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What is Business Management?

Business degrees are highly popular in the United States, with numerous colleges and universities offering relevant programs for students to choose from. Because the field is particularly versatile, graduates from these programs are well positioned to find employment. Every school is different, but most help students develop a wide range of skills in business, management, finance, leadership, and marketing that can easily transfer to nearly any workplace. Knowledge in these areas is highly valuable, making business management a practical degree choice at every academic level.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in management occupations is expected to increase by 5% from 2019 to 2029. This may not seem significant, but it does mean approximately 505,000 new positions will be available in the field. Some industries are expected to see more growth than others. Some top options include computer and information systems, finance, lodging, and social and community service. Overall, job outlook is comparable to most other professions. The projected growth will primarily be due to the creation of new organizations, as well as the expansion of existing ones. This increase will result in a demand for more qualified workers to manage operations.

Professional and business services is the second largest industry in Arkansas. It accounts for $13.8 billion in revenue each year. Further, according to the BLS, business and financial operations occupations are considered a major employment group in the state. This one sector accounted for 53,750 jobs in 2020. The annual mean wage for local professionals in this field was $66,200, which is significantly higher than the national median.

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Business Management Education in Arkansas

Demand for business management professionals in Arkansas is high. Numerous companies and organizations benefit from employing highly trained and knowledgeable professionals in this field. As a result, many colleges and universities in the state offer related academic programs for individuals interested in business. While it is possible to earn a degree anywhere in the nation, individuals seeking to work in Arkansas should seriously consider attending state schools. These institutions are generally more familiar with the local market and already have established relationships with companies and organizations in the area.

A business management degree prepares graduates to oversee and supervise company activities and employees. Companies and organizations of every type depend on and utilize the expertise of business professionals, making it possible to work in nearly any industry. As a result, people interested in this field often choose work that aligns well with their interests and/or passions.

Some of the most prominent career paths for business management professionals include:

  • Sales
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Global Business
  • Entrepreneurship

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Because business management professionals can work in a wide variety of industries, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what their daily tasks and responsibilities will be without knowing what industry a graduate will choose to enter. Job descriptions also often differ even within the same field, as company size and employer preference are significant factors. Fortunately, most academic programs in business teach students skills in analytics, leadership, and research that easily applied in numerous settings.

While circumstances differ, most business managers are responsible for overseeing the activities of company or organization employees. They often hire, train, and evaluate workers. These professionals also ensure financial goals are met, frequently developing and implementing budgets, preparing fiscal reports, and verifying policy compliance. It may also be their job to make sure employees have all the resources necessary to remain productive.

This type of work is usually best suited for individuals who enjoy completing tasks and solving problems. The most successful business management professionals possess great interpersonal, speaking, writing, communication, customer-service, and leadership skills.

Most professions in business management require, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree for entry-level employment. Alternatively, students could enroll in programs related to accounting, computer information systems, finance, or marketing. Many colleges and universities offer students opportunities to select concentrations, making it important to identify one or two primary areas of interest before enrolling. This may make it easier to select a specialty area later.

While business management degrees exist at every academic level, most professionals in the field start their careers by earning a bachelor’s degree and then completing a graduate program. Each degree has its own benefits and drawbacks, making it essential to know your academic and career goals prior to enrollment.

Associate Degree in Business Management (AS)

Associate degrees in business management are most appropriate for individuals seeking entry-level administrative positions in the field. This level of education is generally considered adequate to qualify graduates for employment opportunities as administrative assistants, executive assistants, food service managers, bookkeepers, office managers, human resources employees, and office clerks.

Most associate degrees in business management consist of 60 credit hours of coursework and take full-time students approximately two years to complete. These programs generally consist of general education classes, as well as business-related content in economics, accounting, and communication.

There is little opportunity for advancement from these entry-level positions without additional education or extensive experience. As a result, many people use associate degrees in business management to jumpstart their academic careers. It’s fairly common for students to attend a less-expensive community college for two years and then transfer the credits earned to a bachelor’s degree program. Doing this can cut the time it takes to complete a four-year degree in half.

Bachelor's Degree in Business Management (BS)

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most management occupations require a bachelor’s degree. Graduates are able to pursue a number of employment opportunities, including entry-level jobs as financial analysts, human resource specialists, and management consultants. After gaining experience in the workplace, professionals with a bachelor’s degree often qualify for more advanced supervisory positions with more responsibility.

Most bachelor degree programs in business management consist of 120 credit hours of coursework and take full-time students approximately four years to complete. Curriculums are not standardized, but colleges and universities tend to focus student develop on broadly applicable skills that are valuable in almost any setting.

It’s worth noting that degrees in business management are some of the most popular in the nation. Graduates can also choose to pursue advanced degrees in business management. Most of these programs require a candidate to have an undergraduate degree, minimum GPA, and GRE scores to apply.

Master's Degree in Business Management (MS or MC)

Those interested in attaining high-level leadership positions will likely benefit from earning a master’s degree in business management. Holding a master’s degree demonstrates expertise in management and leadership to prospective employers. Graduates from these programs tend to be more competitive in the job market and are often offered positions with more responsibility. These professionals may also promote quickly and earn higher salaries.

A master’s degree in business management is distinct from a master’s in business administration (MBA). Business administration programs place more emphasis on the technical aspects of planning and execution. Both options will help graduates qualify for supervisory roles. Some of the most common employment opportunities include training and development manager, top executive, public relations and fundraising manager, human resource manager, information technology manager, financial manager, industrial production manager, and management analyst.

Program lengths can vary, but many master’s degrees in business administration range from 30 to 60 credit hours of coursework. Full-time students generally complete requirements within one to one-and-a-half years.

PhD Degree in Business Management (PhD)

The highest level of education in any field is a doctoral degree. There are, however, a few different academic options to consider. Regardless of the curriculum, most programs typically consist of between 90 and 120 credit hours and take full-time students four to seven years to complete. Most require writing dissertations before being considered for graduation.

Those interested in research and independent study should opt for a PhD in business. Graduates will qualify to work in academia and/or other research-intensive fields. Professors must have a doctorate to teach at most state colleges and universities.

Alternatively, individuals can choose to pursue a doctorate in business administration (DBA) or management. While these degrees are not required for most entry and mid-level jobs in the field, they can lead to upper management and executive positions. DBAs enhance students’ theoretical knowledge of business and business management. They can usually be completed within six years.

Earning any kind of doctoral degree in business will provide access to some of the best employment opportunities in the field. The most common employment opportunities include top executive, postsecondary business professor, postsecondary, education administrator, and economist.

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Learn more about Business Management Degree Options

Top College Programs in Arkansas for Business Management

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

Become a Business Manager in Arkansas

To become a business management professional in Arkansas, you will first need to determine your ultimate career goals. The knowledge and skills learned from a degree in this field can be applied to numerous industries, so it’s important to identify your specific aspirations early. This will help direct your search for an appropriate academic program.

If you are unsure what industry appeals to you most, it’s still wise to begin your education asap. The business field is unique, with many key course elements overlapping. Many programs are designed to expose students to a variety of career options and make it easy to change course partway through.

As business management is an extremely broad field, most college and university programs also give students the opportunity to select a concentration that aligns with their career goals. This tailors a portion of the program to a specific subsection or field, allowing you to explore an area of interest on a much deeper level.

Some of the most common options include:

  • Finance
  • Project Management
  • Human Resources
  • Non-profit Management
  • Marketing
  • Global Business
  • Entrepreneurship

After obtaining the necessary degree(s), you will have the option of pursuing various certifications and/or licensures. While few careers in business management require formal licensure, opting to earn one or more credentials can drastically improve job and salary potential, as well as increase competitiveness during the hiring process. Some employers do require candidates have specific certifications, but most business management professionals simply choose options of interest or importance to their careers.

A popular option is the certified business manager (CBM) credential. This optional certification denotes elite operational management skills and can be attained through various institutions with specialized accreditation. It is also possible to become a CBM through MBA programs.

It’s worth noting that business management professionals working in accounting are likely to need specific licensure. Those planning to become certified public accountants (CPAs) and certified management accountants (CMAs), for example, are required to have a license before they can practice.

Additionally, entrepreneurs planning to open their own businesses will need a business license in Arkansas. The Secretary of State must officially approve all new businesses in the state.

Careers for Business Management Graduates

After earning a business management degree, you will be qualified to apply for a wide variety of positions in Arkansas. Salaries and daily duties will vary, but some of the most common career options include:

  • Sales Manager
  • Financial Analyst
  • Account Manager
  • Operations Manager
  • Benefits Specialist
  • Director of Operations
  • Account Executive
  • Accounting Supervisor
  • Regional Manager for Services Company
  • Management Information System Specialist
  • Project Manager
  • Human Resources Manager
  • C-Suite Executive
  • Non-Profit Manager
  • Customer Service Associate
  • Business Analyst
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Marking Manager
  • Project Manager
    Project managers are responsible for the project oversight for the company or organization they work for. They often generate goals and timelines, as well as dispense important information to their teams. These professionals also coordinate, document, and assign tasks to others, as well as manage budgets and resources appropriately. According to PayScale, project managers make an average base salary of $75,000 per year.

  • Administrative Assistant
    Administrative assistants are responsible for providing administrative assistance to employees at the company or organization where they work. They may complete personal tasks for individuals, run errands, or fulfill other assigned tasks. These professionals often perform secretarial duties, including accounting, data entry, billing, inventory, correspondence, and record-keeping. According to PayScale, administrative assistants make an average base hourly rate of $16.25, or approximately $40,100 per year.

  • Marketing Manager
    Marketing managers are responsible for helping to create various advertising or merchandising sales campaigns. They may be assigned a single product, brand, or entire company. These professionals regularly collaborate with product managers, monitor program performance, and develop market research studies. According to PayScale, marketing managers make an average base salary of $66,600 per year.

  • Human Resources Manager
    Human resources managers are responsible for overseeing policies, procedures, and compliance related to the employees working at their company or organization. They verify that all related activities follow local, state, and federal laws. These professionals also implement and manage employee benefits and initiative programs. According to PayScale, human resources managers make an average base salary of $68,700 per year.

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  • Customer Service Associate
    Customer service associates are responsible for a variety of tasks, but the most important one is assisting customers with issues or inquiries. They often provide troubleshooting and technical assistance over the phone, but may also deal with customers in person. These professionals often function as the first point of contact at the company they work for. According to PayScale, customer service associates make an average base hourly rate of $12.08, or approximately $42,100 per year.

  • Financial Analyst
    Financial analysts are responsible for studying marketplace trends, demographics, and microeconomic factors for corporations and businesses. They often provide advice regarding bonds and splitting stock. These professionals must fully understand company resource investments, as well as how investments will impact growth over time. According to PayScale, financial analysts make an average base salary of $61,900 per year.

  • Director of Operations
    Directors of operations are responsible for employee management regarding company or organization productivity. They are often in charge of making purchase related to production. These professionals work closely with vendors and sellers, and must have good negotiation skills. According to PayScale, directors of operations make an average base salary of $92,984 per year.

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