There are not many fields of study as diverse as business administration. Professionals with the acquired knowledge and skills developed in this sector will find a wide range of employment opportunities.
Businesses and organizations of all types and sizes around the world rely on people with adequate business know-how to keep things going smoothly at all levels, from finance and management to manufacturing and logistics.
What is Business Administration?
First, let’s define the study area itself. So what exactly is business administration? With such a large field, it is difficult to define it briefly. But if we’re looking for a true definition, Merriam-Webster’s consistently reliable dictionary defines it as: “a program of study at a college or university that provides a general understanding of business principles and practices.”
Fun fact: According to Merriam-Webster, the word “business administration” was first used in 1904. So it appears that from the time it was invented, “business administration” was also closely linked with education.
What about the “business” itself? Pretty simple, but let’s see the meaning anyway. The dictionary itself defines this word in several ways, and perhaps the most suitable for a degree program would be the following three:
- A commercial or mercantile activity engaged in as a means of livelihood.
- A commercial or sometimes industrial enterprise.
- Dealings or transactions, especially of an economic nature.
These definitions seem simple, but it’s interesting to realize that, for a field with such various career opportunities, it really boils down to a few fundamentals – and that’s the core of what you’ll learn when you study business administration.
What is a Business Administration Degree?
Now that we know the meaning of business administration, it’s pretty clear what it means to study this course.
Basically, business administration degree programs focus on different components of managing a business, its people, and the processes involved.
You can earn a business administration degree at different levels, each progressing and developing their skills, knowledge and concepts as they progress. Generally, it can take around two years to earn an associate’s degree in business administration and will help to prepare students for entry-level positions in business, such as in customer service, sales, administrative support, and retail management.
A traditional undergraduate degree in business prepares students for a wide variety of positions and industries, and we’ll discuss these in more detail later in this article. Those with a bachelor’s degree in business administration or related degree may also like to progress to earning a master’s in business administration.
The MBA, as it is popularly known, is often regarded as the best degree in business. Finally, if you aspire to research or business training, there are also doctoral programs in areas related to business administration.
Can I Get a Business Administration Degree Online?
In today’s world of connectivity, earning an online business bachelor’s degree is not only possible, but for some working adults it is becoming the norm as well. Taking courses in this format allows people to strike a balance between work and family life with their own education. While there is still a lot to learn and a lot of work to do, the flexibility of pursuing an online degree allows students to work at their convenience.
You can earn a business bachelor’s degree online, you can achieve this by taking a course at a time, every four weeks. Not only is the online method suitable, having only one course at a time also allows for more focused concentration. And it’s also something that a student with a busy life outside of school will surely find interesting.
If you are a person who also enjoys classroom learning, be aware that several schools will allow students to alternate between online and on-campus classes. This allows you to take an online course when it best suits your current situation, while still leaving you the opportunity to interact face-to-face on campus when your schedule is most open.
One more enticing aspect of online courses is that you can expect to receive the same quality instruction and meaningful interaction as on-campus students.
What Will I Learn In A Business Administration Degree Program?
Due to the fact that this type of degree can result in such a vast array of opportunities, it is important to develop a deeper understanding of the field. One of the benefits of studying business administration is that upon completion, you should leave a strong business administration program either online or on campus, with comprehensive training, which includes both soft skills (such as leadership and communication) and specialist skills (such as technical know-how).
Most BBA programs have a number of compulsory core courses which will cover topics in areas such as:
Digging deeper into a BBA program, you’ll find coursework — either standalone courses or content naturally embedded into other classes — focusing on ethics, global business, corporate social responsibility, and leadership.
An alternative approach to learning how to run a business (or a component of a business) is to gain hands-on experience. Many BBA programs demand an internship and a wrap-up project, which unites everything you’ve learned.
Many courses also research case studies and other real-life narratives to help you gain a deep insight and explicit details into the business and what to expect in the location of work.
What Else Will I Learn In A Business Administration Degree Program?
Many business administration programs provide students with the chance to choose an area of specialization. This would mean that apart from core courses, such as those covered in the previous section, you would also take a series of courses in a specific business sub-area. BBA offers concentrations in Accounting, Business Law, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Human Resource Management, Marketing, Project Management, and Alternative Dispute Resolution.
Adding a specialization like this can give you an advantage over other candidates when entering the labour market. It’s also a way to help you become proficient in a specific area. Also, to some extent, it helps you narrow down what you would like to do in your daily job or what type of business you would like to be hired.
For instance, project management is a growing area within companies. Project manager positions at all levels are very common in technology companies and also play an important role in consumables and manufacturing. In addition to focusing on this area on an undergraduate degree, you can continue to earn professional certifications, which demonstrate once again your experience and, successively increase your credentials and income potential.
Marketing is another area of concentration that lends itself to defined roles within a business. This area of interest will include courses that allow you to get creative, such as advertising and PR. But since efforts in this area are often fixed in market research, consumer behavior, trends and sales, the courses will also include the exploration of tools and ways to facilitate decision making and learning to analyse. Lastly, in a global economy where most commercial activities are done on the Internet, marketing concentrations also include topics such as e-commerce, digital marketing and international markets.
In closing, let’s take a look at another more popular area of business focus: entrepreneurship. Many people may want to study business administration not because they want to go into the corporate world in search for opportunities, but rather because they want to start their own enterprise or make a greater contribution to a family company. Entrepreneurship is an exciting field filled with innovation and specific courses for this area of concentration cover topics such as business concepts, legal structures, succession planning, finance and marketing.
Adding focus to your BBA is one way to learn more about a specific area of interest, but more importantly, it sets you apart.
What is the Demand for Business Professionals?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the United States Department of Labor expects business and finance occupations to grow 10% over the next decade, which is faster than the average for all jobs.
As reported by BLS, certain factors that will contribute to this increased demand, including globalization, emerging markets, more complex tax and regulatory environments and the increasing usage of big data and other marketing information.
On the basis of these evolving aspects of business, accounting, auditing, and market analyst positions are likely to be among the fastest growing segments across the finance and business industry. In fact, the BLS estimates that the need for market research analysts will increase by 23% over the next decade, making them one of the fastest growing professions on the board.
Businesses and organizations of all kinds need employees with skills in a business administration degree program from a university or college, but some industries in particular employ a higher level of people in business and finance. These categories defined by the BLS include management of companies; executive branch of the federal government; accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services; management of scientific and technical consultancy services; and credit brokerage and related activities.
This increasing demand explains why so many people are looking to earn degrees on campus or online with a special focus on business administration.
What Jobs Can You Get With A Degree In Business Administration?
When people think of earning a business bachelor’s degree, positions related to accounting and finance may immediately spring to mind. Obviously, these are exactly the fields of endeavor that many BBA students seek to enter upon graduation. Nevertheless, the field has undoubtedly grown and diversified over the years. And with it, business administration training has also improved.
A business administration degree is an extremely versatile academic credential.
In other words, regardless of the industry or size of a business, there will certainly be positions related to the concepts, skills, and knowledge acquired in a business administration degree program.
As noted in the previous section, students are often able to further customize their learning experience by choosing to focus on a certain area of business; this extra specialty can give people an edge.
You can expect to find BBA graduate positions available in many areas of business or even a non-profit organization and in industries other than banking, insurance, and finance:
- Human resources
- Information systems
- Research and development
- Customer relations
- Member services
Business Administration Degree Career Options
In the previous section of this article, we listed some departments in a company where a BBA graduate would be qualified to work. Now let us explore some specific job types and take a look at some of them in more detail.
Firstly, here are some bachelor’s degrees for business administration job types/titles:
- Budget analyst
- Compensation/benefits specialist
- Financial analyst
- Personal finance advisor
- Market research analyst
- Loan officer
- Training and development specialist
- Purchasing manager
- Sales manager
- Marketing manager
Let us check out some of them, the most requested, in more depth.
Financial analysts help companies make investment decisions and other underlying decisions; the demand for professionals with these skills is expected to increase by 11% according to the BLS, which is faster than the average job. To enter this field, along with a BBA degree, applicants should have good communication, analytical, decision-making and computer skills.
The loan officer is another profession that BLS expects to grow at a faster than average rate, even 11%, over the next decade. The expected increase in this area is as a result of economic growth with more people trying to finance their personal and business expenses. As you acquire business knowledge and experience in a degree program, good interpersonal skills will also be helpful in this area.
Personal financial advisers will get a lot quicker than the average growth rate: 15% over the next decade. One of the reasons for this growth is that the population arriving at retirement is increasing. In this context, an increase in life expectancy will also increase the need for a personal financial project.
Training and development experts can be found in almost any industry, which is why the BLS also expects this job to increase by 11% over the next decade.
Business Administration Degree Jobs Salary
One of the most important factors that people consider when choosing a job is salary. So the big question is “what is the salary for a business administration bachelor’s degree holder?”
The start-up salaries in any position in an organization will depend on some factors such as education, job experience, previous salary, geography and industry. The BLS, however, offers research on national averages for some roles that fall under its business and financial sector.
Here’s a look at salary for business administration bachelor’s degree holder at the national and California averages for a few of the previously discussed positions:
Human resources specialist
Market research analyst
Personal financial advisor
Training and development specialist
Similar to every other field, the potential earnings workers increase with more years of experience, excellent performance, and extra training or certifications. Let us take a good look at one of these educational opportunities that will allow you to grow in business.
What Comes After A Bachelor’s Degree In Business Administration?
A lot of folks who earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration or a related industry go on to earn a master’s degree in business administration (MBA). They can enroll directly in an MBA program or choose to continue their education after working for a while. Moreover, obtaining this professional diploma is a way to advance in the field and is often required for high-level positions in organizations.
Many MBA programs offer an online degree option. This offers working-class people the flexibility and convenience they may need to continue their education. In addition to the traditional MBA, many schools will also offer specializations such as marketing and accounting. Obtaining a Masters in Business Administration online (or on campus) is a way to grow in the field.
What is a Business Administration Degree Program’s Faculty Like?
Earlier in this article, we talked about the versatility of a business administration degree. This means that a program’s faculty are likely to bring academic and professional experience from different career fields and positions to the classroom to teach the students so they can receive first-hand lectures from personalities with business competence. You will take courses from a variety of entrepreneurs with years of experience in their particular profession.
Among the faculty members, you might find chartered accountants, economists, business analysts, healthcare administrators, and others. And you’ll find professors and practitioners seasoned in fields including — but not limited to — healthcare, law, consumer behavior, logistics, marketing, banking and finance, international trade, organizational leadership, IT, agriculture, and broadcast media.
What started out as a simple response to “what is a business administration degree?” has become an overview of opportunities in business administration, which shows how flexible this field of study can be. It’s no wonder that a BBA or an MBA can result in so many career options.