Managing a business requires highly specialized skills. You must understand how to manage people and business operations. You also have to be an excellent decision maker, as well as having an enhanced understanding of how resources, including people, work. Furthermore, you must have a deep grasp of the objectives and goals of an organization, and drive the available resources towards achieving those goals. As such, there is a huge need for people with an in-depth understanding of how every element works and relates to the other.
What is Business Administration?
The field of business administration is incredibly wide and there are many different management positions within any organization. Business administration skills are needed everywhere, from small startups to huge multinational corporations. In order for an organization to be successful, managers are required.
There is a huge requirement for people who are organized and motivated, helping businesses to thrive. Often, they are found in very high-powered environments. As such, a business administrator also has to be able to cope with stress, and to be happy to take on huge responsibilities.
In the world of business, long term future plans are vitally important, but so are the proper management of day to day operations. Someone with a career in business administration will be involved in issues, such as leadership dynamics and information technology. Additionally, as the world is becoming increasingly global, there also needs to be a focus on international relationships and ethics. The field of business opportunity is one of constant change and growth. You will be challenged but, if you can meet those challenges, opportunities for growth and promotion are very much available as well. Furthermore, you will obtain a wealth of transferable knowledge and skills that you can use across the board.
Very often, top business executives started at the bottom. They will have found an office job in operations management, sales, retail, or hospitality, and worked their way up. They can be found in any industry, and in companies of any sizes. They are responsible for issues such as:
- Making sure organizational and/or departmental goals are properly implemented and completed, focusing on policies and procedures
- Managing and directing the budgetary and other financial activities of an operation
- Being responsible for innovation by always staying on top of new technological developments
- Consulting and working with board members, staff, and other executives, with a focus on operations
- Negotiating and approving agreements and contracts
- Being responsible for the appointment of other managers and department heads
- Analyzing performance indicators, including sales reports and financial statements
- Identifying areas in which cost savings can be made while ensuring performance remains optimal, and writing and implementing policies and procedures to reflect this.
There are many different career opportunities available within the field of business administration, simply because people with these skills are needed everywhere. However, some of the most popular career options, and their associated salaries, include:
- Marketing communications manager, with average annual earnings of $52,072
- Financial controller, with average annual earnings of $80,000
- Finance director, with average annual earnings of $128,217
- Information technology manager, with average annual earnings of $95,865
- Information technology project manager, with average annual earnings of $74,000
- Sales manager, with average annual earnings of $92,500
- Product marketing manager, with average annual earnings of $90,000
As shown above, the exact job that someone in the field of business administration obtains is of significant influence on the salary. However, according to Payscale.com, geographical location is also important. They have listed the following average salaries by city:
- San Francisco, California: $148,485
- New York, New York: $115,800
- San Jose, California: $122,500
- Chicago, Illinois: $102,500
- Boston, Massachusetts: $92,836
- Seattle, Washington: $85,700
- Houston, Texas: $78,750
Different employers also pay very different salaries to their managers. This, perhaps more than anything, reflects that people with these types of skills are needed across the board. A nonprofit organization, for instance, will pay a lot less than a huge capitalist Fortune 500 company. According to Payscale.com:
- Those in nonprofit organizations earn an average of $63,750 per year.
- Those in private practices and firms earn an average of $65,000 per year.
- Those in colleges and universities earn an average of $32,147 per year.
- Those in hospitals earn an average of $100,017 per year.
The bachelor’s degree in business administration (BBA) has been designed to provide students with an excellent baseline knowledge about the different functional aspects within organizations. Usually, schools will also enable students to specialize in a certain area of business administration.
During a BBA, students are exposed to a range of core subjects, as well as various electives to choose from. During the degree program, they will build their decision making abilities, communication and managerial skills, and practical skills. They often have to complete a practical experience through expert interaction, industrial visits, internships, presentations, and case projects. Specifically, they will learn about business law and ethics, accounting, economics, cost and management accounting, financial management, management information systems, human resources management, operations management, marketing, organizational behavior, strategic management, and quantitative techniques.
At the master’s degree level, students can choose the prestigious MBA (Master of Business Administration) degree. The first MBA degree originated in this country towards the turn on the 20th century at the Harvard Business School. The degree was needed when it was realized that scientific approaches to management were required. The degree focuses on a number of core elements that enable the running of a business, including issues such as operations management, human resources, marketing, finance, and accounting.
The MBA was classed as a terminal degree, although some schools have now started to develop the doctor in business administration (DBA) program. It is very important to choose a program that is properly accredited, so that it shows its value in the workplace not just in this country, but also abroad.
More and more students now want to study abroad, particularly at the master’s degree level. This is because completing a degree is expensive both in terms of tuition costs and in terms of loss of time. By studying online, students have the opportunity to be a lot more flexible, learning at a time, place, and pace that are convenient to them. When choosing an online degree program it is even more important that you look into program accreditation. There are schools all over the country that offer the Master of Business Administration degree online, including Liberty University, for instance.
Each college or university can set its own admission requirements. However, they are generally quite similar across the board and include:
- Holding a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a business related field
- Completing various prerequisite courses
- Having a minimum GPA
- Providing transcripts
- Supplying a resume
- Providing letters of recommendation
- Having a number of years of work experience
- GMAT/GRE test
If a school offers the Executive MBA (EMBA) program, this will usually require candidates to have between five and ten years’ work experience as a minimum.
Each school also sets its own curriculum. However, in order to be awarded an accreditation, this curriculum does have to meet certain minimum standards.
Bachelor’s degree courses include:
- Managerial economics
- Business law
- Business policy and strategy
- Operations management
- Organizational behavior
- International business
Master’s degree courses include:
- Business ethics and social performance
- Financial accounting
- Economic analysis for managerial decisions
- Financial management
- Strategic management
- Marketing management
- Statistical analysis
- Management simulation
- Organizational behavior
The field of business administration is becoming increasingly popular, and increasingly specialized. As a result, there are now numerous specializations available. However, the most common ones are:
- General management and strategy
- Industry and operations
- International management and business
- Health care management
- Information systems management
- Human resources
- Media and communications
- Supply chain management
An MBA degree in particular is an expensive degree. Most schools offer their own financial aid or assistance, and others also have grants and scholarships available for students. Besides these, however, there are also numerous external options available, including the:
- FEMC Richard Metzler Scholarship
- Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Daniel B. Goldberg Scholarship
- Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Minorities in Government Finance Scholarship
- National Academy of Human Resources Graduate Scholarship
- Hubshout Internet Marketing Scholarship
- Paul Hagelbarger Memorial Scholarship Fund
- Wiley CPAexcel Scholarship
- New Hampshire Society of Public Accounts (NHSPA) Scholarship Program
- Walmart Associate Scholarship Program
- Golden Key International Honor Society Graduate Scholar Award
- Lance Surety’s $1,500 College Scholarship
- LawnStarter Lawntrepreneur Scholarship
- InfoParrot Scholarship of Academic Excellence
- Mutual of Omaha Sales and Marketing Student Scholarship
These scholarships often have specific acceptance criteria. For instance, some scholarships are only for those in a certain geographical area, who are of a certain gender, who study towards a specific specialization, who are of a certain ethnic background, who are part of the LGBTQ+ community, and so on.
Many people who study towards an MBA are already employed, and their employer will often finance at least an element of their degree. Often, this is in a form or reciprocal agreement. For instance, an employer will finance a certain percentage of the degree (sometimes up to 100%) in return for a contractual agreement to remain with the organization for a certain amount of years. For employers, this is an opportunity to see a return on investment by improving the overall skills of their workforce.
The field of business management is incredibly vast and varied. This is why it is becoming increasingly important for MBA graduates to complete a specialization or concentration, so that their skills are specific to a certain industry. In addition, they can also become certified in a variety of different skill sets.
It is important to carefully consider what your options are. Certification often costs quite a lot of money, and acceptance criteria are stringent. Additionally, in order to maintain certification, you will often have to obtain continuous education credits. Naturally, you also have to prepare yourself properly for the examination, which can take several months. Just as with the cost of your degree, however, your employer may be willing to pay for your certification and/or give you time to prepare.
Some of the most valuable certifications for MBA degree holders, and the specific area they are applicable to, include:
- CFA (Finance)
- Six Sigma (General)
- APICS (Operations and Supply Chain)
- FRM – Financial Risk Management (Finance)
- SHRM – Society for Human Resource Management (Human Resources)
- CCR – Confluence Certified Recruiter (Human Resources)
- SAP (General)
- NET – National Entrance Test (General)
- BAT – Bloomberg Aptitude Test (Finance)
- SPIN 2.0 (Marketing & Sales)
If you have invested heavily in completing a degree in business administration, then you should also commit your personal life to it to a certain degree. There are many different professional associations that you may want to consider joining. When you do join those types of organizations, you will also have further proof of your commitment to industry excellence. Furthermore, you are likely to be able to access new training courses and receive more information on industry developments. Lastly, it is a fantastic opportunity for you to network. Some of the most popular associations for MBA degree holders include:
- AMBA (Association of MBAs)
- Chartered Association of Business Administrators
- IAM (Institute of Administrative Management)
- Association of Business Administration (ABA) – Trade Association Forum
As you can see, choosing to become involved in business administration gives you the opportunity of many different roles, in many different industries. You have the potential to earn a great deal of money, and many different career progression opportunities will also be made available to you. There are a lot of options open to you in terms of getting into the career itself. However, more and more commonly, there is a requirement for those who hold a master’s degree, particularly the MBA. This prestigious degree will set you apart from many other people who are trying to get into the field of business, which is hugely competitive.
The MBA is still considered as a terminal professional degree. By holding it, and particularly with a specialization, relevant certification, and membership of relevant associations, you can get to work in any organization that interests you. Do make sure, therefore, that you properly consider where your personal interests lie, so that you choose the career path that is right for you.
- 10 Financial Aid Tips for MBAs. (2016, May 20) Retrieved from http://www.topmba.com/admissions/financing-your-mba/10-financial-aid-tips-mbas
- Top Certifications for MBA Students and Professionals. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.mbaskool.com/fun-corner/popular/12833-top-certifications-for-mba-students-and-professionals.html
- Average Salary for People with Master of Business Administration (MBA) Degrees. (2017, Apr. 1) Retrieved from http://www.payscale.com/research/US/People_with_Master_of_Business_Administration_(MBA)_Degrees/Salary
- Financing Your MBA Degree – Scholarships and Resources to Cut Your Grad School Costs. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.gograd.org/financial-aid/scholarships/mba/
- MBA Specializations & How to Choose One. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://aringo.com/mba-specializations/