A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at AIU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.
Majoring in Business: What to Expect as a Business Major
Pursuing a business degree may help open up a range of career paths and job opportunities. In fact, business degrees accounted for over 19% of all bachelor degrees awarded in 2014 – 2015, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.1 One reason students may choose a business major is the relative versatility the degree can offer, potentially preparing graduates for a variety of positions in a number of careers.
While the broadness and flexibility of a business degree are often seen as a positive, it may also make it difficult to know exactly what to expect from a degree program. So what does majoring in business entail? What are your options as a business major? And what kinds of career paths can a business degree help make available?
Is a Business Degree Right for You?
If you're wondering whether business is a good major for you, you may first want to think about what skills and experience you hope to get out of your degree program. Generally, business degrees are designed to help students prepare for a wide range of positions and industries by introducing them to the fundamental aspects of business knowledge in accounting, finance, international business, marketing, human resources, operations and project management.
Students in a business program may spend time learning how companies of all types function, as well as how a business operates within local and global economies. Because the skills and knowledge studied during a business degree program are intended to be applied to a number of different industries and types of companies, courses may cover everything from business management theories to marketing or even financial management.
Core business courses may include:
- Principles of Accounting
- Introduction to Business
- Legal and Ethical Environment of Business
- Principles of Marketing
In addition to getting broad exposure to many different aspects of working in business administration, a business degree program may provide opportunities through an institution’s career services department. For example, Career Services at AIU offers help with job search strategies, interview preparation, resume writing, and transitioning from the military to the civilian workforce. Networking and building future professional relationships through alumni services can also be a valuable part of a business major's experience after earning a degree.
Different Areas of Study Within a Business Degree
Business degrees are commonly offered at three levels. An Associate of Arts in Business Administration typically takes the least time to complete and can help students develop the basic skills and knowledge upon which to build when pursuing a bachelor's degree. An associate’s degree may be an excellent choice for those looking for an introduction to key business concepts and some standard skills including critical thinking and communication that are essential for a modern business professional.
A Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) is a degree that offers a chance to expand on many basic introductory skills with additional coursework and experience. Students may also choose a specialization corresponding to the particular aspect of business or role within a company they hope to pursue upon entering the job market.
BBA specializations may include:
- Forensic Accounting
- Fashion Marketing
- Healthcare Management
- Human Resource Management
- Operations Management
- Project Management
- Le Cordon Bleu Hospitality Management
- Technology Management
Those looking to pursue upper-level management or executive positions can choose to build on their bachelor's degree (and sometimes years of experience) by pursuing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. As with a bachelor's program, an MBA degree offers students a choice of specializations to most closely fit their professional goals and experience. MBA specializations can overlap with many of the BBA specializations, though institutions, such as American InterContinental University (AIU) also offer an international business specialization at the master's level.
Core business courses at the MBA level may include:
- Global Financial Management
- Business Research for Decision Making
- Managerial Approach to Marketing
- Strategic Management
Careers for Business Majors
A business degree can offer graduates a significant level of versatility on the job market. Business majors may find job opportunities in a number of different industries in both the public and private sector. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, business and financial occupations are projected to grow by 8% from 2014 – 2024.2 Below are some possible careers in business.
Financial managers help monitor and advise on a company's financial health and activity. Typical job responsibilities include creating financial reports, analyzing market trends, advising upper-level management on financial decisions and planning, and sometimes supervising a team of financial analysts.3
- Degree Required: Bachelor's or master’s in finance, accounting, economics or business administration4
- Other Job Titles: Assistant manager, branch manager, banking center manager and regional manager5
- Projected Job Growth: 7% from 2014 – 20246
Management analysts review a company's internal processes in order to help departmental and upper-level managers make decisions about how to improve efficiency and workflow. While they sometimes work within a single company, management analysts more often work as consultants and independent contractors, which can lead to experience with a wider variety of industries and businesses than some of the other careers mentioned here.7, 8
- Degree Required: Bachelor's (the Institute of Management Consultants' “Certified Management Consultant (CMC)” designation may also be helpful when applying for jobs)9
- Other Job Titles: Business analyst, management analyst, leadership development manager and quality control analyst7
- Projected Job Growth: 14% from 2014 – 2024 (much faster than average for all occupations)10
Human Resources (HR) Specialist
HR specialists help oversee the recruiting, hiring, and training of employees, as well as often administering benefits and resolving employee complaints and disputes. Human resources often acts as a liaison between management and newly hired employees, including meeting with department leaders to assess hiring needs, posting and responding to job applications, and interviewing potential job candidates. Positions within HR can be a great fit for those who are outgoing and enjoy working with many different people throughout an organization.11, 12
- Degree Required: Bachelor's in human resources, business or a related field (the Society for Human Resource Management offers both "SHRM Certified Professional" and "SHRM Senior Certified Professional" certifications)13
- Other Job Titles: Corporate recruiter, employment coordinator, employment specialist and HR technical recruiter11
- Projected Job Growth: 5% from 2014 – 202414
An entry-level job for business majors is working in a company's sales department. Sales managers are responsible for building relationships with vendors and other businesses in order to secure sales contracts for a company's products and services. Since so much of this job involves dealing directly with clients and customers, strong communication and interpersonal skills are important for a sales position. However, additional responsibilities may include analyzing sales data, creating pricing plans, coordinating promotional efforts, and setting sales quotas.15, 16, 17
- Degree Required: Bachelor's or master’s17
- Other Job Titles: District sales manager, sales director, sales supervisor and store manager15
- Projected Job Growth: 5% from 2014 – 202418
Advertising, Promotions and Marketing Managers
Business majors may move on to work with a company's marketing and promotions department. While there may be some overlap in how different businesses use these specific terms, marketing managers are typically responsible for researching demand and profitability for a company's products and services, ultimately identifying target markets and creating marketing plans and pricing strategies. Promotions and advertising managers are responsible for implementing these marketing plans by generating awareness and interest in products and services, as well as coordinating regional and national sales and events.19, 20
- Degree Required: Bachelor's (previous work experience or internships can be helpful)21
- Other Job Titles: Advertising manager, account executive, marketing manager, promotions director and retail advertising sales manager19
- Projected Job Growth: 5% for advertising/promotions managers and 9% for marketing managers from 2014 – 202422
Are you ready to learn more? Learn about AIU’s business degree programs to see if an associate’s degree, bachelor’s or master’s degree in business may be right for you.
For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended these programs, go to www.aiuniv.edu/disclosures. AIU cannot guarantee employment or salary. Not all programs are available to residents of all states.
1. “Digest of Education Statistics 2016.” National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from: https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d16/tables/dt16_322.10.asp?current=yes (Visited 9/7/17).
2. “Business and Financial Occupations.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/home.htm (Visited 9/7/17).
3. “What Financial Managers Do.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/financial-managers.htm#tab-2 (Visited 9/7/17).
4. “Summary Report for: 11-3031.02 - Financial Managers, Branch or Department.” ONet Online. Retrieved from: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/11-3031.02 (Visited 9/7/17).
5. “How to Become a Financial Manager." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/financial-managers.htm#tab-4 (Visited 9/7/17).
6. “Financial Managers: Job Outlook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/financial-managers.htm#tab-6 (Visited 9/7/17).
7. “Summary Report for: 13-1111.00 - Management Analysts.” ONet Online. Retrieved from: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/13-1111.00 (Visited 9/7/17).
8. “What Management Analysts Do.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/management-analysts.htm#tab-2 (Visited 9/7/17).
9. “How to Become a Management Analyst.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/management-analysts.htm#tab-4 (Visited 9/7/17).
10. “Management Analysts: Job Outlook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/management-analysts.htm#tab-6 (Visited 9/7/17).
11. “Summary Report for: 13-1071.00 - Human Resources Specialists.” ONet Online. Retrieved from: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/13-1071.00 (Visited 9/7/17).
12. “What Human Resource Specialists Do.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/human-resources-specialists.htm#tab-2 (Visited 9/7/17).
13. “How to Become a Human Resources Specialist.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/human-resources-specialists.htm#tab-4 (Visited 9/7/17).
14. “Human Resources Specialists: Job Outlook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/human-resources-specialists.htm#tab-6 (Visited 9/7/17).
15. “Summary Report for: 11-2022.00 - Sales Managers.” ONet Online. Retrieved from: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/11-2022.00 (Visited 9/7/17).
16. “What Sales Managers Do.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/sales-managers.htm#tab-2 (Visited 9/7/17).
17. “How to Become a Sales Manager.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/sales-managers.htm#tab-4 (Visited 9/7/17).
18. “Sales Managers: Job Outlook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/sales-managers.htm#tab-6 (Visited 9/7/17).
19. “Summary Report for: 11-2011.00 - Advertising and Promotions Managers.” ONet Online. Retrieved from: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/11-2011.00 (Visited 9/7/17).
20. “What Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers Do.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm#tab-2 (Visited 9/7/17).
21. “How to Become an Advertising, Promotions, or Marketing Manager.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm#tab-4 (Visited 9/7/17).
22. “Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers: Job Outlook.” Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm#tab-6 (Visited 9/7/17).
Classes Start March 7, 2018