Is an Applied Management Degree Right for Me?

An online bachelor’s degree in applied management is best-suited for experienced business leaders who are more interested in improving an organization’s business strategy than moving forward with business as usual. Applied management differs from regular business management in its emphasis on applying management theory to improve an organization’s business practices, according to the Houston Chronicle.

While traditional business management emphasizes finance, marketing, HR, and leadership, applied management goes beyond these fundamentals to emphasize how changes in management, technology, or even communication within a company can increase profitability, efficiency, and productivity.

Advice for Earning Your Applied Management Degree Online

Since many people pursuing a degree in applied management already have significant business experience under their belts, it’s smart for those seeking online programs to try to get college credit for what they already know, which can save them both time and money. For example, Franklin University offers up to 24 hours of prior learning credit for any licensure, certifications, or on-the-job training that translates to course work they would have otherwise taken through the university’s applied management bachelor’s program.

We also encourage prospective students to seek out applied management programs offered by business schools that are accredited by either the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) or the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE), which shows that the school has gone above and beyond to demonstrate the quality of their business programs.

Required Courses

Applied management majors will start out taking a general business core, which typically includes introductory courses in accounting, management, finance, marketing, business law, and economics. From this foundation, students move on to take courses directly relating to their major, which might include:

  • Project Management
  • Organizational Supervision
  • Operations Management
  • Capstone Project in Applied Management
  • Quantitative Methods in Applied Management
  • Business Strategy

Common Career Paths

Advancing in applied management careers may depend on both your level of education and experience. Salaries for such careers vary a great deal depending on your location in the country, the size and type of your employer, your roles and responsibilities, and more. A sampling of possible careers in the field includes:

Management Analysts

  • Expected Growth: 22%
  • Average Annual Salary: $87,980

Management analysts devise strategies that help companies become more efficient, streamlined, and profitable. These business professionals first gather data about how the organization currently operates through both hard data and employee interviews, and then come up with workable solutions that could improve those operations. While a bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational qualification for most positions, nearly 30% of management analysts also hold an MBA, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The above employment growth and salary figures are provided by the BLS.

Budget Analysts

  • Expected Growth: 10%
  • Average Annual Salary: $71,450

Budget analysts examine an organization’s budget as a whole or budgets by department to ensure that money is being allocated in a way that maximizes the benefit of the company. They also keep an eye on spending to make sure the company isn’t going over its budget and make recommendations on areas where funding should be cut or surplus funds should be redistributed. A bachelor’s degree in a relevant areas of business tends to be the minimum educational requirement, although some budget analysts do have master’s degrees, according to the BLS. Employment growth and salary figures above are available through the BLS.

Operations Research Analysts

  • Expected Growth: 15%
  • Average Annual Salary: $78,840

Operations research analysts also play a role in maximizing an organization’s efficiency by examining data on a company’s operations, identifying problem areas, and devising solutions to address those problems. These analysts typically work to address problems in production, logistics, the supply chain, or sales, and they often use statistical analysis in identifying operational problems.

While a bachelor’s degree in management science, operations research, or a related area may land you an entry-level job in the field, you will likely need an master’s degree to move up, according to the BLS. Job growth and salary figures are provided by the BLS.

Financial Managers

  • Expected Growth: 9%
  • Average Annual Salary: $120,450

Today’s top companies look to employ financial managers who have what it takes to lead change in a company’s financial health. Financial managers not only oversee an organization’s financial and budget team and produce vital financial reports, but also look for ways to make changes so that the company can reduce its costs.

A minimum of a bachelor’s degree is required for these positions, but at least five years of related business experience and a track record of successful financial leadership is even more important, the BLS indicates. The above employment growth and salary average are provided by the BLS.

Top Executives

  • Expected Growth: 5%
  • Average Annual Salary: $176,550

Top executives include CEOs, COOs, CIOs, executive directors, presidents, and vice presidents of companies. For smaller companies, cities, and schools, titles might include general and operations managers; governors, mayors, and city managers; and superintendents and college presidents. These are highly visible positions, and entire organizations, cities, and industries look to these positions for leadership.

A bachelor’s or master’s degree relevant to the particular position is common, but proven and extensive experience in the field is paramount. The above employment growth and salary figures are available through the BLS.


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