What's the Best Business Major?

The best business major is often dependent on the student and what field he or she would like to go into upon graduation. Some business majors include accounting, finance, management information systems and marketing. Read about these majors to find out which is right for you.

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Choosing a Business Major

Business programs cover various aspects of business and prepare students for entry-level jobs or graduate school. Although courses vary by business major, some classes common in business majors may include accounting, economics, statistics, management, finance, public speaking, operations management and marketing.

When choosing the best business major for you, you should consider the field you'd like to work in after graduation, as well as the interests you have. Each field has its own career options, educational requirements and job prospects, and these should also be taken into consideration when you decide on a major. Some common business majors include the following:

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Management information systems
  • Marketing

Accounting

Accounting programs teach students how to use mathematics for business and tax purposes and prepares them for a career in an accounting department or as a certified public accountant (CPA). While aspiring CPAs usually need additional education after a bachelor's degree, an accounting program prepares students for taking the CPA exam or working in other aspects of business.

Major Coursework

In addition to core business administration courses, classes in an accounting degree program may include the following:

  • Cost accounting
  • Income taxes
  • Auditing
  • Business ethics
  • Accounting for public organizations
  • Financial and managerial accounting
  • Accounting software systems

Career Options

Graduates of accounting degree programs may pursue employment as accountants or auditors. While accountants perform tasks like computing taxes, creating financial statements and finding ways for companies to improve profitability, auditors are responsible for ensuring financial records are correct and don't contain any fraud. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), auditors and accounts will experience 13% employment growth between 2012 and 2022, which is about average (www.bls.gov). In May 2013, the median wage for this group of professionals was $65,080.

Finance

Finance majors learn about the stewardship of finance in corporations, institutions and individuals. Students may study applications of financial analysis, strategy, management and dealing with money on an open market.

Major Coursework

Classes in a finance degree program may include the following:

  • Market policy
  • Accounting
  • Markets and mediation
  • Real estate
  • Portfolio theory
  • Internal finance
  • Cost accounting

Career Options

Possible career options for finance majors include employment as financial analysts or financial planners. Financial analysts use financial and economic data to help companies and individuals make decisions about investments, including stocks and bonds. Personal financial advisors, on the other hand, help individuals make decisions about insurance, investments and taxes. The BLS reports that there will be very fast employment growth of 27% for financial advisors and fast growth of 16% for financial analysts between 2012 and 2022. In May 2013, the BLS reported median wages of $78,380 for financial analysts and $75,320 for personal financial advisors.

Management Information Systems

Management information systems degree programs focus on applying technology toward the business world. Students learn to understand and detail the change in technology and computer applications within a company or organization.

Major Coursework

Classes in this degree program may include:

  • Web technologies
  • Data management
  • Systems analysis
  • Business intelligence
  • Programming
  • Accounting information systems

Career Options

A possible career option for management information systems graduates is to become a computer and information systems manager. These professionals recommend technology for businesses, manage data security, manage other information technology professionals and install software and hardware as needed. The BLS expects fast employment growth of 15% for this career between 2012 and 2022. Computer and information systems managers earned a median salary of $123,950 in May 2013.

Marketing

Marketing degree programs deal with the pricing, distribution, branding, sales, advertising, retail management and promotion of a product or service. Students study human nature to predict consumer behavior.

Major Coursework

Classes in a marketing program include:

  • Marketing research
  • Management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Sales
  • Business-to-business marketing

Career Options

Marketing program graduates may work in various roles, including as market research analysts and marketing managers. Market research analysts are responsible for determining the services and products that customers demand, as well as the target markets and pricing. Marketing managers lead entire marketing programs, as well as do some of the tasks of market research analysts.

From 2012 through 2022, the BLS expects very fast growth of 32% for market research analysts and about average growth of 13% for marketing managers. The May 2013 median wages were $60,800 for market research analysts and marketing specialists and $123,220 for marketing managers.

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