College Majors

The Basics of Business Majors

A degree in one of the many available business majors can offer limitless opportunities. You’ll be prepared to work in a variety of settings in business, government, nonprofit organizations and more. Whatever your interests, a major in one of the following areas will give you the knowledge and skills to work in a setting or industry that is right for you.


Accounting is more than just bookkeeping — it’s learning how to report the financial activities of a business or an individual and discovering how to make sense of the numbers. Accountants learn the language of money, and they often translate that knowledge to provide their business partners or clients with valuable information.

Though you can work in this field with a bachelor’s degree, to become a certified public accountant, you’ll have to pass a specialized test. And most states require extra college credits before you can take the test. 


Finance majors also interpret financial data. They often use their skills to help companies, nonprofits or individuals plan for the future. Whether they’re creating budgets or planning investments, those in finance need strong math skills. If you want to work in this field as a stockbroker, you’ll need to get some professional experience and pass specialized tests.

Business Management and Administration

Business managers, administrators and owners are the people who keep businesses on track. Whether they’re operating a small business or a major corporation, the same skills apply. Students majoring in this area will learn to do tasks such as the following:

  • Analyze a business’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Figure out the best way to make a profit
  • Steer companies through difficult situations


Having a good product doesn't guarantee a successful business. Marketing can make the difference between a company’s success or failure. Marketing professionals figure out things like the following:

  • How to price products
  • Where to sell goods
  • How to advertise and promote products

The right marketing plan ensures that businesspeople make the most profit from their products. And it helps consumers find what they want at the price they need. 


Sales and distribution is related to marketing, but the two areas have differences. Sales programs cover topics like these:

  • Selling skills
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Business economics

Two-year colleges often offer associate degrees in sales. 

International Business

A business practice that works well in one country can be disastrous in another. For example, when KFC expanded into China, the company accidentally translated its “finger lickin’ good” slogan to “Eat your fingers off.” It was a problem KFC could have avoided.

Whether a company is trying to sell products overseas or producing them there, international business knowledge is essential. If you major in this area, you’ll explore questions of how to do business across borders. 

The Road to an MBA

After earning a bachelor’s degree, some students choose to obtain a master’s degree in business administration, or MBA. An undergraduate major in an area of business can be good preparation for the MBA and may allow you to complete the program quickly. But any major can help you develop the skills you’ll need in business school. You just need to make sure you meet the requirements for the MBA programs you’re interested in. These requirements may include computer skills and calculus.

To get into an MBA program, you’ll need to pass the GMAT, a business-school admission test. Some business schools stress having work experience and will only consider applicants who have worked full- time.

More Information

You can learn more about these majors and other business majors on this website. Here's a sampling of the majors covered: