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What Business Major are You Interested In?

A business professional is an individual who works for a business enterprise. That is a pretty vague answer, but the fact is that there are many sorts of professions within the world of business. Business offers many career opportunities in fields such as marketing, finance, accounting, management, IT, and human resources, to name a few. Within each of those fields are even more opportunities. For example, marketing professionals can be either creative or analytical. Creatives may specialize in print media, digital media, or video.

Essentially, a business professionals seeks to generate profit for their firm. They may do this in a very direct way, such as sales or a financial manager who generates revenues by trading equities for the firm. Everyone in the firm is concerned with maximizing efficiency so that the operation moves smoothly to increase profits. Even support staff is encouraged to work in such a way that anticipates their bosses' needs so that there is a seamless flow of action.

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Business Education in Maryland

Maryland is a terrific state for business. Their leading industries include real estate, professional services, educational services, healthcare, and manufacturing. Other top industries include finance, retail trade, construction, and information. While these industries may claim the largest numbers for the purpose of lists, the state is also strong on information technology, biotechnology, as well as aerospace and defense.

To help bolster the curriculum, Maryland's colleges and universities seek faculty members who have both top academic credentials and experience in government. These professors and instructors can bring lessons to life when they have specific experiences to add to the mix. In fact, many of these faculty members may have experiences that relate, whether directly or indirectly, to huge events that made the newspapers.

These last industries are no doubt due to the large number of government agencies that congregate around Washington, D.C. In fact, government contractors are a large part of the commerce that fuels that area. Thus, business professionals may be wise to have a background in non-profits or governmental accounting if they’re looking to work in the region. It's also common for government officials to transition into Maryland's for-profit business sector since their experience and connections can be invaluable for contractors or anyone wishing to do business with the U.S. government.

This business growth and activity doesn't spring from thin air, however. It's vital that Maryland have a strong educational infrastructure that trains and otherwise prepares business professionals for success. In fact, the state's business colleges and other degree programs are positioning themselves to help the local economy. They prepare their accounting students with terrific programs that are strong in terms of non-profit and government accounting. They also have public policy and political science programs that prepare students with insights into how government works.

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All in all, Maryland's business schools produce students who are capable of making the state an economic powerhouse in the 21st century, and beyond.

Associate Degree in Business (AS)

An associate business degree is one way to launch a career in business. These two-year degrees are typically more affordable, on a per-credit basis, than those from a four-year college. Students may choose to major in any one of a number of business concentrations, depending on what their community college has to offer. Popular majors include accounting, marketing, and management. Sometimes a local community college may not offer exactly what a student wants for their degree. If that's the case, students can look for online alternatives. Many public community colleges offer online business degree programs so that students won't have to move.

After graduation, employers will be excited to see a completed degree on a resume. An associate degree will help applicants earn an entry-level position that can lead to very good things. The two-year diploma can also be helpful for those who want to pursue professional certificates that will enhance their resume. Accountants and IT professionals in particular can benefit from certificates, which may even take them as far as a bachelor’s degree.

Bachelor's Degree in Business (BS)

Typically, employers look for a bachelor’s business degree from their applicants. A four-year degree includes the same first two years as a student with an associate degree, including the core college curriculum, but then provides an opportunity to dive deep into the subject matter for the remaining two years. In larger universities, students may even focus their work for very specific job titles they'd like to earn. Accounting majors may focus on management accounting and IT majors can dive deep into networking. Human resources majors could do focused work on benefits or workplace behaviors.

The bachelor’s degree also allows students the time to pursue internships. These positions are frequently unpaid, but they can pay major dividends in the long run. Some large corporations even offer internship programs that allow students to spend a summer learning while doing. In fact, some interns are able to work on very important projects that may result in a job offer.

Master's Degree in Business (MS or MC)

For those who have their sights on the C-suites, an MBA is the key to success. These degrees started gaining popularity in the 1980's and they have only become more common in the boardroom ever since. An MBA program is a two-year graduate degree that is comprised of one year in general business studies and then a second year in a concentration area such as finance, marketing, or IT, to name a few.

Another option that is also gaining traction is the dual MBA. While most choose a dual degree with a law degree, the options are seemingly endless. Engineers may team their MS in Engineering with an MBA and those who are in public policy may also pair that with their graduate business degree. The reason the MBA is so valued is how it pairs a well-rounded business education with a concentration. Thus, graduates have insights into other parts of a business while remaining focused on their primary field.

PhD Degree in Business (PhD)

The business community is not known for placing a high value on a doctorate degree in business. However, given the proliferation of the MBA credential, students may seek out that degree in order to set themselves apart. A PhD is also highly valued for those in high tech fields. There are many PhDs in mathematics and computer science who have started phenomenally successful firms. Their doctoral work is surely a large part of that success, as the academic work allows time and space to develop cutting edge ideas.

A PhD also opens up the possibility of a second career in academia. While a person can teach with a graduate degree, universities hold the very best teaching positions for those with a PhD. A doctorate degree even helps professionals land tenure-track positions which help them gain a guaranteed job, and salary. Some business professionals even earn their PhD and then turn to teaching as a second career during retirement.

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Become a Business Professional in Maryland

Maryland is a hot state for business professionals. This is due to many factors, but the presence of the D.C. metro area is no small element. While most think of D.C. as a great spot for government workers, there are many private businesses that contract with the government. There are also independent businesses that choose the DC area because of its proximity to so many great universities. Outside of the DC area, Maryland's business community is thriving in the Baltimore area and even Western Maryland.

Thus, the students in Maryland who are eager to become business professionals have many routes to success, but it's first important to determine whether this is the right path to take. Business professionals typically enjoy a more formal sort of environment. They also tend to have strong analytical skills. Budding business professionals are often strong in mathematics and the sciences, but they can also have strengths in writing and communications. In fact, nearly any skill set can result in business success. Even artistic people can find gainful employment in marketing firms and departments if they are skilled with computer design applications.

One's career in business can form a foundation very early. However, students can start forming a real skill set in high school. Those who are more mathematically inclined should advance as far as possible in traditional mathematics courses, but they should also seek accounting classes, if available. In fact, any student who can see themselves working in the business world should consider a course in accounting. After all, accounting is the core of any business.

Young students should also look into part-time jobs that will help them in the long-term. Even aspiring accountants may find opportunities in their hometown. They needn't work in an accounting firm but can perhaps work in any company that has bookkeepers. They may help out with filing and record keeping but the experience will prove invaluable.

In college, it's vital that future business leaders choose the right major. During the first two years of college, students can experiment with various classes to see what fits best. They might also discuss their aspirations with a career guidance counselor to find a focus for their scholastic efforts. Once that laser focus is established, students should add internships and any other experiential learning to their list of priorities.

Finally, to become a business professional in Maryland, students should focus on their business goals. They should seek out any opportunity to learn more about business and they should make friends with like-minded future business professionals. After all, business is built on relationships and the sooner one starts developing a business network the better.

Careers for Business Graduates

  • VP Operations:
    To land this position, students should seek an MBA in management that focuses on operations management. At the VP level, professionals oversee all of the operations in their firm. This can be complex operations such as in a manufacturing facility or the operations in an office building.
  • Operations Manager:
    This is a great job for students to shoot for in their first five years or so in the business world. A bachelor’s degree in management will help, especially if it focuses on operations. Typically, an operations manager will work in a manufacturing environment.
  • Business Development Director:
    Every business needs to keep growing and developing in order to stay viable in the market. Thus, a business development director is a very important person. To work into this position, most business professionals first earn an MBA. Even an MBA in entrepreneurship can help since those degree programs can help foster the creativity necessary for the job.
  • Human Resources Specialist:
    This can be a great first job for a business major coming out of college. Human resources specialists can perform a number of vital functions in a business. While even a humanities major can land these jobs, more and more business schools are offering human resources as its own major. Students who are fascinated with helping businesses attract and retain top talent are urged to pursue this as a major.
  • Team Leader:
    This is often a position that is under a manager. A team leader may be part of a larger department with many employees. These workers may or may not need a degree, depending on the work involved. However, if one lands a position as a team leader they should consider returning to school if they don't already have a degree.

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  • Administrative Assistant:
    This is a vital position in any company. The pay for an administrative assistant has a wide range depending on one's specific job duties and environment. The administrative assistant for a CEO might be paid very well, while the assistant in a small real estate firm in a small town might be paid far less. To succeed, administrative assistants should have excellent typing skills, bookkeeping abilities, and outstanding organizational talent. An associate business degree is recommended for this position.
  • Account Manager:
    This title can be applied in many sorts of business. Many marketing firms use the title to indicate the person who seeks out new business and who maintains that account over time. They often have marketing degrees and excellent organizational skill. Account managers oversee marketing campaigns from start to finish.
  • Entrepreneur:
    The life of an entrepreneur is always exciting. These business professionals tend to be highly creative and have a thick skin for risk. Entrepreneurs start businesses that they feel will thrive in their market. To succeed as an entrepreneur, most have some academic background in business that helps them understand things like loans, interest rates, and other fundamentals behind running a firm.

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