An aspiring entrepreneur or someone with a passion for business should know the value of earning a college degree in a business-related area. Business administration, management, marketing, advertising and public relations are among the common business-related undergraduate degrees you can earn. Completing one of these programs offers several advantages relative to other career programs.
While money may not be your primary motive in getting a business degree, it is good to know that your lifetime income potential is relatively high. A May 2011 study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce showed that undergraduate business degree holders working full time in the United States earned a median annual income of $60,000. Business was tied for third among the 15 program major categories included in the study.
You can start your own business or work in a variety of companies and positions with a business-related degree. As Milton Cofield, Carnegie Mellon executive director of undergraduate business, noted in a January 2007 Bloomberg Businessweek article: "Business as an undergraduate experience should be seen for its flexibility regarding the process of beginning to develop careers." A more general business administration degree combined with training and experience can lead to jobs in finance, management, marketing or operations. Management degrees provide broad education for those looking for a career in some type of business management. Even with more specific business-related degrees such as finance or marketing, you have some career options. Marketing degree holders work in advertising, marketing, public relations, sales, customer service and market research.
Regardless of how you use your business degree professionally, the education you receive can equip you to function more effectively in a business-driven economy. You learn how businesses fit into the broader economic landscape. Your awareness of business motives and operations also positions you to be a more effective consumer. Even if you land in a non-business-related career, such as social work or education, your work will likely entail some sort of interaction with businesses. Social workers, for instance, commonly interact with both for-profit and nonprofit businesses in helping clients find support and assistance programs.
Internships are common requirements in business-related degree programs. While some students view these hands-on work experiences as necessary evils toward a degree, they can help introduce you to potential career opportunities. In some cases, students get internships in a field and company that turn out to be a perfect fit. This can lead to immediate employment following graduation. In other cases, students find a passion for an industry or job function, but must explore other companies. Even if the internship doesn't lead to a career, it can provide valuable business experience that increases your skills and makes you more appealing to future employers.