How Do You Future-Proof Your Business Degree?
As an undergraduate degree, business is a great choice. Studying business grounds you in concepts you’ll need throughout your career, and it shows employers that you are ready to hit the ground running as soon as you graduate—improving your employability and giving you an edge on other new job-seekers.
But that doesn’t mean all business degrees are created equal. Many business programs take a traditional approach, focusing on theory rather than practical skills. While theory will always have its place, business today is fast-paced, increasingly international, and constantly changing, meaning that students need to be more hands-on than ever if they are going to succeed. Learning theory alone simply isn’t enough anymore.
So how do you find a degree that will teach you the skills you need? As a school that regularly evolves our undergraduate curriculum to include the latest in business thinking, Hult understands what puts a business degree on the cutting edge. Here are four of the key elements we believe truly help to future-proof an education.
- A global outlook
This is one of the key principles we teach at Hult, and while it might not be central in all business degrees, it should still feature high on your list if you are looking to future-proof your degree. In order to be successful in modern business you’ll need to understand how to work with different nationalities to bring a project together. Practical knowledge, language skills, and cross-cultural collaboration will only increase in importance now that international business has become an everyday reality, so your degree should help prepare you. Look for programs with a high number of international students (at Hult we have 128 different nationalities in our program), or check for courses that focus on specific business markets, allow you to study other languages, or even study abroad.
- Practical experience
Experience equals employability when it comes to getting your first job out of college, so look for opportunities to gain hands-on business experience during your studies. Whether it’s refining your teamwork skills, jumping into real-world projects, or working with companies through internships, you will become a more valuable hire with every practical step you take—so don’t neglect these opportunities. Real experience changes the way you view the working world, and hiring managers know this, so make sure you can get that experience at your future school. You should also look for a school with close ties to industry. Not only will your classes contain more relevant and up-to-date examples, but you’ll be more likely to make connections with valuable business contacts.
- Soft skills
Research conducted by Hult revealed that executives feel most new graduates enter the workforce without the critical skills needed to succeed in business. You may be great at writing a thesis, but if you can’t persuade anyone of your point of view in conversation, you are going to struggle post-college. Look for courses that incorporate and test these skills, or even projects that can be delivered in formats like video or presentations rather than just on paper.
- An entrepreneurial approach
As mentioned, theory will always be important, but new business models and different approaches are developing all the time in today’s international marketplace. Thirty years ago ‘social entrepreneurship’ barely existed, and neither did digital marketing, but now they are huge fields with significant influence. New technologies are transforming industries every day, and nobody knows for sure what’s next—so the leaders of tomorrow need to be in tune with emerging trends as well as tried and tested methodologies. Look for degree programs combining theory with exposure to entrepreneurial opportunities, and you’ll soon learn to adapt your knowledge and skills to fit almost any situation—an invaluable ability for any aspiring businessperson.
Remember, schools are most successful in educating tomorrow’s business leaders when they build both the knowledge and the skills you’ll need into your curriculum. Business never stands still—and neither should your college education. Find a school that embraces this, and you will be well on your way to a brighter future.