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What Should I Major in to Own My Own Business?

by Jennifer Brozak, studioD

According to "Forbes" magazine, in 2012 about 15 to 20 percent of U.S. workers were running their own businesses -- a number that has continued to rise. While there are a variety of factors that contribute to the success or failure of a business, all businesses require specific industry expertise, as well as effective communication and marketing know-how. If you plan to start your own business after college, these educational options may best serve your entrepreneurial spirit.

Business Management

Obviously, choosing to major in a field such as business administration or management can help prepare you for a career as an entrepreneur. According to the College Board's "Big Future" website, majoring in business administration will provide training in all aspects of running a business, including accounting, finance, marketing, economics and human resources. Because a business management degree can be broad and general, your college of choice may require you to choose an area of concentration. For instance, you may be able to pursue a degree in business administration with a concentration in finance, human resources or accounting.


No matter what type of business you’re planning to launch, you’ll need customers. And how will you get customers? By learning what their needs are, what makes them tick, and how to attract them. A marketing degree will teach you more than simple advertising techniques; you’ll also learn about consumer expectations and behavior, the sales process, distribution, supply and demand, and pricing methods -- important components of promoting your business to potential customers.

Communication and Rhetoric

As a business owner, you’ll likely deal with customers, employees, suppliers and service providers. Knowing how to communicate with these different groups -- whether in writing or in person -- is an essential skill for any business major to possess. In addition to improving your “people skills,” majoring in communication can provide you with a solid foundation in speaking and writing, which can help you learn how to persuade, inform, or motivate people through the media or by speaking to large groups.

Your Specific Trade or Industry

If you’re planning on opening a business related to a specific industry, pursuing a major -- or even a minor, coupled with one of the aforementioned majors -- in your chosen field may be the best choice. For instance, if you’re interested in opening a computer repair business, then pursuing a major in computer science may be more critical than a degree in business, as the technical training will provide you with the expertise you need to be credible to potential customers. Likewise, if you're thinking of opening up a restaurant but only have experience waiting on customers, you may need to pursue training at a culinary school. After all, you could outsource your marketing needs to an advertising agency, and find a certified public accountant to help you with your finances, but if you don’t know the ins and outs of a motherboard -- or a souffle, for that matter -- your business may falter.

About the Author

As a mother, wife and recovering English teacher, Jennifer Brozak is passionate about all things parenting and education. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and St. Vincent College, Jennifer writes features for the IN Community magazine network and shares her daily escapades on her blog, One Committed Mama.

Photo Credits

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