Get Matched With Business Programs

What is Business Professional?

What do a car manufacturer, a hair salon owner, and a real estate agent have in common? Well, other than they might possibly share an accountant, they are also all businesses. Any organization that offers goods and services in exchange for some form of compensation is a business. Anyone who works for a business is considered a business professional. So, breaking into a business isn't hard, but finding the business that is right for you can be a difficult task. However, if a person focuses on their interests and ultimate goals in life, they can find the right business for them, be it as an employee or an owner.

Technically, anyone who works for an organization is a business professional. However, for this instance, we are going to classify business professionals as those who hold management or supervisory positions in those companies. The amount of prestige a business professional holds can vary from industry to industry but, if you have employees that report to you or you have any responsibilities that go beyond an entry level employee, you are considered a supervisory-level business professional. Some industries do not require these professionals to have a formal education to reach this level, however, in many instances, some form of a formal education is required to meet the qualifications for management positions. In some industries you might also be required to have licenses and certifications.

Compare Popular Online Business Programs

Business Education in Indiana

In the state of Indiana, the biggest industries are real estate, business and finance, and manufacturing. In those industries, real estate agents, car manufacturers, and a hair salon owner can all thrive. Obviously, each of these industries has their own specialized educational needs, and the paths to success vary greatly. With that in mind, this document is going to focus on reaching management levels of various organizations that exist in the top industries and others.

The state of Indiana has 451,000 small businesses. Of those businesses, 123,000 have employees. This means that almost half a million businesses have at least one manager and over 100,000 businesses have two or more managers. According to the U S Bureau of Labor statistics, the need for managers is going to increase faster than average for careers between now and 2029. So, if you are looking to break into management in a particular industry, this would be a great time to attain the education an experience you need to succeed in your goal.

Find Your Online Business Program

As was previously mentioned, not every industry requires their business professionals to have a formal education. For example, a fast-food restaurant manager might have gone through specialized training within the restaurant but might not necessarily have a formal college education. That said, a large portion of industries do require their business professionals and managers to have some type of formal education. In many instances a business education is desired, but other forms of college experience could be substituted as well. For instance, a manager at a manufacturing company might have a degree in engineering instead of business but could still rise to the management level because of their necessary expertise. Since this is a document about business colleges, we are going to focus on the levels of degrees a person can earn in the major of business.

Associate Degree in Business (AS)

An associate degree in business can help a person land an entry-level position in the business field. A two-year degree is also a good way for a student to determine what type of business major they might like to choose. For example, a person might decide they want to major in accounting, marketing, finance, or some other business major. Upon completion of this degree, they will have a basic knowledge in most aspects of business.

Some of the courses they would study while pursuing an associate degree in business include:

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

An associate degree in business takes two years to complete which is normally either two semesters or four quarters at most colleges and universities. Some people can finish earlier, while others require more time depending on their personal responsibilities, work, etc.

Bachelor's Degree in Business (BS)

Most bachelor’s degrees consist of two portions: the general education portion and then whatever courses are required for a student’s chosen major. Undergraduate major courses for business include a series of general business classes that give an overall business education. However, students may also choose to take specialized classes that will give their career a particular focus.

General business administration courses that a student might take while pursuing a bachelor degree include:

  • Accounting
  • Business Law
  • Intro to Management
  • Intro to Marketing
  • Macro- and/or Microeconomics
  • Payroll Accounting
  • Sales
  • Human Resources

However, if someone wants to pursue a business career in manufacturing, they might add the following courses to their curriculum to make them more attractive to prospective employers:

  • Managerial or Cost Accounting
  • Personnel Management
  • Human Relations
  • Conflict Management

Bachelor’s degrees are four-year degrees, which can take as many as six years to complete. Some people require more time to complete a degree while others can complete theirs in less time, especially if you can find an accelerated program. The degree is enough to begin an entry-level career in management for many businesses.

Master's Degree in Business (MS or MC)

A bachelor’s degree is enough for most graduates to start their career as a business professional, but the competition for management and supervisory positions in most businesses is tight and, therefore, additional education could be the advantage a person needs to move ahead of the pack. A Master of Science in Business is a graduate level degree that offers students the opportunity to delve deeper into the running and management of a business. Unlike an undergraduate degree, which is basically a training ground for business in general, an MBA is tailored for those who want to take control of a business either through a managerial or ownership role.

Students will cover the topics that were studied in undergraduate at a higher level and additional courses will also be included, such as the following:

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

Graduate degrees generally take three to five years to complete, and either a capstone project or a comprehensive exam is required for successful completion of these programs.

PhD Degree in Business (PhD)

A doctorate in business administration (DBA) is an option for continuing your education, especially for those considering pursuing tenured professor positions for a college or university. They are also helpful for those wishing to be considered subject matter experts.

Those who pursue this degree will study the following subject areas:

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

Find Online Business Schools

At the end of the program, a student will likely have to defend a dissertation, a document that the student has been preparing throughout their studies.

Become a Business Development Specialist in Indiana

There are many avenues that can lead to a person becoming a business professional. The first would be to get a job in an entry-level position and work your way up through the ranks toward management by attaining any education you may need along the way. This approach may take longer, but it could be more cost effective for those who are paying out of pocket for their education. The combination of courses plus experience will allow a person to progress in a company. However, an education is never a bad idea.

Another option is to attain the education needed to become a business professional and then land a job at either the entry level or a lower managerial position. Obviously, there is a rather large financial outlay involved, especially for those who progress to the graduate level of education. But the payout once you become a manager or supervisor is quicker, so it could balance itself out due to the initial higher salary. A person can seek a managerial position with a bachelor’s degree who then chooses to pursue a graduate level degree so that they can continue to rise in the ranks of management will find themselves in good company. This is a good way to control the cost of the education versus the salary achieved.

A third option is to skip the middleman entirely and start your own business. A person does not need a formal education to start their own business but having some form of education will help in the running of the business since you’ll have a foundation of knowledge on which to start. Also, businesses that are run by educated people are considered more prestigious than others and, therefore, other companies may be more willing to work with you and consumers might think you're more professional. Even if a person does not want to undertake a degree program, taking standalone courses in accounting, management, marketing, and business law would go a long way to assist in the running of the business. For those who plan to have employees, a course or two in human resource management is not a bad idea either.

Careers for Business Graduates

Business is a very large and vague umbrella for any and every industry that exists and becoming a business professional is possible in any industry. Below are a few examples of the positions you could attain as a business professional.

  • VP Operations
    A vice president of operations fills the position directly under the president of operations. This person is usually in charge of the day-to-day operations of an organization and only answers to the president or the board. They often have several managers underneath them that run different department such as human resources, maintenance, transportation, or any other department that is needed to make the business successful. A VP of operations usually has a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, though in most cases a graduate degree or higher is required.
  • Team Leader
    A team leader does exactly as the title suggests, they lead a team. A team can consist of two or more employees, and they can be assigned projects in order to help the company reach its goals. The team lead may or may not take part in the projects because they may have more than one project going at once, but they are still responsible for ensuring that any project that is assigned to the team they are leading is completed on time and at the highest quality possible. Team leads, depending on the business, could have associate degrees, but many have bachelor’s degrees or more. Team leads report to general managers directors or another middle management person.
  • Administrative Assistant
    Many people might lump administrative assistants in with clerical positions but, depending on the business and the specifics of the position, they can very well fall under the umbrella of ‘business professional’. Administrative assistants are often tasked with keeping the daily activities of a senior level of management under control and on track. Because of the nature of their work and how involved they are in almost every aspect of what their superior does (giving them a more than casual familiarity with the position), it’s not uncommon for administrative assistants to move into managerial positions because of their experience.

Search Programs Offering Business Majors

Other positions that also fall under the business professional umbrella include:

  • Account Manager
  • Business Development Director
  • CEO and other C-suite positions
  • Content Marketing Specialist/Manager
  • Data Analyst
  • Entrepreneur
  • Financial/Business Analyst
  • HR Specialist/Manager
  • Project Manager
  • Human Resources Specialist
  • IT Director
  • Marketing Manager
  • Office Manager
  • Operations Manager
  • Public Relations Specialist/Manager
  • Supply Chain Specialist/Manager

Search All Programs