Contrary to popular belief, business degrees aren’t limited to just one type. You can actually to specialise in several business areas such as accounting, finance, management and even entrepreneurship. Such is the multidisciplinary nature of business! If you’re looking to zero in on a particular business field, you may want to take up a joint honours programme that offers a combination of the areas you’re interested in, e.g. Business & Economics. Joint degrees place you at an advantage as you will gain general and specialised business skills. Read on get the details on this popular field and how you can make the most of it.
What can you expect to learn in a business degree programme?
Your bachelor’s degree will equip you with a basic understanding of marketing techniques, organisational concepts and issues, contracts and negotiations, and accounting concepts that drive business decisions. Among the subjects that you will be learning include financial and managerial accounting; project management; strategic business planning; corporate finance, and business management concepts.
Do you have what it takes?
The key concern of every business is its bottom line, or rather, improving it! There are certain skills that you will need to have to get a business on the right track towards growth, but worry not if you don’t have them, you’ll just as soon learn them during the course of your study. Here are some of the skills that are valued in a business graduate:
- Multi-tasking. You will most probably be managing more than one project at any one time so the ability to multitask and prioritise – without compromising on productivity – is of utmost importance.
- Decision-making. Being a manager means having to lead, and leading typically involves making decisions – salient decisions that benefit the business. Think the ability to analyse a particular situation rationally and evaluating the information available to sift out the wheat from the chaff, and then deciding on the best possible action to take.
- Leadership. The best managers know how to get the most out of their employees while ensuring their professional and personal growth in the process. Great leaders lead by example and respect others, both of which are positive traits that inspire employees to give their best.
- Motivation. Part of being a good manager involves being able to motivate your team to perform at optimum level. To do this, you will need to nurture their professional development, establish clear performance expectations and set achievable goals to maintain their focus on growth and success.
- Business acumen. Success is all about strategy and as a manager, you will be expected to see opportunities for improvement and growth where others can’t, and capitalise on your business acumen to develop the right strategies to realise business success.
- Good communication. You may have the most brilliants ideas and strategies to bring your company to greater heights, but if you can’t convey your thoughts clearly and effectively, those ideas won’t amount to much. Communication involves more than just speaking. Your body language, facial expression and tone of voice all speak volumes about how effective a communicator you are, so be sure to get those communication skills down pat!
What can you do with your business degree?
When people think of a business degree, most would generally think of management and leadership roles. While that may be true, it’s definitely not the only path open to business graduates. Business careers cover a broad range of fields and industries, as you can see below:
Accounting and finance
A general business degree will usually cover the basics of accountancy and finance, but if you’re looking to pursue a career in accounting or finance, you will need further qualifications. To avoid overburdening yourself, consider completing your business degree first then signing up for an accounting or finance qualification once you’ve secured a job. Many companies do cover the costs of their employees’ further studies, which is repaid through a bond spanning a stipulated number of years. Accounting or finance roles typically involve reviewing a company’s finances, advising management and staff on tax and expenditure matters, managing records and business transactions, overseeing mergers and acquisitions, and preventing financial fraud and negligence.
As a manager at your workplace, your main priority is to bring structure and develop business strategies. You will also be managing several subordinates, where your capabilities as a leader will be tested. There will be many opportunities for career progression if you perform above expectations but sometimes, you will need to first gain several years of experience and maybe even secure another qualification, e.g. a masters degree, before you can be considered for a promotion. You can also venture into business consultancy, where you offer your business expertise to your clients, which are usually other companies. In this role, you will mainly be advising on how companies can optimise currently available resources to grow and develop their business.
Marketing and advertising
In this field, business graduates are in a prime position to contribute through their analysis and report-writing capabilities. Some of the tasks you’ll be handling involve conducting market research, developing marketing strategies, managing client relationships, liaising with design, editorial and production staff, analysing markets and evaluating campaign results. This is a field where collaboration is key, so you will most probably be working with designers, video producers and copywriters, and be required to continuously learn new skills to keep pace with technological changes and market trends.
The rise of capitalism and globalisation will see the proliferation of businesses like never before. Strong business acumen and management skills are the hallmarks of a successful company, and as a business graduate, you will always be in high demand.