As rewarding as earning a degree is, deciding on which one to pursue can be extremely challenging. To help with that, we’re putting together a spotlight series designed to offer a quick glimpse at specific areas of study. We’re calling it “Behind the Credits,” and our first edition focuses on the world of business.
“Business” is a very broad topic, and the same is true of a business major. There are many areas of possible focus, including human resources, management information systems, and finance. Most business schools offer various tracks, allowing students to hone in on a specific facet of business. Below are a few quick summaries of the most common fields, all of which you can earn college credit toward by taking DSST tests.
Human Resource Management
The human resources field is all about working with the most important asset to any company: its people. The HR department’s main roles typically include talent acquisition (hiring), training, performance reviews, managing health benefits, maintaining employee morale, handling internal disputes and sensitive legal situations, and more. As such, these are also the topics you’ll cover in your coursework.
Management Information Systems (MIS)
MIS focuses on the technology side of the business world. In today’s digitally driven landscape, this can mean any number of things. When studying MIS, you’ll likely focus on topics like network security, digital data collection and storage, telecommunications, user experience, and systems analysis and design. Though one of the more challenging business tracks, MIS can lead to some of the most financially rewarding careers out there.
Money, money, money. That’s what finance is all about, and as a result, it will be at the core of any and all finance classes. You’ll dive into topics such as time value of money, capital management, budgeting, exchange rates, and risk and return. No easy task, but that’s why graduates often end up making above-average salaries.
As we often witness in the news, many businesses walk a fine line between operating in a noble way and profiting as much as possible. Business ethics classes aim to examine this dynamic by diving deep into business regulations, employee-employer relations, international considerations, environmental impact awareness, stock dealings, and more.
Though it usually takes years of experience and on-the-job knowledge to reach a management position, business management classes aim to prepare students for this role as early as possible. This track includes the study of topics such as company organization and staffing, legal guardrails, stress management, union considerations, and employee motivation.
Keep in mind that the above tracks are just the tip of the iceberg. We encourage you to do your own research to find the right fit for you. As food for thought, other significant business fields include accounting, banking, organizational behavior, and marketing.
Even more so than other majors, a business degree offers a lot of flexibility. For example, even if you choose to focus on finance, you certainly won’t be ruled out of entry level opportunities in human resources. Luckily, many of the lessons and principles taught in each track can be applied to multiple business disciplines.
Another thing to keep in mind is that when searching for talent, employers are often as interested in your soft skills as they are in the exact degree you hold. To prepare for this, we highly recommend you work on your presentation skills, relationship building (networking), one-on-one communication, and even relevant industry vocabulary.
Considering earning college credit for the business knowledge you already have? Try your hand at a DSST practice test to see if you have what it takes to earn college credits the fast, affordable way.
Lastly, it’s always helpful to know what your salary might look like once you’ve chosen a career direction. We recommend checking out this monster.com breakdown of the highest-paying business careers.