5 Things to Look for When Choosing a Business Degree Program

  • Adequate Course and Specialty Offerings
  • Real-World Opportunities
  • Experienced, Inspiring Faculty
  • Class Size
  • Post-Graduation Prospects

Prospective business students have thousands of schools and programs to choose from — which is why it’s important to look for the signs of a solid business degree program. After all, a college education is a big investment. By taking the time to choose a high-quality business degree, it’s easier to maximize earnings after graduation.

Related resource: Top 10 Online Colleges for Business

1. Adequate Course and Specialty Offerings

Most business degrees come with a specialty, such as accounting or economics. One of the most important hallmarks of a reputable business degree program is that it has the specialties and courses that match a student’s career goals. Some schools are strong across a broad range of topics, while others might pour resources into an area such as finance or marketing. In some cases, schools offer highly specialized business degrees — an engineering-focused university might offer a business program in engineering management. Before choosing a school, it’s important to look over the specialties and course offerings to make sure that they provide a solid foundation.

2. Real-World Opportunities

At its core, business is a practice of application rather than theory. Business professionals use their knowledge to affect real-world situations. To prepare students, a reputable business degree program will often offer opportunities for students to use their skills in real-world situations. This can take the form of senior projects, co-ops, internships, or classes that focus on practice rather than theory. Planning to go into the stock market? Look for finance degrees that offer applied portfolio management; these programs allow students to manage a portfolio of real-world investments under the guidance of a professor or industry partner. After graduation, this type of hands-on experience gives students a leg up in the job market.

3. Experienced, Inspiring Faculty

The faculty members in a business program have a big impact on the quality of education. Often, the best teachers bring a wealth of education and practical experience to the classroom; these factors are easy to check on the individual faculty websites. Personality and teaching style are also important considerations. If possible, consider sitting in on several classes during a visit to the school. If the professors are enthusiastic and inspiring, it’s a good sign. When that’s not an option, online professor-review sites can provide valuable insight into current students’ opinions.

4. Class Size

When it comes to finding a solid business degree program, class size is an important indicator. The bigger the class, the less access students will have to the professor. It’s common for large business schools to offer entry-level classes to large groups; for more intense, higher-level classes, the sizes should get smaller. Smaller classes mean that students have the chance to ask questions, both in session and during business hours. That makes it easier to build relationships with professors that can help with the job search down the line.

5. Post-Graduation Prospects

For many business students, the goal of a degree is to get a high-paying job after graduation. One way to judge a business degree program is to look at employment rates and types. What percentage of students are hired immediately after graduation? Ideally, the number should be high — this indicates that the program does a good job of preparing students and providing career services to assist in the job search. Then, look into the types of jobs students go into. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some of the highest-paying business jobs to look for include personal finance advisers, management analysts, and financial analysts.

A business education is a big investment, but it can pay off dramatically with high salaries and plenty of room for advancement. When the time comes to choose a university, these signs of a quality business degree make it easier to narrow the selection and find an excellent fit.