Is a Business Degree Still Relevant in 2019?

Business has long been the most popular major at U.S. colleges and universities, which hand out far more degrees in this field than any other.

And yet some people say business degrees nowadays are unnecessary, outdated and irrelevant. Business is a fast-changing field in today’s digital economy, and some say business instruction isn’t keeping up with the times or producing the skills needed to succeed in today’s marketplace.

Many business schools would disagree, saying they are preparing students for a broad range of careers by providing instruction in all aspects of real-world business, including management, economics, finance, accounting, marketing and sales.

Do you need a business degree to succeed in business? Many well-known entrepreneurs would attest that you don’t, including college dropouts Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

But could a business degree help you on your personal path to success? Like everything in business, that depends. Here are five points to consider.

1) The market is flooded with business majors.

If you want to be a business major, you won’t be alone. And that’s not necessarily a good thing.

Out of 2 million bachelor’s degrees issued in 2016–17, the majority were in five fields:

• Business: 381,000 degrees
• Health professions and related programs: 238,000
• Social sciences and history: 159,000
• Psychology: 117,000
• Biological and biomedical sciences: 117,000

Business surpassed education as the most popular major some 40 years ago, and it shows no signs of losing its dominance as the chief field of study in the United States.

So while you’ll have lots of company in business school, you may find it hard to distinguish yourself in the job market among so many business grads.

2) Generic business degrees do not have high earning potential.

General business degrees do not usually turn out to be big earners in the long run, according to data compiled by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) on the potential earnings of hundreds of college majors over the course of five and 10 years.

Majors in “general business” came in at 201st place on a list of fields of study ranked by earning potential, with mid-career salaries in the $80,400 range. The list, compiled by Payscale.com using 2018 NCES data, defines “mid-career salaries” as median earnings after 10 or more years of work in the field.

According to other NCES data reported in “The Condition of Education 2019,” a general business degree falls almost exactly within the median annual earnings of 25- to 29-year-old bachelor’s degree holders by fields of study in 2017.

With electrical engineering graduates topping the list at $72,600 and social workers bringing up the rear at $38,400, general business grads earned $50,400, while the median for all fields was $50,500.

That means that out of all college graduates who were not business students, half earned more and half earned less. Contrary to what you may think, the data suggests that broad-based business majors are a poor path to high earnings.

3) Specialized business degrees are usually worth more (but not always).

Those who earn a specialized business degree rather than a generic degree can generally expect substantially higher earnings.

Specialized fields within the broad business category include finance, accounting, economics, marketing and management. While general business degrees ranked 201st on the Payscale.com list cited above at $80,400, business analysis came in 9th at $129,800; business logistics and transportation 28th at $117,000; and business and economics tied for 53rd place with international business management, at $109,000.

Out of 25 majors with the word “business” in the title, 18 earned more than “general business” and only six earned less.

4) Most employers do not care what your major was.

Employers do not generally care about a job candidate’s college major. What they care about is the job candidate.

A survey by the Association of American Colleges and Universities found that 93% of employers say job candidates’ critical thinking, communication and problem-solving skills are more important than their college major.

Also, 80% of employers say that all students should be broadly educated in the liberal arts and sciences, no matter what their major.

Businesses may or may not be looking to hire business majors. But they’re all looking to hire people who will help their businesses succeed.

5) Your best bet is to pursue something you love.

Many experts say you should find a major that aligns with your interests and passions rather than try to force yourself into a major that you think will lead to a lucrative job. You’re going to spend a lot of time studying, and presumably working, in the field you choose, so you’d better choose something you like.

If business is that passion for you, then there’s no reason not to pursue a business major. Business can expose you to many different disciplines, which can lead to work in a variety of fields. The versatility of the degree is often cited as a plus for students who don’t yet know exactly what they want to do in life.

Whatever you choose, strive to gain the broadest education possible, try to build a network of contacts in your field, and look for internships or other work experience so you’ll have more than just a degree on your resume when you graduate.

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Online Project Management Software for Small Business: Choose Wisely

online project management

According to findings, only 58% of organizations fully understand the value of project management. Meanwhile, a whopping 93% of organizations report using standardized project management practices. In fact, 77% of high-performing projects use project management software.

Between 2017 and 2018, the percentage of organizations using spreadsheets to manage their agile projects dropped from 74% to 67%. This is because these organizations moved to specialized project management tools.

When it comes to running a successful small business, you need a seamless project management software that helps you stay focused on your goals and achieve them without delays.

From getting through the early stages of planning, scheduling and communicating to managing critical resources, tracking costs and reporting, a robust project management program can make it all happen flawlessly. Further, it becomes easy to collaborate with utmost transparency in every process.

The main objective of small business project management software is to streamline and simplify tasks for project managers. It puts them in the driver’s seat where they get to decide on the whats, whens, whys, and hows of executing project-related tasks.

Thanks to easy collaboration, processes can be unified as different teams work together across several applications while staying abreast of the latest developments. Tasks such as file-sharing, task monitoring, reporting, and communicating can be carried out from one place.

In other words, a comprehensive cloud project management software will ensure that you’re always aware of the smallest details as well as the bigger picture.

Did you know that project performance has risen globally? In 2018, almost 70% of projects met their original goals or business intent, while around 60% were completed within the original budget. Both these numbers are up from 62% and 50% respectively in 2016.

Here are a few reasons why choosing the project management system that’s right for your business is of utmost importance.

  • While it is a challenging endeavor, using the right project management program can organize your business operations, enabling your organization to provide optimal outcomes through first-rate work processes.
  • In the modern business landscape, using manual and outdated tools such as paper-and-pen and spreadsheets to maintain records can prove to be highly ineffective and error-prone. These issues can be avoided with project management software.
  • Your clients expect high performance from your business. Missing deadlines, wasting resources, poor risk management, and similar issues can result in major trouble for you and may result in your project failing before even getting off the ground. None of this happens when you have an efficient project management system in place.
  • Effective client management is a critical aspect of growing a small business. The right project management tool takes care of this too.

Now, you might be wondering how to pick the right system for your small business, right!

Let me show you, How?

Take the below considerations in mind while choosing a project management software for your small business:

1. Best-in-Class vs Business Needs

A lot of small business owners make the mistake of buying high-end software that’s stuffed with features that promise to meet the needs of an entire enterprise. This type of software is usually promoted as “best-in-class.” However, you need to be smart and determine whether or not it is best for your business needs.

Usually, such a program ends up as shelfware. Business owners fall for shelfware by choosing from a couple of names based on top-of-the-mind recall. It is necessary to gauge the program’s features and benefits with regards to your business, and spend wisely on it.

While manual and spreadsheet methods may have served your business so far, you need to keep up with the changing times and harness technology to improve your project management processes and outcomes. While we do not recommended buying the next software you come across, we do suggest to determine the specific requirements of your business and select a program that plugs the gaps in the system.

2. Free Trials Are For You Only

It makes sense to actually try the project management tool at first to determine whether or not it fits your needs. However, don’t stop at one or two. Check out demos of 5 – 10 programs and shortlist a few to see how they work.

Take advantage of the free trials that most providers/vendors offer either under a limited account or for a fixed time period. If your provider doesn’t offer this facility upfront, feel free to ask about it.

Secondly, the software you choose should make communication and collaboration processes as flawless as possible. And, that’s why it is important to trail new software with team before buying it. Get their feedback on how the process is working for them. Doing so will also make your team feel involved in the decision-making process.

The duration of the trial should be long enough to allow you to gauge the software and feel convinced that it does fit your working style and business needs. Evaluate every provider to ensure that you don’t end up settling for a system, but get one that actually serves you well.

Most importantly, always remember to take the customer service and overall vendor responsiveness into consideration. Many times, even professionals make such small mistakes by overlooking the customer support which lands them into trouble later on.

Why you should never overlook the customer support?

In case, if you hit a roadblock or have certain questions on your mind and you contacted their support team but, you didn’t get the desired response. It will spell doom on your projects.

So, a wise move is to pose some queries and check their responsiveness in attending such queries, solutions that they provide. Doing so will enable you to see how receptive and co-operative they are.

3. Cost vs Capabilities

Regardless of the volume of the project, small businesses typically work within budgetary constraints. Picking software that best fits your unique business needs can, therefore, be a challenge. In such a case, it makes sense to get a program that offers you complete value for your money.

The cost of project management software varies from one provider to another. Some may cost as low as $50 while complex ERP solutions can set you back thousands of dollars. If you focus on getting quality software, you can consider your money spent well.

Some factors to consider include:

· What will be the ideal payment solution?
· Should you go for the subscription option or stick to monthly/quarterly/annual payments?
· How much will adoption and implementation of the program cost?
· Are you getting enough features/amenities for the price you’re paying?
· Will having the program cost more than running the business without the program?

The answers to the above questions will help you figure out whether or not the software can justify its cost.

4. Scalability For Future

Several small business owners end up buying a project management tool that caters only to their immediate current needs, overlooking the possibility of quick business growth. As they expand, they realize that their software isn’t flexible enough to accommodate the growing business demands and customer expectations.

This necessitates further expenditure on buying an advanced program. It is crucial to invest in a flexible and scalable project management system that grows as your businesses progresses. Make sure to get a program that allows you to add more features to it and upgrades as you grow.

5. Protection Against Cyberattacks

Underestimate the security aspect of your project management software at your own peril. Without a doubt, security is one of the most crucial factors to consider when investing in a software solution.

When your clients associate with you, they trust you with some of their most critical and confidential data. The last thing you want is to lose their trust and your credibility because a vested interest hacked into your software and stole/misused this sensitive information.

Apart from client data, your own business data, research, findings, patents and trademarks also need to be kept away from vicious online criminals.

Preventing/Avoiding Cyberattacks and other security issues should be high on your priority list from day one. Choosing a fortified and secure program will keep you safe from hackers, malware, viruses, and such.

It is recommended to check and recheck the security features of the software you’re planning to buy and gauge its reliability. Moreover, the vendor’s efficiency and dependability in backing up your data on a regular basis should also be factored into your decision. Determine whether or not they’re using a secure hosting platform to backup customer information, without hampering current operations.

Another consideration in this regard is the downtime. The project management solution you choose should be available at all times without any glitches. You don’t want keep your clients waiting because of problems with the project management tool and the inability of the vendor’s customer support team to respond to your queries.

6. Easy To Use Interface

One of the main reasons to invest in project management software is so business owners can stop worrying about daily operations and focus on business strategy.

With time being a luxury, the last thing you want to do is spend it learning the workings of your software, right!

It is crucial to get a project management solution that comes with a user-friendly interface and allows you work with it effortlessly without much training. The best programs require minimal training and enable users to work with them right away. This is because of their intuitive user interface.

One of the most overlooked factors here is that your software should minimize the risk of users getting it wrong and making costly mistakes. To ensure user-friendliness, your software should be:

  • Intuitive: The software should be easy-to-use even for novices, while being configurable by experts. Finding and changing software settings should be quick and hassle-free.
  • Accessible: The project management system should be easily accessible by both, on-site staff and remote staff with a login ID and password. Further, it should be accessible across devices and platforms.
  • Supportable: Features in cloud-based online project management software get upgraded regularly in order to maximize performance and boost outcomes. Your program should offer adequate maintenance and support in this regard either for free or at a reasonable price.

Conclusion

Choosing project management software that suits your specific business requirements is key to meeting your organizational goals. It can help you with enhanced decision-making abilities and customer satisfaction, resulting in unwavering success. However, don’t be fooled by fancy software making tall claims about its features. You may just end up with a higher cost and features that you don’t even need. Pay heed to the factors mentioned above, and you will be able to zero in on one that’s the perfect fit for your business, team, and clients.

Have you been using project management tools to propel your small business? Which feature(s) do you think is the most important? Tell us about it in your comments.