Should I Major In Business?

"I’ve heard that the people who make the most money are usually people who are in management positions. I think I might be interested in making a lot of money (who isn’t), but I am not sure what major I should go into. There are several fields that interest me, but I am not sure which one I want to go into. Healthcare sounds interesting, but so does engineering and so does design. Should I major in one of those three fields so I can get the specialized knowledge, or should I major in business since I don’t really know? At that rate, is a business major different from a management major? Is management a concentration or a different degree altogether, and what level degree do I need to get where I’m headed?"

asked by Whitney from Oklahoma City, OK

Congratulations on your decision to take on extra responsibility and go into management. You are correct that going into management can give you the opportunity to earn a higher salary than you would if you were working under a manager. All that extra money comes with extra obligations and commitments, however, and a full set of challenges.

What major should you pursue? If you’re a freshman, there is no need to rush into a declaration. You still need to do a lot of general education classes, so my suggestion would be to start out with those so that you can buy yourself some time to figure out what interests you. You could try making some of your classes align with your specific interests to get a preview of what those fields might be like.

For example, since you are interested in engineering, try physics or engineering 101 as your science class. Throw in a design class to satisfy your arts requirement.

If you find yourself leaning heavily in a specific direction, there is no reason you can’t major in that subject area instead of business. To get into a management position, work experience is usually sufficient. So what you can do is major in your area of interest, get a nonmanagement job in that sector, and then work your way up the rungs once you are part of a company. Experience and willingness are often all you need to get a management position, and having specialized knowledge could be helpful, especially in a technical field.

If you cannot make up your mind, there is no reason you cannot major in business or management. Management and business are sometimes separate majors, and sometimes they overlap. Management may be a concentration in business. It depends on your school, so ask your department head if you can’t figure it out. The level of degree you pursue is up to you.

Higher degrees may open new doors, but an associate’s or bachelor’s degree is probably sufficient to get you through most doors. The higher wage for managers is usually in return for working extra hours and taking on more responsibility, and not for having a higher degree. Good luck!

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