Why study a business course?
Studying a course in business can open you up to a whole new world of opportunities. From marketing to finance and project management – the business of studying business means graduates get a holistic view and skills of what is needed to succeed, regardless of the industry.
Typically business courses encompass a wide group of programs, somewhere you can specialise in subjects like human resource management, economics, strategic management and accounting. Fortunately, today there's a wide variety of options available including studying business courses online.
Starting out studying business there are a few options and levels to choose from including Certificate, Diploma and Bachelor. Generally, undergraduate courses will focus on the foundational aspects of business before being able to specialise further down the line. There is usually a strong focus on the practical application of theory through problem-solving tasks, case studies and group work.
For those with industry experience or who have already studied business, it’s typical to look at postgraduate studies like a Masters of Business Administration (MBA), Graduate Certificate in Business or a Graduate Diploma in Business. Depending on the university and its offering, students may be able to choose a specialisation such as marketing, human resources, finance, information systems, and operations management.
What do you learn in a business course?
For undergraduate courses, students will generally study foundational units such as; Introduction to financial accounting, foundations of finance, business law, business statistics, introduction to management, and marketing theory and practice. Depending on the university, undergraduate courses can also include a capstone, corporate project or internship experience.
What are the salary expectations of graduates?
The expected salary for business graduates in some industries is as high as $250,000, however, according to PayScale, the average expected salaries increases to an average of $103K for an MBA.
How long does it take to complete?
There a few modes of study available for those looking to build their business know-how, with some shorter than others. For example, for on-campus study, a bachelor degree usually takes three years full-time and students need to complete a total of 24 core and elective units.
Similarly, for post-graduate study, an MBA takes two years full-time to complete and depending on a student’s work experience, will need to complete between 8 – 16 units.
Alternatively, many universities offer business courses completely online, where students complete each unit and specified activities. Usually, online students interact with their peers and academics through chat groups and online platforms for group work.
What about online courses?
If you’re working full-time, the thought of making time to go to a university campus to study could seem almost impossible. Thankfully many universities are offering a range of online undergraduate and postgraduate courses. For some universities, this means 100% online classes, where you complete a series of readings, activities and assessments through an online learning portal and engage with academics and fellow students in online chat groups. For others, it means having resources posted to you in the mail and completing readings and tasks through a series of prompted lessons. See what it’s like to study online at Southern Cross University
Career pathways for graduates
The beauty of studying business is it opens a world of opportunities. Whether you’re changing industries completely or accentuating the knowledge you have from your current industry, an MBA will always set you apart. We’ve profiled some of the roles that have career pathways for business graduates.
Accountants plan and provide accounting systems and services relating to financial dealings for both companies and individuals. They also advise on associated record-keeping and compliance requests.
Accountants assist in the formulation of budgets and accounting policies. They prepare financial statements for presentation to the board of directors, management, shareholders and statutory bodies. In addition to these tasks, they may conduct financial investigations and undertake audits.
Banking and Finance Managers plan, administer and review financial and accounting activities within an organisation. For this role, it's a requirement to complete a Bachelor degree in financial services, accounting, economics, business administration or similar. In some instances, relevant experience is required in addition to the formal qualification.
According to the Australian Jobs Occupation Matrix, 88.3% work on a full-time basis, with a median weekly salary of $1,650, depending on the organisation and level of experience.
Human Resource Managers look after the hiring of new employees and the ongoing training and development of employees. Human resource managers are integral in the search for, and retainment of, the best business talent. In addition to hiring, they also oversee and advise on key strategies that contribute to a productive, happy and highly engaged employee workforce. According to the ABS Labour Force Survey, 91.7% of workers are full-time and the median weekly salary is $1,650 (dependent on experience and salary).
Sales and Marketing Managers plan and direct integrated sales and marketing activities across the business and can include business development, advertising, communications and market research. They set sales and marketing policies and plan sales and marketing operations. These range from everything to market research and advertising, to the promotion, distribution and pricing and selling of the product or service within market.
General Managers plan, administer, and review the major functions in government, private and not-for-profit organisations. They are responsible for the revenue and cost elements. This role often requires a Bachelor degree in business or higher, and/or 5+ years of relevant management experience. The number of years’ relevant experience may be a substitute for the formal qualification in some circumstances. Usually office based, General Managers also can do a lot of travel representing their business at meetings.
Chief Executives and Managing Directors oversee the entire business. They are often natural-born leaders and possess wonderful management and analytical skills. If the business structure requires it, they’ll be the liaison between business and stakeholders, such as the board of directors.
Chief Executives and Managing Directors determine objectives, strategy, policy and programs. They will provide the overall direction and management and authorise the material, human and financial resources to implement organisational policies and programs.
What skills will you learn?
Having exceptional written and verbal communication skills help you achieve goals at work because it helps you communicate with your colleagues and your clients. How you pitch a message (written and verbal) is critical in business. Whether it is intended for your colleagues or clients, it is important that you can design and deliver a message that is meaningful to the recipient.
Digital technology skills
There is a demand for digital literacy in businesses. Having digital know-how can translate into career opportunity - business graduates with digital solutions help improve processes and solve problems and grab opportunities for growth and improvement. How you pitch a message (written and verbal) is critical in business. Whether it is intended for your colleagues or clients, it is important that you can design and deliver a message that is meaningful to the recipient.
Can you respond to change quickly and easily? Being flexible to the changing demands of the workplace is a key business skill. Speed is a big factor for those that thrive in a business environment. It’s essential to experiment rapidly, frequently and economically with business models, processes and strategies. Adaptability also means attuning your business antennae to see the early signs of change and get ahead of potential risks before they take shape.
Attention to detail
Attention to detail means higher accuracy rates and in a fast-paced workplace, these skills will be highly sought after. Being across all the finer details a business will mean you will be able to instantly know when something isn’t right or a project is not progressing as it should.
Analytical skills are the ability to collect and analyse information and data to solve problems. Analytical skills are not simply the ability to read data, it’s the ability to find trends and insights from this data. Having analytical business skills is becoming higher in employer demand and candidates with these skills can expect very competitive salaries.
Can you effectively manage your own time? Good self-management skills allow you to juggle multiple deadlines and have the initiative to know when you need extra help. As well as managing time, skills like goal setting, problem-solving, resisting stress and communicating clearly also contribute to effective self-management.
Being a leader is about creating an environment where everyone can thrive. Leadership skills include helping the people you work with, and the businesses you work for, grow and thrive. Good leaders can admit mistakes and learn and grow from them.
Masters level business course advice
- The art of choosing the right MBA for you
- Why you need an MBA?
- How difficult is an MBA?
- How an MBA boosts your leadership skills
- Three underrated reasons to do an MBA
- MBA Career Growth and Opportunity