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Regardless of the industry, all businesses need workers, from the entry-level guy in the mail room to the CEO in the corner office. And, considering a business can vary from working in fast food or in a coal mine to being employed by a tech company, that means there are a lot of people who are needed to make these organizations successful. Business professionals are the ones who make sure daily operations run as smoothly as possible.
Every industry requires business professionals, so the demand for the position is always high and, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for people who can run a or manage a business is expected to remain higher than average through 2030. For people who enjoy puzzles, multitasking, and working in a fast-paced, sometimes high stress environment, a career as a business professional, particularly in management, could be ideal. Whether you work in real estate or finance, business professionals in Oklahoma are in high demand. If you think this might be a good career path for you, below are some of the things you need to know about the required education and how far each level will get you in the Sooner state.
When most people think of a business professional, they think of a person in a suit carrying a briefcase to their office job. However, that’s a small fraction of those who work in a business setting. Business professionals aren’t all white-collar jobs with salaries and 401k plans.
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Online Business Education in Oklahoma
Technically, anyone who has a job is a business professional, but several levels of professionalism exist in workplaces in all sorts of industries. For instance, a manager at an oil refinery might be considered a blue-collar worker with extra responsibilities, while a manager at an accounting firm is looked at as a white-collar professional. But the truth is, both are managers and, as such, have some similar job duties. A professional is a person who strives to be the best at something and lead others so, whether that person works on an oil rig or a cubicle, they are a business professional.
Although a person can start their careers as business professionals without a formal education, some form of education will be required to move into the top-level management positions. Below are the four levels of business degrees you can earn.
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Online Associate Degree in Business (AS)
An associate degree in business will provide a basic education in business.
The degree takes two years to complete ad covers a variety of areas in business including:
- Intro to Computers
- Principles of Management
- Business Communication
- Business Ethics
- Intro to Accounting
- Principles of Marketing
- Public Speaking
- Business Law
An associate degree prepares a person for entry-level positions at most organizations. For those with work experience, the degree can allow them to attain lower management positions. However, it’s important to note that it can be hard to gain promotions with just an associate degree. But, for those who plan to go on to earn a bachelor’s, you should ensure that the school you attend is accredited and that it has a transfer agreement with a four-year institution so that you can start your bachelor’s as a junior rather than a freshman.
Online Bachelor's Degree in Business (BS)
Most people who get an online four-year degree in business have a specialization that will allow them to easily work within a specific department or function of a working business. These are additional courses taken on top of the general business core curriculum, which includes classes in accounting, management, and marketing.
For example, someone who wants to go into advertising might take the usual business courses such as:
- Business Administration
- Business Analysis
- Intro to Marketing
- Business Ethics and Law
- Business Statistics
- Economic Principles
- Human Resources
- International Studies
- Operations Management
- And More
But these students also take classes such as the following:
- Consumer Behavior
- Marketing and Audience Research
- Advertising Theory
- Media Planning
- Digital Portfolio
- Public Relations
- And More
With a four-degree, graduates can apply for a variety of positions depending on their specialization. But the degree may also be enough to gain access to entry-level or even lower-level supervisory position in most companies.
Online Master's Degree in Business (MS)
For those who want to enter into senior management positions in a company, a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) may be a requirement. A bachelor’s degree will often be enough to start a career in finance or other areas of business, but managers need additional education to effectively manage people and companies. MBA programs build on what was taught at the undergraduate level but adds additional critical thinking and analytical courses into the mix. So, in addition to the classes mentioned above, graduate students will take more in-depth courses aimed at helping them to be more able to respond to crises, understand how to make decisions based on data, and more.
Courses might include the following.
- Business Analytics
- Financial Projections
- Quantitative Business Analysis
- Managerial Accounting
- Marketing Analytics
- Business Statistics
- Advanced Business Communication
With an MBA and several years of work experience a person could be tapped for middle-management to upper-level management positions. Many CEOs earn MBAs and gain some higher-level management experience before being tapped for the highest management position in a company.
Those who wish to gain more in-depth learning in their specialization - human resources, marketing, etc. – can choose to earn a master’s in their chosen focus, such as a Master of Arts in Marketing, or they can earn an MBA with a concentration in marketing. Either one is acceptable.
Online PhD Degree in Business (PhD)
A doctorate in business administration (DBA) is an option, but the need for this degree is rather specialized. Many people who get a doctorate in business are seeking to become tenured professors for a college or university. The degree can be helpful in a business setting, but it is needed in academia for those who wish to teach at the highest levels or work in research positions.
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Those who pursue this degree will study the following areas of study.
- Human Development (in an organization)
- Organizational Leadership
- Operational Management
- Information Systems
These degrees are not required, even for the highest level of business management, but they are the only way to obtain tenure at some universities and can provide credibility to those who wish to work as consultants.
Become a Business Development Specialist in Oklahoma
To become a business professional in Oklahoma, several steps need to be followed. First, choosing an industry that matches a person’s career goals and personal desires. Most people have an idea of things that interest them more than others, so that’s a good jumping off point.
Learn all you can about an industry you are interested in and then find out what skills are required. The skills needed and your abilities should match. For example, someone who wants to become a chemist needs to have excellent math and science skills. If you are missing some of the required skills to be successful, this is a good time to pursue additional formal education. Getting a degree will help you gain the skills you are lacking and help you determine if your career desires are reasonable and attainable. For those who might not be sure they are on the right career path, getting a lower-level degree will help determine if this is the path to stay on or if choosing a different career path is a better decision.
Once a person has determined a career path and are on their way to attaining the needed education, they can start looking for jobs in their chosen field. The best approach is to look for entry-level positions at companies but focus on the areas where you want to work. If you have work experience in a particular field, you can search for positions that are higher than entry-level positions. once you have found a position, work that job to the best of your abilities.
Another option to becoming a business professional in Oklahoma is to start your own business. A person doesn't need formal training to operate a business, however, the additional education and insight into how businesses work can't hurt. Businesses that are run by people with a formal education are often viewed as more credible businesses than those that are run by individuals without a formal education. Other businesses and customers well often be more eager to work with a business that is run by a formally educated person. However, starting your own business means you will not have to deal with being an employee for someone else. For many getting the education and being able to avoid working for someone else is a fair trade off.
Careers for Business Graduates
There is practically no limit to the career opportunities a person with an education in business can consider.
Below are some examples of the career options that could be available to these individuals.
- VP Operations
A vice president of operations is basically the second in command at a business. They report directly to the president of the company. Operations is an umbrella for the overall performance of the business, encompassing all departments and employees. The VP has to understand how every part of the company runs and must keep track of its needs and do what is necessary to keep the organization operational.
- Operations Manager
Operation managers are upper-level managers that deal with all of the company’s organizational processes. They also commonly work with the human resources department on hiring and training developments. They may also implement policies and strategies meant to maintain efficiency across the organization.
- Business Development
Business development directors are tasked with improving a business’ growth, growing its revenue, locating new business opportunities in the form of partnerships or sales, and company brand building.
- Administrative Assistant
An administrative assistant is charged with running the daily operations of administrative employees for a business. They hire personnel, create schedules, dispatch personal to needed departments, and create and execute training for administrative employees. They report to the office manager. Many coordinators started out as administrative workers and worked their way up the ranks to coordinator or office manager themselves.
- Account Manager
An account manager is the bridge between a company and its clients. Account managers ensure that the client’s needs are met. Those needs vary depending on the type of business. Account managers might work independently or they could have a team of managers under them.
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- Project Manager
Project managers oversee a project for a company. The manager must be experienced with the project topic and is tasked with training others on the team who may lack the experience with the topic. The tasks required can vary depending on the scope of the project, and the manager is responsible for keeping the project on track and ensuring that it is planned and implemented at the highest level possible. One project could have several teams involved and the project manager is tasked with keeping all teams on track.
Entrepreneurs are business creators. They have a knack for creating solutions to issues and building a business around that solution. Entrepreneurs are risk takers and start businesses while assuming much of the risk. They are also often tapped by current business owners to help them home in on their business idea and develop a plan to make the venture more successful.
- Supply Chain Manager
A supply chain manager makes sure all departments of a company have the goods and materials needed to operate effectively. They identify supply needs, contact the distributors and sellers of the materials needed, coordinate the distribution and warehousing of goods and materials, and act as liaison in the event there is an issue between the supplier and the company.
- IT Director
The information technology director oversees the IT department. They are responsible for the execution and strategy of the IT infrastructure for a business entity. They direct the effective delivery of disaster recovery, networks, and data development. IT directors are also in charge of technical projects that help an organization meet their goals.