A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at CTU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This article is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.
Business is a practical field of study for many students because organizations, regardless of industry, rely on business principles to prosper. Individuals with business and management degrees may be well positioned to start their own business or pursue a variety of roles in an industry they find interesting.
But what do you learn in business school that helps you prepare for the real world? Students who study business have the opportunity to develop core skills across an array of subjects including accounting, finance, project management, information technology (IT), human resources (HR), marketing, international business, logistics, and organizational behavior, which may help them prepare for various management and business administration careers as well.
Employers also seem to appreciate the versatility of a business degree. According to a 2019 survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 83.2% of companies responding planned to hire different types of business majors at all degree levels in 2019. It was further reported that business-related degrees accounted for five of the 10 most in-demand bachelor’s degrees, including finance (64.4%), accounting (61.4%), business administration and management (54.5%), management information systems (48.5%), and logistics/supply chain management (48.5%).1
Types of Business Degrees
As with other post-secondary areas of study, there are different types of business degrees (i.e. associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate) to choose from as well as different types of program formats to consider (i.e. on-campus, hybrid, and online business degree attendance options). Each degree program has its own set of business major requirements, so you should familiarize yourself with them as you do your research. Which type of business degree and program you choose is a personal decision that can be influenced by many factors, including your current level of education and the amount of flexibility you’re looking for.
Associate Degree in Business
A business administration associate degree can help students work to develop an understanding of the basic skills often required by careers in business. With a curriculum that includes coverage of concepts in business law, human resources, marketing, and more, an associate degree could help you prepare to pursue the next step in your current career or explore a new one.
Bachelor’s Degree in Business
Earning a business administration bachelor degree could allow you to build the foundation necessary to pursue business-oriented roles or grow within your current career path. A bachelor’s degree in business program could help you work to develop proficiency in business management practices, become familiar with modern-day business technology and applications, and build skills to facilitate successful interactions with others in a variety of roles and industries.
A Bachelor of Science in Management is another type of business degree that students may opt to pursue. The typical business management curriculum shares a lot in common with that of business administration, but the focus of a BSM program is, as its name suggests, on management. And what can you do with a business management degree? There are many possibilities, as management occupations run the gamut, from general and operations managers, to sales managers, to management analysts and more.2
Master’s Degree in Business
Online MBA< and online master's in management degrees are geared toward professionals who want to develop more advanced business knowledge. With a master’s degree in business, a student can work to broaden their understanding of international business, strategic marketing, operational management, organizational development, change management, business conduct and funds management. Accredited master’s degree programs in business can provide students the opportunity to learn about the latest trends, emerging challenges, and new theories impacting the industry.
Doctorate in Business
A doctorate in management online degree is a type of business degree designed for students who have earned their master’s in a related program. Candidates in these programs generally must also have relevant professional experience in order to be accepted. Pursuing a doctorate in business can provide candidates with the opportunity to expand their business management expertise, learn to think and act strategically, and take a deep dive into advanced management issues through the development of a dissertation.
Skills and Characteristics of Business Students
Strong communication, public speaking, and writing skills can be advantageous for those in business administration careers, as these individuals often converse and interact with others in both small and large group formats, inside and outside an organization. A recent NACE survey suggests that 82% of employers look for strong writing skills and 67.4% look for strong verbal communication skills.1 Additionally, that same survey indicates that more than 67% of employers look for evidence of leadership skills on a job applicant’s resume,1 suggesting that business students should strive to develop their leadership and management skills.
Importantly, what you do study in business school may help guide you throughout your career. In the business world, new technologies, methodologies, and markets can emerge that require business professionals to analyze appropriate courses of action. This may be why strong analytical skills—including an understanding of cause-and-effect relationships among different organizational functions, marketplace dynamics, and financial opportunities may also be desirable.
Breaking Down Business Degree Career Paths
So, what can you do with a business administration degree? Business degree students can pursue a variety of career paths in multi-national companies, small business environments, entrepreneurial ventures, the government, and non-profit organizations. When it comes to what you can do with a business administration degree, or even what you can do with a business management degree, there is no short answer because there are numerous possibilities. The following roles are some of the more common career paths identified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Management consultants and management analysts are professionals who are trained to identify solutions to complex business problems and improve efficiency. They design strategies to improve the financial and operational health of their client organizations. Companies hire management consultants for their industry knowledge, problem-solving abilities, and objectivity. Some consultants specialize in an industry or field, such as inventory management, and others join firms that provide general consulting services. The BLS projects employment of management consultants to grow 14%, or much faster than the average of all occupations, from 2018 to 2028.3
Though there are different types of financial analysts, they all collect and examine vast quantities of financial data and then make recommendations to companies or clients based on these analyses. Generally, financial analysts are broken into two separate groups: buy-side analysts work for organizations that have money to invest, and sell-side analysts help investment banks and securities firms sell their products. According to the BLS, employment of financial analysts is projected to grow 6% from 2018 to 2028.4
Market Research Analyst
Market research analysts are key members of product and marketing teams tasked with developing new products. Market research analysts seek to understand why consumers prefer certain products; they conduct surveys and analyze data to track what consumers want and what it would take to change their minds. The BLS reports employment of market research analysts is projected to grow 20% from 2018 to 2028.5
Loan officers use a process called underwriting to determine whether a loan applicant is qualified. They collect and verify financial documents from the loan applicant to determine the applicant’s needs and assess whether the applicant is capable of paying back the loan. The role of a loan officer is typically customer-centric, but there is also a sales component to the occupation since loan officers are usually expected to market their lending institution’s products and services and solicit new business. The BLS projects employment of loan officers to grow 8% from 2018 to 2028.6
Meeting, Convention, and Event Planner
Meeting, convention, and event planners bring together every individual who has a role in planning a meeting, convention, or special event. The role requires interfacing with individuals within the hosting organization and outside of it, such as venues, transportation companies, caterers, rental companies, and florists. Meeting, convention, and event planners must keep track of all meeting logistics, troubleshoot problems, and communicate with everyone involved to maintain the event team’s focus and meet deadlines. According to the BLS, employment of meeting, convention, and event planners is projected to grow 7% from 2018 to 2028.7
Training and Development Specialist
Training and development specialists plan, conduct, and administer training programs to improve employees’ knowledge and skillsets. They assess training needs through surveys, employee interviews, and consultations with managers, and based on this information, they develop training manuals, course materials, and online learning programs. They may also perform administrative tasks such as monitoring costs, scheduling classes, setting up systems and equipment, and coordinating enrollment. The BLS reports that employment of training and development specialists is projected to grow 9% from 2018 to 2028.8
Choosing a Business Degree Program
Before making a final decision about any traditional or online business school program, you should do your research on a school’s business degree requirements for admission and program completion. You should also spend some time reflecting on whether an online business degree program or a traditional program is better suited to your personal situation.
At Colorado Technical University, our business degree curricula offer opportunities to study industry fundamentals and real-world principles, and our programs are ACBSP accredited. U.S. News & World Report, a global organization and authority in education rankings, continues to rank CTU bachelor’s degrees on its Best Online Programs list. Learn more about CTU's business and management degrees.
1. National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), “Job Outlook 2019,” available for download at https://www.naceweb.org/store/2018/job-outlook-2019/ (last visited 1/27/2020).
2. The list of career paths related to this program is based on a subset from the Bureau of Labor Statistics CIP to SOC Crosswalk. Some career paths listed may require further education or job experience.
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, “Management Analysts,” available at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/management-analysts.htm (last visited 2/21/2020). This data represents national figures and is not based on school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, “Financial Analysts,” available at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-analysts.htm (last visited 2/21/2020). This data represents national figures and is not based on school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, “Market Research Analysts,” available at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/market-research-analysts.htm (last visited 2/21/2020). This data represents national figures and is not based on school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.
6. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, “Loan Officers,” available at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/loan-officers.htm (last visited 1/27/2020). This data represents national figures and is not based on school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.
7 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, “Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners,” available at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/meeting-convention-and-event-planners.htm (last visited 2/21/2020). This data represents national figures and is not based on school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.
8 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, “Training and Development Specialists,” available at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/training-and-development-specialists.htm (last visited 2/21/2020). This data represents national figures and is not based on school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.
CTU cannot guarantee employment, salary, or career advancement. Not all programs are available to residents of all states.
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