Don’t have a business degree? Good!

Why you are probably better off without a business degree.

It seems crazy, but it’s true: an undergraduate degree in business isn’t a door to wealth. Parents think they can’t go wrong by sending their kids off to business classes at the university, but business school, unlike most other vocational fields, doesn’t offer experience or a big pay-off.

Business majors learn fewer applicable skills.

Let me break it down for you. A recent high school graduate who goes to school to learn to be a mechanic actually gets his hands dirty and works with physical parts, gaining knowledge that can be directly applied to his vocation. Business majors learn how to respond to theoretical scenarios in the sheltered vacuum of a classroom. It’s a little like learning to drive a submarine by playing a video game and then being expected to survive once you’re unleashed on the open waters.

Becoming a business leader takes a variety of skills – psychology, mathematics, communication – but it also takes creativity. Many students who aspire to make money in business fail to make the correlation between imagination and ingenuity. It was, in fact, Andy Warhol who called business “the best art.”

business graduates
Image by Rob Chan

Some undergraduate liberal arts degrees are even father down on the pay-scale than business (which ranks 35 out of 75), but for some graduate programs, a liberal arts degree is more promising than an undergraduate degree in business. Students who study philosophy and English literature are well-versed in analytical thinking and are constant practitioners of sharp communication. On the other end of the spectrum, mathematics majors understand the language of economics and statistics.

Your life can become overrun by work.

Degrees in business are extremely common, so once you graduate; you’re going to be forced into an oversaturated market with high levels of competition. In this case, becoming a small business owner is a great option, but most college students don’t have the resources to fund a startup right after college. With no career history or savings, most people are starting from scratch.

In a study completed by labor economists, business majors working in the finance and consulting sectors were shown to have extremely difficult times juggling their work and lives. The fields are so competitive that they demand constant participation, and those who go on leave or drop out of the race for even short periods of time, face great challenges and penalties in terms of resuming their careers and moving forward.

If not business…then what?

By all means, if you find the right business degree program and you are confident that you will have a job after college, go for it! Some people thrive in competitive environments and can juggle project and personnel management with a happy home life. Creating your own small, independent business is a great way to exercise business skills, but there has to be a passion beyond making money, and that is what a business degree fails to nurture.

A business degree isn’t necessary to becoming a business leader. Higher education is a way to improve the skills you already have while exploring new territory, and you can pair any degree with business classes if you are interested in becoming an entrepreneur.

About the Author: Melissa Miller is blogger and freelance writer for She is interested in all things education and writes to help recent college graduates navigate the challenging world of first-time employment, adult responsibility, and finances. Throw your questions to

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