Majoring in Business? Get a Minor

Many people who major in business today won’t admit that their degrees are, with all due respect, quite contentless. Even with a concentration in something like finance isn’t going to fill that void that you get with general classes. Since one in five college students in America are business majors, it takes much more than just an undergraduate degree in business to be competitive. In fact, it takes even more than just an MBA to be competitive unless your area has very few of those, which is doubtful.

Instead, there are things you can do to make yourself much more competitive and even more attractive to future employers. It’s a lot more work, but you do get more from your education when you put more into it. You could always talk with your business teachers and advisors about it. Do know that a good business teacher would help you with your interests and not their own. This means that if there’s another major that would work out better for you, they would tell you to look into it.

Consider Changing Your Major or At Least Getting a Minor

Depending on what you’re wanting to do with business, you might want to change what you’re studying. This isn’t a jab at business degrees, saying that all of them are awful. No, I’m saying that you should think long and hard about what you’re wanting to do. This really only applies to those in certain concentrations. Below is a list of what each specific major should look into.

Please understand that I’m not saying that you shouldn’t major in business. I’m merely saying that many people who go into business really want to do something that there already is another major for or supplementation that is needed to be competitive in today’s workforce. Trust me when I say that just an undergraduate degree doesn’t cut it today.

Concentrations in Marketing

What exactly are you wanting to do with marketing? If you’re wanting to get into advertising, there’s actually a major for that. It tends to be in the journalism or communications department. If you like the idea of advertising, but want something a little more general so you can stay within the industry, then a degree in communication might suit your needs. Depending on your school, communication might actually be a journalism degree, since they’re related.

If you’re not wanting to change your major, consider minoring in communication, advertising, or journalism. You may even consider minoring in two of these things if it’s specific enough. Depending on what industry you’re wanting to break into, it may be good for you to minor in that subject. If minors aren’t offered, take classes in those subjects.

Concentrations in Finance

Some people who major in finance really want to work a job similar to accounting. If you want to look at financial statements and records and make corrections as you analyze and solve problems, you may want to change your major to accounting. Sometimes, a major in economics is more appropriate. Depending on what you’re wanting to do after college, a minor in finance is actually much more useful when paired with a major like accounting or economics. Understand that you may not be able to find a minor in accounting and may need to have a double major.

If you want to work in any form of banking or real estate, I highly recommend that you, at the very least, minor in economics. I’d say that a double major in economics is ideal if you’re set on a business degree. Otherwise, it may be a good idea for you to just be an economics undergraduate that goes for an MBA. If you’re going to do that, be sure to take a lot of accounting so you don’t have issues later.

If you want to work with investments, then consider a double minor in accounting and economics. While finance is actually one of the lesser evils in business major concentrations, you’re going to want to have a deeper understanding of the other two subjects. Accounting helps you identify and solve problems by analyzing financial statements and records. Economics helps you understand economic indicators and fluctuations in business cycles that allow you to better forecast what will happen with certain investments and markets.

In all cases, you should consider obtaining a certification from Microsoft as a Microsoft Office Specialist Master: Excel. Specifics for this can be found in another article I wrote about becoming a financial analyst. While it’s written more for those wanting to be a financial analyst, the article could be extremely beneficial for those majoring in finance.

Concentrations in Entrepreneurship

Working for yourself is great. You make your own hours, you can be your own boss, or, if you don’t like that, you can make your business helping other businesses succeed. Entrepreneurship is, sadly, a broad major that covers a lot of things and should be supplemented with a minor, even if you’re only going to work for yourself. Depending on what you want to do, you should minor or double major in that.

Concentrations in Supply Chain

Supply chain is probably one of the most mathematical business majors I’ve seen. You make models and forecasts on spreadsheets so that your company is well stocked in everything. Because of specific this concentration is, I don’t suggest you change your major. Instead, I suggest that you get a minor or two and take a few classes in certain subjects. As far as minors go, I’d say that you’d do well with a minor in mathematics and economics. These two subjects, even as minors, will help provide you with a crazy amount of mathematical tools to do your job better than anybody else.

At the very least, you should take cost accounting if your school offers it. While cost accounting is focused more on the overall performance of a company, it still helps you understand how to control costs and plan according to certain budgets. You should also consider taking courses for the specific industry you’re interested in. Even if you don’t go into that in the long run, it’s good to have an interest that you can go on.

Conclusion

As I’ve said before, majors in business are usually quite broad and don’t offer much in return. However, when paired with the right minor(s), it’s difficult to get a position that you don’t really want or a position that doesn’t pay very well. Much of the time, you’re assigned a position or paid according to your skill set. You should always be trying to improve that skill set, but you should also work on specific minors when you’re in college.

I promise that any business major who takes this advice will be much better off in today’s society. You need to be more competitive because the previous generations who majored in business were able to get by on just a degree in business administration and an MBA while, in today’s society and workforce, you can’t. Please seriously consider different certifications for things like Microsoft Excel and Oracle databases. Do this, and you can’t go wrong.

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