Thinking about studying business in college? Whether you’re in it to make some major moola or you just like the swagger, you’re not alone. It’s literally the most popular major in the country according to the National Center for Education Statistics. In fact, the number of people getting business degrees increased from 264,000 to 367,000 between 2001 and 2012, which is 39 percent. A whopping 381,000 business degrees were awarded in 2016-2017 alone. So business is big, that much is clear. But it’s a huge field with all sorts of different degrees and career paths so how do you know which business degree is the best for you?
That’s going to depend on a crazy amount of factors including your age, what degree level you want to reach, the school you want to attend and how much you want to make.
The Best Business Degree for Making Money
Let’s face it — one of the biggest reasons people get into business is to make that cheddar. Let’s look at some of the degrees where graduates stack the most paper.
Associate’s Level Business Degrees
At the associate’s level, the most bang for your buck is going to be an Associate of Science (AS) in Project Management. Project managers step in to take care of everything a business needs to carry out a project from start to finish including budgeting, scheduling and coordinating with a team of professionals. They work in all sorts of fields from retail to sales and manufacturing, so a degree like this one gives you a lot of freedom to choose an industry.
It’ll also give you a lot of dough. With a 2-year degree in project management, entry-level professionals bring down $48,900 a year while those with more experience under their belts command a salary of $89,300, according to Payscale.com.
Bachelor’s Level Business Degrees
To bring home some serious bank at the bachelor’s level, you’ll want to look at a Bachelor of Science in Applied Economics and Management. With a degree like this one hanging on your wall, you can pursue a career as a marketing specialist, a procurement analyst, a sales operations manager and more. Overall, people with a 4-year applied economics and management degree who are early in their careers pull down $58,900. Once they’re mid-career, these professionals are bringing home $140k per year.
Aside from the money, 69% felt that their jobs had high meaning and they were making the world a better place.
A bachelor’s degree in business analytics, econometrics and public accounting might be good second options, too, where mid-career salaries are all north of $130,000.
Master’s Level Business Degrees
At the master’s degree level, it’s hard to beat a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Yes, everyone is getting one (it’s one of the most popular degrees on the planet), but there’s a good reason why — it’s offered everywhere (even online), it gives you plenty of options post-graduation and the jobs it can get you pay handsomely. To give you an idea of just how handsome those salaries are, here are some common jobs you might get with an MBA:
- Sales Managers. Sales managers are the heads of sales teams at businesses. They bring in big money and they make it too: the median salary in 2018 was $124,220 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- IT Managers. IT managers drive the technological needs of a company. It’s a profession that mixes business and technology and many professionals have an MBA or a tech degree. Some schools also offer a crossover degree that combines the two: a master’s in management information systems. Their expertise is well-rewarded — they brought down a median salary of $142,530 in 2018.
- Marketing Managers. Marketing managers find creative ways to keep the public interested in their company’s service or product and this might include directing ad campaigns, managing social media, identifying new markets or developing pricing strategies. The BLS reported that marketing managers saw a median salary of $134,290 in 2018.
As you can see, going the business route can add some extra commas to your bank account. One word of advice, though. In addition to the cheddar, make sure your degree leads to a career that makes you happy.