Is a degree in business right for you?

Scores of young people want to study business but aren’t really sure where to start. Many aren’t even sure why they want to study business. There are so many different courses available it can become overwhelming. You need to think carefully about your goals and your ideal future career. The skills and knowledge you’ll learn could lead to just about any career.

Do you need a degree?

Yes, you do. One in every four people in South Africa is unemployed. This means the competition for jobs is tough. Having a degree in business will set you apart from fellow applicants who don’t have a tertiary education. While studying you should also look for opportunities to job shadow at companies where you would like to work. Adding work experience to your CV will also set you apart from other applicants.

What to study?

The business field is so broad, you’ll need an idea of where you’d like to end up or you may become lost. You could choose to study general business administration courses where you’ll learn all the ins and outs of the business world. Or you could choose to specialise by studying finance, accounting, management or economics. Only you could possibly know what the correct answer is for yourself.

Where to study?

A number of tertiary institutions offer business classes. Several in South Africa are named among the world’s best. Each year the Financial Times’ global ranking for Executive Education Customised Programmes is released. On the most recent list were the Gordon Institute of Business Science (Gibs), the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB), Wits Business School and Stellenbosch Business School (USB). These top schools charge about R200 000 for the first year of study. If you don’t have that kind of money, and who does, then look out for cheaper options. UNISA and Boston City Campus & Business College are great options.

If you aren’t sure about studying business, consider taking a free short course. This could give you an idea if the field is right for you without having to pay. Some ideas of free online courses include:

  • How to build a startup by Udacity teaches the steps to build a successful startup.
  • Entrepreneurship 101: Who is your customer? by edX and MIT teaches you how to identify a target market.
  • Entrepreneurship 102: What can you do for your customer? by edX and MIT helps you to understand your customers.

A short course could be just what you need to set you on the right path of your business studies dream.

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