So, you Want to go into Business

By Flora Richards Gustafson on June 26, 2013
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Your business career may be a matter of degrees.

There are several types of business degrees, which can include entrepreneurship, management, finance, marketing, global business, business economics and business psychology. Each is a business specialization. For example, those who earn a degree in global business learn about working with individuals in various corporate settings and cultures, global commerce, international trade and management so they can own or work for an international corporation.

Oregon real estate broker Kim Dittler earned her Bachelor of Science in business management from George Fox University. One of the top three percent of Prudential agents nationwide, she owns her own business and has consistently earned a Quality Service Certification score of 100 percent. “My business degree showed me what to do from 30,000 feet. Being in business means that I am now up-close and personal with ways in which I need to implement what I have learned,” states Dittler, who applies what she learned in college “each and every day.”

Entrepreneurial pursuits
Going into business can mean owning your own company. In 2009, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 10.9 percent of the country’s workforce was self-employed. When you start your own business, you’re in charge of everything—from making the coffee to making customers happy. Being an entrepreneur is great if you like things done a certain way, want to be in charge of your financial future, are disciplined and aren’t afraid of taking risks. Cindy Aggson, founder of the Carpe Viam Group, says it is about “flexibility and getting to do what I love.”

Aggson enjoys “the opportunity to constantly learn,” she says. “When you own a business nothing is static … nothing is boring.” In addition to the joys of having happy customers and setting your own schedule, you also have to deal with all the problems the business world throws at you.

While you don’t need to have a business-related degree to own your own business, a specialization helps. For example, if you want to open a bakery, you should know something about it. You’ll also need to learn how to create a business plan, get the permits and licenses, learn about business laws and marketing. The U.S. Small Business Administration, colleges and local Chamber of Commerce offices provide classes, programs, resources and events for those interested in starting a business.

Leadership roles
Company leaders play a big role and include managers, directors and supervisors. It’s common to earn a business-related degree to become an asset to a company. For example, someone who earns a degree in business psychology may work as a human resources director, or a degree in education may lead to developing company training programs.

Thomas Nordén provides business services for the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce in New York. With a Bachelor’s degree in business administration and a Master’s degree in finance, Nordén helps individuals in Sweden who want to start a business in the United States by introducing them to potential partners; he offers support services, helps business owners determine where to set up shop, and helps develop business plans.

Business is complex, says Nordén, “The balance between short-term profits and building up long-term relationships with clients is something you have to learn by being in business, as theoretical models do not easily define how relationships work.” Going into business isn’t a simple pursuit, but opens many doors to a wide variety of vocational opportunities.



SIDEBAR: Q&A with people in business

Kim Dittler— Owner of Kim Dittler Real Estate, Broker for Prudential Northwest Properties
Q: What are the top three skills every person in business should have?
A: Self-motivation, a vision and organization.

Q: What advice do you offer teens who want to pursue a business-related degree or be an entrepreneur?
A: Start meeting with people who own their own business or are in a business-related fi eld already. Take them to coffee and pick their brains on what they know. It will teach you more than you ever imagined and will also help build your network so that when you graduate you already have advocates in your corner eager to help you find the perfect fi t for a career.

Thomas Nordén—Business Services Consultant for the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce in New York
Q: What are the top three skills every person in business should have?
A: Attention to details, as that is where you make a difference, strong communications skills and having an analytical mindset.

Q: What aspect of the business world do you find the most appealing?
A: [Developing] skills useful for the rest of your life including making rational decisions and becoming a social pro. You constantly have to be updated on where your industry is moving, new trends and what your clients are requesting. All this makes you well educated. The opportunity to travel in your job, gain more freedom and power are also appealing.

About the Author

Flora Richards Gustafson

Flora Richards Gustafson

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