A Student’s Guide to Business Majors

When you think of working in business, do you imagine working with numbers, watching them rise with your profits? Do you imagine helping people to reach their full potential under your management? Do you imagine making a company that helps people or reaching every corner of your market? Every aspect of business is a bit different, so choosing what degree you need to start your career can be key to your success.

General Business

This degree is a good start if you’re not sure exactly what entices you or you’d like to take a more broad-based approach. This degree could lead to many different career paths, whether it’s management of resources, being an entrepreneur or CEO, or basically any other role that makes up a company. This is a good choice for someone who would like to leave their options open for a variety of career paths. Some courses you might take are:

  • Accounting
  • Management
  • Law and ethics


Accounting is a detail-oriented major focused on the financials of running a company. If your passion is number-crunching and maximizing profitability, this major might be the right choice for you. Every company needs at least one accountant, whether it’s to determine their own profit, manage their payroll, or even act as chief financial officer for the entire company. If you prefer hard numbers, this is a great major choice. Some courses you might take are:

  • Taxation
  • Auditing
  • Economics


Your passion may instead lie in watching a company grow, knowing that you’ve helped the customers realize how good your product is. If this is the case for you, you should pursue a degree in marketing. You’ll learn about the psychology of consumers and the best ways to reach them, and you’ll be a valuable asset to any company looking to advertise its products. Some courses you might take are:

  • Digital marketing
  • Public relations
  • Market research

Information Systems

This major is focused on using technology in a way that’s most effective for the growth of your company. You’ll become the person deciding which software your company will be using, how the systems will be set up, and what programs you actually need. This can lead to a potential career as a chief technology officer or information systems manager. Some courses you might take are:

  • System design and analysis
  • Information systems management
  • Analytics


Are you ready to start your own company from the ground up? If your goal to see a company grow under your guidance or launch your own service or product line, this is the major for you. This major can guide you to a life of making companies from scratch. You could be a jack-of-all-trades, learning how to make it in the scrappy world of startup businesses. Some courses you might take are:

  • Entrepreneurial finance
  • Consulting
  • Low-risk startups

Public Relations

While this may seem similar to a marketing degree, this major is actually quite different. Rather than advertising the company to the public, you are acting as the company’s public face for the media. Someone working in public relations has to balance telling the truth to the customers and the company with social skills, strategizing to please the public without bankrupting the company and practicing a precarious balancing act between two groups that are often at odds. This major may land you as a social media expert for a company, a spokesperson, or a general strategist. Some courses you might take are:

  • Public speaking
  • Principles of marketing
  • Media relations management

Health-Care Management

Some people go into business to help people, and one of the many ways you can help people is to work in health care. Due to the unique challenges this job faces, a degree that focuses on health care specifically can be valuable. This can lead you to a career path like medical administration, community health organizing, or working for a nonprofit. Some courses you might take are:

  • Managing a diverse workforce
  • Law and ethics
  • Policy management

Hospitality Management

Maybe you want to help people to escape from it all and have the best vacation of their life. Your goal is to make people happy through your work, and this could lead you to a career running a hotel or restaurant. You may even work to coordinate conventions and other large events. Some courses you might take are:

  • Hospitality law
  • Travel and tourism
  • Accounting for hospitality


This degree is more focused on the digital part of marketing than the general one. People with this specialization might work with social media, banner ads, newsletters, and online strategies that keep a company on someone’s radar. You may end up working as a webmaster for a company’s website, focusing on where online advertising money is best spent, or managing a social media team. Some courses you might take are:

  • Consumer behavior
  • Digital marketing
  • Customer relationships

Operations Management

Operations managers are the people who glue a company together. They coordinate with everyone else, making sure that the supply chain is constant, the customers are ordering, and the back-end systems are working. They’re the people putting out fires and pushing the company forward. If you’re interested in operations management, you will probably be working in a back-end, administrative position that’s necessary to make sure that everything runs smoothly. Some courses you might take are:

  • Sustainable operations
  • Statistics for managers
  • Project management