The payoffs of an undergraduate business education

Wondering what you can do with an undergrad business degree? Curious about the doors it can open and the types of careers it can lead to?
Cole MacKinnon
Successful happy group of people learning software engineering and business during presentation
Successful happy group of students learning software engineering and business during presentation

Good news: Since business is such a broad and far-reaching field, an undergraduate business education can lead to roles in just about every major industry. Companies are always on the lookout for high-quality business graduates from large multinationals to nonprofits to homegrown startups.

A business degree can lead to a higher salary and lifetime earnings. It can also make you a more attractive hire to prospective employers–especially if you’ve taken part in an internship and can demonstrate that you have some real-world experience to build upon.

We spoke to Tek Thongpapanl, the associate dean of research and graduate studies at the Goodman School of Business at Brock University, about the value of an undergraduate business education–and what it can mean for your professional future.

“Business education plays an important role in guiding organizations and their members through the constant harmonization of profit, people and the planet”, he says.

It’s clear that critical and creative thinking, problem-solving, communication, interpersonal, and real-world management skills continue to be in high demand by employers in all industries and sectors.”

These foundational business skills make students appealing to employers and graduates tend to find work across a wide range of industries, including finance, sales, marketing, management, human resources, public relations, and consulting. To put it plainly, a business education is quite useful.

There’s also the option of entrepreneurship. For an increasing number of young Canadians, starting a new business is an enticing prospect. Contrary to what many think about the stressful process of building a startup, entrepreneurs are generally happier and healthier than employees.

Whichever path you choose, know that finding success in today’s fast-paced working world means keeping your skill set up-to-date. Whether you’re entering the workforce for the first time or making a career change, it’s important to stay relevant.

Says Thongpapanl: “The ever-evolving job market and workplaces of the future demand that the labour force be not only insightful, innovative, and inclusive, but also that it be equipped with technology-enabled, data-driven business and managerial skills.

Undergraduate business programs are designed to help students master these skills through rigorous and robust programs. At Goodman, students experience hands-on learning that teaches them how to apply these competencies and adapt them for different cases and situations.”

That last point is important. Industries will continue to seek out and reward those who are well-versed in resilience, adaptability, and outside-the-box thinking. Traits like these are hallmarks of capable business leaders and decision-makers.

“We don’t know what the pressing issues of the future will be, but we can develop the type of leaders required to tackle them”, says Thongpapanl.

“This is what I see as the important payoff of an undergraduate business education, and it will continue to pay dividends as students advance their professional and personal lives.”