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Business Degree Considerations

Approximately 20 percent of the undergraduate degrees received annually in the US are some type of business degree. It is one of the nation’s more popular college majors. According to a recent survey (NACE Job Outlook) 52 percent of all employers seek business administration/management graduates.

Likewise, data suggest that as a result of globalization, there is a movement internationally toward a university and post-graduate education, particularly in the MBA marketplace. An increasing number of firms now consider in many instances the MBA business degree as a minimum qualification for an entry level management position.

A Few Factors To Consider During Business Degree Selection

Due to the increasing emphasis on education, the pool of candidates competing for jobs requiring a college education will not be in short supply during the foreseeable future. Therefore, it is important that anyone thinking about a Business Degree take into consideration a number of important factors that should influence their decision regarding which Business Degree they should seek to acquire.

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  • Cost

There is a wide variation of tuition costs associated with business schools. A wise business student will find that school which offers the most effective cost benefit solution. This typically is one which offers the most benefits at the least cost.

  • Analytic skills

Academically Adrift suggests that 33% of students graduate with no improvement in their analytical skills. Yet, this attribute is one of the more important features sought by employers – the ability to solve problems independently using appropriate and refined analytical skills.

However, the courses in many business schools focus on theory and research, rather than on trying to improve the ability of students to solve problems incurred by businesses on a day to day basis.

A student who wants to succeed should explore the offerings of the schools in which they have an interest so as to be assured that the broad use of case studies and the exploration of how to solve complex business problems in a practical manner is emphasized by these schools.

  • Personal Attention – Mentoring

The larger schools typically have larger sized classes. For example: Harvard averages 90 students/class for their core business courses.

Those students who seek personal attention from their professors should seek class sizes which are more intimate. The smaller sized class also promotes the ability of the professor to act more like a mentor rather than merely as an instructor or lecturer.

  • Faculty

In many instances, graduate students who have exceled in the classroom immediately upon graduation enter and continue in the teaching arena without ever having acquired any practical business experience.

Most traditional schools require their faculty to focus on three areas: a) research and publication; b) university governance; and c) community participation. If the professors have not acquired practical work experience, the publications they prepare are typically highly theoretical with little practical application, for either the student or the reader.

A student who wants to succeed should explore the backgrounds of the respective faculty to be assured that the professors are duly experienced on a practical basis in the fields in which they teach. As the world is changing rapidly, it is important that the faculty have continuing, practical experience in the business world rather than merely reading about the changes in a book.

  • Work Experience

In recent salary surveys, an attraction for an increasing number of employers is the graduate who has had a solid work experience – a candidate who has a track record of achievement.

Therefore, a student who wants to succeed as a graduate should review the opportunities available to attend school while working so as to achieve the track record of business experience now desired by many employers.

Summary

Not all business schools offer a business degree with the same features. A successful graduate is one who completes the appropriate research about various factors associated with the business degree, to be assured they are getting the maximum opportunity to realize their vision of successful employment after graduation.

Dr. David McKinney
University President
Dean, College of Business