.

 

At the Olin Business School, students can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA), as well as several graduate options, including an MBA, specialized master’s degrees, and doctorates. Undergraduates may choose from eight majors: 

 

  • Accounting
  • Economics and Strategy
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • Healthcare Management
  • Organization and Strategic Management
  • Marketing
  • Operations and Supply Chain Management

 

Students are encouraged to take advantage of experiential learning opportunities like the Israel Summer Business Academy (ISBA), which allows participants to immerse themselves in Israel’s entrepreneurial environment. They can also combine majors with a second major or minor from another school.

 

Learn more about WashU and what it takes to get accepted.

 

5. Carnegie Mellon University

Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Acceptance Rate: 15%

Undergrad Enrollment: 7,022

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1460-1560/33-35

 

It should come as no surprise that CMU is best known for its technological programs, given the fact that Andrew Carnegie originally founded it as the Carnegie Technical Schools at the turn of the century in 1900. Today, however, the university had seven schools, each offering a diverse array of programs.

 

At the Tepper School of Business, students may pursue a BSBA, business minors, a BS in Economics, and several graduate degree options, including an MBA and PhD. There are also many concentrations within the business curriculum. Students take courses in areas like economics, mathematics, and computing and select a minor for an additional breadth of study.

 

Learn more about CMU and what it takes to get accepted.

 

There are many more schools that are great for business majors. See the complete list of best colleges for business.

 

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine
Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where she majored in Creative Writing and minored in History. She lives in Brooklyn, New York and works as a freelance writer specializing in education. She dreams of having a dog.