As you slog through the challenges of earning a college degree, you may find yourself longing for the days when essays will be a thing of the past. Business majors have to do quite a lot of writing, both in their college courses and in their future career. Fortunately, you won’t always have to do literary analyses, expository essays and annotated bibliographies. However, you will find yourself using the writing skills you learned in college on a regular basis in the business world to draft professional and eloquent messages to audiences inside and outside your organization.
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Writing and Communications Coursework in Business School
All business professionals must be able to articulate their thoughts in ways that are appropriately professional and concise. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), which accredits college degree programs in business, finds communication skills to be essential for business students to cultivate. In fact, written and oral communication is the very first of all of the general skill areas to be listed as requirements for business programs at the bachelor’s degree level and beyond, according to AACSB International’s Eligibility Procedures and Accreditation Standards for Business Accreditation.
In business communications, writing well isn’t about coming up with creative sentence structure and stylistic prose, or about perfectly-formatted citations, but instead, effective expression of ideas. This need for effective communication in the business world is so important that some business schools expressly require students to develop proficiency in advanced writing and communication skills. To demonstrate this proficiency, students must perform well in classes such as Introduction to Business Law, Advanced Professional Communication and Critical Thinking and Persuasion for Business.
At many business schools, a basic course like Business Writing and Communication is a required part of the core business curriculum every student must take. Within a particular business administration concentration, students may have to take further business classes in communication. For example, in a marketing specialization, you might expect to take a class in Advertising & Marketing Communications, which would cover material such as planning, and implementing successful marketing communications campaigns. Leadership concentrations, too, require plenty of study in communications – even in classes you might not expect, such as Team Dynamics and Leadership.
Learning to communicate well facilitates the development of other essential skills as well – including learning to think critically, understand your audience and plan what you want to say. Whether in a business meeting or in a personal conversation, these skills are valuable.
The Role of Writing and Communications in the Business World
Why do you need to spend so much time learning to speak and write effectively? Your skills reflect on your school, and colleges naturally want their graduates to come across as articulate communicators. More importantly, though, the communications skills you develop as a business major can help you get a job or a promotion. While your technical and analytical skills certainly matter, prospective employers pay close attention to your soft skills during the job application and interviewing process. Year after year, employers rank communication skills as one of the top soft skills they’re seeking in a new hire, according to The Houston Chronicle.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists communication skills among the top qualities needed for a wide range of business occupations, from meeting and event planner to accountant and from logistician to management analyst. For top executives – the most senior of management roles, including personnel like chief executive officer (CEO), chief operating officers (COO), chief financial officer (CFO), the ability to communicate persuasively is especially crucial, the BLS reported.
In the business world, good communication means removing the jargon and resolving grammatical issues so that your meaning is clear, according to Harvard Business Review. Successful business writing requires you to make deliberate choices about the tone of your communication and to carefully consider the audience, purpose and message of your communications, whether you are drafting a company-wide internal memo or a response to a disgruntled customer. Business communications that are too long, too vague or too disorganized don’t just fail to get the message across – they waste time and hinder collaboration and productivity. The writing coursework you must complete to earn your business degree may unnecessary at times, but practicing your writing skills in school will leave you well-equipped for the demands of communicating in a real business workplace.
Effective communication is so important in business that universities are now offering master’s degrees in business communication to better train business leaders in strategies for clear, respectful communication with colleagues, customers, clients and shareholders.