Students who study business administration have the opportunity to develop core skills across a wide variety of subjects including accounting, finance, project management, information technology, human resources, marketing, international business, logistics and organizational behavior. These competencies are flexible enough, that upon graduation, career opportunities in an array of fields may be available. According to Dr. Tony Lyons, Dean of the College of Business and Management & Doctoral Studies at Colorado Technical University (CTU), “Students may choose business administration because they think they would like to be a manager, but what they may learn is that there’s a lot of versatility in business administration.”
Employers may also appreciate the versatility of a business administration degree. A 2016 study released by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) revealed that of the top degrees employers were seeking, business administration and management degrees were deemed the most attractive. Nearly 51% of the surveyed employers intended to hire these business undergraduates.1
Skills and Characteristics for Business Careers
Business professionals should have a good mix of “hard” and “soft” skills because the business environment is ever-changing. Skills such as clear communication and effective conflict resolution can be important traits. Employers are putting an emphasis on those who can work well with others, address issues as they arise, and mitigate conflict. Also, technical skills continue to be in high demand, so the ability to communicate complex thoughts in an effective manner is essential.2
Strong analytic skills may help students prepare for a career in business. A great deal of time may be spent understanding the cause and effect between different functions within an organization. In addition, analytics can help a businessperson target a larger customer base through identifying demographics and offer support projections.2
Finally, business professionals should have strong leadership skills and the ability to manage a diverse environment. With the growth of multigenerational business teams, the capability to understand and manage diversity is increasingly important. For example, millennials may have a different communication style than baby boomers. An effective leader should be able to leverage this diversity, bridge the gap, and help motivate and promote cooperation among employees.2
Types of Business Administration Degrees
By studying business theories and learning best business practices, students may develop critical skill sets, including analyzing business problems by using and applying data to create solutions to support an organization’s objectives.
Different degree-level options offer foundational or advanced business knowledge. Some business administration degrees include:
An Associate of Science in Business Administration (ASBA) is designed to help students cultivate a solid understanding of the core competencies of business law, human resources, marketing and more. This degree may help a student prepare to take the next step at a current job or even explore a new career.
Associate’s degree curriculums are intended to help potential business professionals prepare for a career in many industries by concentrating on core business principles such as critical thinking, communication and decision-making. Students in an ASBA program may develop the practical knowledge needed to compete in a demanding job market.
An ASBA can be a first step toward earning a bachelor’s degree. Some colleges and universities may have policies to determine if students can apply credits earned in an associate-level program toward the completion of a bachelor’s degree in business administration or a related field of study.
A Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) provides students with important and useful skills to help them prepare for a business career. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited program may provide students with the opportunity to develop proficiency in business management principles and apply business skills and analytical problem-solving to support company objectives.
Bachelor’s degree students may examine how to lead a diverse team in today’s increasingly global workplace. In addition, students have the opportunity to prepare for a wide range of business industries, from large corporations and government institutions to small businesses and nonprofits. Similar to an associate’s degree helping students prepare for a bachelor’s, a BSBA can help prepare a student to take on the challenge of a master’s program.
A Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is designed for students looking to expand their knowledge in the field of business. With an MBA, a potential business professional has the opportunity to improve competency across all business functions including international business, strategic marketing, operational management, organizational development, change management and finance.
Faculty members in master’s degree programs can be experienced and immersed in their fields. These instructors may be familiar with the relevant trends, biggest challenges and emerging theories in business and infuse this practical knowledge into their courses and lectures. As a result, students have the opportunity to develop real-world knowledge that they can put into practice. Master’s degree students may have the chance to showcase their leadership capabilities, further develop risk management and analysis skills, and practice data-driven decision-making.
Students who pursue a master’s degree in business may select a particular concentration in a variety of specialties, such as finance, project management or human resource management. These concentrations are built to enhance a student’s general knowledge of a subject as it pertains to their business degree focus.
Students may also choose to further enhance the skill sets they develop in their master’s degree programs by pursuing a doctoral degree. Some colleges and universities may allow students to apply a master’s degree program credits toward the completion of a doctoral degree in business administration or a related field.
Doctoral Degree in Business Administration
A Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) may be for students seeking a challenging learning environment and may want to consult or conduct research and/or teach at the post-secondary level. Doctoral programs can offer business professionals the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of administration practices while focusing their expertise through research and writing. The coursework may be designed to enable students to become thought leaders and build on foundational practices with new and emerging theories related to their chosen disciplines. This degree is intended for those interested in business or taking on leadership roles or initiating change in an organization or industry.
DBA candidates may have the opportunity to develop unique problem-solving skills and degree requirements may include completing and defending a dissertation – a formal document that researches and contributes to the body of knowledge in a specific field.
Careers in Business Administration
Preparation for a business career can occur in any number of fields including accounting, marketing, information technology (IT) and project management. Some careers in the business industry include:
Management consultants and management analysts help companies improve business efficiency. They analyze metrics such as profitability and revenue and recommend solutions. Core responsibilities may include interviewing personnel and conducting onsite observations, recommending new systems or procedures, and meeting with managers to ensure proposed changes are working. Most management consultants have at least a bachelor’s degree, but some employers may prefer candidates with an MBA. A Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation can be earned that may improve job prospects.3
Financial analysts identify trends and assess the risk of investment decisions for businesses. They are typically well-versed in evaluating current and historical financial data, and they write reports that make investment recommendations. Many financial analysts can be grouped into distinct categories. Buy-side analysts work with institutional investors, such as mutual funds investors, to create investment strategies for a portfolio of financial products; and sell-side analysts help securities dealers, such as investment banks, sell their products. Most financial analyst positions require a bachelor’s degree, but for advanced positions, employers may require a master’s degree.4
Market Research Analyst
A market research analyst researches the sales potential of a product or service in a particular market. The goal is to determine what products or services a company should offer and identify the best way to promote these products and services. Market research analysts gather information about competitors, pricing, sales, marketing and distribution and ultimately create marketing campaigns based on the findings of this research. This professional typically needs a bachelor’s degree in market research, statistics, business administration or another related field.5
Studying Business Administration at CTU
U.S. News & World Report ranked Colorado Technical University’s online bachelor degree programs among the Best Online Programs for three consecutive years (2015 – 2017). Many of the business degree programs offered by CTU are ACBSP-accredited and are designed to reflect industry-relevant trends, theories, applications and practices driving successful global business environments. Read more about CTU’s business administration programs.