A bachelor's in business administration qualifies graduates for a variety of careers related to business, finance, and operations. Entry-level business administration professionals often work as accountants, business operations specialists, and budget analysts. Experienced workers can enter high-paying careers as financial managers, management consultants, and top-level executives.
Due to the increasing globalization of trade and a growing reliance on market research, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects job opportunities for business and financial professionals to increase 10% from 2016 to 2026. Most jobs in business or finance, especially high-level positions, require a bachelor's degree. Many students choose online business degrees because of the flexibility online learning affords. This guide outlines courses, concentrations, scholarship opportunities, and career paths for business administration students.
Many types of organizations, including large corporations, nonprofits, and small startups, need business administration graduates to supervise employees, analyze financial data, and make important decisions. In addition, many business professions boast high salaries and fast job growth. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, business and financial professionals earn a median annual salary of $67,710, nearly double the national median for all occupations. Although a degree does not guarantee a particular wage or career, the table below includes common positions and salaries for graduates with a bachelor's in business administration.
Business operations specialists manage and support the daily activities of a firm. Specific duties vary by employer. Operations specialists may identify customer needs, oversee business procedures, and optimize workflow. These specialists often work with multiple departments to make sure all employees are working efficiently toward a common goal.
Budget analysts help organizations in the private and public sectors manage their finances. They work with managers to develop an organization's budget and project future financial needs. Budget analysts may monitor employee spending, review budget proposals, and meet with managers to discuss company financials. These analysts may also examine industry trends and adjust budgets accordingly.
These specialists manage and allocate human resources in a private business or public organization. Daily responsibilities may include interviewing prospective employees and handling employee disputes. These specialists also maintain employee records and enforce workplace rules and policies. Human resources specialists train new employees and work closely with managers to determine employment needs.
Management analysts, also called management consultants, analyze an organization's operations and propose improvements. Responsibilities include interviewing employees, observing workplace operations, and analyzing financial reports. They discuss issues with high-level management and recommend solutions to improve productivity and profitability. Consultants sometimes work for the organization they analyze, but they more often work for a consulting company.
Financial managers maintain the overall financial health of an organization. They analyze the firm's financial data, prepare reports, and advise managers on ways to reduce costs and maximize revenue. They also work closely with executives to make financial decisions and establish long-term financial goals. Financial managers supervise an organization's accountants, financial analysts, and budget analysts.
Sources: BLS 2018
Geographic location can impact wages and career potential for business administration graduates. Some areas have a high demand for operations specialists, and some states support particularly lucrative industries. For example, the District of Columbia, Colorado, and New Jersey have the highest concentrations of business operations specialists. The highest-paying industries for these specialists include electronics manufacturing, natural gas distribution, and oil transportation. The information below covers job growth and salaries for business operations specialists in each state.
Coursework varies depending on the specific program and school, but most bachelor's in business administration programs include foundational courses in finance, decision-making, and management. These core courses develop key skills that enable students to create budgets, supervise employees, and set long-term goals for a firm.
The business administration courses below are common to most programs; however, each specific curriculum depends on elective choices, concentrations, and program requirements.
This course outlines the concepts managers use to lead effectively. Students learn about the manager's role in various organizations and gain an understanding of planning, communication, and decision-making techniques.
Students learn to apply ethics principles to common business situations. They learn to make ethical decisions with regards to employee behavior, workplace environments, and international business.
This class provides an overview of macroeconomics and microeconomics. The course covers topics, including supply and demand, economic systems, and global trade. Students also learn about the government's role in the economy.
Students learn to develop marketing strategies by analyzing market trends and customer needs. Students examine how to effectively produce, promote, price, and distribute goods and services.
Courses in electronic commerce, or e-commerce, teach students to apply management principles to online companies. Students examine common electronic business models, including business-to-customer and business-to-business ventures.
Students pursuing a bachelor's degree in business administration should consider many factors when choosing a school. The program's reputation can affect your ability to find a job after graduation. Be sure to factor in tuition cost and only consider schools you can afford. Also consider each school's accreditation status and program requirements. The following section provides answers to common questions about earning a business administration bachelor's degree online.
If you plan to enter a particular position or industry after graduation, concentrating in a specific area of business administration can improve job prospects. Concentrations provide specialized skills that can impress potential employers and help graduates stand out among job candidates. Common concentrations for business administration students include accounting, business analytics, entrepreneurship, and real estate.
Most students earn their online bachelor's degree in business administration in about four years. Bachelor's curricula generally comprise about 120 credits, including general education, foundational business, and elective courses. Some schools allow students to complete extra credits each semester to graduate more quickly, and some colleges offer accelerated programs that take less than four years to complete.
Many colleges require all students to complete general education requirements in addition to major courses. General education courses expose students to a variety of disciplines and ensure students receive a well-rounded education. Though they may not be business-focused, general education courses can contribute to a student's business education. General education classes may cover topics including composition, public speaking, and mathematics.
Graduates with a bachelor's in business administration pursue various careers, each of which requires different skills. Generally, organizations prize business administration graduates for their managerial, administrative, and financial abilities. Students may also master data analysis and market research techniques.
Most schools provide a list of available electives in the online academic catalog. Peruse this list, and note interesting electives. Business administration programs may have strict requirements that allow only a few elective courses. Also, remember that available electives often change each semester.
Earning a college degree can be costly. Fortunately, many financial aid opportunities ease the burden of paying for college. Many college students take out loans and pay tuition costs over time; however, students should only turn to private lenders after exhausting grant and scholarship options. Scholarships and grants are ideal forms of financial aid because they do not have to be repaid.
The Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering, a professional organization that connects project managers, cost analysts, and other cost estimators, offers scholarships to U.S., Canadian, and international students. Applicants must pursue a degree related to cost management, including business administration. Students must have completed one year of college, be enrolled full time at an accredited university, and have a minimum 3.0 GPA.
AfterCollege, an organization that helps college graduates find careers, has awarded more than one million dollars in aid to college students. The AfterCollege Business Student Scholarship supports undergraduate and graduate students working toward business degrees. Applicants must submit a short personal statement explaining their goals. In place of a written statement, applicants may submit an introductory video. AfterCollege awards one $500 scholarship each year.
Knowmad, a digital marketing agency specializing in website design, content marketing, and search engine optimization, offers this scholarship to undergraduates and graduates studying business, marketing, or communications at an accredited U.S. institution. Applicants must submit a resume and an essay about the future of digital marketing, marketing techniques, and consumer expectations. Knowmad awards one $500 scholarship per year.
The Project Management Institute, an international professional association for project managers, offers more than 40 scholarships for students majoring in project management, business administration, and related fields. Each scholarship may have specific requirements. For example, the Mary Keith Memorial Academic Scholarship for Women supports women studying project management. Scholarship amounts range from $1,000 to $7,500. Students submit one application for all scholarship opportunities.
The Securities and Insurance Licensing Association Foundation offers 10 scholarships worth $2,500 each. Applicants must attend an accredited institution, be a U.S. citizen, and have a cumulative 3.0 GPA at minimum. Scholarship candidates must either study full time, or work full time and study part time. Applicants must be working toward a degree in one of six areas, including business administration, finance, and marketing.
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