Selecting your college degree is a potentially life-altering decision. While it’s always possible to branch off or change course later in life, your college degree determines where you begin your career path. Business degrees can be quite valuable, but not every degree affords the same opportunities.
Since there are so many different types of business degrees, choosing one can seem like a daunting task. In order to help you make such a major decision, we have put together a comprehensive list of the most common types of business degrees, what type of classes you’ll take, and the kinds of jobs they’ll prepare you for.
Marketing degrees give you the tools you need to help businesses understand their consumers better. A marketing degree requires you to have strong analytical skills but also a creative side, especially if you’re interested in advertising. Upon completing the program, you’ll have the necessary skillset to help companies find ways to connect with their audience.
The classes in a Marketing program will focus primarily on identifying and understanding what drives consumer behavior in relation to a specific brand or company. For example:
- Consumer behavior.
- Digital marketing and social media.
- Price and promotion analysis.
- Marketing research and analytics.
- Account manager or salesperson.
- Public relations.
- Social media manager.
Operations Management Degree
Operations Management seems like a vague term, but it’s actually very focused. Operations is the process in which a company turns their raw materials or resources into something tangible for the consumer. This is strongly focused on analytics and mathematics, but also forces professionals to have strong decision-making and critical thinking skills. Operations Managers are often exposed to the latest and greatest technologies as they work to improve their organization. Because of these universal skillsets, Operations degrees are typically in high demand.
The classes in an Operations Management program will focus on analysis and mathematics. For example:
- Supply Chains and Logistics Management.
- Analytical Decision Making.
- Revenue Management.
- Supply Chain Manager.
- Operations Analyst.
- Logistics Manager.
- Sourcing Specialist.
The purpose of an Accounting degree is to prepare you to understand the language of business finance. Upon completion, you’ll be ready to read and prepare a number of necessary financial reports and have the tools necessary to become a Certified Public Accountant, if you so desire. Every company needs help with their books, so Accounting is a very valuable degree.
Accounting is a language completely to itself, so you will need to take a variety of courses dedicated specifically to your craft. This includes:
- Financial Reporting.
- Business Tax.
- Internal Auditing.
- Cost Accounting.
- Risk Management.
- Certified Public Accountant.
- Tax Advisor.
- Financial Analyst.
Management of Information Systems Degree
Technology has had a profound impact on the way businesses operate and engage with their audience, and a Management of Information Systems program gives you the power to use technology to your advantage. MIS offers a variety of different skillsets, including designing systems and applications, using technology to analyze operations, or supporting a company’s existing infrastructure. As companies become more and more reliant on technology, MIS graduates will continue to be in demand.
There are a variety of different MIS classes, depending on what you’re looking to specialize in. Here are some sample classes you could expect to find offered:
- Systems Analysis and Design.
- Intro to Enterprise Application Software.
- Predictive Business Analytics.
- Networking Business Technologies.
- Systems Analyst.
- Database Analyst.
- Risk Assurance.
- Business Systems Developer.
- Technical Support Manager.
Business Analytics / Statistics Degree
Business Analytics or Statistics programs are perfect for you if you’re especially interested in the analytical side of technology. It’s the combination of information technology and strategy that lets businesses make sound and agile decisions, and these programs prepare you for just that. With razor-sharp analytical skills, this degree opens a variety of doors.
The classes in a Business Analytics or Statistics program will be heavily weighted towards mathematics and statistics, although there will be a sampling of technology and strategy classes as well. For example:
- Business Statistics.
- Introduction to Data Mining.
- Statistical Inference.
- Quantitative Analysis.
- Experimental Design.
- Project Manager.
- Change Consultant.
- Business Analyst.
- IT Manager.
A business degree in Economics gives you a fascinating look at how markets, consumers, and businesses influence each other on a micro and macro level. You’ll discuss topics like how prices are set, what determines demand for a product, and social topics such as inflation and unemployment. Upon graduation, you’ll have a strong understanding of our local and global economies operate, and the effect they have on businesses and consumers. You’ll be able to go into a variety of different private and public positions.
As part of your Economics degree studies, you’ll explore the relationship between consumers and businesses in a variety of courses such as:
- Labor Economics (wages, employment rates).
- Game Theory and Application.
- International Affairs Analyst.
- Financial Consultant.
- Economic Forecaster.
- Cost or Pricing Analyst.
Any organization’s success depends on their ability to manage money. They need to know how and when to invest their money, how to control costs, and how to maximize profits. A degree in Finance prepares you to help businesses make these critical decisions by giving you the tools and knowledge to understand risk and corporate finance. This makes you valuable to any organization.
A Finance degree gives you a sound foundation in all financial topics, so you will take a variety of courses such as:
- Intro to Corporate Finance.
- Risk Management.
- Money and Capital Markets.
- Personal Finance.
- Financial Consultant or Advisor.
- Business Risk Analyst.
- Investment Banking.
- Portfolio Manager.
International Business Degree
The Internet has made it easier than ever to reach a global audience no matter the size or scope of your company. Because of this, the need for International Business majors has never been stronger. With this degree, you’ll learn how the global economy works, and what it takes for a business to truly connect with an international audience. As the global economy continues to become more connected, International Business degrees will likely increase in value.
As you study toward your International Business degree, you’ll look at a variety of different business segments and how they impact international markets. For example:
- International Money and Finance.
- International Trade.
- Emerging Markets.
- Economic Policies.
- Bilingual Customer Service Management.
- International Business or Operations Analyst.
- Global Account Executive.
- Operations Manager.
Human Resources Degree
The heart of any company is its people, so Human Resources degrees are always in demand. Throughout the program, you’ll learn how to manage people throughout an organization via recruiting, training, conflict management, and facilitating benefits. Every major company has an HR department, so a Human Resources degree offers a variety of career opportunities.
As a Human Resources major, your studies will focus on how to manage people by taking courses such as:
- Organizational Staffing.
- Collective Bargaining.
- Intro to Human Resources Administration.
- Resolving Organizational Conflict.
- Human Resources Manager.
- Benefits Administrator.
- Corporate Recruiter.
Small Business Management / Entrepreneurship Degree
In the past few years, more colleges have begun to offer business degrees that focus on entrepreneurship. If you are not sure what the difference is between a business degree and entrepreneurship degree, a business degree such as an MBA focuses on causal reasoning, such as ROI and business plans, while an entrepreneurship degree is more about effectual reasoning, which it allows one’s business goals to naturally develop. An entrepreneurship or small business management degree will teach you essential skills in founding and/or growing small companies into industry leaders.
The courses in an entrepreneurship program will prepare the business professional to develop and grow new and existing ventures to address a business opportunity. In a master’s degree program, you may see these types of courses:
- Opportunity Exploration
- Systems Innovation
- Leading Startups
- Legal Aspects of Entrepreneurship
- Entrepreneurial Accounting
- Entrepreneurial Finance
- Chief Executive Officer
- Company President
- Chief Financial Officer
- Operations Manager
Business Law Degree
Studying business law incorporates business and legal education at the master’s degree level. There are a variety of joint degree programs in business law that can be pursued to enjoy a career in both fields. The most common degree combination is the JD and MBA degree. These are very intensive programs that typically combine both programs into a four or five year program, instead of the three to four years required to earn each degree separately.
Earning a degree in business law, or a combined JD/MBA degree, would typically feature these types of course:
- Legal Writing
- Legal Research
- Constitutional Law
- Civil Procedures
- Operations Management
- Risk Management
- Project Management
- Corporate Litigator
- Corporate Counsel
- Securities Regulator
- Mergers and Acquisitions Attorney
Real Estate Management Degree
People who dream of a career in real estate may want to earn a master’s degree in real estate management. This program will teach the student how to engage in successful commercial or residential real estate transactions. The program also will teach you how to make successful negotiations with clients, and how to close real estate transactions. Programs typically combine real estate development and management theoretical classes with more practical courses in design, planning and development. It is common to be required to have at least two years of real estate experience to qualify for such programs.
Students earning a degree in real estate development can expect to take these types of courses:
- Real Estate Taxation Principles
- Real Estate Finance and Economics
- Real Estate Sales and Marketing
- Real Estate Negotiation Tactics
- Commercial Lease Analysis
- Strategic Real Estate Management
- Real Estate Property Manager
- Real Estate Developer
- Commercial Real Estate Manager
- Real Estate Investor
- Director of Real Estate Acquisitions
Supply Chain Management Degree
Students who desire a career in the growing area of supply chain management can opt to earn a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree in supply chain management. This popular degree will help you to explore the complex business aspects of distribution, warehousing, transportation, and operations that undergird the success of large, medium and small companies. Students will typically learn the fundamentals of operations, logistics and economics, and will learn how to effectively manage and direct product shipments.
The courses that you take in supply chain management usually will include ones such as:
- Supply Chain Strategy
- Micro and Macroeconomics
- Organizational Behavior
- Financial Analysis and Modeling
- Global Marketing
- Accounting for Managers
- Supply Chain Manager
- Operations Analyst
- Chief Operating Officer
- Operations Manager
- Logistics Manager
- CEO or CFO
- Sourcing Specialist
Healthcare Management Degree
Earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree in healthcare administration or healthcare management will provide you with ample opportunities for job placement in the rapidly growing healthcare space. A bachelor’s degree in this field typically is good for getting an entry level or low level management position in healthcare management, but you will need a master’s degree to be a hospital manager or nursing home manager. These degrees will provide you from basic to advanced understanding of the clinical, business and supervisory aspects of operating a medical facility, hospital or nursing home.
Courses that are required in a healthcare management degree program include:
- HR Management
- Healthcare Law
- Healthcare Accounting
- Healthcare Facility Finance
- Healthcare Informatics
- Health Information Systems Management
- Nursing Home Manager
- Nursing Home Coordinator
- Hospital Coordinator
- Hospital Manager
- Nursing Home Administrator
- Health Services Manager
Hospitality Management Degree
Do you want to enjoy a progressive career in the growing field of hospitality management? A smart choice may be to earn your bachelor’s and master’s degree in hospitality management. These degree programs will provide you with basic to advanced skills in managing hospitality businesses and sites, such as hotels, motels, restaurants, convention centers, etc. Many programs will require you to have an internship at such facilities so that you can gain hands-on skills for your future hospitality management career. Graduates may work for either small or large hospitality-related businesses, from cruise ships to hotels, to motels, casinos and more.
Typical required coursework in hospitality management degree programs include:
- Hospitality Manager Accounting
- Lodging Operations
- Food Production Management
- Hospitality Law and Ethics
- Hospitality Information Technology
- Hotel Manager
- Restaurant Manager
- Casino Manager
- Tourism Coordinator or Manager
Sports Management Degree
Sports and recreation are multibillion dollar businesses today. From high school to college to professional organizations, there is a strong amount of interest in sports management today. Effective sports management professionals are needed to ensure that these organizations are run in an efficient and profitable manner. There is much more to the sports management industry than just sports teams; students who earn this type of degree may work in media and marketing, parks and recreation, sports arenas, sports equipment companies and more.
In sports management, you may take courses in:
- Sports Management
- Sports Marketing
- Business Administration
- Financial Analysis
- Public Relations in the Sports Industry
- Sociology in Sports
- Organizational Management
- Sports Agent
- Advertising Manager
- Inside Sales Professional
- Retail Manager
- Equipment Sales Manager
- General Manager
- Athletic Director
The career opportunities for these degrees are more narrow, but if you already have a specific career path in mind, they can be invaluable.
In the end, it’s important to select the degree that makes the most sense for you. What are your strengths? What do you enjoy studying? What type of position do you want to hold in the next two, five, and ten years? By answering these questions and studying the information discussed above, you’ll be able to make an informed decision that shapes your future in a very positive way.
- Sports Management, Marketing, and Communications Careers. (2016, Oct. 15). Retrieved from https://www.thebalance.com/sports-management-marketing-and-communications-careers-2059878
- Hospitality Management Overview. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://hhd.psu.edu/Overview/hospitality-management-overview-major
- What Can You Do with a Healthcare Management Degree? (2015, Oct. 26). Retrieved from http://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/business/blog/what-can-you-do-with-healthcare-management-degree/
- What Can You Do with a Supply Chain Management Degree? (2017, May 9). Retrieved from http://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/business/blog/what-can-you-do-with-supply-chain-management-degree/
- Careers in Business Law. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://law.lclark.edu/programs/business_law/faqs/
- What Can I Do With a Real Estate Management Degree? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-advice/what-can-i-do-with-my-degree/real-estate