What Business Major are You Interested In?
If your career plans are focused on business colleges and degree programs in Mississippi, you may find the wide range of educational programs available a bit confusing. Finance, accounting, marketing, and supply chain management are only a few of the types of business degrees you can earn and, if your goal is a graduate program, there are even more specialties within your chosen area of study. To narrow down your business school options and pinpoint the best business schools in Mississippi for your chosen profession, it may help to look at what Mississippi industries employ the most workers or gain the most revenue each year.
The term business professional covers a broad range of careers, from office assistant to CEO. Generally, a business professional works in an office environment with a standard nine to five type schedule and may be paid either hourly or by salary. That being said, work environments and hours may vary depending on what area of business you are employed in.
For example, a tax accountant is a business professional but may work long hours and even weekends during tax season, and a supply chain or marketing business expert may spend extensive time in the field or traveling to various job sites. Most business professionals adhere to a standardized dress code of office attire (business casual), and their jobs are sedentary rather than physically strenuous. This means that, in general, a business professional works from their base of knowledge and experience rather than physical labor.
Business Education in Mississippi
Looking closer at manufacturing, which is the biggest industry in the state, you might choose to focus your business degree on administration, supply chain management, accounting, international economics or business, management and information systems, or marketing within the manufacturing business realm. All of these would fall under the umbrella of business while providing you with plenty of job options and opportunities.
This doesn’t mean you have to define and pinpoint your educational goals before entering your first semester of college, but it is a good idea to look ahead at undergraduate and graduate degree programs and get a solid concept of what future career paths might require so you can better align your long-term goals with the courses you opt for each semester.
Whether you enroll in a four-year program or a community college, by planning ahead and knowing your career field options within each specialty, you’ll find it easier to choose classes which will contribute to your future chosen field of work.
For example, according to Slacker the top ten industries in Mississippi are, in order highest to lowest:
- Real estate and rental and leasing
- Educational services, health care, and social assistance
- Retail trade
- Professional and business services
- Wholesale trade
- Finance and insurance
- Arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services
- Transportation and warehousing
Online Associate Degree in Business (AS)
An online associate degree can be an excellent asset for entry level jobs in business, especially if you’re financially strained, not sure what type of degree you wish to pursue, or if you had less than stellar grades in high school. Examples of entry-level jobs you can gain with this degree include those in areas such as healthcare management, human resources, and sales. While a retail sales position may not seem business-like, it can be an advantage if you choose to focus your future career in an area such as marketing or supply chain management. In addition, many larger employers offer education reimbursement, so you may find your entry-level position will help you earn future college credits. If you decide to start your career with an associate degree, make sure you attend an accredited institution so that there is a good chance your credits will transfer to a four-year college in case you decide to continue your education to earn your bachelor’s or master’s degree at a later date.
Online Bachelor's Degree in Business (BS)
Many career areas of business consider a bachelor’s degree to be the standard minimum requirement for job openings, and your educational plan should take this into consideration. Some occupations, such as that of financial managers, are projected to grow over 16% in the next 10 years, which means you may easily land a management position soon after graduation. Other business positions, such as buyers and purchasing agents, are projected to lose over 9% employment in the next decade, so Mississippi job openings in that field are more likely to be competitive and may even require a master’s degree upon entry. The healthcare industry is projected to grow exponentially throughout the country in the next decade, so most healthcare-related business positions will be open to those who hold a bachelor’s degree.
Earning an online bachelor’s degree should take around four years, unless you completed an associate degree and are able to transfer nearly all your credit hours. These degrees focus mainly on foundational business knowledge, but they may also offer you the chance to choose a concentration so that you can easily make your way into an HR, marketing, or management position.
Online Master's Degree in Business (MS)
A master’s degree is typically required for upper management positions in Mississippi, as well as most other states. Online master’s degree programs allow you to focus on a specific area of the business field such as finance, accounting, or economics. An online master’s is generally designed for those who are looking to gain specialized knowledge or are just entering the field without having gained much experience in the real world, as opposed to a master’s in business administration (MBA) which is geared towards those who already have extensive experience in the business world. Although it may not be a requirement for those seeking entry-level positions in management, if you’re already working in a business field, earning your graduate degree may be the key to promotion within your current company. A master’s degree can showcase your expertise within the industry and show you have a firm grasp of all aspects of your chosen specialization.
These online degrees generally take around two years to earn and require that students complete around 60 credit hours for degree completion. Entry into an MBA will usually require that you have already gained experience, but it will also provide easier access to management positions as that is the main focus of the degree. A master’s will give you specialized knowledge, but an MBA will show you how to apply that knowledge to a management position within the business world. An MBA can give you access to positions at the highest levels of business, including the C-suites.
Online PhD Degree in Business (PhD)
A PhD or doctorate degree shows you are the elite in your field, but it does not necessarily mean you’ll be able to choose any job in the business industry. For the most part, those who hold a PhD are focused on research, publishing, and education. Some work in large think tanks and many are employed as professors of higher education. Aside from research and teaching, many who hold a PhD or doctorate enjoy a lucrative income as an independent business consultant. In short, if you plan to dedicate your life to research or teaching, a PhD may be your ultimate goal, but it may not be as financially rewarding as positions which require a master’s degree.
Become a Business Development Specialist in Mississippi
Your first step in becoming a business professional in Mississippi is to apply to your school of choice. If your high school transcripts are less than stellar or finances are tight, don’t worry, as you can opt for an associates degree at a community college. If you choose this route, make sure the school is accredited and your credits will transfer to a four-year school.
As mentioned earlier, many schools have different programs for business. If you’re not sure what you want to choose as your major, look at the required coursework for each degree and choose the one that interests you the most. If it’s not a good fit, you can change your major later, just don’t wait too long as the prerequisites may be different for your new major.
Generally, the first two years of a bachelor’s degree program are more generalized, so you’ll be taking basic business courses such as Computer Applications in Business and Principles of Economics as well as your general education classes in mathematics and English. By the end of your second year, you’ll be ready for degree-specific classwork and should know what career sector you plan to enter. If you find your really enjoy working with numbers more than people, you might focus on accounting or finance as your business major; likewise, if you’re a people person, you may opt for management, marketing, supply chain management, or business administration. There are also many IT positions that fall within the realm of business, so don’t overlook options such as computer technology management.
Although it’s recommended you have a solid plan for your business career, life doesn’t always agree. If your college entry goal was to be in supply chain management, but you find it’s not what you expected or wanted, most business majors easily cross over to other career areas. This is where certificates come into play, as you can earn a certification in, say, project management or human resources in order to qualify for a different career area of business. Certificate programs are also useful once you’re working in the field as they can help you qualify for a promotion or a more lucrative position.
Keep in mind that there is a difference between business professionals and business consultants. Generally, a business professional is employed by a company or corporation, and a business consultant uses their education and experience to work as a self-employed independent contractor.
Careers for Business Graduates
Here are some examples of a business professional’s possible careers within Mississippi’s largest industry, manufacturing. As you can see, most of the positions can be found in any large industry, so you can use your elective classes to advance your knowledge base in the specific Mississippi industry you’d like to enter.
- Human Resources Specialist:
This professional oversees recruitment and placement of employees and trains others in HR procedures and company policies. Depending on the size of the company, an HR specialist may be charged with interviewing job applicants, doing reference and background checks, maintaining employee records, and processing hiring paperwork. They may also be tasked with identifying hiring needs, administering benefits, and payroll processing.
- Marketing Manager:
This manager develops, implements, and executes strategic plans for marketing brands within an organization. They may be in charge of conducting research to determine product marketability, design marketing campaigns, creating budgets for advertising campaigns, and handling public relations, as well as troubleshooting both external and internal issues as they arise.
- Supply Chain Specialist/Managers:
This worker may procure materials and oversee procurement and warehousing from onset of manufacturing to final product shipment. They are typically tasked with managing the transportation of goods between the manufacturer and the consumer and may oversee the day-to-day logistics of the supply chain within a company but may also monitor inventory and manage product development.
- Data Analyst:
This professional gathers and interprets data in order to solve a specific business problem. They may collect demographic data to pinpoint what customer group should be targeted for a specific product, patterns of behavior which indicate financial or other types of fraud within a company, and similar issues and problems within a company where a breakdown of information is needed.
- IT Director:
This director oversees all technical aspects of a business, including networks. An IT director evaluates technology operations to ensure they meet established goals and may devise and implement IT systems and policies in accordance with upper management requirements. They may also analyze the IT requirements of each department within a business to ensure the technology of each is up to date and pertinent.
- CEO and other C-suite positions:
these are executive management positions such as chief executive officer (CEO), chief financial officer (CFO), etc.: the highest corporate titles within a company. A CEO is responsible for implementing existing policies and plans, improving the company’s bottom line, and setting future strategies. While smaller companies may be run by a single CEO, larger corporations usually have several executive positions such as a CFO to oversee all financial aspects, a chief operating officer (COO) to oversee all aspects of production, and a chief information officer to oversee all information technology aspects of the corporation.
These visionaries create their own business using the skills and knowledge gained from their degree program. An entrepreneur identifies the need for a product, procedure, or service and creates a business to fill that need. They also take on all the risks associated with starting a brand-new business, which is why a business degree is vital for success. Some entrepreneurs are also consultants, as their business is designed to provide a service to other companies who may not need a full-time employee for a specific area of expertise.