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Learning the tricks of the trade through a business degree

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In all endeavours large or small, business skills remain indispensable, often determining whether an enterprise succeeds or fails. A manufacturer must source for raw materials while considering the entire supply chain. A marketer has to ensure that products are priced at a suitable level and placed at the right locations. Even social activists must ensure that revenue flows into their organizations. Accordingly, a business degree confers a massive advantage to its holders, and should be at the top of your list if you’re hungry for professional success.

An education in business is even more critical in today’s fast-paced business environment. It acquaints you with a vast array of industry trends and developments, allowing you to react rapidly to opportunities and threats. These days, staying ahead of the pack can be a matter of survival. Being able to suggest course corrections to your superiors will make you invaluable to any employer. And if you have an entrepreneurial spirit, knowledge of the industry means being able to take advantage of openings your competitors may have missed.

Indeed, adaptability is perhaps a business degree’s greatest strength. A business education is applicable and relevant across a huge range of fields, industries, and roles. In short, you can work almost anywhere in an almost any position. If you decide to switch jobs or fields mid-career, you can look forward to far more options and a far easier transition than your peers. In that sense, a business degree also comes with a good amount of job security. If your current industry is suffering from low demand and layoffs, you can easily shift to another, thanks to your ever-relevant skillset. Industries may differ, but the tricks of the trade remain largely the same.

Learning the fundamentals of business also somewhat insulates you from being deceived by others – whether they be suppliers, clients, or any parties in the industry. You will be able to discern which deals are fair and which are not, and what can be achieved and what cannot. Ultimately, you will be able to manage your own expectations as well as those of your superiors, clients, and customers.

A business education gives you credibility at the table, allowing you to converse fluently in a variety of topics from budgeting to market share. By assuring others of your competency, you will have far greater influence in shaping the outcome of not only immediate projects and assignments, but your career as a whole. If others trust you, it’s easier to get them to go along with you – whether it involves multimillion dollar deals, resource allocation, or even promotions and pay raises.

And business education isn’t just about profit and bottom lines. It can enable you to turn your passion into a viable and fulfilling enterprise. If you love music, why not get into the business of managing artists and recording studios? If you love food, why not own and operate a restaurant? A successful business graduate has the courage to pursue dreams, and the skills to turn them into reality.

So if you can’t wait to pursue a successful career in business, where should you start? For one, you may want to check out Auckland University of Technology’s (AUT) Business School – one of the world’s most prestigious institutions specializing in the study of business.

Boasting an impressive four-star rating from the QS World University Rankings, the school offers a total of 11 majors under its undergraduate Bachelor of Business program. Profiling four of these majors – Finance, Economics, Market Insights, and International Business – provide a particularly strong base for students looking for well-rounded and flexible career options, and skills to equip you for a fast changing modern work place.

The Finance major focuses on currency, stocks and bonds – one of the most dynamic areas of business as well as among the most lucrative. Students will receive a comprehensive overview of financial markets and institutions, investments and portfolio theory, and corporate and managerial finance. Students also have the opportunity to earn real business experience through work placements at prestigious firms such as Goldman Sachs, PWC, ASB Securities and Heartland Bank. Upon graduation, students may assume financial management roles in large multinational firms or entrepreneurial business ventures as well as positons in financial institutions.

The Economics major concerns resource allocation in all areas of business operations, as well as through government policies. Students will learn about everything from economic growth and stabilisation, international trade agreements, pollution controls and minimum labour standards. They will also be instructed in international trade and foreign currency exchange markets, learn how prices can alter consumer and producer behaviour, and analyse data to forecast economic outcomes. Graduates are highly sought after in the private and public sectors, often taking analytical, advisory and consultancy roles. Possible roles include financial markets analyst, investment banker, and business risk auditor.

The Market Insights major encompasses four key pillars of consumer relations – Marketing, Advertising, Retailing and Sales (MARS). Students will learn about what makes consumers and shoppers tick, how to reach these audiences, and how to mount a cross-disciplinary effort to increase market share. Students will have access to valuable and enriching work experience through placement at top firms, which have included Vodafone, Farmers, Noel Leeming, TVNZ, Colenso BBDO, DDB, Saatchi & Saatchi, Contagion, Ogilvy. Graduates may pursue roles in any of the four aspects of MARS – this includes everything from brand manager to advertising agency planner to merchandise planner.

The International Business major concerns transactions that cross national borders – this includes phenomena like trade, international investment and offshore sourcing. With the advent of globalization and the rapid integration of markets, this major is the most forward-looking and relevant one in today’s age. Students will learn about the interactions between different currencies, cultures, regulatory systems and risks. They will also be acquainted with emerging markets such as China, India, Brazil and Russia. Ultimately, they will come to understand how multi-market, multi-product businesses can be managed across vast distances and time differences. This major is unique as overseas study or co-operative education with an overseas organization is necessary for graduation. Possible career paths for graduates include export manager, international project manager, and overseas buyer.

No matter what major you choose or however you wish to tailor your degree, the AUT Bachelor of Business program offers hands-on work experience through its unique co-operative education. In their final year, students will undertake a nine-week work placement that gives them the opportunity to apply their classroom knowledge to real-world business environments. As previously mentioned, AUT Business students have previously engaged with top multinational firms through this program, from Goldman Sachs to Ogilvy.

Through the co-operative work placement program, students have the chance to polish their resumes while gaining insight into the industry and establishing contacts with key players. This makes their transition into working life both considerably easier and more fluid. The program is also unparalleled in its global outlook, allowing students the flexibility to seek placement overseas.

This distinctive program, along with the outstanding academic standards at the AUT Business School, present a comprehensive and solid package for business students. If you value flexibility, security and excitement in your professional life, a business degree from AUT may be what you’re searching for.

This article was sponsored by the Auckland University of Technology Business School. AUT Business School tutors over 5,000 young business people and innovative entrepreneurs, making it one of the largest providers of business education in the whole of New Zealand. The school is located in the heart of Auckland City, voted 18th equal in the QS Best Student City Ranking for 2014, and is internationally renowned for the high quality of its graduates, the positive impact of its research and meaningful engagements with business and the broader community. AUT’s Business School fosters a teaching and learning approach that’s at the forefront of business education, with strong links with industry and professional bodies that ensure the curriculum remains current and reflects the contemporary needs of business.

Pictures courtesy of Auckland University of Technology Business School

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