For students with an interest in business or finance, there are numerous majors to choose from, in addition to various minors and certificate programs. The sheer array of options can be overwhelming — so why consider a business administration degree as opposed to an alternative, such as a Bachelor of Science in Financial Management or Organizational Leadership? What will you learn in a business administration program, what can you do with a business administration degree, and, looking toward your future, what sort of career outlook do these professions offer?
This guide will answer all of those questions, providing a brief overview of some key topics for students, including:
- What sorts of skills or concepts does a business administration degree teach?
- What are some different degree concentrations related to business administration?
- What sorts of careers can you enter, how in-demand will you be, and what might your earning potential look like?
What is a Business Administration Degree?
A business administration degree is a comprehensive, multidisciplinary program that incorporates subjects ranging from marketing, and accounting to human resources and economics, along with mathematics, business law, finance, and ethics. While related majors or degree programs might focus on a select aspect of business, such as management, business administration covers all of the topics listed above to provide students with a well-rounded understanding of how to operate a business successfully.
Business administration is a versatile degree that provides a professional springboard for aspiring entrepreneurs, financial advisors, business consultants, market research analysts, and more, as we’ll discuss in more detail later in this article. But first, what are some of the concentrations that students in National University’s undergraduate business administration program can choose to focus their studies on?
Business Administration Degree Concentrations
Some undergraduate and graduate degree programs, such as the business administration degree at National University, feature a track or concentration that prepares students to enter or advance along a specific career path within or related to that field. For instance, an accounting program might feature a concentration in forensic accounting. From marketing to economics, there are numerous concentrations for business students to explore, opening the gateway to plentiful career options — but also to some potential confusion.
This guide to the business administration degree program at National University will help you assess and compare your options, making it easier to find a good fit for your interests and skills. Read on to learn about our concentrations in accounting, alternative dispute resolution, and other academic options.
Interested in a career working in the accounting and finance departments of a business, nonprofit organization, or government entity? The accounting concentration at National University covers a wide range of business principles while also teaching intermediate-level accounting skills and concepts.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Students who successfully complete the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) concentration will leave the program equipped with the hard and soft skills to become effective negotiators, mediators, or facilitators in corporate, government, or nonprofit settings. If you’re inspired by the idea of promoting greater diversity, inclusivity, and understanding between cultures and business leaders, the ADR concentration may be a natural fit for you.
The business law concentration is designed for students who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration (BBA) or business management (BAM). Whether your professional goal is to focus on law, business, or a career in the public sector, this concentration prepares students with an understanding of the complex legal issues impacting the business environment of today and tomorrow.
Are you fascinated by the financial trends and historical forces that mold the economic policies and decisions of nations, governments, and businesses around the world? Consider majoring in business administration with a concentration in economics. This program teaches quantitative skills along with the ability to analyze and apply economic data. Students who successfully complete this concentration will be prepared for graduate studies in all business disciplines, including finance, management, and marketing, in addition to law school or other professional training.
One of the most popular concentrations for business students, the entrepreneurship concentration teaches the practical, hands-on skills necessary for launching, managing, and operating a business. Students in the entrepreneurship concentration learn about topics like small business management, e-business, and family businesses while honing crucial skills like leadership, negotiation, problem-solving, and strategic thinking.
This concentration prepares students for managerial and leadership roles with an emphasis on the sound financial management of businesses and other organizations, ideal for students who have an interest in the intersection between leadership and economics. Students who successfully complete a concentration in finance emerge from the program ready to pursue a diverse range of career opportunities, often within one of the following fields: banking and financial institutions; investments, such as the sale of securities or security analysis; and financial management for both commercial and nonprofit organizations.
Human Resource Management
The human resource (HR) management concentration equips students with a broad-ranging set of skills that are assets to every level and department of a commercial or government organization. Students who concentrate in HR management learn how to lead negotiations, manage employee grievances, respond to strikes and lockouts, and work with unions while remaining compliant with labor laws.
Logistics and Supply Chain Management
The supply chain is something that few people think about — until this crucial piece of the global economy is disrupted by an event like the outbreak of war, the passage of new legislation, or the spread of a pandemic like COVID-19. Students who concentrate in logistics and supply chain management develop the analytical and managerial skills to perform in supply chain management and logistics-related roles across a wide range of industries and organizations. This concentration places a strong focus on the rapidly growing area of eCommerce and its complex omnichannel distribution systems.
Built around a management-centered framework, the marketing concentration at NU is designed to teach students how to interpret and apply core concepts in marketing, enabling businesses and organizations to reach wider audiences, resonate with consumers, and make more strategic decisions. Students who successfully complete the concentration in marketing will be prepared to explore a wide range of opportunities in marketing, market analysis, product management, retail, and other fast-growing fields.
The concentration in project management at National University prepares students for careers in a wide range of industries. Students learn how to accurately gauge and estimate the scope, schedule, and resources needed to execute large-scale projects for businesses, government agencies, and other organizations. Our challenging, career-focused curriculum is aimed at students who wish to pursue an MBA and/or professional certification in project management, which is discussed in greater detail below.
Business Administration Jobs and Career Outlook
Occupations related to business and finance are expected to enjoy steady growth in the coming decade, with “strong demand” anticipated for professions such as auditors and accountants, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Many careers in this industry also have above-average earning potential, as reflected in the median pay data below. So, what types of jobs can you get with a business administration degree? Continue reading to compare job outlooks for various business- and finance-related careers, according to BLS data and other sources.
Financial advisors provide individuals and business entities with detailed strategic guidance to help them make better money management and financial planning decisions. While many financial advisors are self-employed, there are also opportunities to work for employers in the insurance, finance, or related industries. While projecting an average growth rate (5%) for this profession from 2020 to 2030, the BLS also reports median pay of over $94,000 per year as of 2021, more than double the median annual wage for all workers ($45,760) during the same period.
As a business consultant, you’ll provide corporations, partnerships, and other entities with tactical advice on key issues like financial management, market trend analysis, operational efficiency, and allocation of resources. If you’re driven to solve complex problems and continuously strive for improved performance, this career track might be a good fit for you.
The BLS does not provide job growth or salary data specifically for business consultants. It does, however, supply data regarding management consultants — who, similar to business consultants, “advise managers on how to make organizations more profitable through reduced costs and increased revenues.” The BLS projects this field to grow by 14% — “faster than average” — from 2020 to 2030, and reports a median salary of $93,000.
Market Research Analyst
Do you like to keep your finger on the pulse of the newest trends and hottest emerging talent? As a market research analyst, you’ll work with businesses by tracking and predicting marketing trends, analyzing and comparing marketing strategies, and gathering and interpreting consumer data.
Market research analysts are in high demand — a trend that shows no indications of slowing. On the contrary, the BLS anticipates that the “increasing usage of data and market research in order to understand customers and product demand and to evaluate marketing strategies, will lead to a growing demand for market research analysts” over the coming decade.
The median salary for a market research analyst was approximately $64,000 as of 2021. However, BLS data also shows that market research analysts who worked in finance, insurance, or management all earned over $76,000.
Human Resources Specialist
As a specialist in human resources, you’ll be responsible for duties like evaluating job applicants, training and onboarding new team members, resolving workplace conflicts and issues, and assisting employees with matters related to salary and benefits.
According to BLS data, HR specialists earned a median salary of approximately $62,000 as of 2021, with higher earning potential — close to $77,000 — for human resources specialists in fields like scientific and technical services. The BLS projects a 10% change in employment over the period from 2020 to 2030, which outpaces the average job growth rate of 8%.
As a sales manager, you’ll be in a leadership role directing the decisions and activities of a sales team or department. Your responsibilities and job duties will include setting sales targets and quotas for your team members, reviewing expenditures and budgets, analyzing complex sales and financial data, implementing and improving sales strategies, training new team members, and more. You’ll also engage with clients and customers to help resolve disputes, complaints, and other issues that arise. BLS data indicates that the median salary for a sales manager was over $127,000 per year as of 2021, or an hourly wage of over $61.
As a loan officer, you’ll help families, businesses, and other individuals and entities review their loan options and determine whether they qualify. Depending on your area of interest and the sort of expertise you want to cultivate, there are several different types of loan officer careers you may wish to explore. For example, if you have an interest in the real estate industry, you may be drawn toward a career as a mortgage loan officer dealing with residential and commercial properties, compared to more generalized career paths such as consumer or commercial loan officer.
The BLS reports that the median salary for loan officers was approximately $63,000 as of 2021, with 1% growth projected from 2020 to 2030. However, the median annual salary for loan officers in some industries was higher — for instance, approximately $86,000 in the automotive industry.
Business Owner / Entrepreneur
Do you dream of starting your own business or becoming an entrepreneur? If you’re ready to become one of the 627,000 Americans who start their own businesses every year according to the Small Business Administration (SBA), set your brand apart and give yourself a competitive advantage by earning your MBA or undergraduate degree in business from an accredited program, like the BBA at National University. Our BBA program, which you can learn more about by following this link or contacting our enrollment counselors, prepares students to make sound business decisions, identify areas for improvement, implement various marketing strategies, lead and negotiate with teams, conduct in-depth research, and more.
The BLS does not provide median salary information for business owners and entrepreneurs. However, according to Glassdoor, the average salary for a U.S. business owner was over $92,000. ZipRecruiter placed the national average closer to $50,000, while Zippia.com reported a figure closer to $83,000.
“Procurement manager” may sound less familiar than some of the other job titles on this list; but without this essential role, commerce would grind to a halt. While the term is sometimes used interchangeably with “purchasing manager,” these are actually separate job titles with distinct responsibilities, as Indeed.com’s editorial team explains.
According to Indeed.com, “A procurement manager is a professional who sources materials and services on their company’s behalf,” while a purchasing manager’s more limited role is to “work with or alongside the procurement department to handle the purchase of goods or services for their company.”
As a procurement manager, you’ll be responsible for tasks like conducting surveys, negotiating with suppliers, and managing inventory. While the BLS does not provide salary or job outlook data specific to procurement managers, Glassdoor reports a national average salary of just under $83,300 per year as of mid-2022.
Are you passionate about leadership, collaboration, and coordination among diverse teams? Are you also highly organized, goal-oriented, and efficiency-minded? If you answered yes to both of those questions, you may be a good candidate for a rewarding career in project management. The role of a project manager is to plan, strategize, and execute commercial or government projects to achieve or surpass targets while operating within budgetary, scheduling, and/or other constraints. The BLS reports that project management specialists earned a median salary of over $98,000 as of 2021.
Interested in becoming a project manager? Give yourself an edge over the competition and take the first steps to advance your career by earning a certificate in project management from National University.
How Long Does It Take to Earn a Business Administration Degree?
The business administration major at National University is a bachelor’s degree program. However, while traditional bachelor’s degree programs typically require four years to complete, National University’s innovative course design allows you to start sooner and finish faster — just three and a half years on average. To complete the BBA program successfully, students must satisfy a 180-quarter unit requirement. For more details about average degree completion time or program requirements, visit our BBA page or contact our admissions office for support.
How to Start and Advance Your Career in Business Administration
There are various entry points and paths for advancement within the field of business administration. So far, we’ve discussed our bachelor of business administration, which we’ll cover in additional detail below — but that’s only one of the options that students at NU can explore.
Depending on factors like how advanced you are in your career, whether you’ve already earned your undergraduate degree, and the amount of time you’re prepared to invest in your studies, you may be more interested in pursuing an associate degree program, graduate degree program, or, as a faster alternative, earning a specific certificate. Below, we’ll compare each of these options to help you reach your education and career goals.
Associate of Arts with Concentration in Business Administration
The Associate of Arts with a Concentration in Business Administration is a two-year program that prepares students with the framework to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business administration or related fields. The associate of arts is also ideal for students who are looking for a fast-paced degree program that teaches a wide range of skills essential for entry-level careers in business administration, such as teamwork, research, and critical thinking.
Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)
A Bachelor of Business Administration provides a robust, comprehensive foundation that teaches core principles of planning, leading, and growing a business in today’s competitive globalized economy. The BBA program prepares students for a wide range of careers in business, while also serving as a building block for the MBA or graduate finance programs at NU.
Master of Business Administration (MBA)
Ready to further your education and explore new entrepreneurial opportunities? Consider applying to National University’s accredited MBA program, which offers a range of specializations including but not limited to:
- Financial Management
- Human Resource Management
- International Business
- Organizational Leadership
Students who successfully complete the Master of Business Administration at National University emerge from the program equipped with the skills to efficiently manage and operate business organizations, from evaluating financial statements and designing novel logistical solutions to presenting business plans and executing marketing strategies.
Certifications & Certificates
Professional certification programs can be completed in less time and at a lower cost than graduate or undergraduate degree programs such as the BBA, providing a valuable advantage to efficiency-minded students who wish to advance their learning and develop their careers at an aggressive pace. National University offers a wide range of business- and finance-related certificate programs, including but not limited to the following options:
- Agile Project Management — Students will learn Agile methods of project management, including the principles of Scrum, one of several specialized Agile methods. This course has been evaluated by The American Council on Education’s College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT) in project management.
- Certificate in Entrepreneurship — Our online certificate program introduces key issues in entrepreneurship and is aimed at students whose goal is to start a business. The entrepreneurship certificate at NU covers course material related to business law, accounting, leadership, strategic marketing, and more.
- Graduate Certificate in Banking — This program can be completed 100% online in just four courses and focuses on preparing students for leadership and management roles within the banking industry. Topics covered include financial management, banking regulations, and the management of banks and other financial institutions.
Can I Get a Business Administration Degree Online?
In today’s connected world, earning a business administration degree online is not only possible, but for many working adults, it’s also becoming a norm. Taking classes in this format allows people to balance their work and family life with their education; while there is still plenty to learn and plenty of work to do, the flexibility in pursuing a degree online allows students to work on their own time.
At National University, for example, you can earn a bachelor of business administration degree online, taking one course at a time, every four weeks. Not only is the online format convenient, but having only one class at any given time also allows for a more concentrated focus. And that’s also something a student with a busy life outside of school will certainly find appealing.
If you also enjoy learning in the classroom environment, you should know that many schools will allow students to alternate between online and on-campus classes. This enables you to take an online course when it fits your current situation the best, while also leaving you the option for face-to-face interaction on campus when your schedule is more open.
One more enticing aspect of online courses is that, when attending an accredited university like National, you can expect to receive the same quality instruction and meaningful interaction as on-campus students.
Frequently Asked Questions
A: The answer to this question depends in part on your skill set, interests, and passions. For example, it’s important to be aware that courses in economics, mathematics, and law are all required as prerequisites for the major. Our program is designed to be challenging and fast-paced no matter your academic background or experience level, preparing students to enter a competitive and rapidly evolving landscape.
A: The business administration degree isn’t the right fit for everyone. However, students who graduate from our BBA program leave prepared with the skills to compete effectively in a wide range of in-demand career fields and occupations, including careers with above-average median pay and projected job growth, as detailed in the section above.