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What is a Business Professional?

As high school seniors in Arkansas consider their future and college, if they haven’t made a decision on what degree they are interested in, they may want to take the top industries of this state in mind. The top industry, manufacturing, brings $19.3 billion into the state. The second largest industry is professional and business services and the third is real estate, rental, and leasing.

The manufacturing sector employs 12.7% of all workers in the state; this area has also climbed 8% since 2014. Obviously, this means that there will be factory jobs available, but there are also office jobs and delivery jobs for those who support those factories and overall business interests throughout the state.

Students wanting to find a rewarding career may, therefore, do themselves a favor by considering a business degree in Arkansas. By majoring in business or business administration, students give themselves a future full of opportunities. They may even decide to become a business consultant in Arkansas, helping to write the business plan for a fledgling company.

Before students enter a business major, they’ll also want to think about which schools are the best business schools in Arkansas. Next, they can closely examine their business programs and degree requirements. Depending on their career aspirations, a general degree in business or a focused degree in business administration and management could prepare them for a lucrative, satisfying future.

Students who choose to enter a community college could major in business technology. Once they graduate, they will be able to function within an entry-level position and can consider earning more education to improve their job prospects.

As students consider all of their options, the overall quality of the college or business school is often a top factor. There are plenty of great options for business in Arkansas. Here, we’ll lay out some of the questions you might ask yourself when trying to choose a university that fits your personal needs.

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Business Education in Arkansas

A business professional may work at any level within a company. Some of them work entry-level jobs which may require them to do data entry or run reports for higher-ups. Others work as managers over small teams or entire departments, and their jobs are similar across all levels, with those at higher levels having more responsibility and more need to check the work of those below them. For the purposes of simplifying, we’ll discuss business professionals who work as managers and administrators.

Managers and administrators oversee and support various teams, they solve problems with management and employees, and they may also develop and implement plans, ensuring the organization meets established goals. A business administrator may also supervise administrative and clerical personnel within a department or the entire organization.

A large part of their day may include examining the work that employees are doing and seeing what the results of company actions have been. Other business administrators examine records and information management. Their business acumen man be in information management, so their area of expertise may be record-keeping and cloud-based computing. This is where a business professional’s specialty or department of focus may come into play. Those who focus on marketing may help make decisions on campaigns or simply make small changes to the existing campaigns the company has set up. Those in logistics might solve routing issues or work to make warehousing more efficient. As you can see, business is vast and you can find yourself anywhere in the chain of people necessary to maintain a fully functioning organization.

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Business managers and administrators mainly work in offices. Depending on their job description and area of expertise, they may oversee and interact with staff in different departments or work mainly within their own department. A large part of their day may be spent communicating with staff members and upper-level executives.

Associate Degree in Business (AS)

Earning an associate degree in business is one of the more affordable options for a higher education. Before choosing from different colleges or schools, students should check to make sure they know which ones hold regional or programmatic accreditation.

The coursework focuses on the foundational principles of business as well as some management courses. After graduation, students will be equipped to accept an entry-level position in a business or organization. With experience, they can even move up into higher level positions, though they will likely need more education to become managers.

The curriculum at this level offers students their general education courses, as well as courses that form the basis of business—leadership studies, personal financial planning, and an introduction to global business. A good university or college of business empowers students to expand their understanding of leadership and business operations.

Bachelor's Degree in Business (BS)

Moving to the next degree level, a bachelor’s degree in business allows students to open doors to even more diverse opportunities. These degrees can be earned by students just out of high school or they can be attained by those who have already finished an associate degree. If you’ve already completed an associate degree in business, it should take only about two years to complete a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) or a general business degree.

The breadth of the degree program lets students expand their business knowledge as they consider the different business careers or niches that may open up to them. Choosing a minor that works with your business degree may expand your opportunities even more.

These might include the following:

  • General Business Administration
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Logistics
  • Accounting
  • International Business
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Project Management
  • Human Resources
  • Information Technology

Even though students may choose one area of specialization, the competencies taught by a general business degree program are broad and flexible enough that graduates should be able to work in a variety of areas even without a minor or double major. At the bachelor’s level, business curriculum should teach students strategic planning so they develop organizational value, theories of business, and how to apply everything they learn to real world problems.

Master's Degree in Business (MS or MC)

A master’s degree can be vital for businesspeople who really want to succeed in their business career. More than 72% of all businesses have stated their intent to hire employees who currently hold business degrees. This meshes well with the knowledge that businesses degrees are some of the most popular at universities all across the country.

In a master’s business program, graduate students learn theories of marketing, management, and finance. They also learn about administration in a business and how to apply the theories they learned in previous education to complicated problems in the world of business. They may do group projects that specifically focus on this task. Also, one of the more critical areas for graduate students majoring in business is leadership - particularly if they plan to move up to a higher leadership role. Students planning to work as managers or executives usually earn a Master of Science in Business or their Master of Business Administration with a specialization in their current field or a field they want to enter.

Earning a college degree means that students may earn a median $1 million more than a graduate of high school.

PhD Degree in Business (PhD)

Business professionals who have earned their PhD or doctorate may find that they will fit more easily into the international business environment or into executive-level positions. They may also function easily as consultants, assisting business in solving problems that are making it difficult to achieve their goals.

Students holding their DBA may also find positions within the economical field, where, as economists, they can share observations with business leaders as they decide on their next business moves. They may also be the next business administrator in their organization, chosen to occupy an office in the C-suites. Some organizations actually prefer to hire business managers who have earned their DBA, especially if the position is within the C-suite (Chief Operations Officer, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and others).

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Another option is to move into academia. Many of those who earn doctorates do so in order to succeed in the academic world. Those with the highest degrees can find themselves with tenure and dean of a department while others are still making their way up the ladder.

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Top College Programs in Arkansas for Business

  • University of Arkansas
  • John Brown University
  • Hendrix College
  • Harding University
  • Arkansas State University
  • University of Central Arkansas

Become a Business Development Professional in Arkansas

Students earning their business degrees are able to move into any of a huge number of business fields. They can do this with either a general business degree or by specializing in a niche in which they have a great interest. Given the broad foundation of a business degree, graduates may also be able to more easily transition from one field to another. This is the greatest strength of a business degree: the sheer number of options once you get into the workforce. Here are just some of the fields you might find yourself in after earning a degree in business.

You could work at the entry-level of accounting with an associate or bachelor’s business degree. The options within accounting include taxation, auditing, and general accounting. Those with a foundation in business will have a greater grasp of the needs of a business and how the accounting department can help them meet those needs. Foundational courses or electives in business or taxation can prepare them to work in these areas. With enough education, they may also choose to earn a CPA certification and move even further into the field of accounting.

Those with an interest in data or analytics can work in business analytics. More and more businesses are focused on big data and what it can do for their products and services to truly understand the needs of their customers. At the bachelor’s level, applied data analytics focuses more on technical skills but, with a business degree, graduates will be ready to use data to increase strategic benefit for their organizations.

Cyber security management is a technical field that prepares students to assess cyber-threats and prevent them from disabling an organization. Students who earn a degree in business have a greater understanding of the importance of cyber security and its effect on a business. Those with knowledge of cyber security and management techniques are equipped to manage and lead their company’s cyber security preparation, attack response, and recovery.

In Arkansas, there are no specific requirements to work in business. Other than the need for licenses if you choose to start your own business, you don’t need to worry about certifications or licensure of any kind unless you enter a niche specialization such as accounting or cyber security. However, you will want to pay special attention to any certifications that specific companies are looking for in the state, as this can have an effect on how marketable you are as an employee.

Careers for Business Graduates

  • VP Operations:
    This executive oversees daily business practices to ensure they are meeting operational goals and that these goals produce the highest level of efficiency.
  • Operations Manager:
    Operations managers are vital to any management team. They may supervise high-level HR duties such as setting training standards and attracting talent or overseeing hiring procedures. They may also take an active role in assigning work and reviewing completed projects.
  • Business Development Director:
    Business development directors move their organization’s business forward by increasing revenue, identifying new business opportunities, and developing those opportunities and new connections.
  • Human Resources Specialist:
    This person’s role is to help their employer find job candidates who are the best-qualified to fill a spot within the company. They may also recruit for top talent, carry out interviews, go through resumes, and perform background checks.
  • Team Leader:
    Team leaders lead a group of employees in meeting goals for the company. They also monitor and supervise these employees, ensuring that their work contributes to an organization’s growth. They motivate and inspire their team through everyday interactions.
  • Administrative Assistant:
    These professionals offer support to managers and other employees. They may also support visitors to the company and handle a variety of tasks to ensure that all interactions are both positive and productive.
  • Account Manager:
    An account manager is a client advocate, working with a company’s internal departments and helping to ensure that the needs of their client are understood and fulfilled. They may handle client complaints, make sales, and collect and analyze data.

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  • IT Director:
    IT directors carry a unique set of responsibilities. They oversee technology operations and infrastructure and manage a team of IT employees. They also track new emerging technology and help to minimize security risks.
  • Marketing Manager:
    Marketing managers are responsible for promotion of services, products, businesses, or brands. They develop the strategies for marketing and pricing as well as generating new business leads for their organization.
  • Office Manager:
    The office manager’s responsibility is to keep an organization’s office running smoothly. In general, they oversee the administrative support.
  • Data Analyst:
    Data analysts collect and store data for sales numbers, linguistics, logistics, market research, or other vital functions within the organization. They contribute their technical expertise so the quality and accuracy of data and provide reports to managers and executives.
  • Project Manager:
    Project managers plan and oversee projects, making sure they are completed on time and within the given budget. They may also plan project resources and designate them, prepare budgets, monitor project progress, and keep stakeholders up to date.
  • Supply Chain Specialist / Manager:
    The supply chain specialist makes sure the supply chain works efficiently in delivering an order for a customer, raw materials for a factory, or anything else a company needs moved from point A to point B. The supply chain manager also works to minimize shortages and try to keep costs as low as possible. Their main goal is to maximize efficiency.
  • Content Marketing Specialist / Manager:
    The content marketing specialist takes the lead in designing and maintaining a client’s or company’s marketing campaigns. The content marketing manager may focus on increasing web traffic and brand awareness by marketing content online. If they are looking to reach a specific demographic that cannot be reached through online content, they may purchase radio or TV commercials or find another creative way to reach those who the company hopes to sell to.
  • CEO and Other C-Suite Positions:
    Chief executive officers are the highest-ranking executives within an organization. Their main responsibilities are making major decisions and managing the overall resources and operations.

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