How to Become a Business Professional in Massachusetts

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What Business Major are You Interested In?


The main goal of a business professional or business owner is to increase their sales and revenue. Their chosen profession and overall expertise can cause them to experience high demand across a variety of industries and sectors. A general business degree allows students and graduates to choose from a wider menu of careers. These can include business administration or management, accounting, economics, entrepreneurship, human resources, finance, international business, marketing, logistics or supply chain management, public relations, project management, sustainability, sports management, and others.

The business professionals in each of these areas of specialization may have varying responsibilities, which is part of what makes it hard to define the everyday tasks of a business professional.


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Business Education in Massachusetts

Business leaders in every one of Massachusetts’ industries do much to help their organizations thrive. Whether the company fits within the professional and business services sector (bringing in $102.4 billion/year) or the construction sector ($21.1 billion), the work that business leaders do is invaluable.

In May of 2020, 71,000+ business and financial professionals were employed in Massachusetts. In that same time period, the annual mean wage for business and financial professionals was $99,000. Beyond a healthy income, Massachusetts has much to offer. With its craggy beaches and seascapes, the state draws thousands of tourists each year. Along with the scenery, the state possesses the highest concentration of secondary and post-secondary schools, colleges, and universities in the entire world.

After graduating, former students tend to remain in the state, where they find work and begin starting their own families. As of 2009, the state was #1 in the country for number of residents who had attended college. However, Massachusetts does have one key distinction: two-thirds of its graduates attended and graduated from private universities; in many other states, roughly two-thirds of graduates with bachelor’s degrees earned their degrees from public schools.

Business professionals may be accountants, business analysts, HR specialists, or supply chain managers. Depending on their areas of interest and degrees, they can carry out a wide range of job activities including improving cash flow, ensuring the smooth operation of a computer network, or starting and running their own business.


Associate Degree in Business (AS)

An associate degree in business or business administration and management can offer graduates an opportunity to work in any business field in which they may have interest. At this educational level, they should be able to find an entry-level job, gain experience, and eventually work their way up and obtain successful career outcomes.

For instance, they may want to work in advertising or they may thrive in the hotel and restaurant sector. With a general or management-focused business degree, all of these are options. Other options may include entry-level management, retail, and sales positions.

For students who haven’t made a firm decision about their future career, it may be a good idea to gain a general business degree. This way, you can take courses in accounting, marketing, finance, human resources, and others and gain some perspective on where you think you would best fit in your future career. If you know that you’ll want to transfer to a four-year program, a good two-year degree can allow you to gain a solid foundation before you transfer into a bachelor’s program.

Bachelor's Degree in Business (BS)

Students will be able to find plenty of online and in-person options for degrees at this level. You might want to earn a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration or a more general business degree that can help you break into any career you want. These programs allow students to develop the problem-solving skills and analytical they will need throughout their careers. It also gives students the opportunity to gain foundational knowledge in every part of business such as human resources, accounting, business law, marketing, and more.

In these programs, students can also earn leadership skills, how to communicate effectively, how to use qualitative and quantitative business analysis, industry standard software, and business systems and technologies. You may even be able to complete a concentration if you choose an institution that offers them at this level. Those available include Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Management Information Systems, Finance, Management, International Business, and others.

Potential business careers may include general management, project and program management, operations management, client support and sales, sales management, marketing, retail management, and more.

Master's Degree in Business (MS or MC)

For students looking to enter graduate programs in business, a Master of Science in Management or MBA can prepare them to advance into a career in management or leadership. Upon graduation, these new professionals may find positions in business operations management, management consulting, business analytics, project management, or organizational leadership.

These in-depth business degrees allow students to focus in on a specialization that interests them such as human resources management or operations management. Depending on their areas of interest, graduates may choose to work as entertainment managers or sports managers.

Students more interested in an MBA will learn many of the same things, but the degree will focus on administration in every field. Students can easily choose an on-campus or online program, no matter their focus. These programs also allow students to choose concentrations or specializations which will help them to reach their career goals.

PhD Degree in Business (PhD)

Many universities offer PhD programs in a variety of areas of business: Technology and Operations Management, Accounting & Management, Strategy, Business Economics, Finance, Organizational Behavior, Health Policy Management, Marketing, and more.

Earning a PhD is rarely required in business, but it can help graduates to move into positions in research and teaching or advising top corporations, policy organizations, and non-profit organizations.

Become a Business Development Specialist in Massachusetts


Becoming a business professional has no external requirements except that you gain employment in an industry. However, there are some companies that will require certain certifications. Also, if you work in accounting or another specialized business field, you might require certain licensure before you can perform high-level work.

When a professional in any field earns a certification, this is a recognition that the person has met high standards in their field. They have also usually passed an exam to receive the certification. Certifications are often valid for a few years at a time before it expires; if so, it will have to be renewed, usually by taking continuing education courses. Some employers may require some of their employees to receive certification before they give them a raise or promotion. Here are a few general business certifications, but there are plenty more out there.

  • Business Analyst Certifications
    This profession has several certifications including Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) and IIBA Agile Analysis Certification (IIBA-AAC). The CBAP requires professionals to have a minimum of 7,500 hours of business analysis experience earned within the past 10 years; they must also show that 900 of these hours fit within four of the six Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK) Guide knowledge areas, provide two professional references, and earn at least 35 hours of professional development credits within the past four years. After earning this certification, business analysts will have to earn a minimum of 60 continuing education credits within three years of their date of certification.
  • Project Management Certifications (PMP)
    Certifications set a project manager apart from those who only say they have the organizational and leadership skills that are required. Employers who see applicants with PMP certification may be more likely to hire a job candidate.

Careers for Business Graduates


  • Operations Manager
    Operations managers supervise organizational activities in a variety of settings: private corporations, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and other companies. They are chosen for their role because of their leadership abilities. An operations manager may supervise employees and oversee front-of-house in a retail space or a production floor. They’ll also do a lot of planning and strategizing to make sure the company runs effectively.
  • Business Development Director
    The director is responsible for increasing organizational revenue. To do this, they identify and develop new business opportunities and they may also grow the organization’s brand presence. The director of business development manages current partnerships, leads cross-functional teams, and evaluates the business goals of the organization.
  • Team Leader
    Team leaders are responsible for monitoring and supervising a group of employees. They lead this team to meet goals, which helps to contribute to the grown of the company. They help to motivate and inspire the members of their team by developing an environment which promotes positive communication. This environment should also encourage team members to bond with each other, as well as demonstrating flexibility. They may also coach members of the team who have trouble meeting team metrics.
  • IT Director
    The IT director’s role depends totally on the organization. The director may oversee the organization’s technical infrastructure, determine business requirements for IT systems, lead a team of IT staff, supervise the design and implementation of IT infrastructure, and/or work to eliminate risks to security. Depending on the organization, they may also supervise the help desk for the organization.
  • Data Analyst
    A data analyst is guardian and gatekeeper of their organization’s data. They ensure stakeholders understand the data and help management use it to make business decisions that benefit the organization. The role of a data analyst may also include designing and maintaining data systems and databases. They also fix coding errors and other issues related to data.
  • HR Specialist/Manager

    An HR specialist has training in all areas of human resources. They may handle personnel issues in an organization, help recruit and hire new employees, and facilitate training and on-boarding into the organization.

    The HR manager takes care of two things: managing employees and overseeing the functions of the department. They should be highly experienced in each HR discipline: recruitment and selection, compensation and benefits, employee relations, and training and development. The core competencies of an HR manager include excellent communications skills and the ability to make decisions based on analytics.

  • Project Manager
    Project managers are responsible for planning, budgeting, and delegating responsibilities for a project. It’s their responsibility to ensure the work is done efficiently and correctly. A major part of their workday may include planning processes for the project, creating the budget, managing the project team, and communicating with clients.

Sources:

  • https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/map_changer.htm
  • https://massasoit.edu/pathway/business-administration-management/
  • https://business.umb.edu/masters-programs/mba
  • https://www.hbs.edu/doctoral/Pages/default.aspx
  • https://www.purdue.edu/projectmanagementcertification/news/project-manager-job-description-career-outlook/

Business Degrees & Career Paths


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