A business degree teaches you practical skills that can help you in both your career and life in general. From time management to communication, business students hone essential skills that will allow them to thrive no matter where they work after graduation.
Here are ten of the most important psychological skills that business teaches you about success in both business and life.
When you run your own business, you’re constantly on duty. Every time someone texts, emails or calls with a question, they’re interrupting your workday. If you have to clean up a mess in some corner of your business caused by someone else—if your supplier didn’t deliver on time or a staff member made an honest mistake—you don’t get paid while you fix it.
Business teaches you to be persistent in all these situations. Don’t give up when it seems like things aren’t going well; keep at it until they do go well. Persistence has one major advantage over luck: it’s less random.
2. Planning & Preparation
Business teaches us that even though things may not always go as planned, if you’ve done a great job of planning and preparation, you will be ready for whatever happens. From Murphy’s Law to impromptu disasters, all sorts of unexpected events can pop up in business. This skill is applicable in any setting; one second everything can seem fine and then suddenly there’s an avalanche or fire.
Thinking through all possible scenarios ahead of time allows you to take care of problems before they even happen. (This idea is most important when starting a business.) Business teaches us that even though things may not always go as planned, if you’ve done a great job of planning and preparation, you will be ready for whatever happens.
3. Confidence & Self-Belief
In business, you learn quickly to face failure. While it can be difficult not to internalize it, being able to dust yourself off and keep going is a key skill. Being confident and self-believing in your abilities as an entrepreneur will help you develop that ability.
Don’t let failures get you down—even if things aren’t looking great, turn them around with renewed effort! Build Your Network: You don’t have all of the answers when starting out, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. If you seek them out, building a network of industry experts around you is key to long-term success. Know When To Ask For Help: Learning how to start a business means learning how to delegate tasks.
Working well with others is a crucial skill in business, whether you’re leading a team or trying to get along with coworkers. This skill isn’t taught explicitly—but it’s taught nonetheless. Business teaches that no man (or woman) is an island and there will always be people who you don’t agree with or feel comfortable around. That uncomfortable feeling often represents how much you have left to learn about yourself and how much progress you still need to make as a person before you can truly connect with someone else on an emotional level.
Business also requires understanding other people: your customers, clients, teammates and so on. Learning what makes them tick helps build trust, which is a key component of any successful team/business/career—that includes friendships.
5. Manage Stress & Tensions
Business can be stressful, especially if you have investors breathing down your neck. Finding ways to manage stress and tensions is an important business skill.
One of my favorite relaxation exercises is a method I developed while studying at Yale called calming breaths. It works like so: take five seconds and breathe in through your nose to a count of five. Then hold for five seconds before exhaling through your mouth for another count of five. That’s one breath; repeat until you feel relaxed. This method has been taught at every level from elementary school teacher trainings to military elite programs such as Navy Seals training; it’s simple but effective—and it’s just one example of how business skills apply to everyday life outside of work.
6. Prioritize & Focus
Unlike a lot of high school and college classes, business courses are designed to be incredibly hands-on. Sure, you’ll learn about fundamental principles, but you’ll also get a chance to apply those concepts in real-world situations.
Learning how to prioritize and focus is key when it comes to running a successful business – both in terms of your team members and with your workload as a leader. If you want other people on your team to succeed, teach them what they need to do – don’t just tell them.
7. See Opportunities Everywhere
In business, you are constantly on the lookout for new opportunities. Are your competitors getting more leads than you? Do they seem to be converting at a higher rate? Don’t assume that they’re doing something better. Check your numbers and if there is a way to improve, jump on it!
The same applies to other aspects of business. If one of your employees is doing a great job, don’t wait for their performance review; acknowledge it and reward them immediately. Remember: when you see opportunity and take advantage of it, success becomes much easier.
8. Sell Yourself
Selling yourself is about influencing people with your words, techniques, style and overall presentation. For example, if you are applying for a new job, you need to sell yourself to that employer by articulating why you’re right for that position. So just like in other aspects of life, selling yourself begins with knowing your own skillset and strengths.
Ask friends what they think your best attributes are; discover which skills you use most often at work or in any other aspect of life; and ask those around you what they admire about you. In fact, consider asking these questions at every job interview or meeting so you can constantly improve your ability to sell yourself.
9. Time Management
Most of us have too much to do, and not enough time to do it. Failing to manage your time properly can quickly create a snowball effect where you’re so overwhelmed that you don’t get anything done. The more tasks pile up, and before you know it all of your free time becomes spent on trying (and failing) to catch up with everything else.
Unfortunately, there’s no magic bullet for learning how to use your time effectively—but there are some important skills that business teaches you that can help: 1. Multitasking: Many businesses depend on multitasking employees in order to complete work efficiently.
10. Network Effectively
Being social is second nature to many people, but creating and cultivating positive, professional relationships can be a challenge for introverts. Networking is one of those skills that you learn by doing, so get out there and start reaching out.
As you begin to make connections with business professionals, you’ll develop better interpersonal skills—and feel more comfortable working with people you don’t know. You never know where your next big job lead will come from.