Is a Business Administration Degree Right for You?
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Pursuing a degree in business will teach you how best to manage business performance, operations and resources. There are a variety of skills needed to run a business. Having an understanding of how these skills complement each other to produce optimal output is crucial to running a successful organization. Once you have a business administration degree, you will have a broad range of career opportunities. It is important to keep in mind that the business field is competitive and fast paced, and that experience is just as important as earning a degree.
Advice for Earning Your Business Administration Degree Online
There are a number of advantages to pursuing your business administration degree online. Because new classes begin every four to six weeks, you can usually enroll at various times instead of waiting for semester breaks. This means you’re free to start class when it’s right for you and learn the material at your own pace. In order to excel in a business environment, you need to have great communication skills. These will come with practice and experience derived from your classes and your work history.
If you are enrolled in an online business administration program, you may need to actively seek out these opportunities to hone and practice your skills, since you will not have the ability to meet with your professors and fellow students on a daily basis. Most important, make sure the school you attend is accredited by a legitimate organization that’s been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
A business administration degree usually focuses on six aspects: planning, organizing, staffing, directing, controlling and budgeting. Before getting into each of these topics, you will need to complete some courses outside the major, which usually include calculus, psychology, economics, statistics, writing, communications and accounting. After you finish these core courses, you will take basic and advanced classes pertaining to your major.
Universities expect students to get a broad understanding of business administration through a variety of courses. These include taxation, administrative procedures, managerial finance, marketing, organizational behavior, operations, macroeconomics, microeconomics and upper-level accounting. After you finish the basic major classes, you can take special courses related to your interests. Concentrations include accountancy, alternative dispute resolution, business law, economics, entrepreneurship, finance, hospitality, marketing and sports management.
Common Career Paths
Depending on your interests, you can work in many different types of jobs with a business administration degree. No matter the path you choose, you will be an invaluable asset in organizing and budgeting operations and yearly goals. Some popular jobs for business administration majors include (but are not limited to):
Business Development Associate/Analyst
Rated as one of the best 100 jobs (No. 45) by Money and PayScale.com in 2010, a career as a business development associate/analyst can be an exciting and lucrative opportunity. Great communication and presentation skills are essential for this position, and a business administration degree can provide you with the tools you need. This job entails attracting customers to a specific market or industry in your region. Some business development positions are government based, as different local agencies work to attract commercial enterprises to increase jobs and tax revenue. Business development jobs can also be found in private companies that are looking for investors or shareholders. As an associate, you would be required to conduct research on the types of businesses you are trying to attract. Business associates and analysts have to generate sales pitches and presentations for potential clients, and explain why it would be profitable for them to invest in a particular market or field. After conducting presentations, they must follow up with clients. Knowledge of marketing techniques and tools is a must. Entry-level business development associates make $27,836 to $64,198 a year as of May 2012, according to PayScale.com. After 10 years or more, salaries range from $35,183 to $89,695.
If you enjoyed your finance courses while pursuing your business administration degree, you may want to specialize in it. Financial analysts usually provide reports and analysis regarding their clients' yearly spending and available resources. Based on the amount of money and resources available, these analysts provide their employers with information to help operations run smoothly and profitably. Although a finance concentration is not mandatory to be a financial analyst, some educational background in finance is important. You will often be required to read financial audits and general statements to provide analysis and briefs to your employer. Based on the sector you work in, you may be required to research a particular industry and its finances. Accounting courses are also helpful in this field, as financial analysts are required to summarize audited financial statements and corollary data to analyze and forecast lending risks. Experience and general knowledge of available financial software is also helpful. Because of the increasing use of technology and programming to generate data analysis, many business administration degree programs provide courses on business systems and analysis. Entry-level financial analysts earn $33,972 to $61,025 a year as of May 2012, according to PayScale.com. After 10 years or so, salaries range from $45,990 to $84,975.
Bank Loan Underwriter
Banking underwriters decide whether banks should give loans based on evaluation of credit risk reports. By looking at various credit risk criteria such as collateral, interest rate, loan structure and fees, underwriters make recommendations to banks regarding the risks involved for a particular loan. In addition to being trained in finance and developing technologies, bank loan underwriters need to be well versed in legal issues that could potentially affect lenders. Laws such as the Equal Opportunity Act, the Patriot Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act all pertain to lending compliance. To understand and present acquired data, you also need to be able to prepare financial spreadsheets. Because banks make money primarily through lending, bank loan underwriters will have good employment opportunities since they are integrated into the lending process. To advance as an underwriter, many employers recommend getting an MBA after a few years of work experience. Loan underwriters make $36,311 to $71,639 a year as of May 2012, according to PayScale.com.