Today's students and young professionals understand that earning a business degree can yield a versatile skill set that can help them succeed in any industry. That's why they're flocking to business school: the National Center for Education Statistics reports that 364,000 business degrees were granted in the United States in the 2014–2015 academic year—far more than any other degree.
One of the biggest business degree benefits is strong marketability. Private and public companies and nonprofits are hiring students directly out of business school; 83.2 percent of employers surveyed in the 2019 National Association of Colleges and Employers' (NACE) Job Outlook plan to hire someone with a business degree. Business students who specialized in finance or accounting are in especially high demand.
Here's a look at what a business degree can do for your career.
Business degree skills.
You'll take classes in English, math, and history while you earn your business degree, but you'll focus on business-specific classes, such as business law, business ethics, economics, marketing and communication, accounting, and human resources. These courses will help you determine your business specialty and develop the skills that employers value. According to NACE, employers prize the following skills, in order of importance:
- Critical thinking and problem solving
- Teamwork and collaboration
- Professionalism and work ethic
- Oral and written communications
Business degree programs teach you how to interact with stakeholders, manage teams, and effectively solve complex business problems. You'll also develop interpersonal and analytical skills—such as resource management, financial data analysis, presentation skills, time management, and organizational management—that will prepare you to work in many sectors.
By putting these skills into practice through experiential learning projects, you'll gain confidence in your business acumen and hone those employer-prized skills.
A bright future for business careers.
The skills and experience you gain in a business program are not only helpful for getting your foot in the door; they can also lead to better-paying jobs throughout your career. A 2014 Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco study found that the average college graduate earns $830,000 more than a high school graduate by the time they retire.
A business degree could prove especially lucrative. According to PayScale, 11 of the 100 top-paying jobs in 2018 for professionals with bachelor's degrees were in business, and the median early career pay for each was at least $49,000. The field looks healthy for the long term, too: the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that seven of the most common business careers—including accountant, customer service representative, and business manager—pay higher than the median for all occupations. Relative to the projected average 5-year growth rate for all business occupations, many of those careers—such as accountant (10 percent), financial manager (19 percent), financial analyst (11 percent), and human resources manager (9 percent)—are expected to grow faster than average.
Earning a business degree is a smart choice because it helps you develop the skills you need to succeed in some of the market's most in-demand roles. A degree from an accredited institution could grant you the business networks, experience, and skill set to give you a leg up on the job of your dreams.