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What is Business Management?

There are many occupations related to business management, but most professionals in this field work for companies or organizations that expect them to oversee one or more aspects of operation. Specific responsibilities can range drastically, but often include supervising employees and overseeing many essential business activities. The most common employer expectations include hiring, training, and evaluating workers. These professionals may also make sure that employees have all the resources necessary to remain productive on a daily basis. Additionally, business managers frequently develop and implement budgets, prepare fiscal reports, and verify policy compliance in order to ensure that the financial goals of the company are met.

It's important to realize that job expectations can vary significantly depending on employer size and personal preference. Responsibilities may also differ based on the type of position held, as well as the industry selected.

To ensure business management graduates are prepared for as many work settings as possible, most colleges and universities intentionally design academic programs to help students develop skills that can be widely applied. This circumstance, coupled with the fact that almost every industry depends on and utilizes the expertise of business managers to some extent, makes it relatively easy to find employment in fields that align well with personal interests and/or passions.

While business management skills are useful in almost any professional context, some of the most prominent career paths include:

  • Sales
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Global Business
  • Entrepreneurship

While job outlook for this field is high, business management professions are not ideal for everyone. The most successful professionals typically possess great interpersonal, speaking, writing, communication, customer-service, and leadership skills. Good candidates may also enjoy completing tasks and solving problems.

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Online Business Management Education in Massachusetts

Those interested in obtaining management occupations in Massachusetts may benefit from earning a business management degree. This major, as well as many similar subjects, tend to be quite popular in the United States. This is because graduates are often equipped with skills and knowledge that can be applied to a wide variety of career options. While every program is different, individuals with this type of degree often have fewer difficulties finding and qualifying for employment opportunities.

In most cases, students can expect to receive instruction designed to enhance an understanding of various business-related topics such as management, finance, leadership, and marketing. These concepts are useful in almost every industry, allowing graduates to choose between a variety of professions in or outside of the field.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in management occupations is expected to increase by 9% from 2020 to 2030. This will account for the addition of approximately 906,500 new positions in the field and is about as fast as the average for all occupations. Most of this anticipated growth will result from the formation of new organizations and the expansion of existing companies. It’s important to realize that some occupations will see more growth than others.

Professions with the greatest increase potential include the following:

  • Advertising, Promotion, and Marketing Managers
  • Computer and Information Systems Managers
  • Construction Managers
  • Financial Manager
  • Food Service Managers
  • Preschool and Childcare Center Directors
  • Public Relations and Fundraising Managers
  • Social and Community Service Managers
  • Training and Development Managers

Notably, employment of medical and health service managers is projected to grow by 32% during this time period. This is significantly faster than the average for all occupations, making it a particularly alluring career choice for individuals interested in the business management field.

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Prospective business management professionals can also anticipate making relatively high salaries. The median annual wage for management occupations was $109,760 nationwide in May 2020. At the time, this was the highest wage of all major occupational groups assessed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Massachusetts workers, in particular, can expect to be compensated well. The mean hourly wage for management occupations was $67.97, and the annual mean wage $141,370. The management jobs with the highest pay potential included chief executives, marketing managers, sales managers, computer and information systems managers, financial managers, human resource managers, natural science managers, and architectural and engineering managers.

The education and health services industries have the highest employment numbers in Massachusetts, but the state’s number one sector is professional and business services, which accounts for $102.4 billion in revenue each year. Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that many other leading industries rely on business management professionals for success. This includes real estate, finance, manufacturing, information, wholesale trade, entertainment, retail, and construction. Based on data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Massachusetts employed approximately 303,950 professionals in this field in May of 2020. This is more than most states and is indicative of good job outlook for prospective business management professionals in the state.

Many colleges and universities offer relevant academic programs related to business management in Massachusetts. While online degree programs are becoming more prevalent throughout the nation, those who intend to apply for jobs in the state should give strong preference to local institutions. There are several reasons for this, chief among them being that these schools tend to be more familiar with employer needs and preferences in the region. Many of these colleges and universities also have established relationships with companies offering students internship and employment opportunities after graduation. Additionally, local institutions will be able to better prepare business students to meet Massachusetts rules and regulations pertaining to establishing and maintaining businesses in the state.

It’s important to realize that the minimum education level required by most business management occupations is a bachelor’s degree. Massachusetts colleges and universities do, however, offer academic programs at the associate level, as well as master’s and doctoral degrees. Each degree type has its own benefits and drawbacks, making it essential for prospective students to consider their options carefully before enrolling in a program. Those interested in this field must also keep their specific career goals in mind, as they are likely to impact the type of education needed.

Online Associate Degree in Business Management (AS)

Online associate degrees in business management typically consist of 60 credit hours of coursework and take full-time students approximately two years to complete. Program specifics vary, but most curriculums require students to complete a combination of general liberal arts education and introductory business courses. Common major classes include economics, accounting, and communication.

This type of online business management degree will be most useful to students interested in entry-level administrative positions in the field. While opportunities are varied, graduates can typically qualify for work as administrative assistants, executive assistants, food service managers, bookkeepers, office managers, human resources employees, and office clerks. These jobs do not typically offer many opportunities for career advancement, however.

An associate degree can provide strong foundational knowledge related to business management, but additional education is often necessary to qualify for promotions and/or higher-paying employment. As a result, many graduates choose to transfer the credits they have earned to traditional institutions for further learning. Associate degrees often equate to the first two years of bachelor’s degrees. Because community colleges generally charge lower tuition rates, this is frequently a more economical option than enrolling at a four-year college or university directly.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Business Management (BS)

Online bachelor’s degree programs in business management typically consist of 120 credit hours of coursework and take full-time students approximately four years to complete. Program specifics vary, but most curriculums incorporate a mixture of liberal arts (general education) and major-specific classes. Coursework is often meant to help students develop business management skills that can be applied in almost any professional setting.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most management occupations require candidates to have bachelor’s degrees. Once achieved, graduates will be qualified for a wide variety of employment opportunities including entry-level jobs as financial analysts, human resource specialists, and management consultants. Promotion is also common after gaining some experience in the workplace, with many professionals advancing into supervisory roles over time.

This type of degree is often sufficient to find employment, but graduates can choose to pursue additional education if wanted or warranted. If this is the goal, students should anticipate needing to meet minimum grade point average (GPA) and GRE score requirements as set by gaining graduate degree programs.

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

Master’s degrees in business management may range from between 30 to 60 credit hours of coursework and take full-time students one to two years to complete. Classes tend to be major specific and seek to prepare students for leadership positions in the field.

Another option available is the master of business administration (MBA). MBAs place more emphasis on the technical aspects of business, such as planning and execution.

These are ideal for individuals pursuing higher-level positions and both graduate degrees will qualify graduates for supervisory roles with many businesses and organizations. Graduates are often considered experts in management and leadership, making them valuable assets in most workplaces. Some of the most common employment opportunities include training and development manager, top executive, public relations and fundraising manager, human resource manager, information technology manager, financial manager, industrial production manager, and management analyst. Professionals with this level of academic achievement also tend to promote faster and earn more money.

Online PhD Degree in Business Management (PhD)

Online doctorate degrees related to business management typically consist of between 90 and 120 credit hours and take full-time students four to seven years to complete. In addition to a selection of upper-level coursework, students should expect to complete independent research and written dissertations prior to graduating.

While rarely required for employment, this is the highest level of education available in the field. Degrees of this kind are ideal for individuals who intend to pursue employment opportunities as top executives, postsecondary business professors, education administrators, and economists.

The most applicable degree options are a PhD in business or a doctorate in business administration (DBA). A PhD prepares graduates for work in research and independent study, with graduates qualifying for positions in research or as professors of business. A DBA, however, is most appropriate for professionals planning to apply for upper management and executive positions at larger companies and/or organizations. In both cases, programs are designed to enhance students’ theoretical knowledge of business and business management in preparation for highly successful careers.

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Become a Business Manager in Massachusetts

If you intend to become a business management professional in Massachusetts, the first step is identifying your specific career goals. As previously mentioned, there are many different professions available to individuals who degrees in this field. Proper planning ensures you complete the education requirements necessary to obtain your ideal occupation.

While your ultimate career goals can help dictate your academics, you do not need to have everything completely mapped out before enrolling in a program. Many colleges and universities design business management degree programs to be broad and flexible. As a result, it’s often easy to change tracks if you find a particular aspect of the field more interesting than another. Students are also often given opportunities to select concentrations, or specialties, which can help focus instruction on key subjects of interest.

Some of the most common options include:

  • Finance
  • Project Management
  • Human Resources
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Marketing
  • Global Business
  • Entrepreneurship

After obtaining the necessary degree(s), you should consider pursuing at least one professional certification and/or licensure. Generally, professionals do not require specific credentials to work in the field, but obtaining them can be beneficial for your career. Not only will relevant certifications make you a more competitive candidate for some positions, but they often improve promotion prospects and salary potential.

Because there is no standardized certification required for the profession, professionals are typically free to pursue credentials based on specialization and interest. One of the most popular options, however, is the certified business manager (CBM) designation. CBMs are known for possessing elite operational management skills and, as a result, are generally highly regarded in the field. This credential is offered through various institutions with specialized accreditation, as well as some MBA programs.

If you are interested in starting your own business, it’s important to become familiar with all Massachusetts laws and regulations. The quickest way to begin is to file a “Doing Business As” (DBA) Certificate. This allows you to set up your business through your town or city clerk’s office. All corporations, LLCs, and other business entities also need to be registered with the Secretary of the Commonwealth before opening in the state. You will also need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which can be obtained for free online via the IRS website. Additionally, depending on the type of business you plan to establish, you may need to obtain other licenses and/or permits. Massachusetts also requires annual updates filed through the Secretary of State’s Office.

Careers for Business Management Graduates

After earning a business management degree, you will be qualified to apply for a wide variety of employment opportunities in Massachusetts.

While specific job descriptions and corresponding salaries will vary, some of the most common career options include:

  • Project Manager
    Project managers oversee projects assigned to them by the companies and organizations they work for. They do this by managing associated budgets and resources appropriately. These professionals may also need to coordinate, document, and assign related tasks, as well as dispensing important information to team members in order to reach established goals and timelines. According to PayScale, project managers make an average base salary of $75,000 per year.
  • Administrative Assistant
    Administrative assistants provide administrative support to other workers. Responsibilities vary, but this job typically entails completing various secretarial duties, which may include tasks related to accounting, data entry, billing, inventory, correspondence, and record-keeping. They may also perform personal tasks for individuals, such as running errands and completing special requests. According to PayScale, administrative assistants make an average base hourly rate of $16.25, or approximately $40,150 per year.

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  • Marketing Manager
    Marketing managers create advertising or merchandising sales campaigns for single products, complete brands, and/or entire companies. They often collaborate with other professionals, such as product managers, and monitor overall program performance. Marketing managers may also develop and oversee product/service research studies as needed. According to PayScale, marketing managers make an average base salary of $66,600 per year.
  • Human Resources Manager
    Human resources managers oversee employee policies, procedures, and compliance regulations. They typically manage employee benefits and initiative programs, serving as a resource for workers. These professionals also ensure all employment activities follow local, state, and federal laws. According to PayScale, human resources managers make an average base salary of $68,750 per year.
  • Customer Service Associate
    Customer service associates assist customers and clients with any potential issues or inquiries. These professionals are often the first point of contact for the companies or organizations they work for, so it‘s essential they know how to provide general troubleshooting and technical assistance. According to PayScale, customer service associates make an average base hourly rate of $12.08, or approximately $42,150 per year.
  • Financial Analyst
    Financial analysts research marketplace trends, demographics, and microeconomic factors. This generally entails maintaining a thorough understanding of company resource investments and the ability to project how those investments will impact business growth over time. These professionals may also offer advice regarding bonds and splitting stock. According to PayScale, financial analysts make an average base salary of $61,950 per year.
  • Director of Operations
    Directors of operations manage employee productivity. These professionals often coordinate with vendors and sellers to make all necessary purchases in order to maintain production. They may also negotiate prices and delivery schedules. According to PayScale, directors of operations make an average base salary of $93,000 per year.

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