If laboratory science classes are among your least favorite courses, you might wonder how you would fare in business school. While the amount of science coursework you need to graduate is minimal, studying the life and physical sciences can help you develop important skills you need in the business world.
Science in an Undergraduate Business Program
In just about any college degree program, you will be required to complete a set of general education courses in order to graduate. Taking college-level classes in a breadth of subjects helps you become a well-rounded student and develop a more comprehensive view of real-world issues, an outcome that is particularly important for business students. General education requirements at most schools include at least one or two courses in one of the life and physical sciences, usually with a laboratory component – and for good reason, according to Forbes. Most business majors fulfill this general education requirement by taking introductory courses such as Chemistry I and II, Biology I and II or Physics I and II. Some schools offer multidisciplinary science courses like Integrated Science Inquiry for non-science majors. At some colleges, a computer science course may even count toward your general education science requirement.
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While all business majors must meet these general education requirements, some students will need to take more science and STEM (science, technology, mathematics and engineering) courses than others. Generally, students pursuing a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Business Administration, rather than a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Business Administration, may have more demanding science and math requirements. This is because the B.A. is a liberal arts degree that focuses more on developing soft skills through a variety of courses in the arts, social sciences and humanities, while the B.S. emphasizes technical skills. This doesn’t mean that you must take advance theoretical science classes and spend your whole college career in a lab, but you should take a close look at a school’s curriculum before deciding which program is right for you, since not all business programs have the same requirements.
Certain business specializations, too, might include more of a focus on science, math and related coursework. For example, if you specialize in digital media and technology, computer science classes might be in your future. A concentration in healthcare management might require you to take classes in healthcare information technology and delivery systems.
How do you choose a science class? Give some thought to what branch of science is most relevant to your interests. If you want to work in healthcare, biology makes sense, while for tech startup jobs, introductory physics or computer science would be more valuable.
Benefits of Studying Science
Whatever science courses you end up taking, you don’t have to feel that you are wasting your time or merely checking off graduation requirements from a list. There is real value in studying science, math and technology, especially for business students. Many of the skills that will make you a good business professional – like analytical skills, reasoning skills and math and quantitative skills – develop as you learn scientific processes and how to use empirical methods. In your future business career, you will need to use these skills for many different purposes. When you want to calculate your return on the investments your business makes or the success of your marketing campaigns, you need those math and analytical skills. When you need to solve one of the challenges that inevitably arises in a business setting, following the same methods you would use in a scientific experiment can help you identify and isolate the variables and test out different solutions. Using this process can help you solve problems methodically, rather than scrambling to implement all possible solutions at once and then not knowing which actions were effective. You want to change only the factors that hinder productivity, not the ones that help it.
Increasingly, the lines between business and science – and more specifically, between finance and technology – are becoming blurred, The Financial Times reported. New tech companies are entering the finance industry, and successful startups are rivaling established banks and finance firms. As a result, the environments and job duties for many business and finance professionals are beginning to change. Having marketing technology skills and a basic understanding of science and technology can improve your jobs prospects.
Financial analyst, management analyst, market research analyst and personal financial advisor are just a few of many business and finance roles that require strong analytical, math or critical-thinking skills, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.