Business education is a branch of education that involves teaching the skills and operations of the business industry. This field of education occurs at multiple levels, including secondary and higher education

Secondary education

Main article: Business studies

At secondary level, Business Studies, as it is often called, typically combines elements of accountancy, finance, marketing, organizational studies, human resource management and economics.[1] The range of topics is designed to give the student a general overview of the various elements of running a business.

Business is taught as an academic subject at high school level in many countries, including: Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Lesotho, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Nigeria, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Argentina, Sweden, Tanzania, Malaysia and the United Kingdom.

Many school systems (additionally) examine accounting and economics as separate subjects; these offering a more technical orientation than the course in general business. Business mathematics may be included under business studies, or as a part of the mathematics syllabus.

Undergraduate education

Students attending a class at Harvard Business School, the top-ranked business school in the world, according to U.S. News & World Report's 2023 rankings[2]
  • Management
    • Organization Structure
    • Productivity
    • Leadership
  • Marketing, Sales and Public Relations
    • Marketing analytics
    • Brand Management
  • Economics and Analytics
    • Market Trends
    • Supply and Demand
    • Elasticity
  • Accounting
    • Managerial
    • Auditing
    • Tax
  • Finance
    • Fixed Income Securities
    • Valuation Models
  • Business Law
    • Regulations
    • Organizations
    • Legal Risk

At the university level, students have the opportunity to take undergraduate degrees, usually a bachelor's degree, in business and management. Specific curricula and degree-granting procedures differ by program and by region. In general though, the program will comprise either preparation for management and general business, or a detailed - more academic - focus on a specific area. Regardless, all will typically include basic selections such as Accounting, Marketing, Finance, Operations Management, and Economics for business. Examples of these concentrations, and some topics typically covered,[3] are aside.

Management-directed programs[4] are designed to give a broad knowledge of the functional areas of a company, and their interconnection, and also to develop the student's practical managerial skills, communication skills and business decision-making capability. These programs thus incorporate training and practical experience, in the form of case projects, presentations, internships, industrial visits, and interaction with experts from the industry.

Subject specific programs, on the other hand, focus on a particular area, and are often more weighted towards theory. Even in these cases, however, additional to their major, students are exposed to general business principles, taking initial courses in accounting/finance, human resources, statistics, marketing, economics, and information systems. Regarding, "tagged degrees" however, see below.

Degrees offered here include:

Postgraduate education

At the graduate school level, students seek a variety of master's degrees, either in general management–very commonly the MBA–or in a specific area, such as marketing or finance. A further distinction is that students pursuing postgraduate degrees often have some business experience, although this is not always a program requirement.

Corresponding to both of these, graduate degrees in business and management are generally of two types: On the one hand, programs such as the Master of Science (M.Sc.) or Arts (MA) or Commerce (M.Com.) in General Management (sometimes also called Master in Management, or MIM) usually do not require professional experience. (Often the M.Sc. in Management is for graduates with a first academic degree in a social science, while the MA in Management is for other backgrounds. The Master of Engineering Management, MEM, is aimed at graduates with an engineering background.) On the other hand, the Master of Business Administration (MBA) requires a minimum of two to three years of professional experience and is open for graduates from any field. A related distinction: the M.Sc. in Management is more specialized than an MBA, and is more suited for academic research, while the MBA is more industry- and management-focused.

As regards degree structure, postgraduate business programs are, in general, designed such that students gain exposure to theory and practice alike;[9] the mix, though, will differ by degree and by school,[10] as discussed. Learning is through lectures, case studies, and often team projects ("syndicate" work). The theory is covered in the classroom setting by academic faculty. Particularly in the MBA, the theory is then reinforced, and revisited, also in the classroom setting, through the case method, placing the student in the role of the decision maker, "complete with the constraints and incomplete information found in real business issues." Practical learning often comprises consulting projects with real clients, or at least addressing an actual case, and is often undertaken in teams. The practical elements (as well as the case studies) may involve external practitioners, and sometimes executives, supporting the teaching from academic faculty. (See Business school § Use of case studies and § Other approaches.) One of the challenges for business academics is demonstrating that their curriculum is relevant to those who want to become managers.[11]

Degrees offered include:


At the doctoral level, all degrees offered are research focused, although they do differ as regards their relative weightings of theory versus practice. Typically, the DBA, DPA, DHA and D.Mgt emphasize managerial practice alongside research; relatedly, the theses for these degrees will often focus on applied research. The other doctorates here are (exclusively) theory and research based. Entrance is usually on the basis of a relevant master's degree, and for practice-weighted degrees, relevant managerial experience. For the topic areas applicable to the thesis component, see List of fields of doctoral studies in the United States § Business management/administration. Degrees offered here include:


An internship is when a person works for a company for a temporary amount of time, typically for a few weeks over the summer or winter. By participating in the program, a student will be able to act in the everyday operation of the industry. They give the participants real-world experience in their desired career. Internships also give the company it is at an idea of whether or not the participant would be a good fit as a full-time employee. Many people complete internships while they are in school, whether that be secondary or post-secondary education. These are very common, and have started to be a requirement, in finding a job in the business world.  Although internships are by no means a new form of educating a student, the amount that have completed a program has only continued to grow. In 2008 about one out of every two graduating college students had included a completed internship in their job applications.[14]

There is significant evidence that has indicated that completing and internship develops skills essential to success in the business world as well as everyday life. The skills that are mainly developed while participating in an internship program includes interpersonal and social skills, as well as quantitative or other technical skills. Many internships use group projects as well in order to develop teamwork and leadership skills. All of these skills are vital to a business and are difficult to be taught in a class room. These skills are very valuable to a company and the ability to train these skills is making internships extremely valuable in business.[14]

Career development

Many programs within a business education have a main focus on the career development of their students or audience. They want to prepare them for entering the labor market and ensure they possess the best knowledge and skills of the industry possible. The aid in these programs can range from the guidance in career choices to solidifying a student's first full-time job.[15] The idea of curriculum is typically integrated straight in to the curriculum of one's business education. This allows the students to focus on both at the same time while also understanding the importance of thinking of their life after school has on their life. Additionally, it allows students to think more about their goals and interests to determine if their current path of academics is what they wish to continue. Many faculty members will typically reach out to students and attempt to connect to graduates. This connects the current students with alumni in their field, allowing them to hear from people in their career path who were in their place not too long ago. This information lets students understand what is necessary to do in order to succeed in their desired career.[15] There are instances however, where the effort of career development while still obtaining a degree does not yield a desire result. Research of business undergraduates state that only about 60% obtain a full-time job by graduation and of that percentage, only 40% have one that is consistent with their major.[16]

See also


This article includes a list of general references, but it lacks sufficient corresponding inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. (May 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
  1. ^ "Business studies".
  2. ^ "Best Global Universities for Economics and Business", U.S. News & World Report 2023
  3. ^ Gordon, Jason; Bursuc, Vlad (December 2018). "Law and Entrepreneurship Education: A Proposed Model for Curriculum Development: Law and Entrepreneurship Education". Journal of Legal Studies Education. 35 (1): 123–141. doi:10.1111/jlse.12071.
  4. ^ See for example BBA program outlines at:; Institute of International Trade
  5. ^ "BBA and BCom: What's the difference?". University of Toronto – News@UofT. 10 June 2008. Archived from the original on 28 June 2010. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
  6. ^ e.g. BA-finance vs BS-finance,
  7. ^ e.g. Best Undergraduate Business Marketing Programs,
  8. ^ e.g. Colleges Offering a Human Resources Major,
  9. ^ See for example: "The HBS case-method",; "The Chicago Approach", Archived 2014-02-13 at the Wayback Machine; "Practical Learning",; "Academic Experience",
  10. ^ Is the MBA Case Method Passé?
  11. ^ MacIntosh, Robert; Beech, Nic; Bartunek, Jean; Mason, Katy; Cooke, Bill; Denyer, David (2017-01-01). "Impact and Management Research: Exploring Relationships between Temporality, Dialogue, Reflexivity and Praxis" (PDF). British Journal of Management. 28 (1): 3–13. doi:10.1111/1467-8551.12207. ISSN 1467-8551. S2CID 152252273.
  12. ^ See for example
  13. ^ NBEA
  14. ^ a b Cook, Sherry James; Stokes, Amy; Parker, Richard Stephen (2015-02-17). "A 20-Year Examination of the Perceptions of Business School Interns: A Longitudinal Case Study". Journal of Education for Business. 90 (2): 103–110. doi:10.1080/08832323.2014.988201. ISSN 0883-2323. S2CID 62570386.
  15. ^ a b Amoroso, Lisa M.; Burke, Molly (2018-11-17). "Developing career-ready business students: Three curriculum models". Journal of Education for Business. 93 (8): 420–429. doi:10.1080/08832323.2018.1494533. ISSN 0883-2323. S2CID 70036046.
  16. ^ Blau, Gary; Williams, Wayne; Jarrell, Sherry; Nash, David (2019-01-02). "Exploring common correlates of business undergraduate satisfaction with their degree program versus expected employment". Journal of Education for Business. 94 (1): 31–39. doi:10.1080/08832323.2018.1502144. ISSN 0883-2323. S2CID 69707572.