If you’re looking for a versatile degree that can help make you more marketable to employers, consider the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) program at National University. The bachelor in business administration courses that define the degree offer students an overall perspective of everything involved in running a business, with classes that focus on areas such as mathematics, economics, accounting, and business law.
How Do Bachelor in Business Administration Courses Advance Your Career?
The BBA is a general business degree that can be thought of as of an undergrad MBA since it covers the fundamentals of business, economics, accounting, finance, and marketing, giving you a well-rounded comprehensive understanding of what it takes for a company or a business to thrive. In other words, the courses all have direct workplace impact and real-world application.
Brian Simpson, the department chair for National University’s School of Business and Management: Finance & Economics teaches the Principles of Microeconomics (ECO203) and Principles of Macroeconomics (ECO204), which are two required core courses within the BBA program. He says, “The BBA is a good fit for individuals who have reached a point where they need further education to move into a supervisory role or managerial position. It gives a broad base of business knowledge beyond areas they are probably working in.”
The skills learned through National University’s BBA can be used in essentially any business or industry. Simpson says, “It doesn’t matter if you are working for an automobile manufacturer, construction company, or in aerospace. The BBA covers all the basic areas of business that apply to any business.”
You probably have knowledge in a particular area, but do you know how your current role fits into your company as a whole? For example, if you’re working for an auto repair company, you know your way around troubleshooting mechanical issues. The BBA can give you additional knowledge of what it takes to run the business overall, how to manage employees and finances, and how to manage costs and market the services. You can use the broader skills you acquire in your degree to advance your career in auto repair or as a stepping stone to a related or completely new career.
Gain the Skills that Employers Seek
Simpson has found that employers are looking for people with critical thinking skills — those skills needed to make hiring, investment, expansion, technological, and other decisions. Written and oral communication skills, frequently referred to as “soft skills” are also equally important — for making presentations, writing reports, and for clearly communicating with your team or company leaders. Technical skills, such as mathematics and accounting are important, too, so employers can be confident that you know how to read and understand financial statements in a basic way, for instance.
According to Simpson, “Those are the big three — communications, mathematics, and critical thinking. And this degree covers all those areas in different ways. With regard to critical thinking skills, we have the Capstone: Integrated Business Policy course, which is taken toward the end of the BBA program so students can incorporate all the skills they’ve learned. Students perform a strategic audit of a publicly traded company. They analyze the business by looking at marketing, finance, economics, and so on for an internal/external analysis of a company.”
The external review includes analyzing what’s happening in the particular industry and the economic system in which their assigned company operates. With the internal review, students analyze the company’s strengths and weaknesses and the opportunities and threats — what’s known as a SWOT analysis. Students use the knowledge they gain throughout their coursework to perform a full analysis and make recommendations for improvement for that company. Management analysts, sometimes referred to as management consultants, help businesses and organizations improve efficiency to reduce costs and increase revenues. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this field is expected to grow 14 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. In May 2017, the median yearly income in California for management consultants was $95,510. Management analyst positions generally require a bachelor’s degree as an entry point.
In National’s BBA degree, communications skills are taught in all courses through a variety of assignments. You’ll learn about report writing; how to analyze and summarize data for written, in-person, or interactive presentations in courses focused on information management, business finance, marketing, business law, and global business.
Introductory-level mathematics skills are taught in upper-level bachelor in business administration courses:
- Intro to Quantitative Methods focuses on advanced algebra techniques used in a business setting.
- Probability and Statistics is an introductory course covering topics such as probability distributions, expected value, and hypothesis testing.
- College Algebra & Trigonometry is particularly helpful for students who want to specialize in mathematics, computer science, engineering, or similar fields.
- Calculus I teaches the basics of integration concepts related to rates, engineering optimization, and business applications.
How National University’s BBA Stands Out
Not all BBA degrees are created equal; the program at National University stands out with a number of notable features.
Instructors and Practical Application
One notable feature of National University is that many of the faculty work in the field they teach. “If they work in marketing or finance, they are teaching our marketing or finance courses and applying real-case scenarios based on their knowledge in the field,” says Simpson. ”That’s one of the things students highlight in evaluations — that instructors bring their real-world experience into the classroom and share how the theory is integrated and practiced. It’s very important and beneficial to students.”
Students appreciate knowing how they can use what they are learning in their current work situation, to either further their careers or to make business decisions in general.
“Students like it when they learn something in class at night that they can apply the next day in their work,” says Simpson. “At National University, our on-campus classes are mostly nighttime classes since we cater to working adults, so it’s possible that someone can learn something in class one night and be able to apply it the next day at work. The faculty who bring their experience to the classroom and the practical application within the classroom are two things that differentiate National University’s BBA from others.”
Simpson adds that the comprehensive exam offered within the Capstone course also sets National University apart from other programs. “It’s a knowledge-based exam covering the required areas taken throughout the program, such as accounting, economics, finance, marketing, and business law. The exam covers all the fields that students are required to study through the entire program,” he says.
The exam is also unique in that it is provided by an external company that creates the questions, administers the exam to students, and provides the results to National University.
Simpson says, “We’ve been doing this outsourced exam since 2013 and our students have done very well compared to other universities. Based on every comparison we’ve seen, the average scores from National University students are above the average scores universally.”
By having the exam provided by a third-party company, the external comparisons are more objective. Simpson says, “It’s a benefit that speaks about the quality of the students and reflects on the quality of the program, too.”
National University also prides itself on having small class sizes, with the average being 17 to 18 students in a class online or on campus. The numbers can fluctuate, depending on the particular course, and range from 10-40 students per class overall.
Live and Recorded Online Class Options
Students generally seek out online courses for the flexibility they offer in fitting with already full and busy daily schedules. As Simpson points out, “Our students are older than traditional students, with an average age being early 30’s, and they have families. They are working full time, so they have a lot of things going on and they like the flexibility of online options.”
The online degree in business administration courses at National University each have a live-session option, but are offered asynchronously, meaning you can take the courses without having to show up to a virtual classroom at a specific date and time; all classes are recorded and can be watched when it’s convenient. But if you do want to show up for a particular class at the same time as the professor, you can, through the live-session synchronous option.
“Our learning management system gives the ability to have virtual classes and meet face to face,” says Simpson. “We offer optional live sessions so students who want to get questions answered or seek extra instruction can show up to the virtual classes and learn directly from the instructor that way.”
Some universities only offer asynchronous online courses which means students never get a chance to meet with other students or the professor in a virtual classroom. That’s not the philosophy at National. “We recognize that some students like having the personal interaction or need it to help them get through their studies,” says Simpson.
Choosing (or Not Choosing) a Concentration
There are two ways to complete your BBA at National — if you don’t want to choose a specific focus in any area, you can opt for a general BBA. If your interest is in focusing or specializing in a particular business area, National University offers several concentrations (sometimes known as minors at other colleges and universities).
With the general BBA option, “Students start with six upper-division business courses and make selections from specified upper-division electives in the business school that are available,” says Simpson.
You could take several courses in a particular area, for instance, finance, without needing to declare it as a concentration. Staying with the general focus enables you to take electives from each of the business areas within the program. That can be a great way to find out what you enjoy doing the most and it gives you the flexibility to tailor your degree to fit your interests.
Flexibility is at the core of the BBA program. “Part of what we want to offer students is the ability to make learning what they want as easy as possible,” says Simpson. “We give students the ability to gain specialized knowledge if they want, but if not, they don’t have to. Many students do choose to go into the concentrations but a lot don’t. It’s just a matter of what they want to focus on.”
If you prefer to specialize in a particular area, there are nine concentrations to choose from. Depending on the concentration you choose, you may find yourself needing to take some upper-division electives to round out the total credits needed for the degree since some concentrations have as few as four required courses.
These are the nine concentrations the National BBA program offers and the number of required classes within each:
- Accountancy (six courses)
- Alternative Dispute Resolution (four from a list of seven choices)
- Business Law (six from a list of eight choices)
- Economics (five courses; three core courses plus two electives from a list of five)
- Entrepreneurship (four courses)
- Finance (six courses)
- Human Resource Management (six courses; four core courses plus two upper-division electives from HRM, LED, or ODV areas)
- Marketing (six courses; four core courses plus two from a list of six choices)
- Project Management (six courses)
What’s Currently Popular Within the BBA
The top selected course offerings that are popular with students are those with the most ease of assimilation into the workplace. Simpson says, “Of the required courses, I can say that marketing is pretty popular — students can see quickly and easily how to apply that to their business. In terms of popular concentrations, the marketing, finance, and project management concentrations are popular. But I think the entrepreneurship concentration might be the most popular.”
Attaining a BBA is a great stepping stone for a career. For instance:
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that for human resources managers in 2017, the median annual pay in California was $139,860 and $110,120 nationally with a projected job growth of nine percent from 2016 to 2026, which is about average for all occupations.
- Marketing managers with a bachelor’s degree see an annual median salary in California of $164,410 and $129,380 nationally with a projected job growth of 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is faster than average for all occupations.
- Financial managers in California see an annual median wage of $154,310 and $125,080 nationally of with an estimated job growth of 19 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than average for all occupations.
National University’s BBA/MBA Transition Program
Along with providing flexibility in how you take your courses and in the mix of courses you can choose for your BBA degree, National also offers another important opportunity for students who have their eye on also achieving an advanced degree. Students enrolled in the BBA program who plan to pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree have the option to choose the BBA/MBA Transition Program.
If you expect to pursue an MBA and can start it within six months of finishing your BBA, this transition program is a great opportunity because it enables you to take one, two, or three courses that can be applied toward the total number of MBA courses needed. They are applied as courses for both degrees.
The requirements for the BBA/MBA transition program are that you:
- Have a cumulative 3.0 GPA (B) with your BBA.
- Select one, two, or three graduate-level electives.
- Take and complete the one, two, or three graduate-level elective(s) within your last six BBA courses.
- Start your MBA within six months of completing your BBA.
- Complete the MBA within four years with no break longer than 12 months.
With 14 required courses for the MBA, you may need as few as 11 courses to complete an MBA, depending on if you take one, two, or three graduate-level electives at the end of your BBA and if you achieve the grade of B or higher in each.
Not many students have taken advantage of the BBA/MBA transition program yet. “When students see the end goal of the bachelor degree in sight, they might decide they don’t want to go to school anymore. Our four-week courses are very condensed and therefore intense for students who are working and raising a family at the same time,” acknowledges Simpson. But, he adds, “After the BBA, they work for a little while, maybe even a few years, and then many return for an MBA when they discover additional education can help them get further in their career.”
Where and How Bachelor in Business Administration Courses Are Offered
There are three different methods for taking courses in the bachelor in business administration program so that all classes are offered multiple times during the calendar year. With new classes starting every month and being encapsulated into four-week terms, you have the ability to finish the program on a timeline that works for you.
All Bachelor of Business Administration courses are offered online about six times a year; with many servicemembers interested in the degree, students may be located almost anywhere in the world and classes are easily filled.
“It’s a little different with on-campus courses since they fit better with demand-based scheduling. In San Diego, where National University has the biggest presence, we offer the BBA about three times a year. The founder of National University was a Navy Veteran and one of his goals was to help provide education to military personnel and their families. San Diego County alone has six different bases where we offer courses.”
The third way some courses are offered is what National University refers to as “hybrid.” These four-week courses are split in half: 50% of the course is taken online and the other 50% of the course is taken in a physical classroom at a campus. It gives students a little breathing room to fit in classwork on their own schedule and not have to sit in a physical seat on campus twice a week for four weeks. It’s just another way to offer flexibility for a student body with varying learning needs.
Are You Ready?
Are you ready to gain the skills employers are looking for to advance your career or start a new one? Are you ready to learn how businesses work? Are you ready to specialize in accountancy, dispute resolution, finance, or economics? Interested in exploring marketing, entrepreneurship, business law, human resource management, or project management?
There’s no need to wait! Get started on your versatile BBA from National University today by visiting the Bachelor of Business Administration program page.