Exploring the Different Types of Business Degrees: Finding the Right Path for Your Career

10/07/202314 minute read
Exploring the Different Types of Business Degrees: Finding the Right Path for Your Career

With businesses becoming increasingly competitive and dynamic, possessing a business degree not only enhances employment prospects but also opens doors to diverse career opportunities, entrepreneurial endeavors, and leadership roles. Whether one aspires to work in established corporations, launch a startup, or contribute to social enterprises, a business degree provides the essential tools and knowledge to thrive in today's rapidly evolving business landscape. In this article we will take a closer look at the different types of business degrees you can get and which one is right for you.

Business is the most popular major among US undergraduate students. In the 2019-2020 school year, about 19 percent of the two million bachelor’s degrees conferred were in business. Business majors are also in high demand among employers, with six of the top 10 most in-demand majors being in business.

In today's fast-paced and interconnected world, business degrees have gained immense importance and relevance. They equip individuals with a comprehensive understanding of various aspects of the business world, ranging from management and finance to marketing and entrepreneurship. Business degrees provide a solid foundation of knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the complexities of the global marketplace. They foster critical thinking, problem-solving abilities, strategic decision-making, and effective communication skills, all of which are highly valued in professional settings. Moreover, business degrees often offer practical experiences through internships, case studies, and real-world projects, bridging the gap between theory and practice. 

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Types of Business Degrees

Associate Degree in Business 

An associate degree in business is a two-year undergraduate program that provides students with a foundation of knowledge and skills in various aspects of the business field. It is typically offered by community colleges, technical schools, and some universities.

  • Average tuition: $8,705 per year for out-of-state students
  • Median salary: About $48,776 annually 
  • Coursework: Fundamental subjects such as accounting, finance, marketing, management, economics, and business communication
  • Career opportunities: Administrative assistant, customer service representative, sales associate, accounting assistant, or marketing coordinator

Bachelor's Degrees in Business

Bachelor's degrees in business are undergraduate programs that typically span a duration of four years. These degrees focus on providing students with a comprehensive understanding of various aspects of the business world and are offered by universities, colleges, and business schools.

  • Average tuition: $25,707 per year for students living on-campus
  • Median salary: About $65,000 annually
  • Coursework: Core business courses plus specializations in finance, marketing, human resources, international business, entrepreneurship, and supply chain management
  • Career opportunities: Financial manager, accountant, human resources specialist, management analyst, operations research, business analyst, account executive, sales manager

Types of bachelor’s degrees in business:

  1. Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) - A Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) is a specific type of bachelor's degree in business that focuses on aspects of business management and administration. One of the distinguishing features of a BBA degree is its focus on management and leadership skills.
  2. Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com) - A Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com) provides a comprehensive understanding of commerce-related subjects. It usually cover areas such as accounting, finance, marketing, economics, management, business law, and business communication. 
  3. Bachelor of Science in Business - A Bachelor of Science in Business (BSB) incorporates a greater emphasis on analytical and quantitative skills. Students in a BSB program typically take additional coursework in subjects like statistics, mathematics, operations research, data analysis, and business analytics. 

How Kartik Got Into UPenn Wharton to study Business

Master's Degrees in Business

Universities usually offer two types of Master’s degrees in business - a Master of Business Administration (MBA) for those who have five or more years of work experience, or master’s in specific subjects for those looking to specialize in the field and have less work experience.

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

An MBA is one of the most sought-after and prestigious degrees in the business field. The degree equips individuals with a comprehensive understanding of business principles, a broad skill set, a vast alumni network and a global perspective.

  • Average tuition: $148,978 total at top US programs; $61,800 on average
  • Median salary: About $115,000 annually
  • Coursework: Foundations of leadership, business strategy, organizational management, corporate finance, business ethics, supply chain management, investments
  • Career opportunities: Consultant, financial controller, business operations manager, human resources manager, IT manager, and roles on the Vice President or executive levels

Specializations and Concentrations

Business master’s degrees that focus on a specific area of study are usually one-year programs with coursework directly aligned with your field of choice, whether that’s finance, marketing, management, or otherwise. These degrees are typically offered as a Master of Science (MS), though some schools offer Master of Arts (MA) degrees in business.

  • Average tuition: $62,300 total across all MS degrees
  • Median salary: $55,000-$75,000, depending on degree focus
  • Coursework: Specific coursework related to the degree focus
  • Career Opportunities: Project manager, business analyst, media coordinator, strategy consultant, financial analyst, actuary, accountant, depending on degree focus
  1. Master of Science in Management (MSM) - While an MSM program may share some similarities with an MBA, there are a few key distinctions. The MSM program typically places a greater emphasis on the management aspect, focusing on developing individuals' skills in leading and managing organizations. It may also have a more specialized and in-depth focus on specific areas of management, such as project management, supply chain management, or organizational development.
  2. Master of Accounting (MAcc) - One of the key components of a Master of Accounting program is the focus on professional certifications. Many MAcc programs are designed to help students meet the educational requirements to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or pursue other professional certifications such as Certified Management Accountant (CMA) or Certified Internal Auditor (CIA).
  3. Master of Finance (MFin) - A Master of Finance program covers a wide range of subjects related to finance, including corporate finance, financial markets, investments, financial modeling, risk management, derivatives, portfolio management, and financial strategy. One of the distinguishing features of a Master of Finance program is its quantitative focus. The program often includes coursework in statistical analysis, econometrics, financial mathematics, and computational finance.
  4. Master of Marketing (MM) - A Master of Marketing program covers a wide range of subjects related to marketing, including marketing management, consumer behavior, market research, brand management, advertising, digital marketing, social media marketing, marketing analytics, and strategic marketing. One of the key components of a Master of Marketing program is the emphasis on market research and data analysis.
  5. Master of Entrepreneurship (ME) - The ME is structured to develop individuals' entrepreneurial skills, strategic thinking, creativity, innovation, and the ability to identify and seize business opportunities. One of the key components of a Master of Entrepreneurship program is the focus on practical experiences and hands-on learning.
Business Degree Median Earnings (2022)
DegreeMedian Starting Salary
Master of Business Administration (MBA)$115,000
Master of Finance$110,000
Master in Business Analytics$105,000
Master of Data Analytics$105,000
Master of Accounting$95,000
Master in Management$95,000

Source: Graduate Management Admission Council

Doctoral Degrees in Business

Doctoral degrees in business, also known as Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Business or Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), are the highest level of academic degrees in the field of business. The program generally spans a duration of four to six years, during which students undertake coursework, engage in independent research, and complete a doctoral dissertation. The coursework covers advanced topics in business theory, research methods, and statistics, providing students with a strong foundation in their chosen area of specialization. The dissertation is a significant piece of original research that contributes new knowledge to the field of business.

  • Average tuition: $30,000 per year, on average
  • Median salary: About $141,097 a year 
  • Coursework: Quantitative and qualitative research methods, leadership and strategic management, and current issues in management
  • Career opportunities: Business consultant, C-Suite executive, economist, professor, organizational development manager, director of HR, project manager, logistician
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Which business degree is right for you?

Choosing the right business degree for your career goals and aspirations is a significant decision. Here are some tips to help you make an informed choice:

  1. Assess Your Interests and Strengths: Reflect on your passions, interests, and the subjects that motivate you. Consider your strengths and skills to identify areas of business that align with your natural abilities. Choose a degree program that matches your interests to stay engaged and motivated throughout your studies.
  2. Research Degree Programs: Conduct thorough research on different business degree programs. Explore their curriculum, course offerings, specializations, and faculty expertise. Look for programs that offer a well-rounded education and align with your career goals. Consider factors such as program reputation, accreditation, and alumni success as indicators of program quality.
  3. Consider Your Long-Term Career Goals: Clarify your long-term career goals and evaluate how each business degree aligns with those goals. Some degrees, like an MBA, offer broad management knowledge, while others, like a Master of Finance or Master of Marketing, provide specialized expertise. Choose a degree that will equip you with the skills and knowledge required for your desired career path.
  4. Evaluate Program Flexibility: Consider your personal circumstances and preferences regarding the format and flexibility of the program. Determine whether you prefer full-time or part-time study, on-campus or online learning, and the duration of the program. Flexibility in scheduling and program options can be crucial, especially if you have other commitments or need to balance work and studies.
  5. Seek Information and Advice: Reach out to academic advisors, professionals in the field, and current students or alumni of the programs you are considering. They can provide valuable insights into the program's strengths, weaknesses, and the career opportunities it offers. Attend information sessions, virtual fairs, and networking events to gather more information and connect with individuals who can guide you in your decision-making process.
  6. Consider Internship and Networking Opportunities: Look for programs that offer internship opportunities, cooperative education, or networking events with industry professionals. Practical experiences and networking connections can significantly enhance your learning experience and provide valuable career prospects upon graduation.
  7. Financial Considerations: Evaluate the cost of the program, available scholarships, financial aid, and the potential return on investment. Consider the long-term financial implications of pursuing a particular degree, balancing your aspirations with your financial capabilities.
  8. Trust Your Instincts: Ultimately, listen to your intuition and trust your instincts. Choose a business degree program that resonates with you on a personal and professional level. Consider the program's culture, values, and the learning environment that will best support your growth and development.

Remember, choosing the right business degree requires thoughtful consideration of your interests, goals, and the opportunities offered by each program. Take your time, gather information, and make a decision that aligns with your aspirations and sets you on a path towards a rewarding and successful career.

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Final Thoughts

The world of business offers a diverse range of degree options, each catering to different interests, strengths, and career goals. Whether you're drawn to the broad management focus of a Bachelor of Business Administration or the specialized expertise of a Master of Finance, choosing the right business degree is a crucial step towards a successful and fulfilling career. By considering your passions, researching programs, and evaluating long-term aspirations, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your unique ambitions.

Remember, the value of a business degree extends far beyond the classroom, providing you with essential skills, practical experiences, and a network of connections that will shape your professional journey. So, explore the various types of business degrees, seize opportunities, and embark on a path that leads you to personal growth, rewarding opportunities, and a thriving future in the dynamic world of business.

Ready to begin your journey? Book a free consultation with a Crimson counselor today. Together, let's explore your potential in business and kickstart your path to success in the world of commerce.

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