Best Undergraduate Degrees for Business

You don’t have to be a prodigy to begin an early foray into your area of interest. At least that’s what we can say about getting an early start on your business aspirations. Heavily overshowed by its celebrity older sibling, the MBA or the other Master’s degrees in the field, the undergraduate business degree still manages to do quite well for itself.

According to a salary survey (source) by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), conducted in 2015, the median starting salary of a Bachelor’s graduate in the field of Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services, is $50,000.

This is among the top undergraduate salaries along with other disciplines such as Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Sciences, and Engineering. Mid-career salaries for individuals with an undergraduate business degree can be upwards of $70,000. Read MBA Starting Salaries and MBA Mid-Career Salaries.

An undergraduate training in business encompasses a range of subjects that provide a basic initiation into the discipline. Besides the high dollar returns on employment, it is an excellent platform to gain entry into the field and build on the expertize through the years of experience afforded by the head start. Even without direct corporate business aspirations, you can use an undergraduate training to enhance your acumen for other unrelated fields such as non-profit organizations, or even social economic ventures. Also read How to get into the top universities in the world for an undergraduate degree and Top Universities in the world, for Undergraduate Studies.

Most undergraduate business degrees, especially the Bachelors of Business Administration, have a similar structure of training as its post graduate counterpart, albeit in a more fundamentally basic format. Related fields, such as the ones we will be elaborating on below, also provide a sound business education to build upon through subsequent work experience.

On top of all the rest of the goodness, an undergraduate business degree allows for great financial returns for the relatively low cost of education compared to the showstopper MBA. The lack of student debts, and the additional years of work opportunity, makes the undergraduate business, or business related, degree quite valuable.

As mentioned before, undergraduate business degrees are not limited to the bachelor’s version of the MBA, namely BBA. There are associated areas of study that can increase your aptitude for business.

In the present article, we will attempt to talk about all those fields in some detail, their concentration, career opportunities, and some of the well-known universities, if known, that offer these subjects for your taking. Also read List of MBA Specializations.
 

Best Undergraduate Degrees for Business

 

Accounting

A professional degree, allowing graduates to pursue a career in accounting. The degree concentrates on the concepts of keeping track of financial information of an entity – individual or an organization.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in USA, the majority of accountancy majors are employed in professional, scientific, and technical services, followed by retail and wholesale trade, healthcare and social assistance, and finally in finance and insurance firms. They are generally employed in one of the following designations – Trainee Accountant, Bookkeeping Clerk, Accountant, Auditor, Financial Analyst, Budget Analyst, Taxation Accountant, Forensic Accountant, and other positions requiring the quantitative, and record keeping, skills required in the profession.

Typical curriculum involves an introduction to financial accounting – how the information will impact planning and decision-making, resource allocation, resource acquisition, budgeting, cost-volume-profit analysis, costing, contribution margins, etc.

Students are taught how to conduct financial reporting in corporations, understand the economics underlying common business transactions. They are also trained in taxation, investment planning, profit planning, etc. Quantitative methods and accounting ethics, the essentials in an accountant toolbox, are also part of accountancy education. An undergraduate training in finance accompanies most curricula. Read about Accounting Concepts, Principles and Basic Terms.

Some of the best schools, according to the Public Accounting Report of 2016, are tabulated below.
 

University of Texas Austin University of Illinois
Brigham Young University University of Notre Dame
Texas A&M University Indiana University
University of Mississippi University of Alabama
University of Southern California University of Florida

 

Actuarial Science

More commonly offered by the Mathematics, and Statistics, departments, Actuarial Science leads its students to assess cost of risk, and uncertainty, in finance, insurance, and other corporations. Actuarial majors follow a career as Risk Analysts, Insurance Underwriters, consultants, Financial Analysts, and more.

According to the BLS, Actuarial graduates earn a cushy median salary of over $100,000, with an ever-increasing demand, for their likes, in the job market. Their curriculum involves Data Analysis and other quantitative concepts, theories of interests, discounts, annuities, perpetuities, bonds, etc.

Some of the popular study destinations, for a degree in Actuarial Science, include the following.
 

Purdue University Milwaukee School of Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University Ohio State University
Temple University University of Pennsylvania
University of Texas Dallas State University of New York – Albany
City University of New York New York University

 

Advertising/Public Relations

Advertising keeps a successful business afloat. It involves understanding consumer behavior, the target market, brand management, and designing ad campaigns using modern tools such as the paper media, internet, and the newly popular social media.

Its close kin, often provided as a joint interdisciplinary program as Bachelor’s in Public Relations, focuses on marketing a company, and its products, by creating a widespread marketable image.

Generally offered by the department of Mass Media and Communications, their curriculums involve courses in various forms of communication – mass, business, corporate and organizational – marketing strategies, public service communication, ad campaigning, creative concepts, copyrighting, media law, media relations, AD/PR design and multimedia production, etc. BLS quotes an average salary of close to $120,000 for management professionals in Advertising and Promotions. Public Relations specialists can make close to $60,000 a year. With more experience, and networking clients, most specialists venture into entrepreneurship and establish independent firms with far more financial benefits.

Some popular schools for Advertising or Public Relations are listed.
 

University of Southern California – Annenberg University of Wisconsin
University of Texas Austin London School of Economics
Michigan State University University of California Los Angeles
University of Illinois Urbana Champaign Ohio State University
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Pennsylvania State University

 

Economics

An economics degree needs no introduction. It is the study of production, distribution, and consumption, of goods and services. The field uses the concepts of demand, and supply, and the interaction of economic agents, typically the buyer and seller of goods and services. The range of this study can vary from microeconomics, analyzing small scale interactions, to macroeconomics, analyzing an aggregate economy and its issues.

Students with an undergraduate economics degree go on to follow a career path in academia, global businesses, government, finance, consulting, law.Salaries, with an economics specialization, can range from $50,000 to well over $100,000, according to Payscale. Typical curriculum trains undergraduatesin various levels of Microeconomics, and Macroeconomics. Other courses include Public Policy, Financial Markets, Economic Applications and Game Theory, Psychology and Economics, Market Design, Mathematical Economic Modeling, E-Commerce, Economics of Incentives, Health, Urban, Labor, Information, Regulation, Growth, Economics, etc.Read Introduction to Economics: Basic Concepts and Principles.

Some of the top schools are listed below, according to QS.
 

MIT Harvard University
Stanford University University of California Berkeley
London School of Economics Princeton University
University of Chicago Yale University
Columbia University University of Cambridge

 

Finance

Finance, another popular undergraduate degree specialization, is covered together with most Economics undergraduate programs. It spans a wide range of finance related studies, analyzing money-matters from corporations, to global scales. Students study financial management, capital markets, investments, derivative securities, mergers and acquisitions, behavioral finance, and more.

Career options include employment as Financial Analysts, Managers, and Planners, Security Analysts, and more. Popular employers are banks, financial trading, insurance, consultancies, hedge funds, and even government agencies. Salaries are commensurate of the skills involved in managing the big bucks, with Financial Analysts making over $80,000 and Financial Managers well over $120,000, according to the BLS. Read Introduction to Finance.

Some of the top schools for an extensive undergraduate training in Finance are,
 

University of Washington St Louis University of Pennsylvania
Boston College New York University
Bentley University University of Illinois
Georgetown University Boston University
Carnegie Mellon University Lehigh University

 

Operations Management

This discipline trains undergraduates in the design and management of business processes. Students learn the skills, including mathematical tools, to optimize resources, and operations, for the development of goods and services required by customers. Typical curriculums involve an education in Manufacturing Process Management, Service Operations Management, Management Science, Mathematical Modeling, Retail Supply Chain Management, Product Development, Decision Processes, Management Information Systems, Logistics, Manufacturing and Transportation, Project Management, and more.

Graduates generally follow a career path in manufacturing industries in purchasing, supply chain management, inventory, human resource management, production management, quality control, etc.

Salaries, as from BLS, indicates relatively decent returns on a bachelor’s degree investment. Production Managers, Human Resource Managers, and Logisticians earn from about $70,000 to over $100,000. Read all about Production and Operations Management.

Best schools for an undergrad degree in Operations Management are,
 

MIT University of Pennsylvania
Carnegie Mellon University University of Michigan
Purdue University University of California Berkeley
University of North Carolina Michigan State University
University of Texas Austin Ohio State University

 

Business Management

A bachelor’s degree in business management provides a professional training in business functioning. The structure is similar to an MBA, with emphasis on development of a student’s understanding, and decision-making, ability. Management training is imparted as part of a Bachelor’s in Business Administration (BBA), Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a quantitative focus (BSBA), Bachelors in Management Science, Bachelor of Business Management Studies (BBM) with a stronger emphasis on leadership and management skills, or the Bachelor of Management Studies (BMS) with focus on management training. Some schools even offer a Bachelors of Commerce with a management concentration.

The specializations are similar to an MBA program with choices ranging from Accounting, Finance, Operations and Information Management, Human Resource Management, Marketing, Economics, Organizational Behavior, Business Law, Entrepreneurship, Strategy, Supply Chain Management, Information Technology, Real Estate, Healthcare, Hospitality, and many more.

Employment scales a wide range of opportunities as Brand Manager, Marketing Assistant, Systems Analyst, Financial Analyst, Auditor, Investment Consultant, etc. Median Salaries, from some of the top programs like Emory Goizueta’s BBA, are in the north side of $75,000 with over 90% placement rate.

Some of the top undergraduate business schools are listed below.
 

Washington University in St. Louis University of Michigan
Carnegie Mellon University University of Texas Austin
University of Minnesota University of Southern California
Emory University – Goizueta Stanford University
University of Pennsylvania University of Virginia

 
On top of the specializations, covered above, there are undergraduate degrees that concentrate on providing a healthy understanding in Real Estate, Health Care Management, Hospitality Management, Information Technology, Business Analytics, and Business Law. The list can go on based on the preferences of independent university curricula.

So, before you start getting overwhelmed by the breadth of information for your Bachelor’s aspirations, we recommend you to focus on your area of interest and explore the possibilities. Chances are, you will find your niche sooner and will know exactly what you want from your postgraduate studies, once MBA comes calling.

Also read,

 
Sources:1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14


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8 Comments

  1. Anu says:

    Am planning to do mba abroad
    Can u suggest me bschool without GMAT,and with 1yr mba

  2. Ranganath says:

    Hi Sameer,

    I have completed my BE in Electronics and communication(2016) and currently working in Telecom field as an Operational Engineer( 1.6 exp), I want to pursue MBA abroad and want some help on which course of MBA I should choose and with my low work exp is it possible to get good colleges.

  3. Rashi says:

    Hi,

    I am planning for MBA Abroad.
    I have work exp of around 2.5yr.
    10th:- 90%
    12th:- 88.7%
    B.Tech (ECE):- 8.68 CGPA

    I wanted to know the overall requirements to apply for any college in foreign country for masters? Both GMAT and IELTS/TOEFL are required? And how to check the requirement of each college?

    Thanks in advance!
    Rashi Gupta

  4. Friedrich Samuel says:

    I am an undergraduate student in B.E.(hons) Electronics and Communication Engineering from reputed college (Bits Pilani) with 8.93 CGPA graduated in 2017. I am looking to plan my career for an MIM or MBA from a reputed college.

    1) Can I apply for MIM after 1 year of work experience?

    2) Or is it better to get work expereince and then go for MBA?

  5. Aamir k says:

    Sir i m completed mba from reputed college but due to famiy force for govt. Job i not join private firm… But now i not selected and so depress and want to return private world how to start for searching a job ? And gap is 2 year

  6. Anguselvam says:

    Im doing my 2nd year BBA in India after finishing this is there any possibility for me to enter into ROTMAN without any work experience???

  7. Suraj Kulkarni says:

    Hi Sameer,

    I am Suraj Kulkarni, Indian and planning to do Masters abroad.
    I am currently pursuing my graduation in Bachelors in Business Administration (Last Year)
    I also have completed a certificate course of Graphic Designing Arts, and have a experience of 1 years (freelancing) and i have started my own firm of Advertising & Marketing (Graphic Designing)

    Can you please help me with some leads on which countries & universities I should apply for MBA.

  8. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Anu: It’s not a good idea to skip crucial selection components such as the GMAT, since that is one of the ways good bschools ensure selectivity. However, since you’ve asked, here’s where we’ve talked about bschools where you can get in without GMAT. https://www.mbacrystalball.com/blog/2015/07/27/mba-without-gmat/

    @Ranganath: The average experience in most good bschools is around 5 years. You’ll have many more options opening up if you can get at least 3 years experience at the time of applying.

    @Rashi: We’ve covered the basic MBA abroad requirements and entrance exams in this article:
    https://www.mbacrystalball.com/blog/2015/05/15/mba-abroad-requirements-entrance-exams/

    @Friedrich: You could apply to MiM programs now. But if you have the patience to wait, an MBA will open up better opportunities. We’ve compared MBA vs MiM here: https://www.mbacrystalball.com/blog/2011/09/25/mba-vs-masters-in-management-which-is-better-for-you/

    @Aamir: It’s never to late to start. Start getting in touch with companies and apply to starting level positions. Use your social contacts to get leads. And tap into job portals as well.

    @Anguselvam: If you are referring to Rotman’s MBA program, then the answer is No. However, they have other programs designed for applicants without experience.

    @Suraj: Here’s a list of the top countries for MBA: https://www.mbacrystalball.com/blog/2015/03/04/best-mba-abroad-countries-indian-students/

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