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A business professional is a person who makes their living by working in the world of commerce and finance. They may work as managers who oversee a team of employees who may be involved with food service, medical equipment sales, manufacturing, or marketing, among many, many other options. Others may have a more technical slant on their work and thus spend their time bridging the gap between the IT department and the administrative end of a corporation.
Business professionals typically work in office buildings and spend their time working on computers, though there are many exceptions. For instance, some may work from home or have a career in consultation where they travel for most of their working life. It's also not a given that a business professional will seek profit as their driving motivation. There are many business administration professionals who work for non-profit organizations or government agencies.
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Business Education in Kentucky
Kentucky may be famous for bourbon and horse races but it's also a strong member of the national business community. The state's economy is led by manufacturing, which is #22 in the nation, real estate which is #30, and professional and business services, which is #31 nationally. For a relatively small state, Kentucky is able to produce far more than one would think. This economic strength is due in no small part to its business colleges and degree programs. The state's public and private colleges and universities continually produce some of the nation's best business minds.
In fact, Kentucky's budding business professionals can get a start in the state's community college system. There, students will find affordable classes and degrees such as accounting, marketing, management, information technology, and more. These degrees can help them land their first job. Since students might find that their ideal program is several counties away, many Kentucky community colleges support online associate degree programs.
Kentucky also has many of the nation's best bachelor business degree programs. Kentucky students can choose from many top public and private colleges and universities. These schools offer traditional and online classes and degree programs. The faculties in these schools steep students in the most current thinking in academia. Thus, graduates enter the Kentucky economy with the most innovative approaches to business available.
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There is no doubt that Kentucky's success is due in no small part to its ability to train and maintain some of the nation's brightest business minds. Though some may venture off to big cities such as New York or Chicago, Kentucky's beauty and charm ensures that many stay in the Bluegrass State for the duration of their fruitful careers.
Associate Degree in Business (AS)
Community colleges offer students a terrific way to launch a business career. Their associate business degrees introduce students to the fundamental concepts in the business world while requiring the core college curriculum that will help them later complete bachelor’s degrees. Depending on the college, students can focus on subjects such as accounting, marketing, management, management information systems, or supply chain management. Students should seek out the best associate business degree program for them. Whether that means finding an in-person or online associate degree program, they will be rewarded later for choosing the right degree for them.
Upon graduation, students can land entry-level positions where they can gain business experience. Employers will be happy to see that they completed a full degree program. Further, since students only have two years left to complete their bachelor’s business degree, they might find an employer who offers a strong tuition reimbursement program. They can thus land a strong, career-track position and then return to school at night or online and then complete a full four-year business degree.
Bachelor's Degree in Business (BS)
A bachelor’s degree is often considered the baseline degree for all business professionals. In the span of four years, students have the opportunity to dive deeper into business topics than in an associate degree program. They can also pursue a more well-rounded education with electives that challenge their values and critical thinking abilities. Further, courses in areas such as economics, computer science, and accounting can directly impact their later work in the business community. Students should consider earning a minor concentration or double major to better inform their core business focus.
Over the course of a bachelor’s business degree, students should seek out non-academic opportunities such as leadership roles in student government, sports leadership, and internships. These extra-curricular experiences can make them more relatable to future employers and help them land the job of their dreams. These non-academic experiences can also help them build a more diverse network that may inspire their careers in ways that they could never have predicted.
Master's Degree in Business (MS or MC)
Where at one time the MBA was a rare and exotic credential, it’s now becoming all too common. In fact, it's a defacto requirement for many upper-level jobs, especially in the C-suites. In the first year of an MBA degree program, students raise their level of business knowledge with a curriculum that builds on their knowledge of fundamental concepts such as banking, finance, marketing, or human resources. In the second year of their MBA, students focus on a core concentration that will guide the rest of their career. Options can include finance, supply chain management, marketing, or healthcare, to name a few.
There are many ways to approach an MBA degree. Some undergraduate students are fortunate to have an accelerated MBA that is nested in their undergraduate studies. This allow them to complete a bachelor’s business degree along with an MBA in a mere five years. This reduces educational costs and expedites their rise to business greatness.
PhD Degree in Business (PhD)
Though uncommon in business circles, it may be worthwhile to get ahead of the curve and land a PhD or doctorate in a business field. Since business and commerce is increasingly dictated by Big Data, students with a penchant for mathematics or computer science should consider a PhD in data science. However, there are other options for those seeking a doctorate.
After all, the business community is always evolving and a PhD in a more traditional business field may be highly valued. For instance, students who dive deep into marketing for their doctoral dissertation may find that their knowledge and skill is highly valued upon graduation. They might also dive into supply chain management for their PhD. This area is very hot right now and firms are going to be looking for the best qualified candidates to help them maneuver new challenges in the 21st century.
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Become a Business Development Specialist in Kentucky
Students who are eager to launch a business career in Kentucky are in luck. The state is full of educational opportunities for workers with business degrees. They also find that upon graduation that the state's growing economy is eager to take them on board. However, though the outlook is generally sunny, it's still necessary to understand how to become a business professional in Kentucky.
First off, it's vital for every student to discover their true desire for business. After all, many choose business because it's been suggested by someone else. Thus, it's vital to recognize things like a penchant for reading the business section in the newspaper or an affinity for trying to understand how individual businesses or industries operate. Youngsters who are fascinated by economic trends or marketing campaigns, among other things, are good candidates for a career in business.
It's also important to recognize one's strongest talents. One that helps nearly all business professionals is a talent for mathematics. Those with a stronger sense of numbers may consider accounting or maybe the analytical side of marketing. In addition to accounting classes, many business professionals are aided by studying statistics. For coursework, it's never too early to start a formal, or semi-formal study of business topics.
There are many ways for younger students to study business. Naturally, the internet is full of all sorts of resources. Students should seek out valid, trustworthy sources for views and analysis of markets, economic trends, and more. There may be YouTube personalities who post regular videos where they analyze these things. In fact, there are professors who have started their own YouTube channels dedicated to economics, finance, and more. There are even valuable academic resources for students to pursue.
Many high schools offer courses in accounting or other business topics. If a student has a strong STEM focused high school nearby, they might apply for admission. While they might end up focused more on topics such as engineering during high school, they will surely find that the fundamental skills they are honing will apply later in their bachelor’s business degree programs.
When it comes time to apply to a Kentucky college or university, it's vital to find the program that best fits the student's desires. Each school of business is prone to have its own strengths. Find a program that focuses on the areas most desired and then research that program's accreditation. Kentucky colleges and universities that are accredited by the AACSB, ACBSP, or IACBE.
Careers for Business Graduates
- VP Operations:
This upper-level position comes after many years of successful work in business. More often than not, a VP-level business professional needs to have an MBA. To succeed, MBA students should concentrate on management or operations for their master’s degree. There may also be strong, fully accredited MS programs to boost an operations career to the C-suites.
- Operations Manager:
This job description might be attained after completing a bachelor’s business degree. However, those with an associate business degree may still rise through the ranks to work as an operations manager. Once in the job, business professionals work on designing and improving operational aspects of a business such as manufacturing processes and more.
- Business Development Director:
Every business needs to keep an eye on the future and discover new areas to develop. Business development directors also seek to expand on their firm's current projects. For instance, a food company's business development team might seek to expand one product line to include new flavors or other packaging strategies.
- Human Resources Specialist:
Every business is reliant upon its employees, and human resources specialists ensure that those employees are hired and compensated. Human resources is now a degree of its own in many Kentucky business colleges. The specialist position can entail many functions including benefits administration, periodic training sessions for employees, and even mediating conflicts between employees.
- Team Leader:
These business professionals are often in line to become management. To become a team leader, employees need to be strong in their positions and then be named as leader by their supervisors. This is the sort of position that many land after on-the-job training and experience. However, a fresh graduate with an associate business degree might walk into a team leader position, depending on the company and their overall resume.
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- IT Director:
Business and technology are so intertwined that many business schools are including information technology as a degree option. To become an IT director, most business professionals work and accrue experience for several years. Others might expedite the process with a master’s degree in information technology or, even better, an MBA with a concentration in IT. Yet a third option is a dual MBA with IT as the second master’s degree.
- Administrative Assistant:
This is a great position to land while working towards an associate business degree. Administrative assistants gain invaluable insights into the businesses they work for, especially those who work for C-level executives. In fact, many are able to form invaluable networks throughout the business community which will pay great dividends later.
- Account Manager:
These sales and marketing professionals work with clients to ensure that they are well taken care of. This job description is often found in the realm of marketing and advertising and the account manager will oversee all parts of an account from the creative campaign through the media placements and purchases.
- Financial/Business Analyst:
This profession is increasingly valued in the business community. After all, every firm needs a professional who can assess their finances and operations with an eye toward continued improvement.
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