The push to earn a degree is greater these days than ever before, with many companies requiring degrees for positions that, just ten years ago, would’ve needed little more than a high school diploma. Online colleges are all the rage, and advertisements for degree programs can be seen on billboards and televisions across the country, and that goes double for business degrees. How can you decide if going back to school to get a business degree would really be worth it? Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of attending business school to earn a degree.
+ Business Degrees are Exceptionally Flexible
Often times when attending university, your degree program will either have a very clear progression after college, or you’ll be on your own to figure out how to apply it. A degree in science, for example, might prepare you to be a researcher, or a professor, but if neither of those roles appeals to you, you’d probably be better off choosing another major. This is one problem business degrees don’t have; there’s a plethora of business careers for you to choose from where your degree will have some relevancy, and odds are you’ll be able to tailor the degree to fit should you decide on a particular career early. Even with a general business major, however, you’ll be equipped with the skills to succeed in corporate environments in a number of roles.
– …But That Flexibility Still Needs Planning
While it’s entirely possible to succeed with your business degree without working on a specialty, it’s not the best idea. Since a business degree can work for so many different careers, a new graduate who didn’t aim for a particular field might find themselves feeling lost. In order to get the most out of your time in business school, it’s advisable to try out courses in different areas, like marketing or accounting, and find one that appeals to you. Once you’ve decided on a concentration, you can focus your upper level courses in this area to ensure you have both a plan for after graduation and the particular education needed to fulfill it. While this does sacrifice some of the flexibility the degree offers, it’s better to have at least a general idea of what you’re working towards than to be left wondering what’s next after you walk across the stage at commencement.
+ Business Degrees are Useful at All Levels
Careers that require a degree are often quite specific about what degree level you’ll need. To continue our science example from before, a student hoping to become a professor would need at least a PhD in their field before they could begin looking for a position. A bachelor’s degree in science often has very limited job prospects by comparison, at least in careers that are relevant to their degree. Business degrees, however, aren’t like that. An associate’s degree in business could be sufficient to get started as a manager at some companies. Business degrees, due to their professional utility, can often be supplemented with experience and a proven track record, and that means less upfront costs when getting your career started. While a master’s degree in business administration is certainly a powerful tool, it isn’t as strictly mandatory as graduate degrees in other fields might be.
– Business School is Worth What You Put In
Business schools offer some amazing opportunities to students, from guest talks by successful businessmen and entrepreneurs to access to elite internships. However, even though these are often some of the most valuable aspects of being enrolled, these activities tend to be optional. A hypothetical student could skate through their business classes, making slightly above average grades, without attending any talks or applying for any internships. They could avoid their classmates and miss out on the networking opportunities business schools put forth. In four years, they’d have their degree… but without taking these extra opportunities, the value of that degree would be a lot less than it could have been otherwise. Because in the end, simply having a degree next to your name isn’t always enough. What’s important is what you learned, and how you put that knowledge to use. If you don’t learn everything you can while in business school, you’ll only be hurting your own potential.
Overall, a business degree offers a lot of potential, with its flexibility and usefulness regardless of degree level. Still, it’s important to plan properly for the future you want for yourself and put the full effort in, even when that means going beyond the basic requirements set for the classes. While a degree can help you on your path, the real key to your success will always be you.