As a college business major, you are preparing yourself for a career with a multitude of options in the workforce. There aren’t many college majors as in demand as a business major. The business major is widely considered to be highly strategic, flexible and employable for a wide range of job seekers. The skills you develop in business school can be applied in a variety of settings in business, government, nonprofits and more, and in companies across the spectrum from small startups to Fortune 500 corporations. Wherever you end up, you will be poised to manage operations, assess risks and transform work environments.
Business in general is among the top 20 highest paying college majors, according to Glassdoor research, with specific focuses such as accounting, finance, statistics and economics also being in the high-earning ranks. Furthermore, the Bureau of Labor Statistics posits in its Occupational Outlook Handbook that business and financial operations occupations are projected to grow 10 percent through 2026, faster than the average for all occupations, adding more than 773,000 new jobs.
Therefore, regardless of which business major you pursue, whether it be a Bachelor of Science in Finance (BSF) or Master in Business Administration (MBA) it will open the door to many opportunities in a variety of fields. You can do yourself a favor by focusing on your career aspirations early on and getting advice from those who have traveled the same path. If you aspire to graduate with a job offer in hand, here are five pieces of advice to ensure you are competitive to prospective employers:
1-Maximize your college experience
Consider your time in college pursuing your degree as a four-year internship in preparation for not just a job, but a career. Many college students are misguided with the notion that their professional experience starts after college. This misconception could very well cost you future opportunities that are ripe for the taking. Maximize your college experience by looking for career opportunities before you graduate. It’s not wise to pigeonhole yourself by choosing the stereotypical “college student” or minimum wage jobs. You are better served to seek work related to your major. For example, accounting students could benefit from working as an office assistant or clerk at an agency or tax office. In doing this, you will get an inside look at how the business functions. Another option for eligible college students is the federally funded work study program, which matches students with semi-guaranteed jobs. These jobs are mandated at 30 hours or less and primarily located on-campus. Financial aid counselors can help match you with positions closest to your field of study.
2-Focus on personal growth
College is the perfect environment for self-improvement for students who immerse themselves in the experience. You should set a goal to learn multiple skills in college – some related to your career and others unrelated. Seek opportunities for personal growth by opening your mind to learning the many life skills college affords. By expanding your skills and knowledge, you will be more marketable to companies looking for team members with the ability to work in diverse settings. Another tip is to enroll in elective courses that compliment your major. For example, marketing and psychology courses are ideal for business majors in preparation for promoting their companies and managing future employees. Work out a plan with your academic advisor to select elective courses that compliment your major.
3-Follow industry trends
The job market is a competitive place, and to gain an advantage over other applicants, it is vital that you stay current on technology and industry trends. Today’s college students are intrinsically more up-to-date with technology than seasoned professionals, giving them the upper hand. At the same time, those same students show a lack of knowledge of industry trends. It is advised that you visit the library and read professional journals each month to follow industry trends within your career path. This will keep you abreast the changing landscape of your chosen career and help better prepare you for what's to come. You can also achieve this by setting up customizable Google alerts for words or phrases relating to your career. This automated search will send up-to-date news alerts to your inbox daily, weekly or monthly depending on your preference. Another tip is to hone your technology skills by staying up to date on computer trends and career-related software. Take advantage of the introductory and intermediate computer or technology classes when planning your electives.
4-Build a professional network
A great piece of career advice for all college students is to treat everyone you encounter like they’re important. If you shrug off or make a bad impression on a non-recognizable person, you take the risk of offending someone who may be much more connected than you realize. In addition to hard work, you should build a strong professional network in order to get your dream job or advance in your career. Who you know can be a powerful tool as you as you start and grow your career. When you begin expanding your network, you are likely to come into contact with people who can assist you in the future. Having an established professional network can help you not only discover new opportunities, but also help keep you up to date on industry trends, skills and changes. To network effectively you should practice, ask questions, follow up and have an elevator pitch prepared.
5-Seek out internships
Internships are the lifeblood of the college experience. They are vital, and rightly so, because nothing beats a hands-on education. It’s the “doing” that translates to real growth. Take steps to seek out the right internship to help you work towards your future career. It is strongly advised that you forgo the large, competitive internships during your freshman and sophomore years. A better strategy is to put more energy into local, small business internships that you will complete in you junior and/or senior years as a springboard into your career. Smaller companies often offer more opportunities to build real-world skills than larger corporations, where the word “intern” can unfortunately translate to “coffee fetcher.” Contact the HR department of a few local small- to medium-sized companies in your field and find out if they accept interns and, if so, what qualifications are needed. Talk to your professors as they probably know a few good companies who might give you a shot.
Starting your journey as a business major is a click away. Explore Ottawa University’s highly competitive online business degree programs. You will be prepared for a wide variety of careers with choices in accounting, finance, human resources, leadership and marketing. OU’s Angell Snyder School of Business provides students with an integrated and disciplined educational experience that develops impact players who are broadly educated, skilled in key business disciplines, highly principled, and ready to lead. Ottawa’s business programs hold the esteemed accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), showing the high levels of business teaching within this degree.
An exciting and rewarding career in the business world awaits when you complete one of Ottawa University’s affordable online business degrees. To learn more about what Ottawa University has to offer, contact us today.