The image of a business administration professional has evolved over time. Graduates aren’t going straight from school into the “rat race” and spending their days confined to crowded cubicle complexes in stuffy office towers. Today, business administration is much more diverse both in what you learn as a student and what you can do as a graduate. As such, business administration offers you the opportunity to create your own path with a variety of options that you can build upon as you move forward in your career, which includes small business owner.
If you’re curious about business administration but not sure exactly what it entails, keep reading to have all your questions answered, such as:
- What is business administration?
- What is a business administration degree?
- What will I study in business administration?
- What can I do with a business administration degree?
What Is Business Administration?
In a nutshell, business administration involves the day-to-day functions of a company or a department, and executing the strategy laid out by leadership. Business administration is a very broad and diverse field that provides those who study it the comprehensive foundational knowledge needed to manage a company or organization. In business administration, you might apply your expertise to areas that include operations, project management, finance, human resources, sales, or marketing.
What Is a Business Administration Degree?
Business administration professionals have the flexibility to work in various roles because a business administration degree is an all-encompassing program that teaches you how organizations function, immersing you in the fundamentals and how you can apply them in your career. Graduates can be found in nearly every industry from Fortune 500 companies to veterinarian clinics. What’s more, business administration is booming, according to the U.S. Department of Education. The agency reported that of nearly two million bachelor’s degrees handed out in 2017–18, business led the way as the most popular program, with 386,000 graduates.
What Will I Study in Business Administration?
A Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Business Administration program will provide you with the soft and quantitative skills you need to succeed in business. The program allows you to examine all facets of business operations, how they are connected, and how they support organizational success. When considering a business administration education, you want a program that focuses on the following seven key areas:
Management involves much more than giving direction to subordinates. Today’s managers must be prepared for the challenges of multicultural, technology-driven organizations with workers stationed around the globe. Your business administration degree must include training in management theory and practice, so that you understand what’s needed to plan, organize, lead, and control functions in the workplace.
2. Business communications and writing
Communication is a foundational soft skill that you must have in order to excel in any role. As much of today’s business communication is conducted online in video conferences or messaging apps such as Slack, it is imperative that you sharpen your communication skills for tone, clarity, and messaging. A business communications course will train you in the techniques of effective and appropriate communications for emails, PowerPoint presentations, and more. A business writing course will further strengthen your skills so that you are able to write clearly, logically, and persuasively.
3. Finance and accounting
If the idea of working with numbers makes you nervous, you should know that there’s often very little math involved when learning the principles of finance and accounting. Rather, these business administration degree courses will help you understand basic financial documents, simple accounting methods, and the key to evaluating the financial performance of an organization.
4. Professional and organizational ethics
Fraud, discrimination, harassment, bribery, privacy practices, social media policies, health and safety protocols, and conflicts of interest are all examples of ethical dilemmas that business professionals must deal with on a daily basis. A business ethics course will challenge you to examine your own approach, and teach you how to avoid costly and potentially career-ending mistakes, while also teaching you how to develop ethical standards and practices for you and your company.
5. Business law
Understanding the legal environment and how it pertains to business is imperative, even if the law is not your chosen profession. Your business law course will explore contracts, administrative law, international trade, and the legal protections granted to consumers, investors, and employees.
6. Information systems principles
If you’re to succeed in business, you must have an understanding of information systems (IS) and the foundational technologies that are used for communications, record-keeping, problem-solving, and more. Your IS course will examine, among other topics, systems concepts, organizational processes, IT security, database management, and ethical and social responsibility when conducting business with technology.
7. International business
Whether you are working for a global conglomerate or building an ecommerce platform with global ambitions, you will want to understand the functional areas of business from an international perspective. This course will examine the differences when it comes to cultures and politics, and how organizations expand beyond their borders.
What Skills Will I Gain from a Business Administration Degree?
With a BA in Business Administration, you will finish school with an extremely diverse skillset, including a number of skills that employers are looking for in future job candidates. An analysis by Indeed determined the top 18 business administration skills that should go on a graduate’s resume:
- Critical thinking
- Active listening
- Public speaking
- Attention to detail
- Time management
- Sales and marketing
- Customer service
- Budget management
- Ability to work under pressure
While that list encompasses critical soft skills, you’ll need to marry them with a unique set of hard skills to become the perfect package in the eyes of a future hiring manager. According to Glassdoor, some vital hard skills employers look for in a business administration graduate include:
- Computer technology (Microsoft Office, HTML, Social Media)
- Project management (Trello, Zoho, Scrum)
- Hard communication (copywriting, editing, foreign languages)
- Data analysis (resource management, data engineering, database management)
- Marketing hard skills (SEO, SEM, Google Analytics, email marketing, content management systems)
Once you have earned a BA in Business Administration, you may wish to pursue an advanced degree such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA). In an MBA program, you’ll achieve competency in a number of areas:
- Critical thinking and problem-solving
- Oral and written communication
- Teamwork and collaboration
- Digital technology
- Professionalism and work ethics
- Career management
- Global and intercultural fluency
Courses in an MBA program typically focus on vital business administration topics like human resources, finance, budgeting, analysis, operations management, business management, business law, global marketing, and global economics.
An MBA at UAGC takes your skillset to an even more advanced level, with learning outcomes that will allow you to:
- Utilize leadership skills in situations involving collaboration, self-advocacy, and business-critical decisions
- Prepare written and oral communications to create professional presence, articulate a vision, and bridge diverse perspectives and cultural differences that impact businesses
- Integrate critical thinking and inventiveness to form strategies and overcome business challenges in both domestic and international business settings
- Formulate financial analysis and business knowledge in marketing, data analytics, economics, operations, project management, human capital management, and emerging technologies to drive decision-making
- Critique the use of legal and ethical principles and the influence of politics in the business environment
What Can I Do with a Business Administration Degree?
With your business administration degree in-hand, you will find your options are anything but limited. While you may have your sights set on something in the world of finance, such as an investment banker, you also graduate with the skills needed to do your own thing and become an entrepreneur, small business manager, or business owner.
If you’re thinking about a degree in business administration, you picked the right time. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the agency that collects and interprets employment data, projects that the country will add about 750,800 new business and financial jobs through the year 2030, and cites a higher demand for several business-related occupations.
“Globalization, a growing economy, and a complex tax and regulatory environment are expected to continue to lead to strong demand for accountants and auditors,” the agency reports. “In addition, increasing usage of data and market research in order to understand customers and product demand, and to evaluate marketing strategies, will lead to growing demand for market research analysts.”
Among the in-demand business and finance roles that require at least a BA-level education:
- Accountants and Auditors
- Budget Analysts
- Cost Estimators
- Financial Analysts
- Human Resources Specialists
- Labor Relations Specialists
- Management Analysts
- Market Research Analysts
- Purchasing Managers
- Training and Development Specialists
Those who earn an MBA can explore additional opportunities including:
- Business Development Managers
- Leadership Development Managers
- Executive Directors
- Marketing Managers
- Management Analyst
- Treasurers and Controllers
- Chief Executives
Is Business Administration an Occupation?
While business administration is wide-ranging from an academic perspective, the actual occupation of business administration is much more specific and involves overseeing the day-to-day operations of an organization or department and ensuring that everything is running smoothly.
The BLS classifies these roles under Administrative Services and Facilities Managers. It’s an occupation that, like those already mentioned, will grow as fast as average through 2030 and will require a bachelor’s degree. The typical responsibilities for someone in this role include:
- Supervising clerical and administrative staff
- Setting goals and deadlines for their department
- Developing, managing, and monitoring records
- Recommending changes to policies or procedures in order to improve operations, such as reassessing supplies or recordkeeping
- Monitoring facilities to make sure they remain safe, secure, and well-maintained
- Overseeing the maintenance and repair of machinery, equipment, and electrical and mechanical systems
- Making sure facilities meet environmental, health, and security standards and comply with regulations
What is the Salary for Someone with a Business Administration Degree?
The salary for someone with a college degree in business administration varies just as much as the areas in which someone can work within business administration, with salaries varying by industry and by location. However, the median annual wage for someone working in business could be up to double that of other occupations. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for business and financial occupations was $72,250 in May 2020, while the median annual wage for other occupations was $41,950. Check out our blog What Is an MBA and Is It Actually Worth It? to learn more about salary and opportunities for those who choose to pursue a graduate degree in business administration.
How Do I Start My Business Administration Education?
The workforce will always need savvy business minds to take companies and brands to the next level, and a degree in business administration can be the foundation upon which you launch your career. If you’re ready to take the next step, contact an Enrollment Services Advisor about your BA in Business Administration or MBA today.
Byline: University Staff
Certain degree programs may not be available in all states.