A Guide to Business Degrees

If you’re considering enrolling for an undergraduate business degree, it’s possible that you may find yourself inundated with choices. While it’s always good to have too many choices rather than too few, it can sometimes make the decision harder.

Should you consider general business degrees or go with a major in accounting? Should you opt for an unconventional business career like personal property management or is it safer to stick to a more tried and tested field like human resources?

There are tons of questions, and finding answers can prove to be an uphill task. But don’t worry, because you are not alone in your effort to find the right business program for you. To help you in your decision-making process, we present a complete guide to business degrees.

Types of Business Degrees

The first thing you need to understand is that universities and colleges offer different types of business degrees. At the undergraduate level, there are essentially two types of business degrees:

Associate’s degree in business: An associate’s degree in business is an approximately two-year program designed to provide graduates with a basic-level understanding of different business functions. The skills imparted by an associate’s business degree are generally rudimentary and may qualify graduates for entry-level business roles such as administrative assistant, customer care executive, sales rep, bookkeeper, etc.

Bachelor’s degree in business: For strategic and responsible business roles, it may be essential to complete at least a bachelor’s degree in business. This is typically a four-year program, of which the first two years are focused on general education courses and the next two involve an intensive business-related curriculum. The skills and knowledge provided by a bachelor’s program is more comprehensive and advanced as compared to an associate’s business degree.

At the graduate level, the most traditional business degree is the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. There are different types of MBA programs such as the accelerated MBA, which can be finished in less-than-normal completion time and the executive MBA, which is designed for individuals in middle- to senior-level management roles. The classes for executive MBA programs are generally held over the weekend. In addition to these two programs, online MBA degrees are an option that many working professionals turn to for career development.

Some business professionals who are voracious academics don’t just stop with an MBA. They go on to earn doctorate business degrees, which include the DBA and PhD, and which usually involve four years of intensive coursework and research.

Popular Business Majors

Once you’ve chosen the type of business degree you’d like to enroll in, you will have to decide on a particular major. Your personal interests, strengths, and career objectives should take precedence over any other consideration when deciding on a business major. Here’s a list of some popular business majors:

Accounting: This business degree will prepare you for accounting roles like public accountant, management accountant, government accountant, and internal auditor. It is one of the most challenging business roles, albeit less glamorous than functions like finance and marketing.

Business Administration: This degree will provide you a solid foundation in different business disciplines and prepare you for a variety of careers including management and leadership roles.

Human Resources: Graduates of this business major can join the human resource department of an organization and may be involved in activities like staffing, training, talent retention, benefits and compensation, organizational policies, etc.

Entrepreneurship: There was a time when entrepreneurship was an untouched and unexplored area for a vast majority of the middle-class population. Not anymore. Encouraged by the success of young entrepreneurs and the willingness of investors to pump money into promising ventures, many young individuals are now taking the plunge to start their own company. A major in entrepreneurship is designed to shape such budding entrepreneurs.

Finance: Of all the business degrees, a major in finance is perhaps the most distinguished and rewarding option. From banking to insurance and from corporate finance to the stock market, the finance major can open up some very exciting career possibilities for graduates. And according to payscale.com, finance managers can earn an average of $41,959 to$131,025 per year in total pay, depending on experience, education, and location.

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What Can You Do With an Online Finance Degree?

Whether you are already established in your career or just starting out, an online finance degree can open many doors. For those who are currently working, a degree in finance, particularly a Master’s in Business Administration, can mean promotion. For those who have yet to select a career path, a bachelor degree in finance can mean the choice of many excellent opportunities. In addition, having a certification such as CPA (Certified Public Accountant) is important if you want to broaden your skills or showcase your competence in the finance field.

A finance degree is essential for many positions in the insurance industry, such as actuary. It is also the degree of choice for financial consultants and investment analysts. A finance degree differs from an accounting degree in that the focus is much more on the strategy of protecting assets and building wealth than tracking activity. While accountants do perform some of the financing tasks, these same tasks are a full time job for the finance officer.

Some of the popular jobs for those with a degree in finance include:

Financial Manager – working for a bank, credit union or mortgage and finance company, as a finance manager you would be responsible for tasks such as lending, trusts, mortgages, and investments. You may even be involved with sourcing for business, directing investments of funds, running sales programs as well as managing electronic financial services.

Credit Manager – in charge of allocation and issuance of credit on behalf of the company, a credit manager is also tasked with setting the criteria for credit rating and determining credit ceilings as well as managing and checking on the status of past-due accounts.

Cash Manager – monitors cash flow in a company to effectively meet the business and investment needs.

Branch Manager – in a financial institution, a branch manager administers and manages all of the functions of a branch office, ranging from hiring staff, approving loans and lines of credit, sourcing for new business (sales and marketing) of their financial products and services and also customer service.

Risk Manager – as the name suggests, risk managers duties include among others, minimizing risk and loss that might arise from business transactions and operations, while devising the best ways to limit potential operational risks to the company.

An online finance degree can be the most convenient way for working adults to pursue their education in the most flexible way. It is also excellent for those who live a great distance from a university.

Many state universities and local community colleges offer online degrees in finance, as well as a great number of private institutions.

Attending classes online can be an excellent way to obtain your online finance degree. However, potential students should realize that they will need to be self motivated when pursuing this type of education. It is far too easy to procrastinate, and just like any class, falling behind can be disastrous.

To get the best out of your education, ensure you enroll in only accredited schools and compare the degree offering from various colleges to pick one that best fits your needs.

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Diversify Your Search for Finance Graduate Jobs

The act of getting a finance degree in an accredited university is not enough to land a job. The financial sector is highly competitive based on a number of factors not the least of which is the importance of individuals capable of dealing with high stress jobs. A finance degree does not carry the same weight as it once did based on the number of finance professionals looking for work worldwide. Your knowledge of available employers of finance graduates will give you a leg up on the competition.

Finance graduates who want to break into the public sector can work with government agencies responsible for creating a national budget. The national budget involves billions of pounds distributed throughout hundreds of programs. Each pound needs to be accounted for at all times to avoid charges of accounting malfeasance. Financial advisors who want to serve their country while using their university training can find an internship program through a government agency to begin their career.

A combination of small business growth and increasing accessibility to financial resources has led to a new market for finance graduate jobs. There are a number of firms that need to fill finance graduate jobs designed specifically for small business clients. The rewards of working as a financial advisor to a burgeoning business are plentiful including the opportunity to witness successful businesses at their birth. These positions may feature a lower commission level but graduates can gain invaluable experience and a stepping stone for better positions with a few years on the job.

Finance graduates eye up high profile positions with corporations as stock traders and advisors on the world’s financial exchanges. The intense competition, high stress and long hours of these jobs can be off-putting for young professionals. Graduates who want a taste of this highly pursued career option can spend a summer as an intern after graduation. This temporary option provides a foot in the door and builds up skills needed in other financial positions.

A professional option for finance graduates who disdain the rigors of office life is private advising for individual clients. Finance graduates need to get certification and licensure on their own but young professionals can strike out on their own to advice people who don’t trust advising firms. This path requires hard work, a commitment to selling one’s self and an ability to build trust instantly with sceptical clients.

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Masters Finance Degree – A Rich Learning Experience

Taking that next bold step towards your chosen career can be a daunting one, and potentially challenging financially. Studying for a Masters finance degree has its drawbacks in terms of having to fund the majority of your course and living fees on your own, but the merits far outweigh the negatives.

It is your time to shine. With the right Masters degree you can graduate with a course that is based on, and connected to, the needs of business and employers worldwide. London’s business and financial teaching institutions are seemingly best placed to provide business undergraduates with high-level contacts and guidance with numerous City firms that can potentially provide future employment.

London-based business schools appreciate that a Masters finance degree is a significant investment, and therefore many institutions do provide scholarships and bursaries that can pay a percentage of your tuition fees.

Studying business in London avails you to a wide mix of different backgrounds and perspectives, giving you a uniquely rich learning experience, not to mention social life! Extracurricular activities are regarded as highly important by employers, and postgraduates can enrol in numerous clubs and societies that show you are a well rounded individual having taken a full part in school life.

Boredom is not an option at a London-based business school, with enviable learning facilities as well as social societies. With learning resource centres that support all areas of business and management teaching, there are literally thousands of books, journals, dissertations and past exam papers to set yourself apart from the rest of your course mates.

Masters finance degree postgraduates are given all the tools necessary to set themselves up for a successful career in commerce, connecting you to industry in an increasingly competitive job market.

Located in the heart of London’s financial district, Cass Business School is a leading provider of business and management education.

Our MBA is recognised globally as a market leader, we have the widest portfolio of Specialist Masters finance degree programmes (MSc) in Europe and our Undergraduate School is one of the best in the UK. Ranked in the UK’s top 10 business and management research schools, means we attract leading PhD students.

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