The Bottom Line: Business Pays Off in Earnings and Character

by Evan R. Cain

In the United States, business occupations boast high employability and profitability rates. According to Institute of Education Sciences, 367,000 of the 1,791,000 bachelor’s degrees bestowed in 2012 were in business, making business majors the largest segment of degrees earned in the nation. Mirroring this trend, Azusa Pacific’s business programs comprise some of the university’s most popular fields of study, with 23 percent of its 2014 graduates completing majors or earning graduate degrees in business management, marketing, or other areas of business.

This is not surprising, considering that business remains the flagship field for commerce and entrepreneurialism in the U.S., and the cornerstone of the nation's economy. In recent years, the relevance of business-related degrees has only increased. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) reports that bachelor’s degrees in accounting, finance, and business administration/management rank among the 1st, 3rd, and 4th most employable degrees for 2016 respectively. At the graduate level, an MBA is the 5th most employable degree.

Business majors’ earnability is also on the rise. The NACE places business as the degree with the 4th highest starting income for college graduates in 2015, with an average beginning salary of $51,508 and projected average lifetime earnings as high as $2.6 million. For MBA graduates, starting salaries are at a record high according to a study done by the Graduate Management Admissions Council, which showed those with an MBA can expect an average starting salary of $100,000 in 2016, up from $95,000 in 2013.

At Azusa Pacific University, business is not only a field of study that generates sustainable economic benefits, but it also presents a faith-based approach to entrepreneurial vocation. “The School of Business and Management [SBM] cultivates a spirit of innovation and enterprise among our students while centering on the convergence of faith and occupation,” said Robert Roller, Ph.D., new dean of the SBM.

Last semester SBM earned the maximum accreditation extension from the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education and completed an extensive renovation of Wilden Hall, which included updates to all classrooms and the lecture hall, the addition of a large classroom for business presentations, and practice interview rooms with real-time audio and video monitoring. “These improvements serve a deeper purpose than a facility makeover,” said Roller. “The renovation marks a new era for our school as we reaffirm our core values, build upon our past accomplishments, and look forward to new opportunities and challenges.”

As the business world grows more complex, graduates will face increased globalization and competition, technological advances, volatile markets, and the aftermath of several high profile corporate scandals. “Students need more than a business background, “ said Roller. “They need an ethical framework to draw upon. What makes APU’s School of Business and Management different is that we believe that God forms our character in ways that only He can. We can’t do anything without God and God can’t do much without us. It’s a reverse partnership. We will succeed by maintaining a strong ethical standard rooted in Christ.”

Roller points out that high profit margins are not enough. “Our business students learn that true success is about changing lives.” And bottom line, that type of leadership and innovation improves profits and inspires employees.

Evan R. Cain '18 is a public relations intern in the Office of University Relations. He is a biblical studies and humanities major in the Honors College.