As we continue to navigate the myriad dynamics associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is relatively easy to fall victim to its challenges and difficulties. What if, however, we reframe how we think about our current situation? What if we shift our thinking toward the many opportunities that are right in front of us? What if we make decisions that give us the ability to not only survive but to thrive? It will be work and it will not be easy, but the rewards on the other side are worth the effort.
As with many industries, the grocery industry is a fast-paced, ever evolving business that needs critical and creative thinkers to move the industry forward. With technologies continuing to advance at a rapid pace and consumer preferences changing all of the time, the way in which business is conducted has fundamentally changed. Being a successful professional in this industry is no longer about simply stocking inventory and assuming customers will flock to your store and purchase your goods. Success requires advancing your knowledge beyond a “this is how we have always done it” attitude to embracing abstract, conceptual thinking that leads to a “what if we did it this way?” mentality. Such a shift is the foundation and purpose of higher education. Obtaining a college education is often the catalyst to elevating your critical thinking skills that lead to success in business.
What follows are three benefits to pursuing an online business degree. Each benefit outlined is designed to help reframe existing thought patterns away from your current reality (i.e., challenges and difficulties) toward becoming the best version of yourself and a life filled with possibilities (i.e., opportunities). Earning a college education is far more than “just a piece of paper,” as the opportunities available for advancement, promotion and more responsibility expand exponentially.
The grocery industry has doubled industry that has doubled in sales since 1992 to an incredible $683 billion, with nearly 40,000 stores nationwide.1 The opportunities to advance your career are in this sector plentiful, as the industry shows no signs of slowing down.
Benefit No. 1: You Add More Value to the Business
It has been commonly viewed in business that everyone is useful, but no one is necessary. On the surface that may appear callous, but the reality is that 21st century organizations are constantly exploring ways to enhance and upgrade their talent. Business leaders are in the positions they are into progress the business forward and achieve defined goals and objectives. The most effective business leaders know that in order to do this they must have talented employees with diverse skill sets that can capitalize on opportunities and solve complex problems. Thus, they seek out people who add value to their organization.
How Does Earning an Online Business Degree Help Me Add More Value?
Simply put, earning an online business degree will change how you think. You will view and solve problems in a more unique manner than before your educational journey. You will become more discerning and intentional about how your contribution impacts the success of the business as a whole. You will learn to embrace change and tolerate ambiguity. With a greater knowledge base, you will have more “tools” to critically evaluate trends and pivot accordingly. The lens through which you see the world will change to one that emphasizes creative and innovative thought.
While all of this sounds good, the practical implications prove to be the most essential. The curriculum of business degree programs is principally designed to address 21st century organizational dynamics. For example, conflict between two co-workers is a common problem that both managers and employees struggle to resolve. Learning about direct and indirect conflict management styles, however, provides the college graduate more ways to apply the appropriate strategy to help move beyond the conflict and foster a positive, productive working relationship and environment. This adds value to any organization, as it helps increase the individual and collective performance and productivity of employees.
Further, gaining an online business degree allows you to add more knowledge to help your organizations take advantage of existing trends in the industry. Earning an online business degree will expose you to content you might not have otherwise learned and change how you think about capitalizing on industry trends. For example, the curriculum in marketing classes gives you the opportunity to assess and analyze “real-world” case studies and simulations while challenging you to come up with creative and innovative solutions. Trends such as e-commerce, consumer behavior analysis, equipment and design, and path-to-purchase strategy are important to be aware of in the grocery industry. Through conceptual learning and practical application, you build a broader skill set that the organization can leverage to sustainably achieve desired goals and objectives.
Benefit No. 2: More Opportunities to Advance Your Career
When organizations do not invest in their employees’ development, and when employees do not proactively pursue growth opportunities, the long-term sustainability of business success becomes compromised. Companies desire employees that want to contribute to the success of the business by taking on more responsibility. In turn, employees experience a greater experiencing a greater sense of purpose through advancement opportunities.
It is estimated that college graduates have opportunities to 57% more job opportunities than those who earn just a high school diploma. In the next five years, two-thirds of all jobs will require postsecondary education of some kind.3 Thus, earning a college degree not only allows you to remain competitive with other job seekers but also exposes you to opportunities for which you might not otherwise be eligible.
How Does Earning an Online Business Degree Help Me Advance My Career?
Having a business degree helps to increase your marketability. The need for highly skilled, thoughtful, educated talent will only continue to rise across all industries. Business curricula in higher education provides the necessary skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, data analysis, leadership and interpersonal communication skills. These are now a “must have” if you want to advance your career.
By earning an online business degree, you set yourself apart, especially in the grocery retail industry where the majority of employees do not have a college degree.2 Another way earning an online business degree helps to advance your career is by building your professional network. Pursuing an online business degree expands your access to a network of current and future colleagues and co-workers. As a business student, you can build long-lasting relationships with advisors, instructors and mentors that can help guide you to job opportunities. Building this type of network can connect you with people you may not have met otherwise. This is especially important in a dynamic environment like the grocery retail industry, as the availability of jobs should expand as the industry continues to grow. Finally, it is important to acknowledge that, very likely, hiring managers have earned their bachelor’s degree.
In addition to having access to more jobs, enhancing your professional network, and increasing your marketability, earning a college degree puts you on par with the people that will hire you. These people understand the rigor of the coursework and the sacrifices made to earn an education. They know that you have the ability to persist through adversity, which is, arguably, as important as the skills you gained throughout your educational journey.
Benefit No. 3: Financial Stability and Earning Potential
If the economic shutdown associated with the COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything, it is that certain types of businesses and industries are susceptible to greater numbers of unemployment. Gyms, hair salons, bars, water parks and others bore the brunt of the lockdown. Fortunately, the grocery retail industry continued to operate, which was encouraging, but being employed today does not guarantee long-term financial stability and does not, by extension, enhance earning potential. The data are clear related to both topics, as college graduates stand to be the beneficiary of greater financial stability and will, on balance, earn more income over the course of their lives.
How Does Earning an Online Business Degree Enhance Financial Stability and Earning Potential?
The short answer here is that holding a college degree increases your options. It was reported that 95% of all jobs created since 2010 have gone to college degree holders.2 This statistic is not surprising when considering the increasingly competitive landscape across all industries. The most effective business leaders understand that a keyway to increase market share is to hire and develop skilled workers. This is not to disparage anyone who does not have a college degree, but rather to illustrate the robust options available to a bachelor’s degree holder.
Further, decades of evidence have come to support the idea that someone earning a four-year, bachelor’s degree earns more income per year and over their lifetime as compared to someone not having earned a similar degree.1 This is a striking comparison, especially considering that as your career progresses, you will likely continue earning more income each year until you retire. The overall difference between earning a college degree versus not could be in the millions of dollars in lifetime earnings.
Like many things in life, people adapt to what they can live with in order to achieve a measure of comfort. While there is not anything fundamentally wrong with that, the reality is that none of us grow when we are “comfortable.” It is only through experiencing discomfort and capitalizing on the opportunities such discomfort brings that we move closer to realizing our full potential. Furthering your education fits in this context. Pursuing your education is, most assuredly, the path of more resistance. In the long run, however, the positives far outweigh the negatives.
Earning an online business degree is empowering and will provide you an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. Ask yourself: am I achieving what I want to achieve professionally? If not, earning an online business degree is a golden opportunity for you to pursue the best version of yourself.
No matter what degree you pursue, GCU has a wide range of degree options that can help you advance in any field. Consider earning your business bachelor's degree or an MBA online from the comfort of your home.
1 https://www.statista.com/statistics/197621/annual-grocery-store-sales-in-the-us-since-1992/, June, 2020.
2 https://cew.georgetown.edu/cew-reports/americas-divided-recovery/#:~:text=Our%20report%20finds%20that%20over,high%20school%20diploma%20or%20less., October, 2019.
education.&text=Not%20only%20are%20there%20more,jobs%20are%20also%20more%20accessible., January, 2020.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.