Whether your goal is to start a business, “climb the corporate ladder,” or become a more effective leader, it makes sense to consider getting your degree in business administration.
It’s also a good idea to ask some critical questions before you dive in.
- What will I study in a business administration program?
- Is it really the best degree for what I want to do?
- How do I get the most value out of a business program?
Read on to discover what a business administration degree program has to offer and the added value of earning that degree at a Christian college.
What Is Business Administration?
Business administration programs follow a broad curriculum. They are designed to give you an understanding of what it takes to start and maintain a business, from theories to practical skills.
Common courses include:
- Economics – A study of the systems in which businesses exist, from government and social forces to the network of businesses (production, distribution, etc.) on which each depends.
- Business Law – The rules for running a business legally and ethically, as outlined in federal law and common state laws within the U.S., as well as international laws.
- Entrepreneurship – How to generate a viable business idea, raise funds, develop a product or service, and bring it to market with a good chance of profitability.
- Marketing – How to introduce a product or service to target audiences (the “marketplace”), maintain their attention, and move them toward a purchase.
- Accounting – How to accurately keep track of money coming in (revenues) and going out (expenditures), track assets, realistically predict profits, file business taxes, etc.
- Management – Best practices for supervising teams, hiring staff, tracking performance, administering benefits (like health insurance), firing or laying off staff, etc.
Business Administration vs. Specialization
Pursuing a specialization degree, by contrast, means choosing one area to focus on.
The Case for a Specific Degree
You may decide you’re most interested in leading teams within an organization and choose to study management. Or, your core interest might be in learning how to crunch numbers accurately in an accounting program.
There are benefits to having a focus area. If you know exactly what you want to do, demonstrating with your degree that you’ve taken a deep dive into that area can help set you apart from other job applicants. Some people think this is the better way to go.
The Case for a General Degree
On the other hand, the researchers at CollegeValuesOnline.com point out that business degrees, whatever the type, tend to lead to similar salaries. The only exceptions are accounting and finance (investments, retirement planning, etc.). Those can lead to higher salaries, but only with graduate degrees and licensing.
This suggests that the question of which has more value, a general business education or training for a specialization, depends on you.
Here are a few reasons why business administration might be the best degree for you:
1. You want to be prepared for a variety of entry-level jobs.
If your goals right now don’t go beyond wanting to get a good job to continue building your resume, whatever that job may be, that’s okay. A general business degree tells employers you have a grasp on how things work. If you know the basics, they only have to train you on your specific role.
2. You’re looking forward to moving up, eventually.
Some specializations, e.g. management, signal to employers you’re interested in taking on the challenge of leadership as soon as possible. Others might imply you just want to do your job. A business administration degree gives you the freedom to express an interest in leading in a variety of ways, whether as part of a team or one day leading it.
3. You’re interested in blazing your own trail.
If you have the entrepreneurial itch to create something new – a new product or service and your own business to bring it to the world – the broad-based education you get in a business administration degree is probably best. You’ll need to learn as much as you can to succeed as your own boss.
4. You’re planning to go on to grad school.
Waiting until grad school to specialize allows you to get the best of both worlds. A business administration degree in undergrad will help you see the big picture. Then, your specialized graduate degree will help you focus on your passion area. Your skillset combined with your broader perspective will make you especially attractive to employers.
5. You belong to an underrepresented social or economic group.
A degree in business administration is among the most powerful tools for social mobility – that is, the ability to earn more and enjoy a higher standard of living than you otherwise would as part of an underprivileged group.
The unfortunate reality is that bias – whether conscious or unconscious – against job applicants based on race, gender, and other factors, leads to unfair underrepresentation of many people groups in the workforce. It is the responsibility of business leaders to correct this bias, not yours as the applicant. However, until bias is a thing of the past, a business degree can give you confidence and help set you apart in the face of this reality.
Assessing the Value of a Business Administration Degree
There is more than one way to measure how valuable a business degree will be to you. Here are three to consider:
According to Yahoo! Education, business degrees are “ranked number one for return on investment in the form of higher salaries in the marketplace.” And in many areas, those higher salaries are available at entry-level.
Business administration programs provide such a broad foundation for the workplace that you come out of them with many readily-applicable skills. It’s one of the best degrees to have if you want to save time and get your career started right away after undergrad or grad school.
Not only do you learn a broad set of skills, you also gain an understanding of principles that are applicable to just about anything you want to do. A business degree can serve you well whether you want to found a startup, work for a for-profit business, join a not-for-profit organization or work in government.
How to Choose a Program
If this all looks pretty attractive to you, the only question left to answer is which business administration program offers you the most value?
“The business department (at ENC) has great professors who truly care about students. They strive to use engaging teaching methods and tools to help students learn the material in addition to bringing real world experience to the classroom.” – Ruth Aguilar, Class of 2022
While the features of many business programs are the same, a lot of the benefits come from intangible factors that are hard to quantify. The quality of your professors, for example. How meaningful your internship experiences will be to you.
One factor that’s especially important to consider in business is the ethos of the program – the essence or spirit of the culture. Where you learn about business matters almost as much as what you learn.
And this is how Christian colleges can add significantly to the value of a business administration degree.
The Added Value of Christian Ethics
In the U.S. and throughout the Western world, businesses operate within a predominantly Judeo-Christian culture. This means that, whether your employer of choice is overtly Christian or not, your understanding of how to apply Christian ethics to business practice is attractive.
As researchers Domènec Melé and Joan Fontrodona explain, the application of Christian ethics has led to our modern understanding of best practices in leadership:
“The Gospel emphasizes the idea of service in leading others. Jesus said: ‘whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve’ (Bible, Matthew 20:27–28). These words promoted throughout the ages by Jesus’ followers are at the root of the concept of ‘servant leadership,’ introduced by Robert Greenleaf (1970) and now a recognized theory of leadership.” – Melé and Fontrodona, bold added
Christian colleges are more likely to point directly to the philosophical source of modern ethics, such as servant leadership. Biblical wisdom is taught explicitly.
Many employers appreciate when an applicant’s business knowledge is built on biblical values, which are often shared by other employees and the people the business serves. Whether or not it is spoken aloud in the interview process, this understanding can be a powerful factor in encouraging employers to feel more confident in hiring you.
Why Get Your Degree in Business Administration from Eastern Nazarene College?
Consider all the benefits of a business administration degree – a meaningful career of your choice, high earning potential, a strong entry into the workforce – and add to it a foundation in Christian ethics taught by professors eager to help you succeed.
That’s Eastern Nazarene College!
At ENC, the Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration is a foundation of discovery from which many students move on to a specialization. They often choose to pursue a double major. This allows them to apply the soft skills they develop in the BA program to their passion area.
You could earn both a BA in business administration and a BS in:
- Computer Science
- Intercultural Studies
- Theater for Social Justice
- And many other career paths
Whatever your goals, a business administration degree from ENC is a great foundation to help you reach them.
Take a look at all we have to offer. ENCounter business administration at Eastern Nazarene College today.