A study by the National Center for Education Statistics found that, of nearly 2 million conferred bachelor’s degrees, nearly 20% were in the field of business, making it the most popular area of study. So lots of college students choose to study business—but is it a good choice?
There are plenty of majors to choose within the field of business. Although business administration is broad, it provides excellent opportunities for students to gain direct experience in more areas of the field. Students learn concepts and strategies in business administration that might not be taught in more specific areas—like marketing or supply chain management—setting them up for a strong career.
Unlike other majors in the field, business administration puts a greater focus on entrepreneurship. This provides students with the skills and direction needed to successfully start their own business.
The broad approach also provides the skills to pursue business management in many industries. Studying business administration provides an overview of other areas and specialties in the field, helping students understand how these specialties work together.
These are just some of the reasons that business administration is a great major to pursue. Below, we’ve provided more about what you can expect in business administration and how you can use the degree.
What is business administration?
Business administration is a general degree in the field of business that provides an overview of how business is managed. Even for students who are not interested in pursuing business from the management side, this degree provides an excellent awareness and understanding of all the pieces that help a business to operate smoothly and successfully.
This practical degree applies to positions in a number of industries, preparing students to be efficient and effective leaders, managers, and trainers. Business administrators often oversee the daily operations of an organization, whether that be with a small business, nonprofit, corporation, or government entity.
This degree has the flexibility to choose a more specific program later—such as human resources, management, accounting, or marketing—and sets a solid foundation for continued education with a master’s degree. Many colleges and universities offer accelerated BA/MBA programs that allow students to earn both their business administration and master’s degree in five years, which creates a solid base to launch a business career.
What will I learn when I study business administration?
If you pursue a bachelor’s degree in business administration, you can expect to gain a broad education on business management principles, technical skills, and management abilities.
Business students learn to develop innovative ideas with logic, strategy, and organization. Communication is key, whether working with clients one-on-one, with a team on a project, pitching an idea, presenting a plan, and in numerous other situations.
Understanding customers and their decision-making process is an important concept that is developed through marketing coursework. Learning and understanding business technology also is significant.
Expect coursework to include classes on:
- Business ethics
- Strategic planning
- Management concepts
- Finances and accounting
- Group and team communication
- Resource management
What careers can I go into after studying business administration?
Business administration opens up a variety of career options, and graduates are in high demand. Communication, organization, management, planning, and many other skills learned and refined in a business program are necessary to every industry. Students can easily pursue a variety of business roles in small businesses, corporations, nonprofit organizations, education, health, and more.
Students with a business background can choose from dozens of jobs, ranging from account executive to brand strategist to event marketing specialist to supply chain analyst. Here are some other careers to pursue with a business degree:
- Advertising coordinator
- Benefits officer
- Budget analyst
- Client relations specialist
- Corporate trainer
- Digital advertising sales specialist
- Equity trader
- Financial advisor
- Forecast analyst
- Human resources generalist
- Inventory analyst
- Media planner
- Pricing analyst
- Recruiting specialist
- Talent agent
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What skills will I develop when I study business administration?
The skills developed through a business administration degree are valuable and transferable in any industry.
In business, students will learn solid oral and written communication skills that will benefit them in meetings, when presenting, through written communication, and in negotiations. Collaborating with members of a team both in and outside of the organization is another highly sought skill taught through business.
Students will learn creative problem solving and persuasion. Business also teaches students how to be agile and adaptable in any situation.
These soft skills are in demand in any organization.
Additionally, students improve their analytical and critical thinking skills in a business program. They improve organizational skills, time management, logical thinking, and decision making.
More specific to the field, students gain an understanding of the organization or inner workings of a business. They begin to see the larger picture of how external factors impact and change a business.
What master’s degree can I get after studying business administration?
As previously mentioned, a bachelor’s degree in business administration prepares a student for a clear path to a master’s degree in business administration (MBA).
An MBA is an excellent way for students to advance their careers. This might lead to higher wages or additional skills and knowledge to launch a business of their own. The MBA also sets up professionals for greater leadership in their organization or in an emerging field.
Many MBA programs are offered in a variety of formats and can be completed full time, part-time, in person, or remote. Full-time programs typically last about two years. Several dual programs allow students to complete their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in an accelerated format. Coursework revolves around finance, leadership, marketing, and business technology.
Business students also are well prepared to pursue master’s degrees that are more focused, such as:
- Master of Accountancy
- Master of Business Taxation
- Master of Medical Management
- Master of Management Studies
How do I know if business administration is right for me?
There are some key characteristics that can help students determine if pursuing a business degree is the right choice for them.
Students who are naturally self-motivated and organized will excel in a business program. Business requires students to balance multiple tasks on top of their coursework, such as leadership positions, internships, work experience, service work, and more. Students who can show that they are involved and well rounded will have a strong and broad resume to put in front of employers.
Leadership is a characteristic that business students possess. Those who are good at collaborating and directing a team show great management skills that will serve them well in a business program.
Those who naturally enjoy math and technology will excel in a business program. Business administration often requires that students take math and computer science courses. This will likely include calculus, statistics, and computer-related courses.
Students who are naturally drawn to topics in business clearly have an interest in the field and may want to learn more about accounting, marketing, finance, management, and more.
What are the benefits of studying business administration?
Business administration is a great major to pursue because it provides students with a broad knowledge of business management and soft skills that are in high demand.
As mentioned, any organization will benefit from an employee or leader who brings business skills to the table. The skills and services learned in a business program are necessary in the local mom and pop shop all the way up to the multinational corporation. Students who take advantage of what a business program offers and who build their portfolio early will be sought out for their talent.
Business opens up a huge range of career options for students. Many industries benefit from someone with a strong business background. The previous list is just a snapshot of the careers that open up for motivated business students.
With a focus on management and leadership, a business degree also provides students with plenty of opportunities for advancement. Business students are driven, flexible, agile, analytical, collaborative, and persuasive. Used well, these skills can take students far in their careers. There also are plenty of opportunities for professional development or pursuing post-baccalaureate coursework that can advance a professional in his or her career.
What are the drawbacks of studying business administration?
When shopping for a college or university that offers a business administration degree, it’s important to remember that not all degrees are equal. Be sure to look for accredited programs that measure academic excellence. There are more than 840 AACSB-accredited business schools internationally that aim to foster innovation, engagement, and impact in business education. An accredited program will hold more weight with employers upon graduation.
There is a perception that “anyone can get a business degree.” If too many students pursue business, then the demand goes down for qualified business students in the job market. Sometimes, the general business administration degree is too broad, and it is more advantageous to pursue a specialization to stand out to employers.
Know your goals. Students will gain the most from a business degree if they understand what end goal they want to achieve. Whether the goal is to rise up the ranks of a major corporation or have the business knowledge to open your own place, that goal will guide the decisions you make in the business program. Every class, leadership opportunity, internship, or activity should point back to that goal.
What is the average salary of a business administration major?
Starting salaries for many positions in business vary upon specialization. Business administration management starts in the low- to mid- $50,000 range. Many median salaries for popular careers that result from a business administration background—such as sales management, financial management, and human resources management—fall in the low- to mid-$100,000 range.
Conclusion: So, is business administration a good major?
Absolutely! Business students are motivated leaders who excel in communication, organization, management, and problem-solving. Business administration leaders have a broad understanding of organizational structure and can see how outside forces impact a business. The skills learned and developed in a business administration program are in demand and help to develop a well-rounded professional who can work in any industry.
By researching accredited schools, setting career goals, and getting involved in leadership positions, choosing a business administration degree will be a valuable and worthy degree to pursue.