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New Jersey is a state of contrasts. Its northeast corner is part of the Greater New York City area while western New Jersey is full of farmland and rural, bucolic living. The Jersey shore is also a famous vacation spot for people from all over the northeastern United States. However, the New Jersey economy reflects more influence from New York City than anywhere else. In fact, New Jersey's top industry is professional and business services, which ranks at #9 nationwide.

Other top industries in New Jersey include real estate leasing, social services including healthcare, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, finance, and information, to name a few. While these industries and their member businesses are quite diverse, they all have some fundamental things in common. Chief among them is the fact that they all rely on business professionals to ensure that they continue to function on a day-to-day basis. All of those industries need accountants, marketing experts, finance professionals, and human resource experts, among others, to continue running a productive business.

A business professional is a person who makes their living by working for a commercial enterprise or business. While that could describe most workers, business professionals are typically engaged in pure business activities such as accounting, marketing, sales, management, supply chain matters, or business operations. Thus, a business professional can come in many different forms but, if you’re looking to get into business through education, you probably aren’t aiming to work as a sales associate at a clothing store.

Business professionals tend to share many characteristics, regardless of their specific job title. For instance, most work on computers in offices, though these days more and more are working from home. They also tend to wear formal, or semi-formal business attire including button-down shirts and slacks, never jeans.

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Online Business Education in New Jersey

Thus, New Jersey's colleges and universities strive to have the best business and business-related degree programs available. They know that students are interested in business and that state funding is probably more likely available for practical, career-focused degree programs. Since college is a training ground for the working world, students are eager to learn the fundamentals of business, as well as the finer details that make a huge difference in the market. They want to become leaders in their local or even the national business community. Some will move to Manhattan where they will rule the world of corporate finance.

Business degree programs thus seek to recruit the very best business instructors and professors available. In particular, they seek out faculty members that have not only academic credentials, such as an MBA or doctorate business degree, but practical experience in the New Jersey or New York economies. This is because personal experiences can enlighten otherwise dry lessons and, for example, bring financial equations to life. Experienced New Jersey businesspeople can also illustrate how state laws and regulations may impact certain business practices, which makes the lessons all the more relevant for students in the Garden State.

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These days, remote businesspeople can log into their firm's networks and attend meetings via a video streaming service. Then there are business consultants who may work remotely but who also tend to do a lot of travel for their work. Consultants may work as accounting professionals who perform independent audits, or they may be IT consultants who perform installations or upgrades to their client's systems, among many other options.

Online Associate Degree in Business (AS)

A two-year degree is a great way to launch a career in business. New Jersey's community college system is full of terrific programs. There, students can find business degrees such as accounting, marketing, management, and more. For those who cannot find their desired business program offered at their local community college, there are many online associate business degree programs available from remote community colleges. It may even be possible to arrange to take some courses in a local classroom while completing business courses from a remote, online community college elsewhere in New Jersey. The associate degree option opens up great opportunities. This is because, on top of the business courses that lead to an associate business degree, students will also complete the core college curriculum.

Thus, an associate business degree is a terrific way to get started in the world of business. A two-year degree can help you land an entry-level position in your field of choice. There, you can gain hands-on, practical knowledge. Then, when you’re ready, you should find that your associate business degree has prepared you for a bachelor’s business degree.

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Online Bachelor's Degree in Business (BS)

A bachelor's business degree is perhaps the best foundation for a successful career in business. A four-year degree allows students to dive deeper into their chosen field whether that is marketing, management information systems, management, logistics, human resources, or some other business specialty. A bachelor's business degree should always be fully accredited from a regional agency, if not a national, program-specific accreditation agency.

Over the course of a bachelor's business degree, students have a chance to gain valuable experience in the world of business. Some four-year degree programs provide the option for students to engage in a co-op program, in which they work for a term and then resume courses in the following term. Other students may take a more traditional route and complete a business internship over the summer term or amidst their regular class schedules. Both a co-op and internship will open doors and help students learn how to apply their knowledge in the real working world.

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Online Master's Degree in Business (MS)

A master’s business degree, most often an MBA, is a valuable achievement for any businessperson. In fact, it is often seen as a gateway to the C-suites and stellar business success. To earn an MBA, students need to first complete a bachelor's business degree, provide satisfactory scores on the GMAT, and even have solid business experience.

The MBA degree itself is a two-year degree that is divided into two parts. The first year is spent in a general business curriculum, though at the more rigorous graduate level. The second year is then used to focus on a specific area of business. Students can focus on areas such as healthcare finance, marketing, management, supply chain, and even information technology. This concentration is somewhat equivalent to the undergraduate major field but it's even more vital to make a careful decision when choosing a concentration. This is because the concentration area will likely be where the student spends their work life from that point forward.

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Online PhD Degree in Business (PhD)

Though a PhD isn't required by hiring managers in the business world, this degree can be useful for many professionals. For those who are seeking a career in technology, a PhD might be exactly what they need. For instance, those who focus on data science may want to climb to these heights. Some firms even hire data scientists to continue their PhD level research. Similarly, some mathematics majors have made certain discoveries that led them to break out of academia and into the world of business, where they are able to profit from their academic work.

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Become a Business Development Specialist in New Jersey

There are few true barriers to becoming a business professional in New Jersey. There are no licenses or specific degrees that are required. In fact, the world of business is full of stories of those who have used their own natural talent, plus hard work, to create vast fortunes. However, those stories are statistical outliers that no savvy investor would ever count on.

Thus, New Jersey residents need to find ways to enter the business community. Most often that is achieved by going to college, earning a degree, and then starting off with an entry-level position. Others may be able to use their business knowledge to craft a business proposal that wins them a bank loan to start their own business. Either way, it's vital to have fundamental business knowledge before launching a career in business.

Students can start attaining that knowledge in one of New Jersey's 18 community colleges. The state is full of these terrific two-year colleges that charge very little for tuition, but which offer a high educational value. Community colleges typically offer multiple business-related degrees such as accounting, marketing, management, and human resources. However, students might not find the specific focus they want at their local community college. They may be able to find the program they want across the state, which will require moving or enrolling in an online associate degree program.

The standard entry-level degree for most business professionals, however, is a four-year bachelor's business degree. New Jersey students are in luck because their public university system is excellent. Rutgers is one of the nation's top institutions of higher learning and the state supports 16 total campuses that provide fully accredited business (and other) degrees. When students enroll in a four-year degree program, they will find that they are presented with numerous options. A four-year business degree program offers students the opportunity to investigate the various disciplines under the business umbrella so that they can choose the best major for them. They can also opt to add a minor concentration to their degree or even a double major.

Over the course of earning a degree, New Jersey's college students should seek out opportunities to gain valuable business experience. Most will do this by landing an internship. For those who are in school near New York City, the opportunities are nearly unlimited. Another option is to work part-time while attending school or to even take a year or two off for work.

Students should strive to pay as much attention to their undergraduate work as possible. When students have a strong transcript, they will find it easier to gain admission into a top MBA program, and the NY/NJ area is home to several top MBA programs.

Careers for Business Graduates

  • VP Operations:
    This is a top-level position that typically goes to candidates who not only have a lot of experience in operations management, but who also have an MBA. The position entails overseeing a firm's day-to-day operations which often include manufacturing facilities, supply chain matters, and more. At the VP level, executives are more likely to spend their time overseeing managers and analyzing reports from them.
  • Operations Manager:
    An operations manager is charged with ensuring the efficient operations of a business on a day-to-day basis. These managers make sure that their employees are prepared with all of the tools and supplies they need to complete a job. Operations managers often monitor inventories that the firm relies on to conduct its business.
  • Human Resources Specialist:
    This position is concerned with helping a firm attract and maintain a strong roster of workers. Human resources specialists may work with various parts of the employment picture such as benefits, compliance training, and conflict mitigation between employees. A strong HR department is vital to any firm's success.
  • Team Leader:
    This is a supervisory position that is not quite at the management level. Team leaders may be responsible for motivating their team and offering them pointers on how to improve performance. Team leaders who show great promise may soon be elevated into a higher-level managerial position.

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  • Administrative Assistant:
    Every top executive needs a top administrative assistant. Administrative assistants are charged with maintaining the calendar for an executive, though some assistants work for a small team of executives. Their duties include answering phones, preparing meeting rooms, and typing various documents. Sometimes administrative assistants also help executives manage domestic matters including coordinating appointments with mechanics, relaying messages to spouses, and more.
  • Account Manager:
    This title often goes to marketing, advertising, or public relations executives. Account managers often attract clients to their firm and then help to maintain that relationship over time. In the case of advertising agencies, an account manager will communicate the client's needs to the creative team, communicate analytical marketing data back to the client, and more. Note that account managers often perform a sales role that involves servicing client needs after the sale.
  • IT Director:
    These management professionals work to oversee an information technology department. They may be involved in hiring and other HR functions within the department, as well as continually assessing not only employee performance but the overall IT picture. It's vital for an IT director to be up to date on the latest software and hardware solutions that might benefit their firm.
  • Data Analyst:
    This profession is growing by leaps and bounds as firms need experts who can analyze huge data troves. Data analysts are also called data scientists and may have an academic background in mathematics or computer science, if not both. This job may go to those with undergraduate degrees but hiring managers also look for those with master's or doctorate degrees to fill the position.
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