I’m interested in studying business. What can you tell me?
Business is the study of how goods and services are bought and sold in exchange for money. It is a field for many kinds of people and personalities. Some business professionals are outgoing and enjoy creating relationships and negotiating transactions. Others are more introverted and enjoy working with data to make business decisions.
Working in business can be very rewarding, both in terms of money and in personal satisfaction. However, the pace can be fast and in many jobs there is a lot of competition. Business working environments vary. Business professionals can be found in offices as well as factories and stores. Some jobs in business have regular hours while others require additional work on evenings and weekends or travel to other cities.
Because business is a broad field, students often specialize in 1 subject with the intention of working in a particular type of job. For example, if you enjoy working with numbers, you can study accounting or finance. If you are interested in leading groups of people, you may want to study business administration. And if you are interested in how consumers make decisions, you can study marketing.
Let’s hear some other perspectives
Student, Bachelor of Arts in Business Management, Western Governors University
“An ideal business management student is someone who knows what they want, who is motivated to study from the start, and maintains that motivation throughout the program.”
Student, Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a Specialization in Finance, University of North Carolina, Wilmington
“Self-motivation is the most valuable personality trait that a business administration student can
possess. Self-motivation is critical because business administration classes require you to make sure
you attend all of your classes and finish all of your assignments.”
Professor of Business, University of Phoenix
“Business requires proactive thinkers who can anticipate the future and make their plans accordingly.”
What exactly is a business professional?
Business professionals support different business organizations. Accountants track financial information. Human resources professionals help hire and compensate employees. Financial analysts provide guidance about investment decisions. Marketers help promote products and services. And administrators and managers provide leadership. A degree in 1 of the fields of business can lead to many possible careers. In addition to categorizing by job function, business professionals can be sorted into 3 broad categories by the type of business that they work in:
Corporate Business Professional
Corporate business professionals work for companies, which are organizations that buy and sell goods to make a profit. This is the type of organization that most of us think of as a business. A businessperson in this environment is concerned with maximizing profits and minimizing expenses for the company. Corporate business professionals also work to provide the company’s investors with a good return on their investments.
Nonprofit Business Professional
Nonprofit business professionals work in nonprofit organizations, which use surplus revenues to develop programs or further the business’s goals rather than accrue profit. Some examples are the Salvation Army and World Wildlife Fund. Business professionals in these organizations are concerned with minimizing expenses and accounting to individuals or funding agencies about how the organization has used its money. Applying for grants and running fundraising campaigns are important activities in nonprofit organizations.
Government Business Professional
Government business professionals work for government agencies and government-owned corporations. Some examples are the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the United States Postal Service (USPS). Many people do not think of government organizations are businesses, but they still need accountants, managers and other business professionals. These organizations have budgets, revenue and expenditures. They must hire and compensate employees. They may need to promote their products and services. Some government organizations make investments or manage money.
Let’s hear some other perspectives
Director of Customer Care, Zonar Systems
“You should expect to start at the bottom and put in a lot of work to become a director of customer care, or the director of any other department within a company.”
Regional Service Coordinator, Johnson & Johnson
“Because I was traveling, I wasn’t able to stay in a single place long enough to get my degree at a traditional campus. One of the things that I appreciate about the online education community is that it allows me to continue my education on my own time.”
CEO, Further Generation
“I would tell students who are interested in becoming CEOs that even though running a company comes with considerable independence, their success will depend on the contributions from many other people. ”
How do I know if business would be a good fit for me?
Here is a quick quiz to help you decide if you have the personality it takes to succeed as a business professional. Rate, on a scale from 1 to 5, how well each of the following statements describes you.
I am decisive and find it easy to weigh my options to choose the best 1.
Business professionals make decisions every day. You will need to evaluate the information available to you and decide on a solution in order to solve problems.
I enjoy reading.
Many sources of information in business are in written form. If you are able to read quickly and well, it will help you understand business reports and correspondence.
I am a people person and enjoy interacting with others.
Relationships are important in many business situations. If you enjoy interpersonal interactions, it will benefit you in negotiations, meetings and interviews.
I enjoy working with numbers.
Jobs in business often require working with or understanding numbers. Some jobs are more number-oriented than others, but in many business jobs you will need to create reports using numerical information and base decisions on statistics and ratios.
I am a good listener.
Many business situations involve listening to other people with your full attention and asking appropriate questions. If you are a good listener, you will be able to understand instructions from your supervisors, concerns of people you manage and the strengths of your colleagues.
I enjoy solving puzzles.
Business professionals use reasoning skills to identify problems and their potential solutions. If you enjoy solving puzzles, you will be able to solve problems at whatever level your career takes you to.
I am organized and know how to structure my time and responsibilities.
Whether you are managing a group or just your own project, you will need to assess project requirements and determine tasks and a schedule. If you are not organized, you will have difficulty in business.
I can multitask and keep track of many things at once.
In most business environments, you will need to monitor progress on multiple parts of a project, and sometimes across multiple projects. If you are able to keep track of many tasks, it will help you complete projects on schedule and within a budget.
I enjoy giving presentations in class.
Many business professionals present information to their colleagues, supervisors, clients and other groups. If you enjoy public speaking, there will be many opportunities for you in business.
I am a leader and enjoy leading group projects.
Managers provide leadership to organizations, departments, product lines and employees. If you enjoy leading groups, you will be able to motivate and direct the people who you are in charge of.
*Note that this is not a scientific quiz. The result is simply my rough estimate of how well I believe your personality matches that of a successful business professional.
By my assessment, a career in business is probably not a good fit for your personality. Please go to the Admissions Advisor homepage for a listing of other careers you may want to consider.
By my assessment, although a career in business may not be an ideal fit for your personality, if you are willing to adapt in a few areas, you can still find success in the field. Please see the list to the right for information on the areas that you may need to work on.
By my assessment, your personality is a good fit for a career in business. Scroll through our site to gain valuable insight into what it will take you to earn the necessary credentials.
Is there anything else I should consider in deciding if business is the right choice for me?
In deciding if business is the right choice for you, consider your long-term goals. A bachelors degree in business will qualify you for many entry-level jobs. In many areas of business, your bachelors degree and the experience that you gain will be all you need to advance. In other areas of business, you will need to continue your education with a graduate degree. For example, to become an accountant, you will most likely get a masters degree in accounting and eventually become licensed by your state as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). To become a financial analyst, an MBA or masters degree in finance is often required.
What business professions can I choose from?
Business is a broad field with a huge variety of job opportunities. Some jobs have general functions and others are very specialized. The most specialized jobs tend to require an advanced degree.
Bachelors (4 years)
$40,030 (Lowest 10% earned less than $27,030; highest 10% earned more than $62,070)
Corporate businesses, colleges and universities, government agencies, nonprofit agencies, schools and educational facilities, city or state agencies
Executive secretaries provide high-level support for executives. Some common tasks include arranging conference calls and meetings. They may also supervise clerical staff, review memos and assemble important documents such as proposals and grant applications.
Bachelors (4 years) or masters (2 – 3 years of graduate school) plus several years of management experience
Corporate businesses, government agencies, nonprofit agencies, city or state agencies, small businesses
A chief executive is in charge of an organization. Chief executives in companies establish goals and policies, meet with other executives to make sure every department of the company is operating as it should be, and report to the board of directors. In government and nonprofit organizations, chief executives oversee budgets and manage resources.
Doctorate (4 – 7 years of graduate school)
$79,070 (Lowest 10% earned less than $34,650; highest 10% earned more than $152,310)
Colleges and universities, vocational schools
Business professors provide college-level instruction. They devise lesson plans, select textbooks, give lectures, design and administer tests, write answer keys and hold office hours to answer questions from students. Some subjects that business professors teach include accounting, finance, human resources and marketing. Some professors are primarily engaged in teaching while others also conduct research in an area of interest.
Bachelors (4 years) or masters (1 – 2 years of graduate school)
$59,430 (Lowest 10% earned less than $36,720; highest 10% earned more than $102,380)
Corporate businesses, government agencies, nonprofit agencies, city or state agencies, small businesses
Accountants prepare and analyze financial records. Corporate accountants track the finances of the organizations that they work in. They prepare balance reports and statements of cash flows so that the organization’s administrators can maintain the budget. Accountants may file financial statements on behalf of a company. Accountants in accounting firms or private practice may prepare tax returns and provide other financial advice to individuals.
Bachelors (4 years) or masters (2 – 3 years of graduate school)
$73,150 (Lowest 10% earned less than $43,440; highest 10% earned more than $141,070)
Corporate businesses, government agencies, banks, small businesses, private practice
Financial analysts provide guidance about investment decisions. Analysts work for mutual funds, insurance companies and other corporations to help determine where the corporations should invest their money. Analysts also work for banks to help sell investments such as stocks and bonds.
Bachelors (4 years)
$86,500 (Lowest 10% earned less than $49,350; highest 10% earned more than $147,050)
Corporate businesses, colleges and universities, government agencies, nonprofit agencies, schools and educational facilities, city or state agencies
Human resources managers help the organizations that they work for to hire and compensate employees. Some human resources managers recruit new employees and supervise the hiring and termination processes. They may also oversee programs to pay wages and benefits to employees. Establishing the pay structure and benefits for employees is handled by a human resources manager.
Bachelors (4 years) or masters (2 – 3 years)
$61,070 (Lowest 10% earned less than $33,770; highest 10% earned more than $112,410)
Corporate businesses, small businesses
Market research analysts gather information for companies about what products and services people want, who will buy them and at what price. This information helps direct companies’ product development and sales strategy. Market research analysts also help develop advertising and promotions, using their knowledge of the target customers.
Bachelors (4 years) plus on-the-job training (1 – 5 years)
$48,710 (Lowest 10% earned less than $28,710; highest 10% earned more than $90,100)
Corporate businesses, colleges and universities, government agencies, nonprofit agencies, schools and educational facilities, city or state agencies
A buyer, also called a purchasing agent, purchases goods or services for a company or institution. Buyers study sales records and suppliers and keep track of industry news so that they can get the best deals. In wholesale or retail businesses, buyers purchase goods for resale. In manufacturing, they buy parts and equipment. Buyers may also arrange contracts, such as leasing a fleet of commercial vehicles.
What is the job outlook for business professionals?The job outlook for a businessperson depends on the type of job that they hold. The job outlook for some common business positions are:
Executive Secretaries and Administrative AssistantsJobs for executive secretaries and administrative assistants are expected to grow at about the average rate for all professions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2008 there were 1,594,400 jobs for executive secretaries and administrative assistants. By 2018 there are expected to be an additional 204,400 jobs, an increase of 13%. Job openings are expected to occur due to industry growth and the need to replace employees who quit working, retire or change careers. About 90% of secretaries and administrative assistants work in service industries such as education, healthcare, government and retail. Employment opportunities will be the best for applicants with strong knowledge of computer software.
Chief ExecutivesThe job outlook for chief executives depends on the fortunes of the industries that they are employed in. Job growth is expected in the health services industry, which is expanding, while employment is expected to decline in many manufacturing industries. Taking all industries into account, no job growth for chief executives is expected, combined with strong competition for jobs. In 2008 there were 400,400 chief executives in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2018 there will be 394,900 chief executives, a decrease of jobs by 1%. There is a lot of competition for chief executive positions, and the candidate pool remains the same size as few executives change to a different type of career.
General and Operations ManagersThere will be growth in jobs for general and operations managers in some industries and declines in others. Overall, no job growth is expected for general and operations managers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2018 there will be a decrease of 2,300 jobs for general and operations managers, down less than 1% from 1,733,100 jobs in 2008. Opportunities will be best for experienced managers with strong leadership skills and accomplishments in improving a company’s bottom line.
Business ProfessorsThe job outlook for business professors will be good. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job openings for professors and other post-secondary teachers will grow by 15% between 2008 and 2018, faster than the average for all occupations. In 2008 there were 1,699,200 post-secondary teachers employed in the United States. By 2018, that number is expected to increase by 256,900 jobs. Colleges and universities are expected to have more students enrolled, while many teachers are expected to retire. Job candidates with PhDs will have the best job prospects. There will be more openings for part-time positions that do not lead to tenure. Competition will remain strong for positions that lead to tenure.
Accountants and AuditorsAccountants and auditors can expect good job prospects. Jobs are expected to grow at a rate of 22%, much faster than the average for all professions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 279,400 jobs will be added by 2018 to the 1,290,600 jobs there were in 2008. The increasing number of businesses in the United States, changes in financial laws and increased scrutiny of company finances are major causes of job growth in these professions. Job prospects will be the best for auditors and accountants who are licensed as Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) or who have masters degrees.
Financial AnalystsSignificant job growth is expected for financial analysts, but there will also be strong competition. There were 250,600 jobs for financial analysts in 2008 and an increase of 49,600 jobs is expected by 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is a job growth rate of 20%, which is much faster than the average across all occupations. But even with the growth in jobs, there are more people who would like to enter these jobs than there are openings available. Job applicants with certifications and graduate degrees will have the best job prospects.
|Profession||Employment 2010||Projected 2020||Average Growth|
|Business Operations Specialist||1064200||1187300||12%|
|Accountant Or Auditor||1216900||1407600||16%|
|Administrative Services Manager||254300||291200||15%|
|Advertising Or Promotions Manager||38700||43800||13%|
|Bookkeeping, Accounting, Or Auditing Clerk||1898300||2157400||14%|
|Business Continuity Planner||1064200||1187300||12%|
|Business Intelligence Analyst||209700||222000||6%|
|Compensation Or Benefits Manager||31800||32700||3%|
|Compensation, Benefits, Or Job Analysis Specialist||109500||115000||5%|
|Branch Financial Manager||527100||573400||9%|
|Financial Quantitative Analyst||164900||174900||6%|
|General Or Operations Manager||1767100||1848600||5%|
|Human Resources Assistant||156900||174500||11%|
|Human Resources Manager||71800||81000||13%|
|Human Resources Specialist||442200||532900||21%|
|Market Research Analyst Or Marketing Specialist||282700||399300||41%|
|Public Relation Or Fundraising Manager||61900||72100||16%|
|Public Relations Specialist||258100||316200||23%|
|Financial Services Representative||312200||359700||15%|
|Training Or Development Specialist||217700||279300||28%|
Average Salary Growth 2006 - 2011
|Business Operations Specialist||60240||62140||64990||65960||67710||69070|
|Accountant Or Auditor||60670||63180||65840||67430||68960||70130|
|Administrative Services Manager||72840||76370||79500||81530||84390||86720|
|Advertising Or Promotions Manager||85140||91100||94720||97670||98720||103350|
|Bookkeeping, Accounting, Or Auditing Clerk||31780||32780||33800||34750||35340||36120|
|Business Continuity Planner||60240||62140||64990||65960||67710||69070|
|Business Intelligence Analyst||69370||72310||76000||78010||79790||80500|
|Compensation Or Benefits Manager||82010||88400||93410||95230||96940||101130|
|Compensation, Benefits, Or Job Analysis Specialist||53500||55740||57060||58520||59590||61030|
|Branch Financial Manager||101450||106200||110640||113730||116970||120450|
|Financial Quantitative Analyst||59600||61760||63880||64810||66920||65700|
|General Or Operations Manager||99280||103780||107970||110550||113100||114490|
|Human Resources Assistant||34740||36000||36810||37840||37900||38330|
|Human Resources Manager||94910||99810||103920||105510||108600||108600|
|Human Resources Specialist||50070||52710||53870||54530||57830||58890|
|Market Research Analyst Or Marketing Specialist||65930||66980||67340||67500||66850||67130|
|Public Relation Or Fundraising Manager||92250||97170||101220||101850||104390||105690|
|Public Relations Specialist||53760||57100||58960||59370||59150||60400|
|Financial Services Representative||90380||90470||92050||91390||95130||98810|
|Training Or Development Specialist||51100||53040||54830||55310||57280||58540|
Salary By Percentile
|Business Operations Specialist||$34280||$47110||$64030||$85350||$109990|
|Accountant Or Auditor||$39640||$48920||$62850||$83210||$109870|
|Administrative Services Manager||$43120||$58540||$79540||$106030||$139170|
|Advertising Or Promotions Manager||$42750||$59780||$87650||$128840||$186630|
|Bookkeeping, Accounting, Or Auditing Clerk||$21450||$27400||$34740||$43440||$53250|
|Business Continuity Planner||$34280||$47110||$64030||$85350||$109990|
|Business Intelligence Analyst||$42150||$59870||$79930||$100900||$118710|
|Compensation Or Benefits Manager||$53370||$69550||$92290||$122310||$160240|
|Compensation, Benefits, Or Job Analysis Specialist||$36830||$44990||$57960||$73170||$91220|
|Branch Financial Manager||$58120||$78300||$107160||$146150||$187200|
|Financial Quantitative Analyst||$35370||$44370||$59810||$79960||$103660|
|General Or Operations Manager||$47580||$65980||$95150||$144050||$187200|
|Human Resources Assistant||$24910||$30540||$37250||$45280||$54170|
|Human Resources Manager||$60070||$76540||$99130||$131130||$169310|
|Human Resources Specialist||$29850||$39960||$54310||$73490||$94700|
|Market Research Analyst Or Marketing Specialist||$33490||$43930||$60250||$84690||$112560|
|Public Relation Or Fundraising Manager||$50360||$68060||$93310||$130780||$176400|
|Public Relations Specialist||$30860||$39560||$53190||$72840||$96880|
|Financial Services Representative||$32120||$41940||$72060||$132040||$187200|
|Training Or Development Specialist||$31760||$41230||$55150||$72800||$91820|
How long would it take me to become a business professional?
The time to become a business professional depends on what type of job you want to pursue and in what type of business. To become a market researcher, you can qualify for a job in 4 years with only a bachelors degree. To become a chief executive in a large established company, you will need a bachelors degree and several years of high-level management experience. The entire process could take 25 years or more. However, entry-level jobs in most areas of business require only a bachelors degree, which can be completed in 4 years.
What can I expect to learn while pursuing business?
As you study business, you will gain business knowledge and professional skills.
Management is the applied study of leading organizations and people. Courses in management teach how to hire, train and motivate employees, organize and track tasks and position a product or service against its competitors. For example, the study of management includes theories about how teams are composed of different types of individuals with different strengths and weaknesses and theories about how to schedule tasks.
Accounting is the field of business that provides information for making financial decisions. It can be categorized as managerial accounting, financial accounting and tax accounting. Managerial accounting creates reports that are used to make organizational decisions. For example, these reports can show which divisions of a company are profitable and can help a company reorganize their resources. Financial accounting prepares statements showing the historical financial health of a company. Tax accounting calculates the state, federal and local taxes that are owed by a company or individual.
Finance is the study of how money is used and handled. Finance can be broken into the categories of personal finance, corporate finance and government finance. These categories differ in the amount of money being dealt with and the types of financial markets involved. Some topics in corporate finance include managing investments for an organization, predicting the future values of investments, and understanding the operation of financial markets.
International business is the field of business involved in buying and selling in different countries. International business applies frameworks to negotiation, management and marketing that can be applied by managers in a variety of cultural settings. Study of international business, as with most fields of business, includes analysis of many case studies.
Marketing is the applied study of making potential customers aware of products and services. Marketing seeks to examine the needs and psychology of people to discover what they will respond to in the marketplace. Courses in marketing cover subjects such as brand images, consumer behavior and communication channels.
Leadership includes providing a long-term vision for an organization as well as the day-to-day activities of managing personnel and addressing issues as they come up. As you study business, you will learn leadership skills such as developing a long-term vision and motivating employees. You will gain skills in providing constructive feedback, managing conflicts and creating an effective organization.
As you progress through your studies in business, you will learn how to assess the potential consequences of different courses of action. These skills will help you to make effective short-term and long-term decisions once you are a business professional. You will learn how to weigh the pluses and minuses of a particular course of action and then make a recommendation to your organization.
Your education in business will teach you skills in giving oral presentations and creating written reports. You will learn business writing skills to convey information in an understandable and engaging way. You will also learn formats such as financial graphs and reports so that you can convey complex information in a clear but thorough way to clients and colleagues.
As you study business, you will learn many techniques for organization. Business professionals organize people, tasks, product lines and financial information. Every business has requirements that must be met and tasks that must be completed, and your organizational skills as a businessperson can make a difference in your company’s profitability.
The courses that you take in business will teach you how to understand investment yields, profit and loss statements and other quantitative data. You will learn how to interpret this data so that you can assess the financial health of a company, the potential return on an investment or the status of your product line compared to competitors.
What academic levels are available in the field of business?
You can earn business credentials at the undergraduate and graduate levels. An associates degree in business will not prepare you for many jobs. A bachelors degree will qualify you for a variety of entry-level jobs. A masters degree will be helpful for advancement to management or fields that require specialized knowledge, such as accounting and finance. A doctorate is generally not necessary unless you intend to become a professor of business.
Select the degree level you are interested in:
An associates degree will also give you a basic introduction to the field of business.
But an associates degree will not qualify you for most jobs in business. However, there are some jobs that do not have any degree requirements, such as clerical work or working in sales.
What are the different types of associates degrees that I can earn in business?
Associate of Arts AA
An AA degree in business has a liberal arts focus, but there is little difference between this and the AS. The AA is designed for people who plan to transfer to another school to obtain a bachelors degree.
Associate of Science AS
An AS degree in business has a science and mathematics course focus. The AS is designed for people who plan to transfer to another school to obtain a bachelors degree.
Associate of Applied Science AAS
An AAS degree in business focuses on the most practical aspects of business careers. The AAS is designed for people who plan to enter the workforce directly, although you may also be able to transfer credits to another school for pursuing a bachelors degree.
How long will I have to study to earn my associates degree in business?
An associates degree in business typically can be completed in 2 years and requires 60 credits.
What types of courses will I take while studying for my associates degree in business?
In studying for your associates degree in business, you will take courses in communication such as speech communication, English composition and business writing. You will also take courses in math, economics and statistics. In addition, general business courses will introduce you to small business, selling, marketing and management concepts.
What types of jobs can I hope to secure with an associates degree in business?
With an associates degree in business, you can secure jobs in clerical or sales work. You can also continue to a bachelors degree in an area of business such as accounting, entrepreneurship, finance, international business, human resources, marketing or business administration. Business administration is a broad field that covers all aspects of managing a business organization.
What should I consider when deciding on a school to earn my associates degree in business?
In deciding on a school to earn your associates degree in business, you should look for a school that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). If you can find a school that is also accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), that will be a plus, since AACSB accreditation is widely perceived as the higher standard of the 2. However, AACSB only accredits schools that offer additional degree programs in business beyond the associates level, like bachelors or masters degree programs.
What about getting an online associates degree in business?
An associates degree in business is an introductory degree, so pursuing your business associates degree online has only 1 minor drawback. In an online business degree program, you will not gain the interpersonal communication skills that students can develop in traditional degree programs. This may not be a problem if you plan to continue your education with a traditional bachelors degree program. Some brick-and-mortar schools may allow you to transfer the credits that you earn in an online business associates degree program toward a bachelors degree. If you think you will want to continue your education, you should make sure that you will be able to transfer credits from the online business school you are attending and that the online school has institutional accreditation.
A bachelors degree in business will prepare you for a variety of jobs in the field. You generally cannot get a bachelors degree in just business; in most business schools you must specialize in a subject such as accounting, finance, international business, marketing or business administration.
What are the different types of bachelors degrees that I can earn in business?
Bachelor of Arts BA
A BA degree in business has a liberal arts course focus. This option differs very little from the BS degree.
Bachelor of Science BS
A BS degree in business has a scientific and mathematical focus. This option differs very little from the BA degree.
Bachelor of Business Administration BBA
A BBA degree focuses on business skills. This option is best for people who want to take more business courses.
How long will I have to study to earn my bachelors degree in business?
A bachelors degree in business can be completed in 4 years, and typically requires 120 credit hours to complete.
What types of courses will I take while studying for my bachelors degree in business?
While studying for your bachelors degree in business, you can look forward to courses in business foundations and business skills, as well as writing and general education. Business foundation courses will introduce you to the theories that underlie business practices, such as accounting, business law, economics and business mathematics. Business skills courses will teach you how to use management information systems, the fundamentals of finance and how to apply microeconomic theory.
What types of jobs can I hope to secure with a bachelors degree in business?
With a bachelors degree in business, you will qualify for many jobs. You may become a manager or management trainee, marketing researcher, advertising sales agent, loan officer, administrative assistant, insurance agent or human resources generalist. You may also be able to get an entry-level job as an accountant or financial analyst, although many of those jobs require a masters degree.
What should I consider when deciding on a school to earn my bachelors degree in business?
When deciding on a school to earn your bachelors degree in business, make sure that you choose a school accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Schools accredited by the AACSB meet commonly accepted standards for the field of business.
What about getting an online bachelors degree in business?
Getting your business bachelors degree online is not a good idea. Some of the most important things that you will learn in a business bachelors degree program are interpersonal skills. An online business school will not teach you the interpersonal skills that a traditional school will. In addition, professional relationships are very important in business, and many people start forming those relationships with classmates in business school. An online business degree program will not give you opportunities to form those relationships, so you will be missing out on 2 important kinds of experiences. Therefore, getting a business bachelors degree online is not recommended.
Several types of masters degrees are offered in business. The Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree provides general education in business management. Most business schools offer multiple MBA tracks, for full-time students, part-time students and students who are experienced managers. Business schools also offer Master of Science (MS) degrees for specialization in business subjects. Some common MS programs are accounting, marketing, finance and information management.
In the subject of finance, there are 2 types of masters degrees. The Master of Finance (MFin) degree, sometimes known as the Master of Science in Finance (MSF) degree, prepares students for a variety of careers such as financial management in corporations and investment management for individuals. The Master of Financial Engineering (MFE) degree, sometimes known as the Master of Quantitative Finance (MQF) degree, prepares students to work with complex financial products based on mathematical models.
What are the different types of masters degrees that I can earn in business?
Master of Business Administration MBA
The MBA is a general business degree that trains students for top-level management positions. MBA students take a variety of courses in business subjects and also select an area of concentration such as marketing, management or finance.
Master of Financial Engineering or Master of Quantitative Finance MFE or MQF
The MFE or MQF prepares students specifically for careers in creating, modeling and trading complex financial products. This option is a good choice for students who have very strong mathematical skills and want to work in commercial banks, derivative trading firms and investment banks. For students interested in other financial jobs, an MS or MBA in finance is a better choice.
Master of Science MS
The MS is a specialized degree that focuses on a particular subject in business. Some MS degree programs are known as:
- MAcc – Master of Accountancy
- MFin – Master of Finance
- MMR – Master of Marketing Research
- MSF – Master of Science in Finance
- MSIS – Master of Science in Information Systems
- MST – Master of Science in Taxation
- MTax – Master of Taxation
How long will I have to study to earn my masters degree in business?
The amount of time it takes to earn your masters degree in business depends on what degree you are pursuing and what your educational background is. For students who already have a bachelors degree in accounting, an MS degree in accounting or taxation can be earned in 1 year and requires 36 credit hours. Most MBA and MS degree programs take 2 years of full-time study and require from 30 to 60 credit hours. MQF and MFE degree programs require 45 credit hours and can be completed in 2 years.
What types of courses will I take while studying for my masters degree in business?
The types of courses that you will take while pursuing your masters degree in business depends on the degree that you are pursuing. The most general degree, the MBA, will involve courses in operations management, leadership, financial management, managerial accounting and managerial economics. You will also select a few courses in an area of concentration, such as accounting, finance, management or marketing. Most masters degree programs in business include an internship in the second year.
What types of jobs can I hope to secure with a masters degree in business?
With an MBA or MS in business, you can become a manager in fields such as operations, marketing, advertising or human resources. If you obtain an MS in accounting, you will qualify for jobs as an accountant. With an MS in finance, you can become a financial analyst or financial manager. With an MFE or MQF, you can work in commercial banks, derivative trading firms and investment banks. A masters degree in business will also allow you to continue your education in another field, for example in law, medicine, public policy or public health.
What should I consider when deciding on a school to earn my masters degree in business?
When deciding on a school to earn your masters degree in business, look for a school that is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). AACSB accredited schools meet commonly accepted standards for the field of business. Also, if you decide to continue your education with a doctoral degree in business, having a masters degree from an AACSB accredited institution may allow you to transfer credits or to be exempted from some required coursework.
What are the requirements for admission to a masters degree program in business?
A bachelors degree is required to be admitted to a masters degree program in business. Most masters degree programs in business do not require that your bachelors degree is earned in the field of business. However, accounting is an exception because it is so specialized. Many masters degree programs in accounting require a bachelors degree in accounting. QMF or MFE programs do not require a particular type of bachelors degree, but successful applicants often have degrees in quantitative fields such as economics, engineering, finance, mathematics and statistics.
Admission to masters degree programs in business requires test scores from the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Some masters programs will accept test results from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test instead of the GMAT.
A few years of work experience is required for most MBA programs. MS, MQF and MFE degree programs do not require work experience, although it may be helpful for a strong application.
What about getting an online masters degree in business?
Getting your business masters degree online may be a good option for a busy professional who needs to gain skills and knowledge while working full time. The drawback is that in an online business program, you will not learn the interpersonal skills or build the professional relationships that you would in a traditional business school. This drawback may be offset by the opportunities for learning that you would have in your full-time job.
An online business masters degree is also a fine option in business subjects that focus more on data and less on interpersonal interactions. For example, a masters degree in accounting would be a good program to pursue online.
Make sure that any online business school you are considering is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). A number of AACSB accredited schools offer online masters degree programs. AACSB accreditation tells you and prospective employers that your school meets commonly accepted standards for the field of business.
There are 3 doctoral degree options in business, Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and executive doctorates. The PhD is a research degree oriented toward developing new theories. The DBA is generally oriented toward applying theory. DBA programs are very similar to PhD programs. Some DBA programs are designed for business professionals who are working full time. Both PhD and DBA programs primarily prepare students for faculty positions in colleges and universities.
A few schools offer an executive doctorate, designed for highly experienced business professionals who will pursue their doctoral degree while continuing to work full time. Some schools call this an Executive Doctorate in Business (EDB) and others offer this degree as a PhD for Executives. Executive doctorates prepare students for careers as business executives in fields that require advanced research skills.
What are the different types of doctorates that I can earn in business?
Doctor of Business Administration DBA
The DBA is focused on 1 business subject and oriented toward the application of business theory. This degree is a good choice for students who plan to pursue careers in academia.
Executive Doctorate in Business EDB
The EDB is interdisciplinary and oriented toward addressing issues in contemporary business. This degree option is a good choice for senior executives who work full time and hold a masters degree in business.
Doctor of Philosophy PhD
The PhD is focused on 1 business subject and is oriented toward the development of new theories in business. This degree option is a good choice for students who are preparing for careers in academia.
How long will I have to study to earn my doctorate in business?
Completing a DBA or PhD program in business takes from 4 to 7 years and requires from 72 to 90 credit hours. An executive doctorate program takes 3 years and requires 54 credit hours.
What types of courses will I take while studying for my doctorate in business?
While pursuing your PhD or DBA in business, you can expect to take courses in business theory and research methods. The specific courses that you will take depend on your degree program. A PhD or DBA program in business may require core courses in quantitative subjects such as economic analysis, quantitative methods and statistics, with specialization in a business subject such as marketing, organization or management information systems. A dissertation based on your original research will be required. You will usually be required to teach some undergraduate courses.
If you pursue an executive doctorate in business, you can expect to take interdisciplinary courses in leadership, global models for business, executive decision making, global economic systems and ethical issues for business leaders. You will also take courses in research methods and analysis. The dissertation may be based on interdisciplinary research relevant to the companies that you work for, or on executive coaching.
What types of jobs can I hope to secure with a doctorate in business?
With a doctorate in business, you can work in academia as a professor of business. Professors teach classes in colleges and universities, conduct independent research and can also offer consulting services, publish books and speak at conferences. You can also work in industry or government as a researcher or organizational consultant. People with doctorates in business are employed to explore business strategies, examine financial projections or research consumer behaviors.
What should I consider when deciding on a school to earn my doctorate in business?
When deciding on a school to earn your doctorate in business, consider your goals and background and compare those with the goals and requirements of the doctoral program. If you plan to become a business professor, you will be considering a different set of doctoral programs than you will if you are an experienced executive who wants to get an executive doctorate while continuing to work full time.
Also consider whether each potential school is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). AACSB accreditation indicates that a business school has met a set of standards for its faculty, curricula, resources and other criteria.
You may also wish to explore academic journals in your discipline to search for well-regarded authors in the business subjects that interest you. The AACSB blog for students offers a list of academic journals for this purpose.
What are the requirements for admission to a doctorate program in business?
To be admitted to a doctoral degree program in business, you must submit test scores from the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test. You must have a bachelors or masters degree in a related field. You are not required to have a masters degree for admission to a business doctoral program, although having 1 may allow you to transfer some credits or exempt you from taking some required doctoral courses.
What about getting an online doctorate in business?
Pursuing an online business doctorate is not recommended. PhD and DBA programs primarily train students for careers as professors. Doctoral students need to gain experience in teaching and research. Earning an online business PhD or DBA will not provide you with an education in these hands-on skills. An online business school will also not allow you the opportunity to form a strong relationship with your faculty advisor. Some schools are concerned that offering their business doctorate online will damage the degree program’s reputation. The AACSB has not accredited any online business PhD programs.
Executive doctorate programs often require students to participate in residencies each semester. During a residency, students usually attend intensive classes, conduct group projects and work closely with their peers and professors to develop advanced skills.
What else should I keep in mind when considering studying business?
Some careers in business require licensing by the state that you work in or professional certification by a professional association. Most accountants become licensed as Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). Some financial analysts are required to obtain a license from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). And many financial analysts earn the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) professional certification.
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