The Most Versatile Degree


Learn why majoring in business could make good business sense.

By Chris Kyle   

Forget about skinny jeans. The most popular accessory in school these days is a business degree.

Over 300,000 students graduated with a bachelor's in business in 2008, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. That's more degrees than social sciences, history and health sciences, combined, according to the "Digest of Education Statistics, 2009" report.

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Business is a popular degree with employers too.

"In general, the average employer views business majors as very solid job candidates, thanks to their broad-based education and business know-how," writes Kate Walsh in her book "What Can You Do With A Major In Business: Real People. Real Jobs. Real Rewards."

Wondering what you could do with a business degree? Keep reading for five increasingly popular business career choices that could offer great average earning potential and opportunity.

#1 - Eco-Investor

Many experts believe green energy - and environmental investment - is America's next big bubble, and eco-investors will help sway what companies and sustainable practices take off. Like any kind of investing, eco-investing requires informed decisions, based on solid business practices taught in school.

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"Eco-investors have diverse educational backgrounds," writes Pamela Fehl in "Green Careers: Business & Construction", "but most people in this field have a bachelor's degree in business."

Average Salary: $83,000*

Related Degree: Business Administration

#2 - Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship is all the rage these days, with 4 out of 10 young people having already started or would like to start their own business, according to an August 2010 Harris Interactive survey.

In business school, you could benefit by reading case studies of famous startups. You'll also likely network with other entrepreneurially-minded students while learning how to build and sustain a business.

Average Salary: $111,000*

Related Degree: Business Administration

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#3 - Pharmaceutical Sales

Pharmaceutical sales leapt from $40 billion in 1990 to $234 billion in 2008. Since commission can often factor heavily into sales salaries, the sky could be the limit for your earning potential.

Closing, forecasting, prospecting, networking, and management techniques are all sales topics you are likely to study in business school.

Average Salary: $88,150*

Related Degree: Marketing/Communications

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#4 - Human Resources Specialist

Human resources are a key part of any business, regardless of the industry. As companies look to streamline budgets, HR departments are looking for employees who can contribute from day one. This goes for human resources specialists as well, so studying HR in a business school program could help get your career rolling.

Average Salary: $59,070*

Related Degree: Human Resources

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#5 - Accountant

Some of the newer industries already mentioned - like green technology and social media - share the same dollars and cents approach that forms the bedrock of any business. Accountants help all types of companies turn a profit by paying their bills and taxes on time and performing budget analyses.

Accounting may also be one of the more valuable business degrees you can earn, since the U.S. Department of Labor forecasts a 22 percent jump in employment opportunities for accountants and auditors through 2018.

Average Salary: $67,430*

Related Degree: Accounting/Finance

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* Average salary comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, using 2009 median salary information, except Eco-Investor and Entrepreneur, which come from January 2011 salary data from

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