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What Business Majors are Available?

Business is a field that informs nearly every aspect of our modern life. The knowledge and skills that a business degree confers are put to use in churches, non-profit organizations, restaurants, software development firms, and more. Since business is such a broad field, there is a spot for nearly anyone to engage with that world and apply those skills, even if they don't consider themselves businesspeople. After all, every organization has budgetary concerns, personnel needs, management needs, etc.

In fact, skills from nearly any college major can apply to the business world. Psychology majors can use their analytical skills in the marketing department, communication students can work in public relations, and art majors can create advertising campaigns. Even philosophy majors can use their logical and analytical powers to work in business law. However, a focused business degree will provide the best long-term results.

There are Alaskan business programs that help students start careers which will change the state, if not the nation. However, not every program is for every student. Thus, we have created a rankings system to help students and their families discover the best business program for them. Not only do we look at objective measures, such a school's retention and graduation rates, but we consider other factors, as well. That is, we consider how well a business school fits in with the state economy. After all, Alaska probably needs more students with an intellectual background in fields such as travel and tourism or even building emerging markets than, say, agriculture.

We also examine a school's tuition rates and long-term return on investment. While a business student will tend to do well over the long-term, it's valuable to examine the statistics and ascertain the actual truth of the matter. We hope that our assessment of the educational data will prove useful to all the future business leaders of Alaska.

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Business Education in Alaska

A business professional is a skilled worker who is trained in some area of business. Since the term business covers a wide range of activities, there are many types of business professional. Most are employees of companies who serve that organization in some way. For instance, some business professionals help their firm market goods or services. Others may work as auditing accountants and thus keep track of the firm's debits and credits, while other accountants might file the firm's taxes or even audit the computer systems. Still others are skilled in leadership, negotiations, finance, or human resources. However, they do tend to have certain things in common.

That is, most business professionals tend to work in an office environment. Even those who work from home spend their time at computer terminals. When they visit clients or venture into their firm's offices most will wear suits or other appropriate attire. It's rare for businesspeople to do manual labor, though they still work hard.

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Associate Degree in Business (AS)

Everyone wants to get in on the ground floor of a terrific business opportunity. An associate degree in business administration, marketing, or another business concentration is just that. A two-year degree can kick off a terrific career in business. To determine the best business major for you, consider which fields are doing the most hiring and which of those best match your skills and long-term goals. Some students may prefer management information systems, others might be born accountants, still others might prefer marketing or human resources. There are many possible degree options and if your local community college doesn't offer what you desire, look for an accredited online business degree program.

Not only will an associate degree in business administration help you land an entry-level position, it can form the foundation for a terrific long-term career. That's because your academic transcripts will help you move on towards a four-year bachelor's degree.

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Bachelor's Degree in Business (BS)

Many successful businesspeople never go beyond a four-year bachelor's degree in business. This is because a full undergraduate degree provides a very solid foundation that employers value. This level of academic success not only provides students with a strong foundation of business knowledge and skill, but it can also pave the way to certifications and licenses. For instance, most states only require a bachelor's degree for their certified public accountants.

Those who choose a tech-oriented degree such as management information systems or computer information systems can add to their credentials by attaining professional certifications in the technologies that best suit their individual career trajectory. A bachelor's degree will help any professional rise through the ranks with these added credential. Further, a four-year undergraduate degree is a requirement for a master’s degree, including the coveted MBA. Whether you're headed to an independent entrepreneurial career or Wall Street, a bachelor's degree in business is the place to start.

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Master's Degree in Business (MS or MC)

If there is a holy grail of academic achievement in the business community, it's a master of business administration (MBA). This degree is notoriously difficult to attain because it’s known to pave the way to a C-level position such as chief executive officer, chief operating officer, and chief information officer, among other possible titles. These master degree programs are typically divided into a general business portion that is followed by a concentration.

The concentration area will likely determine your long-term career path, so it's wise to choose carefully. However, most students will already have either an undergraduate degree that they wish to build upon, such as finance or management. Other students may have discovered their long-term career focus in the working world. Many who hold a liberal arts degree discover a specific business focus and then return to school to refine and build on their experiential learning.

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PhD Degree in Business (PhD)

Though doctoral degrees aren't terribly common in the business community, many find that they are very useful. Those who attain this level of academic achievement often do so for the purpose of teaching at the college or university level. While some wait to earn their doctorate until their late-career years and then retire as professors, others are driven towards researching and teaching business as a full career option.

On the other hand, many who are on the tech side of business earn a PhD and form cutting-edge tech companies. For instance, many top entrepreneurs in cryptocurrency manage to marry a passion for technology and finance to create cutting-edge products and services. It's not uncommon for them to have doctoral degrees in mathematics, computer science, or finance.

There are also doctorate level workers who work in research and development. Many of these professionals have earned their PhDs in a STEM subject field such as engineering, computer science, chemistry, or biotechnology, but they may also have earned a dual-MBA which helps them rise through the ranks of the business community.

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Top College Programs in Alaska for Business

  • University of Alaska Anchorage
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Alaska Pacific University

Become a Business Professional in Alaska

Alaska may be famous for polar bears and deep freezes, but the state is also home to some terrific business opportunities. Young people and others who want to pursue a business career in Alaska will have no trouble launching a successful careers, or even forming a ground-breaking firm of their own. Alaska is still the last frontier on many levels, so it’s fertile ground for innovative business ideas and solutions.

For those who are curious how to become a business professional in Alaska, they first need to determine that business is their calling. Youngsters and others who find themselves attracted to the business section of the newspaper, financial websites, and the biographies of successful business leaders may have a head start. Not only is it important to cultivate knowledge and technical skills, such as accounting or computing, but leadership and strong values also matter in the business community.

Thus, prepared with an informal start to a business career, future businesspeople should seek out a business degree program. While a bachelor's degree is preferred, an associate degree can also help start a career. At this point, it can be tremendously advantageous to have a clear focus for your business career. There are many options including accounting, business information systems, marketing, management, finance, and human resources.

Since Alaska is somewhat limited in terms of educational variety, students may want to look at the Western Undergraduate Exchange as a solution. That program allows Alaskans to attend public colleges and universities in any member state at the in-state tuition rates. This includes states such as Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado, Montana, and Arizona, among others.

Another possible option is to take course through an online business degree program. Online education can be cheaper than traditional degree programs and can allow students in the most remote part of Alaska to attend college anywhere in the world. All that is needed is a high-speed internet connection, time-management skills, the determination to complete full degree and finding the right university to meet your needs.

Once you have a business degree, you are sure to find an entry-level opportunity in Alaska. While certain industries may require moving out of state, Alaska still has a strong demand for well-trained businesspeople. Soon enough you'll be applying for an MBA and the C-suites.

The Western Exchange Program and Alaska

The Western Undergraduate Exchange program opens up the opportunity for future businesspeople to attend college or university at low-cost in a number of western states. That is, undergraduate students who are admitted to the program can attend a public college or university in states such as Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, California, and Colorado without incurring the full cost of out-of-state tuition. Since Alaska is limited for its business education options, students have so many affordable options available through the WUE.

Note that, for each member college or university, students must meet special requirements. At Arizona State University, for example, the GPA requirement is 3.0, SAT scores must be at or above 1180, and ACT scores should be 24 or higher. Some universities also limit how the WUE can be applied. For instance, the University of Hawaii in West O'ahu excludes four programs, including information technology, from the WUE program. Please note these requirements and exclusions prior to admission.

Careers for Business Graduates

  • Financial/Business Analyst:
    This is a job that has launched numerous careers in investment banking. Analysts can complete a two-year program with an investment bank before returning to school for an MBA and then returning to banking in an associate position. Others can turn this into a long-term career with a bank or a consulting firm.
  • HR Specialist/Manager:
    Human resources is the backbone of any business operation. Specialists and managers in HR departments are tasked with things like hiring, firing, training employees on certain aspects of a business' operations, and structuring compensation packages, among other tasks. Some HR professionals work with companies that provide HR solutions to companies that don't have their own HR departments. They may also work as independent corporate recruiters.
  • Project Manager:
    When a team of highly skilled business professionals head out to work on a project, they need a manager to help them stay coordinated and on track. Project managers can help coordinate when certain specialists arrive on a project, when others leave, and help ensure that tasks are completed in a timely and efficient manner. This is a management and administrative job that requires great attention to detail on top of strong leadership skills.

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  • Supply Chain Specialist/Manager:
    This is a business specialty that is becoming more important all the time. Supply chain managers manage a firm's logistical issues and make sure that goods and services arrive at their destination in a timely manner. These skills are important across the business spectrum including in shipping/receiving companies, retail food operations, and more. As supply chain technology becomes more robust, these professionals will need more of a tech background.
  • Public Relations Specialist/Manager:
    PR is an important part of any company's growth and development. Without a strong PR campaign, it can be difficult to attract customers and then the public face of a company becomes even more important as time goes on. This career requires terrific communications skill, knowledge of marketing, and the ability to understand how companies and personalities function in the public eye.
  • Content Marketing Specialist/Manager:
    The internet is a vital part of life and effectively using that tool to help a firm achieve its goals is a viable career. For instance, a home developer in a small town may hire content marketers to write positive articles about the town and YouTubers may even get on board with colorful videos that raise the town's profile in the public mind.
  • Entrepreneur:
    This is a catch-all term for any creative, independently minded individual who wishes to strike out and start their own firm. Entrepreneurs may operate sole proprietorships where they write code or content for clients. Others might have a vision for the next killer app and raise millions in venture capital to fund the successor to Apple or Microsoft. Many business schools have programs that help budding entrepreneurs develop ideas, test the markets, and become successful independent business owners.
  • CEO and other C-suite positions:
    With enough experience and an MBA, successful businesspeople may attain a position in the C-suites. To make it to this point, business professionals must work both hard and smart. They need a strong record of success as well as a network of business allies who support and believe in them. CEOs often can achieve a top position based on their general business experience plus strong leadership qualities.

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