Business Administration Major Career Paths

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Business administration majors are qualified for a number of jobs that call for their background and knowledge. A business administration major provides students with a general background in subjects including accounting, finance, marketing, human resources management, international business, and management. Students at many colleges take a few courses in each of these subjects, but some schools require their students to concentrate in one or more of them.

What You Can Expect to Learn

Students can earn an associate, bachelor's, masters, or doctoral degree in business administration. With an associate degree in business administration, you can expect to learn the foundations of business knowledge needed to efficiently work entry-level business jobs. Bachelor's degrees equip students with a strong understanding of business fundamentals, management principles, and the interpersonal skills needed to thrive in the business world. Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs prepare students to operate in a variety of different roles, with most being management positions. Doctorate programs—which grant either PhDs or DBAs (Doctor of Business Administration)—require candidates to write a dissertation which involves doing independent research.

Career Options With Your Degree

Associate Degree

With an associate degree in business administration, someone can find entry-level jobs that allow them to get their foot in the door in the business world. Employment opportunities include positions such as an Executive Assistant, Benefit/Payroll Clerk, or Marketing Assistant.

Bachelor's Degree (entry-level or 1–2 years of experience)

A bachelor's degree can open up employment opportunities over a wide variety of careers. Management positions such as a Sales Manager, Project Manager, Internship Manager, Business Manager, or Shift Manager become available. Along with those, people with bachelor's degrees work in positions aimed at improving business operations. For example, a Business Operations Analyst studies a companies efficiencies and recommends ways to improve it. Taking a job in accounting is also a path many choose to take.

Master's Degree

With an MBA, people qualify for numerous management and leadership roles. These may include jobs such as a Business Manager, Senior Business Analyst, or Director of Business Analysis. Those with an MBA also go on to work in VP roles in positions like the VP of Business Development and VP of Strategic Operations, which consists of implementing plans to improve business processes. People who specialize in concentrations such as finance can go on to work in a role as a Financial Manager or Chief Financial Officer. These roles oversee the financial activities of a company and makes sure they achieve their financial goals and projections. Although most people who graduate with an MBA go on to the corporate world, a small number may go on to be community college Instructors or Adjunct Assistant Professors.

Doctoral Degree

Individuals who have a DBA sometimes end up in academia, but this degree is more geared toward someone who wants to "contribute to business theory and management practice while developing professional skills and contributing professional knowledge," according to the Business School Expert Karen Schweitzer. Those who decide to go into academia usually take roles as professors at universities. With the specialized expertise learned in doctoral studies, graduates can also go on to be consultants for businesses who need their help. As a Client Strategist, individuals provide companies with strategic oversight and knowledge they need to improve operations.

Typical Work Settings

Business administration majors typically work in offices or, in the case of those with a doctoral degree, in the classrooms of colleges and universities. While most two-year colleges and four-year schools prefer individuals with doctoral degrees, some may hire individuals with MBAs as part-time instructors or teaching assistants.

How High School Students Can Prepare for This Major

High school students who want to study business administration in college should take classes in English composition, economics, speech, advanced mathematics, and the social sciences.

Professional Organizations and Other Resources

To network and meet others in the field, consider these groups: