Choosing which business degree to apply to can seem almost as difficult as getting the degree itself. Where should you study? What should you specialize in? Is online as good as a classroom? Is it a good investment? How much time will it take? What are you really going to learn?
If you’re considering going for a business degree, carefully think about your motivations. There are a lot of factors to consider. If you know why you want to study a business degree, it can make it easier to answer the tricky questions.
And if you know what your goal is, you will be able to study smarter and more efficiently.
Why get a business degree?
There are lots of reasons you might want to get a business degree. If you already have a job, a degree could lead to promotions or other opportunities in your company or profession. You might want to switch careers completely, and move out of one industry into another. You could be finding it hard to break into a career and think a business degree will help you. Or maybe you’re considering starting your own business or becoming an entrepreneur.
These are each quite different. Your reasons will dictate which course you choose. For example, if you want to move into management or strengthen your professional skills, then you should look at Business Administration. But if you’re keen to become an entrepreneur, then your focus should be on Sales or Marketing.
The most common specializations are:
– Accounting or Economics
– Information technology
– International business or foreign trade
– Organizational or human resource management
A good degree will teach you the fundamentals of how a business is actually run. Keep in mind, that also means financial accounting, governance, tax, employment law, and other topics that don’t sound exciting. But these are incredibly important. Knowing how all the cogs work will give you an incredible insight into the whole machine.
Weighing up your options
Where and how you decide to study will rely on many things. Do you want to study online? Do you prefer to go to a class? What are your work and family commitments? How far are you able to travel?
Very few people these days have the time to study fulltime. Moving to another city to go to college can be expensive and disruptive. The great news is that more and more excellent courses are now available on the internet.
Studying online doesn’t work for everyone; some people prefer to attend a brick-and-mortar school. Even if you’re only considering in-person courses, you should definitely check out some online courses. With such a wide variety of options on the web, it is the perfect way to test out what you want to study, why, and what your goals are.
Testing the waters
The questions you need to consider before you study are not simple. But you don’t have to answer them without any help. It’s now easier than ever to do some research and find out where and what you should study.
The first place you should start is with free MOOCs, which are Massive Open Online Courses. Every decent school in the US offers business courses for free through sites like Coursera and EdX. For example, you can take a University of Illinois 4-week course in financial accounting. Or how about a Michigan State University course on Developing an Entrepreneurial Mindset?
Keep in mind, the free versions are to help you get started. Once you’ve decided which school suits your style, or which specialization excites you the most, you can apply for certified courses which come with actual degrees from well-known schools.
Doing these MOOCs will also set you up for greatness. Get a head start on your studies with a crash course in Liabilities and Equity. When it comes time to study that topic in your degree, you’ll already be ahead of the game.
Online business courses
Once you’ve done some research and figure out exactly what you want to study, it’s time to choose a school. If the prestige of the school is important to you, then prioritize the top-ranked universities. By studying online, your tuition fees will be considerably less than studying on campus. Read reviews to make sure that the school has good online support for its students.
If you’re more concerned with time, then focus on the self-paced courses which let you fit in as many credits as you can. It’s possible to get a degree in two years or less if you really want to. Complement your studies with MOOCs and online tutorials to get the most out of your learning.
Certification, graduation, celebration
Of course, you want to be rewarded for all your hard work. Depending on the course, once you’ve completed all your credits there may be a capstone assignment or module. As the name suggests, this is an interactive project that combines everything you’ve learned across all of your courses. For example, you might write a business plan for a real company, or analyze a corporation’s marketing strategy.
When you have finished, and you’ve received your certificate and transcripts, don’t forget to celebrate. Studying online doesn’t mean you can’t have a graduation. Thank your family and friends for supporting you. Go out for a nice meal or have a celebration barbecue. You will have ended one chapter of your life – and hopefully opened many more.