There is always space for improvement, no matter how long you’ve been in the business.
-Oscar De La Hoya
The business sector has entered a brave new world: globalized, rapid, and increasingly complex. Still, all-out dystopian concerns are overblown. For individuals and organizations that adapt, the potential for growth and prosperity could be historic. How do we take advantage?
Businesses are asking that question across the world. How do we leverage technology for the best outcomes? How do we prevent it from producing bad outcomes? Globalization is a fact of life now. Is that a good thing? If not, how do we improve international business? Management has never been more important – or more difficult. How do we ensure organizations are running properly, from big picture strategy to individual team members’ contributions, C-suite and entry-level alike?
No one has all the answers, and a period of trial-and-error is to expected. Right now what matters is engagement: addressing each challenge with care and precision, and determining (and experimenting with) the best possible solutions.
Education will be instrumental in the effort.
Why Study Business and Management?
There are several answers, but let’s consider a few.
- Business and management degrees combine a range of disciplines for a broad-based curriculum. That may sound counterintuitive, but it’s true. Yes, you’ll study business fundamentals: macro and microeconomics, finance, money and banking, sales and marketing, strategy, accounting, statistics, business law, business ethics, and the rest. But business includes aspects of psychology, politics, communications, and the humanities. Management, in particular, requires in-depth studies in human behavior. Far from being a one-dimensional, hyper-specialized subject, business and management degrees build on a multidisciplinary foundation. Which leads to the next point.
- Business and management degrees are widely applicable. Nearly every profession needs more employees with a business background. Of course, that means job prospects are second to none. (More on that later.) But it also means that you won’t be restricted to one career path. If a traditional business role doesn’t interest you, you might consider working at a consulting agency, or media company, or in politics and the public sector. Plenty of impact-focused business grads have successful careers at non-profits and advocacy organizations. The point is that a degree in business offers relative job security as well as freedom and flexibility.
- Business and management degrees are customizable. Tied to the previous two points, customization is a major advantage. Undergraduate business degrees generally include built-in elective options or the option to minor in a particular business discipline. Nearly all MBA programs offer several concentrations to accommodate working professionals or those interested in a career switch (common tracks include management, healthcare administration, accounting, nonprofit management, international business, and the Executive MBA). Pre-professional, associate, and certificate tracks offer customization opportunities, as well.
- Business and management degrees will advance your career. Bottom line: studying business is one of the most effective ways to achieve your professional goals. First, employers recognize the value of a high-quality business program (for all the reasons listed above). More importantly, business grads are equipped with rigorous, evidence-based training, so whether you’re a seasoned professional or entry-level worker, you’re ready to excel.
Job Prospects and Salaries for Business and Management Graduates
The job market for business and management graduates has historically ranked among the highest, and the trend is continuing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects business and financial occupations to grow 10% over the next decade, which is faster than the national average and includes over 770,000 new jobs. Annual median pay is also nearly double the national level, with business and finance professionals earning $66,500 per year.
For professionals in management roles, the data is even better: median annual wage is $100k, and jobs are predicted to grow 8%, or by 807,000 new openings.
Types of Jobs for Business and Management Graduates
As mentioned, business and management graduates can pursue a range of careers, and of course the degree level will affect the role. To give a snapshot, these are few potential jobs ranging from entry-level to senior-level, with a focus on traditional business and finance positions.
- Market Research Analyst: Collect and study market data to forecast potential sales of product or service. Track competitors, monitor market changes, identify target demographic, and estimate price point.
- Median Salary: $62,560
- Financial Analyst: Prepare, coordinate, and document a variety of investments, including stocks, bonds, and more, for individuals and businesses.
- Median Salary: $81,760
- Personal Financial Advisor: Provide tailored financial guidance to individual and families, including advice on investments, mortgages, insurance plans, college savings, estate planning, taxes, and retirement.
- Median Salary: $90,530
- Sales Manager: Direct an organization’s sales team. Develop and implement short- and long-term strategy, set sales goals, and recommends new tactics to improve sales totals and customer satisfaction.
- Median Salary: $117,960
- Financial Manager: Oversees all aspects of an organization’s financial operations, including long-term investment strategy, auditing and budgeting, financial reports, direct investments, day-to-day activities, and more.
- Median Salary: $121,750
- Financial Planning and Analysis Director: Leads a finance team’s budgeting, forecasting, long-term strategy, and planning. Conducts and reviews financial analysis, and offers innovative business ideas and investments.
- Median Pay: $154,748
- Chief Financial Officer: Heads organization’s financial policies, planning, and strategy, including oversight of accounting, budgeting, credit, insurance, and treasury.
- Median Pay: $320,974
Undergraduate Degrees in Business and Management
At the undergraduate level, the most popular degree is the bachelor’s in Business Administration (either a BA or BS), which is the second most in-demand undergraduate degree in the country, with 73% of survey respondents reporting they would hire business majors in 2017, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Core classes might include Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Legal Environment of Business, Entrepreneurship, and Business Law, among others.
Alternatively, students interested in sales, ads, and PR should consider a bachelor’s in Marketing, which includes a core of fundamental business courses.
Graduate Degrees in Business and Management
The majority of graduate degrees in business are MBAs, though are some notable exceptions. Master’s programs in Project Management are increasingly popular because of a major talent shortage. Same applies to the master’s in Supply Chain Management for similar reasons. Accounting master’s degrees are aimed toward a more specific career track, obviously, though plenty of graduates don’t pursue a CPA. Other specialized but relevant tracks include the master’s in Marketing, which includes sales, advertising, and promotions, and the master’s in Finance, which follows a curriculum similar to the MBA.
MBA opportunities are abundant, not least because of specialization options. For your convenience, we’ve compiled lists for the top ten and top fifty online MBAs. For specialized tracks, check out the Executive MBA (particularly for mid- to senior-level professionals) and the MBA in Entrepreneurship. Finally, the master’s in Nonprofit Management is an excellent degree for working or aspiring nonprofit workers and follows a similar MBA-style curriculum.
Popular Online Universities offering Business Degrees
- University of Maryland University College
- Liberty University
- American Public University System
- University of Phoenix
- University of Massachusetts Online
- Walden University
Find the Right Business Degree
Peruse the most popular online business programs as well as our rankings of the best business schools above.
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