How to Become a Business Manager in Illinois

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What is Business Management?


Illinois, with a population of over 12.6 million has a variety of flourishing industries. One of their largest industries is professional and business services. This means that, for anyone who is seeking to enter a career in management, there will be plenty of opportunities to be found in the state. According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the outlook for employment in business management and related careers is expected to remain steady or increase slightly between now and 2030. This means that anyone who is interested in a career in management in Illinois has a good chance of finding suitable employment.

And one shouldn’t assume that a smaller state doesn’t have jobs. There are a huge number of small businesses in Illinois that employ workers – over 1 million altogether. These workers have to managed by someone, therefore there will be management jobs available. But that doesn’t mean that those who are seeking employment in other areas outside of business services cannot find work as well. Since managers are needed in every industry, there will always be positions available for those who want to work their way up into management. Getting a start in business does not require a formal education. However, for those who want to move up into the ranks of management, especially senior management positions, they may need to acquire formal business training.

If a career in business management is something you are interested in pursuing, we have provided information on the steps you would need to take to achieve this goal below. The information includes the education required, how to break into an industry, and what steps need to be taken to go from an entry level position to management position.

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Business Management Education in Illinois


There are several levels of education you can attain in business administration. The level you choose to pursue depends on several factors, from financial to overall goals. For instance, a person who wants to dabble in a field and decide if it’s the right career for them might get an associate degree, while someone who wishes to be a CEO for a finance firm is probably going to get a four-year degree and likely an MBA. Below is a breakdown for each degree and what you can anticipate studying while you are in school.

Associate Degree in Business Management (AS)

An associate degree in business management is the beginning level for anyone who wants to pursue a management or supervisory position. In some organizations, this degree would be enough to enter management. However, for those who want to work at a corporate level, this degree could be enough to land entry-level position at a company. To advance further, additional education will likely be required. In a two-year program, students will get a base education and a variety of business courses.

some of those courses include:

  • Accounting I & II
  • Intro to Management
  • Intro to Marketing
  • Business Law
  • Business Ethics
  • Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomics
  • Payroll Accounting
  • Computerized Accounting

These classes are in addition to the general education courses required to finish a two-year degree. Associate degrees generally take four semesters to complete and most students finish in two to three years.

Bachelor's Degree in Business Management (BS)

Some people who earn a four-year degree in business administration choose to specialize in a certain area or industry, though that is not a requirement. Specialization may require additional courses taken on top of the general business administration core curriculum, which may include classes in accounting, management, and marketing.

For example, someone who wants to go into real estate management might take the usual accounting courses such as:

  • Logistics
  • Intro to Management
  • Economics
  • Business Ethics
  • Business Fundamentals
  • Micro and Macroeconomics
  • Marketing
  • Operations Management
  • Computer Systems

But these students may also took real estate classes such as:

  • Real Estate Management
  • Real Estate Contracts
  • Real Estate Marketing
  • Selling Real Estate
  • Managerial Accounting
  • Public Relations

With a four-degree, graduates can apply for a variety of positions depending on their specialization. But the degree is enough to get an entry-level or even lower-level supervisory position in most companies.

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

A Master’s in Business Administration, aka an MBA, is practically a requirement for anyone who is seeking higher-level management positions in a corporation or larger company. The program is designed specifically to assist students with attaining the knowledge needed to effectively manage a company and its employees. The program generally takes three to five years to complete and may require either a master’s thesis or a comprehensive exam at the end of their coursework.

Those enrolled in these programs may study the following:

  • Business Analytics
  • Financial Projections
  • Quantitative Business Analysis
  • Managerial Accounting
  • Marketing Analytics
  • Business Statistics
  • Advanced Business Communication

With an MBA and several years of work experience, a person could be tapped for middle-management positions and, in some cases, upper-level management positions could be available to them.

PhD Degree in Business Management (PhD)

For those who wish to be considered subject matter experts or pursue a career in academia, a doctorate degree in business is a good choice. These programs are specialized to suit the ultimate goals of the student, but touch on all aspects of business, especially the management and analytical portions of running a business. The degree generally takes seven years to complete and includes a dissertation that must be defended to a panel.

Those who pursue this degree will study the following areas:

  • Accounting
  • Marketing
  • Ethics
  • Management
  • Economics
  • Human Development
  • Finance
  • Organizational Leadership
  • Operational Management
  • Information Systems

Become a Business Management in Illinois


The first step to becoming a business management professional in Illinois is to secure a job with a business. Choose a position at a company that provides goods or services in an industry in which you want to work. For example, if you want to work in real estate, then work for a real estate agent or broker or a real estate management company. Once you have secured an entry-level position with the company of your choosing, work to the best of your ability. Take advantage of trainings that are provided and learn as much as you can. If you haven't already secured a formal education, this would be a good time start. If you are seeking a management position ultimately, then pursuing a bachelor’s degree is the ideal place to begin. You could pursue A two-year degree first, but if your ultimate goal is to work in management, it may be easier to just start with the bachelor’s degree in management.

Once you have obtained the required education to work in management, then you can begin applying for management positions either with the same company or with other companies that pique your interest. Although there was a time when a person would start at a company at an entry-level position and work their way to the top management positions, these days it is not considered odd to move from one business to another, especially if another business has more opportunities for you sooner.

You also want to make sure that you have any required licenses, certifications, or other specialized training that is needed to obtain a job, especially in a management position. While you are trying to break into management, keep accumulating important work experience in your desired industry. Even if it takes a little longer than you like, that's just more experience for you to draw from when you do finally secure a management position. For those who want to attain senior management positions, if you already have a bachelor’s degree then this would be a good time to pursue a graduate degree or higher. The more education you have, the more attractive you are to potential employers. Senior level managers often have graduate degrees and beyond, so this is something you should consider while you work your way up the business ladder. If you are interested in joining academia at any point, a terminal degree, such as a doctorate in organizational leadership, could be something you want to pursue. However, many people attain management positions in mid to senior levels with a bachelors or a graduate degree.

Careers for Business Management Graduates


  • Sales Manager
    A sales manager operates the sales department for a business. This person may have a staff of salespeople that report to them or work nearly alone if they are in e-commerce. The sales manager tracks the sales from each employee and makes sure that sales metrics are being met. Often, the manager oversees hiring employees, tracking their hours, and making sure that their sales and commissions are reported correctly on their payroll. Sales managers generally report directly to the business owner, or the CEO. Most sales managers have experience in sales themselves which makes understanding salespeople as well as training them easier.
  • Director of Operations
    Corporations, especially those in manufacturing, often have different divisions that make up the organization as a whole. The director of operations is put in charge of the general operations of a business. In the case of a manufacturing company, that's usually the day-to-day operations of the manufacturing plant itself. The director of operations would be in charge of making sure there are enough employees to complete the job safely, they will have oversight of the operation budget, and they would be in charge of making sure that what's being manufactured is done in a safe, timely, and profitable fashion. The director of operations reports to either the CEO or the chief financial officer. Most directors of operations have at least a bachelor’s degree, if not a graduate degree.
  • Accounting Supervisor
    Businesses with an accounting department often have different divisions in that department. The accounting supervisor overseas all these departments. For example, an accounting department may have an accounts receivable division, accounts payable division, a payroll division, and a benefits division. The accounting supervisor would be in charge of all of these divisions, making sure that all of them are fully staffed and are completing their tasks on time and correctly. The accounting supervisor reports to the chief financial officer, is usually a CPA, and holds a minimum of a bachelor’s degree but normally a graduate degree.
  • Administrative Assistant
    An administrative assistant offers support to senior level management. This position is often included in a management conversation because they work closely with senior levels of management and are often tasked with assignments that are management level. They could be required to maintain and control all of the senior level management appointments, take care of travel arrangements, organize and implement company projects, promotions, or functions, and a variety of other tasks. A person in this position must be highly organized, an effective communicator, and be willing to work with practically everyone in the organization. An administrative assistant most often has a bachelor’s degree in business and are often tapped to take on formal management positions, including the position of the manager they most recently worked with if they are promoted further up the corporate ladder.

Other careers that a person with a business management degree could pursue include:

  • Account Executive
  • Account Manager
  • Benefits Specialist
  • Business Analyst
  • Customer Service Associate
  • Financial Analyst
  • Management Information System Specialist
  • Marketing Manager
  • Non-Profit Manager
  • Operations Manager
  • Project Manager
  • HR Manager
  • C-suite Executive
  • Regional Manager, Services Company

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