How to Become a Business Manager in California

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What is Business Management?


If you want to work in management in practically any industry, California is the place to be. Of the top 10 industries in the United States, California has the most employment opportunities in nine of them, and they are second only to New York in the tenth.

California has the largest population in the workforce in the country and has the largest economy, surpassing the GDPs of several small and mid-sized countries. So, it’s not much of a surprise that management jobs in the state are plentiful. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over one million people working in management positions, and it is anticipated that the need for managers is going to continue to grow. This is across the board in all industries, but managers in the technology, healthcare, and energy industries are going to be the most in demand because these are three of the fastest growing industries in California.

If you already work in one of the faster growing industries, then keep on your current path and a management position could present itself to you organically, especially if you are keeping up with training and educational requirements. But if you’re thinking of changing careers or lack the education you need to apply for management positions, this brief will provide some of the information you need to land a management job in their field of your choice. You might need to enter an apprenticeship or you might need a degree or two. The best approach is to research the industry you are most interested in and see what requirements they have for workers to enter management positions in that industry.


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Business Management Education in California


A business manager is a person who manages a business, obviously. They often hire and fire employees, conduct interviews for employment, and handle the day-to-day operations that go with a business. For example, a business manager might not do the payroll, but he or she probably makes the schedule and manages the person who does the payroll. In a business that is sales related, they might also work as a salesperson, such as at a car dealership, but they will also be the one creating incentives for the other salespeople to do well. When an annoyed customer stops in or calls and asks to speak with the manager, often it is the business manager who is tasked with communicating with the customer. When things are going well, the manager is praised, when things go badly, the business manager is often blamed. Because of this, the position often has decent pay but also a higher stress level. As for finding work as a manager, where there is a business, there is at least one person needed to manage it.

Associate Degree in Business Management (AS)

California residents with an associate degree in management can work in lower levels of management in most industries, but in the retail and restaurant industries, this degree with experience could advance a worker into a middle management position. As a mid-level manager, a person could be placed in charge of a store or possibly even several stores in a region. An associate degree in management will give a worker a base knowledge of how to manage a business and its employees as well as some insight into payroll and other areas of business a manager needs to at least be familiar with. For those employed in industries that have their own training and procedures, such as fast food and retail, an associate degree could be enough for them to advance into full management positions.

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Bachelor's Degree in Business Management (BS)

A four-year degree in business management is often the starting point for those who want to advance into management positions in almost every industry. Whether you want to work in the finance, technology, or real estate industries, advancing past the lowest rung on the management ladder will require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Whether or not it needs to be a four-year degree in business management can be debated. Some industries, such as engineering and information technology, prefer workers to have degrees in those areas, and a business degree minor or dual degree would make them more attractive for management positions. Workers in the real estate industry usually need a degree in business and a real estate license, either as a realtor or a real estate broker. If you have a degree in a field of expertise and you want to look more attractive to potential employers, then attaining a second degree or certifications in business management is a plausible approach.

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

To reach upper management positions in many industries, a master in business administration, aka an MBA, is highly recommended, if not required. A person with an MBA is trained in all aspects of a business, from accounting to employee management. These employees have advanced communication skills and can hold a conversation with both employees as well as the CEO. If you want to advance into upper management positions in your industry, an MBA might be required.

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PhD Degree in Business Management (PhD)

Although it’s not completely unexpected to see some people in management with doctorate degrees, these individuals are more likely to be teaching and training others to become managers. Doctorate degree holders are often either educators at colleges or universities, or they are researchers at colleges or for companies in their industry, for example in healthcare. These people are often responsible for the breakthroughs we see in industries across the board. For this reason, some PhD holders can make as much, if not more, than senior levels of management.

Become a Business Manager in California


Becoming a business management professional in California is dictated by the industry in which a person wants to work. For example, a person who wants to manage a retail establishment, starting as a retail associate and working up the ranks into lower management as an assistant manager and then moving into a senior store management position is the usual path. Having an associate degree in business management can help but it isn’t always necessary unless the person wants to move into corporate management. Then a four-year degree might be required.

For other industries, a four-year degree in the specific industry is a good place to start. This degree will prepare a person for an entry-level position in a company and, through experience and attaining required certification if needed, it can help a person advance into management. In an industry such as information technology, there are several levels of certifications a person needs to attain to be eligible to advance.

Certain professions require certifications in order to work. For example, accountants are more employable and attractive to potential employers if they are certified public accountants. The best way to advance into a management position is to learn what is required of managers in that industry and follow that career path. Although there are people who have advanced into management without formal training, getting the education employers desire is the best approach.

Careers for Business Management Graduates


Business management careers can vary depending on the industry. Below is a list of different types of management positions in the business realm.

  • Sales Manager
    These professionals manage the sales operations for businesses. These positions are common in industries where sales are part of the operations such as car dealerships, business to business manufacturing of goods, insurance, and retail. These managers will often have a group of salespeople under them and they are responsible for the daily operations in the sales department.
  • Financial Analyst
    This professional examines and analyzes data and presents it to management so they can use it to make financial decisions for the business. The analyst might have a staff of analysts underneath them or be the head of an actuary or underwriting team. Some management duties, such as hiring, might also be a part of a financial analyst’s responsibilities. These individuals tend to have four-year degrees in finance and either an MBA or a master’s degree in finance or accounting.
  • Account Manager
    This professional could act as the liaison between the business and its customers or manage a group of people who interact with clients for a business. These people communicate with a wide variety of people and are part manager, part employee. These positions are often found in the retail, information technology, or healthcare industries, but are used in almost every imaginable industry.
  • Operations Manager
    An operations manager oversees the daily occurrences of a particular department in a business or is the point person for the manufacturing or assembly portion of a business. Factories, warehouses, and other companies that make or create goods for businesses and individuals often have an operations manager that oversees that particular part of the company.
  • Benefits Specialist
    Companies that offer benefits, such as healthcare or other similar services, often have a benefit specialist that heads up the department. Another version of a benefits specialist is the person who manages the benefits of employees at a company. Both require the person to have intimate knowledge about the particular benefits being offered. These people might also be responsible for managing other specialists in the department. Specialists tend to have degrees in human resources or business and an advanced degree in business or human resources.
  • Director of Operations
    Similar to the operation manager, this professional runs the daily activities of a business, usually on the manufacturing or supply side of the business. Like many other directors of businesses, directors often have an advanced degree in business such as an MBA or master’s in business operations.
  • Account Executive
    An account executive is the head of accounts for a company. Account managers often report to the account executive. These people might have some high-end clients or just might focus on managing the other account managers. Managers in this area often have MBAs or advanced degrees in marketing or management.
  • Accounting Supervisor
    An accounting supervisor runs an accounting department. For example, the accounts payable department might have a supervisor for that department, the account receivable department might have its own supervisor, payroll has a supervisor, etc. Managers in accounting are often CPAs or have advanced degrees in accounting or their MBA.
  • Regional Manager, Services Company
    Regional managers oversee a region of a particular business. For example, if a business has 100 stores, it might be broken into 5 regions with 20 stores in each region. The regional manager would be responsible for supervising the operations of the 20 stores in their region. Many of these managers started out as lower -level employees and worked their way up to management positions. But others have attained degrees in business or advanced degrees such as a MBA or advanced degree in management.
  • Project Manager
    This professional manages employees working to design and implement projects for a business. Many project managers have an advanced degree in business such as an MBA, or an advanced degree in project management.
  • HR Manager
    Human Resource managers are in charge of the daily operations of the human resources department. They usually report to either the CEO or CFO of a business. HR managers often have degrees in human resources as well as an MBA or other advanced business degree.

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