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What is Business Administration?

A business is an organization that provides products and/or services to customers in exchange for some form of compensation. Businesses require employees to create the products, distribute the products, advertise the products, sell them, and deliver them. However, these employees also need to be supervised, and those that oversee employees are managers. In turn, managers also are accountable to their superiors, who might be called administrators or executives. To be clear, managers oversee employees, while administrators supervise managers and perform upper-level business duties.

Every industry requires administrators, so the demand for the position is always high and, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for people who can run a business is expected to remain higher than average through 2029. If you are the type of person who likes puzzles, enjoys multitasking and working in a fast-paced, sometimes high stress environment, a career as a business administrator could be for you.

A business administrator is the person who keeps all the balls in the air. Administrators have to track the progress of the business, make sure managers and supervisors are performing tasks properly and providing sufficient leadership to their employees, all while keeping members of upper management and the ownership in the loop. Administrators have different tasks depending on the industry but, regardless of the business, they spend most of their time providing guidance and direction.

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Online Business Administration Education in Rhode Island

If you have the desire to enter into management in your chosen area of expertise, then a degree in business administration can help you reach your goals. Having at least a base knowledge of business management, marketing, and accounting can put you ahead of others in the work force, especially if you attain an education in your profession. For example, a musician with a business background can better determine if offered deals are good or not and artists can better understand their contracts. It’s never a bad idea to have some business education, even if you don’t end up in business. So, if this is of interest to you, keep reading. Below you will find information on the kinds of degrees you can get in business and some of the careers you could pursue once you have the required education.

There are several levels of education you can attain in business administration. The level you choose to pursue depends on several factors, from financial to ultimate career goals. For instance, a person who wants to work in a field and decide if it’s the right career for them might get an associate degree, while someone who wishes to be a CEO for a finance firm is probably going to get a four-year degree and possibly an MBA. Below is a breakdown for each degree and what you could anticipate studying while you are in school.

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Online Associate Degree in Business Administration (AS)

An online associate degree in business management or administration is the beginning level for anyone who wants to pursue a management position. In some organizations, this degree is enough to get you into a management position. However, for those who want to work at a corporate level, this online degree could be enough to land entry-level position at the company and start gaining experience. To advance further, additional education may be required. In a two-year online business program, students will get a base education and a variety of business courses.

some of those courses include:

  • Financial Accounting
  • Managerial Accounting
  • Business Law
  • Principles of Finance
  • Global Dimensions in Business
  • Principles of Management
  • Applied Marketing Strategies
  • Critical Business Skills for Success
  • Managing and Leading a Business

These classes are in addition to the general education courses required to finish a two-year degree. The total number of credit hours completed usually equals around 60 by the time you finish. It’s also important to ensure that, if you choose to earn an associate degree, you attend a school that is accredited. Not only will this help you to get a job, but it will also allow you to possibly transfer credits if you choose to continue your education.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration (BS)

Most people who get a four-year degree in business administration earn a business degree with a specialization. These are additional courses taken on top of the general business core curriculum, which might include classes in accounting, human resources, and marketing.

Students who want to earn a specialization in administration or management will likely take more courses in management technique and communication in order to facilitate their future career.

  • Accounting I
  • Accounting II
  • Intro to Management
  • Human Resources Management
  • Business Law and Ethics
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Managerial Economics
  • Management Policy and Strategy
  • Corporate Finance
  • Marketing

Students may also be able to choose a concentration, depending on the school they attend. Just some options of concentration include construction management, human resources, sport entertainment management, procurement, global marketing management, digital and social media management, business development, aviation management, and more.

With a four-degree, graduates can apply for a variety of positions, depending on their specialization, but this degree level is enough to get an entry-level or even lower-level supervisory position in most companies. With more experience, your opportunities will grow.

Online Master's Degree in Business Administration (MS or MA)

A Online master’s in business administration, aka an MBA, is practically a requirement for anyone who is seeking management positions in a corporation or larger company, and even more so for higher-level positions. These programs are designed specifically to help students attain the knowledge needed to effectively manage a company, employees, or both. These programs generally take two to three years to complete and may require either a master’s thesis or a comprehensive exam at the end of their coursework. However, there are options for accelerated MBA programs, but these are more intense and may make it difficult to continue working while you complete your coursework.

Those enrolled in these programs may see courses such as the following, though every school creates its own curriculum and electives and secondary curriculum will depend on your specialization.

  • Leadership
  • Statistics for Decision Making
  • Management Communication
  • Microeconomics for Managers
  • Marketing Management

With an MBA and several years of work experience a person could be tapped for upper-level management positions, and even the C-suites don’t require more than an MBA.

Online PhD Degree in Business Administration (PhD)

For those who wish to be considered a subject matter expert or pursue a career in academia, a doctorate degree in business or business administration is a good choice. These programs are specialized to suit the ultimate goals of the student but touch on all aspects of business, especially the management and analytical portions of running a business. The degree generally takes four to seven years to complete, depending on how much time you have to devote to your studies, and it may require a dissertation or doctoral study be completed before you earn your degree.

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Those who pursue this degree will study the following areas.

  • Accounting
  • Marketing
  • Ethics
  • Management
  • Economics
  • Human Development (in an organization)
  • Finance
  • Organizational Leadership
  • Operational Management
  • Information Systems

Become a Business Administrator in Rhode Island

Becoming a business administration professional typically involves the combination of work experience and formal education and training, though some do manage to make into administration without the education. This is the harder route, however, because, in most of these cases, work experience is substituted for education and that’s typically not a one-to-one correlation. In other words, it will take longer for a person relying on work experience to make it into management than someone with a formal education. This isn’t always fair as there are many employees who have the experience to be excellent managers but lack the “piece of paper” that officially proves they have this knowledge. That said, here is the faster path to help you reach the rank of business administration professional.

First, get a degree. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in business, but it should be related to the industry in which you want to work, and you’ll want some management courses to be included in the education. You will also want to graduate from one of the best universities in Rhode Island. If you haven’t already started working in your chosen industry, looking for a part-time job isn’t a bad idea. If you aren’t sure what industry you want to pursue, getting a general education in business and management is a good approach. If an internship is an option, take it, provided you aren’t already working in the field. The internship will give you a better idea of what it will be like to work in the industry and help you determine if you are on the right path career-wise. It’s also a great way to network and meet people already established in the industry, connections that might come in handy in the future.

Once you attain at least the basic knowledge needed to work in the industry (and provided you haven’t already done so) start looking for a job. If you can’t find work in a specific industry, look for positions that are parallel or related to it. The job hunt can take a while, so be patient and keep an eye out for all opportunities. This is where the connections you made during your internship could prove useful. Keep in mind that the jobs you are likely to be considered qualified for will be entry-level positions unless you’ve been working this entire time. In that case, management positions might be an option for you, depending on your work experience.

Once you have secured employment, start working your way up the business ladder. Do your job to the best of your ability. If a new opportunity presents itself, either with the same company or a different one, don’t be afraid to explore the opportunity and see where it leads. There was a time when job hopping was frowned upon, but that’s not really the case anymore. Most employers understand the concept of going where you will be considered the greatest asset. Staying with an organization that might not have any opportunities for advancement might seem like the loyal thing to do, but it hurts your chances to achieve your goals of being in management. So, do what is best for you and your ultimate goals.

Careers for Business Administration Graduates

Since all businesses need managers and administrators, finding a position in a preferred industry just requires perseverance and patience. As current administrators retire, more positions in all industries will become available. Below are some examples of the positions one could pursue.

  • Administrative Coordinator
    An administrative coordinator 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.
  • Branch Manager (Banking)
    A bank branch manager is the person who runs a particular branch of a bank. For example, if a bank has five branches in five different locations, there is a manager for each branch, hence branch manager. This person oversees all the other employees of that particular bank location. They report to the main branch’s management team (not the main office branch manager) and must account for everything that occurs at their location. Some managers start out as tellers and work their way up, while others get banking degrees and are able to start in management right out of school. A high attention to detail and desire to work with the public is a must.

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  • Team Supervisor (Call Center)
    A call center team supervisor oversees a team of call center representatives. The team is usually assigned to a specific client, and they handle the customer service calls for that client. The team supervisor ensures that everyone on the team is trained and shows the temperament and skills needed to provide adequate customer service. The team supervisor is in charge of evaluating the team’s metrics as well as the metrics of each individual on the team. Team supervisors are usually former call center representatives and report to the call center manager.
  • Financial Advisor
    Financial advisors assist individuals who want to invest money. Advisors are knowledgeable about finance, banking, stock, bonds, and other investment instruments. Advisors review a person’s financial circumstances, money available to invest, and their desired return on investment and make suggestions regarding where to put their money for the best financial outcome. They usually work for financial brokerages but can also work for themselves. Advisors generally have business degrees coupled with special finance training. They also must have excellent people and communication skills.

Other career options for a person with an education and experience as business administrators include:

  • Maintenance Manager
  • Accounting Associate
  • Chief Marketing Manager
  • Digital Marketing Manager
  • Marketing Director
  • Product Manager
  • Project Manager
  • Supply Chain Manager
  • Non-Profit Director
  • Public Services Director

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