Why study business? (Plus definition and types of degree)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 6 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Business is one of the world's most popular academic disciplines. As the degree aims to prepare students for many different positions, those who graduate with a business degree can enter the field of business as marketers, managers, CEOs or analysts. Even if you don't have a specific career in mind, a business degree can provide a range of transferable skills that apply across different industries. In this article, we look at what a business degree is, answer the question 'Why study business?' and look at a list of six popular business degrees that you could study.

What is a business degree?

Before answering the question 'Why study business?', it's useful to understand what a business degree involves. A broad business degree involves courses such as business management, business studies or business administration. These give you a comprehensive introduction to running a business and include subjects, such as organisational structures, management and human resources. A more specialised business degree could involve studying business analytics, economics, human resource management, accounting, finance or marketing.

Related: What is a finance degree? (Plus degree types and careers)

Why study business?

In answer to the question 'Why study business?', there are several reasons why you could consider studying this popular subject. Many industries require business graduates for various roles, such as human resource managers, administrators and business analysts. Studying business can also provide you with a variety of useful skills that you can apply to a wide range of roles. Below, you can find some of the main reasons why many choose to study business:

Develop communication skills

A business degree provides you with valuable skills that allow you to work with others across a range of industries. These skills include the ability to communicate with confidence, negotiation skills and the ability to empathise with others and assimilate complex information. Being able to communicate effectively is an essential life skill. To draft an engaging newsletter, present a successful pitch or write a convincing report, having excellent communication skills is key. These skills can strengthen relations in both your personal and professional life. They can also help you make better decisions and avoid conflicts.

Related: A guide to administration vs management in business

Gain financial management skills

One of the leading causes of new business failure is money mismanagement. This is because some business owners lack the basic financial management skills to understand the financial repercussions of their decisions. Studying business can equip you with financial management skills to help you make decisions that positively impact a business. As a business student, you can find out how to use financial resources without incurring unnecessary wastage. While studying business, you can expect to learn topics, such as how to prepare a budget, maximise profits and follow government regulations.

Access to plenty of career options

A business degree encompasses a wide group of subjects. Some of these are highly specialised, while others are more interdisciplinary. With a diploma or degree in business studies, you also gain a solid foundation in other subjects, including finance, accounting, economics, marketing and human resource management. Therefore, with a business diploma or degree, you can apply for many different jobs. For example, a business graduate can work as an auditor, marketing manager or information security analyst.

Learn how to start a small business

Gaining a degree isn't a necessity if you wish to start a small business, but it can be beneficial due to the knowledge that you gain during your studies. A degree in business can equip you with a wide range of skills, such as management, finance, marketing, operations and accounting. When launching a small business, you can apply the knowledge gained in these areas to improve the business's chances of success.

Develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills

Studying business equips learners with the skills to objectively analyse a problem and weigh up the potential solutions. Analysts, engineers, doctors, lawyers and scientists are just some of the roles that require the use of critical thinking in their work, so you can apply these skills to a wide variety of roles. By developing these skills, you can easily deal with problems, no matter what role you work in.

Acquire in-depth research skills

Good research skills can help you further build your knowledge by gathering and analysing information. Research is also a key element of due diligence, which is essential to carry out before making any important business decisions. By studying business, you can gain important research skills that allow you to understand the world around you and how to make the most of business opportunities.

Gain an insight into the wider issues

Business plays an important role in society. As a broad subject, studying business can provide an insight into various issues, such as tax, inflation, inequality, wealth and interest rates. All industries rely on business and economics to a certain degree, whether that's concerning pricing strategies or product research and development. This means studying business can open up a range of career options across all industries, such as consultancy, banking, manufacturing and agriculture.

Related: What does a business consultant do? (Plus how to become one)

6 popular business degrees

Studying for a business-related degree can equip you with the skills necessary to pursue a well-paid and rewarding career. Here are six popular business degrees that you could consider studying, including relevant salary information:

1. Accounting

Accounting is a vital part of business, with all industries requiring an accountant. Gaining a degree in accounting can be useful if a career as an accountant interests you. It can also provide you with key business skills that you can apply to numerous industries. Studying for an accounting degree can teach you the process of recording, monitoring and improving an organisation's financial health during a specific period.

If you decide to pursue a career as an accountant, you could expect to complete activities, such as preparing tax returns, recording transactions, collecting financial information and compiling financial statements. The national average salary of an accountant is £35,052 per year.

2. Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship involves the creation of new businesses to generate a profit. An entrepreneur is a person or team with a unique business idea that also has the resources to turn this idea into a business. By studying entrepreneurship, you can learn the underlying principles of starting a business and the common mistakes to avoid. If you're a creative individual, that likes the idea of running a small business, then a degree in entrepreneurship might be ideal for you. The national average salary of an entrepreneur is £43,663 per year.

3. E-commerce

The e-commerce industry experienced a dramatic rise in its share of all retail sales in recent years and continues to be a growing sector. Studying for a degree in e-commerce can provide you with insight into how to identify profitable online ideas. This can be useful if you wish to start an online-only business or a business with a strong online presence. Studying for a degree in e-commerce can also provide you with many different career options, such as working as an e-commerce specialist. The national average salary of an e-commerce specialist is £29,160 per year.

4. Business administration

Business administration involves supervising and overseeing the operations of a business. Studying for a degree in business administration can provide you with experience in research, project management, sales, quality assurance, finance and marketing. There are many rewarding career paths for individuals with a degree in business administration. You can pursue a career in a variety of industries, such as banking, advertising, manufacturing and consulting.

Related: A guide to administration vs management in business

5. Marketing

Marketing plays a key role in ensuring that a business remains competitive within its industry. Graduates who acquire a degree in marketing may find a job in advertising or may decide to work as a marketer. Others may decide to work as assistants in marketing departments. The national average salary of a marketer is £29,162 per year.

Related: Marketing executive: roles, responsibilities and skills

6. Human resource management

Human resource management plays a key role in developing and retaining staff at an organisation. By learning the process of managing people in an organisation, a degree in human resource management can help you pursue a career as a human resources manager. Human resource managers oversee the interviewing, recruiting and hiring of new employees. They serve as a link between the employees and the organisation's management. The national average salary of a human resources manager is £40,599 per year. You could also apply this knowledge of managing others to several other roles, such as an office manager or occupational psychologist.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.‌

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