Written by Amanda Maritan February 2022
First things first, let's define a business. Business' most common definition is ‘’industry that sells a service or a product’’, and business owners are usually called entrepreneurs; people that create a business or enterprise and make a profit (or not) from it. In a business major, students learn about finance, marketing, project management, and accounting. However, when it comes to running a successful business, you don’t need a specific degree.
Here’s the real view: entrepreneurs use a lot of soft skills such as time management, teamwork, leadership, communication, organization, problem-solving skills, etc. But these are abilities from real-world experience that you can develop independently of which major/job you are in. Even in extracurricular activities, you are capable of gaining such knowledge. When it comes to more specific skills like communication, finances, and economy, there are plenty of certificate programs that you can get.
Though, this doesn’t mean that any degree isn’t necessary for running a business. Let’s give an example: for those who dream of having a clothing industry business, you might don’t need a business degree to be an entrepreneur and manager, but you need knowledge about the fashion design area. To have a successful business, you need a product or a service, and you may have abilities and be good at what you are selling. So, in this case, this person doesn't need a business degree to build a clothing brand, but they need entrepreneurship skills, and, most importantly, they need fashion knowledge and skills, which they will mostly acquire through a fashion & design degree.
On the other hand, deciding to have a business degree will not harm your career. The major gives you many insights into different areas that will give you a wide range of career options later on. The job versatility is one of the cons of this area, and if you, at some point, feel tired of the options you have, you will be able to start a business by yourself. Plus, it can be really helpful when it comes to personal daily life situations: having knowledge of finances, investing, and accounting can help people to be more financially stable and aware of how to gain an extra income, like investing, for example.
In conclusion, if you are interested in a specific industry to work on as an entrepreneur or in a management role, then maybe having a degree in this specific area is the best, and you can complete an MBA or a certificate program later, to strengthen your leadership and business skills. But if you want to be a manager in an existing company and you are not bothered by what they sell, then get your business degree, and if you feel so, do a graduate program or short-term course in a specific area you desire.
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Laura, T, QS Top Universities, Why Study Business? Sep 2021.
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University of the Potomac, 8 Benefits of Earning a Degree in Business Administration, Jan 2022. https://potomac.edu/4-great-benefits-earning-degree-business-administration/
Wharton Online, Can You Run a Business Without Going to Business School?