Overview of a Bachelor's in Business Management
A bachelor’s is the entry-level degree for most business administration or management positions and, while some companies require a master’s for higher-level management positions, there are plenty of positions available for those with a bachelor's degree in business management. With a bachelor’s, you will have the opportunity to work your way up in a company through experience alone, or to earn a higher-level award while still earning your paycheck. Taking courses in a business management program while working means that your master’s may take you longer to achieve, but you might find that your current employer is willing to cover some, or all, of the cost in order to have a more qualified employee, whether you attend an online business management program or on-campus at the local state university. Even if you don’t even earn your master’s, the experience you accrue will help you continue to move up and earn higher pay. You can do this within the same company or continue looking through the new and exciting variety of business managers roles all over the country.
The skills business management students will learn in a business administration program will span everything they need to know to help run a company or organization, including general business management skills, confident decision making, professional communication skills, an overview of marketing, accounting, economics, human resources, international business, organizational behavior, statistics, and more.
- A four-year degree will qualify you for entry-level business management positions, as opposed to you working your way up the chain of employment. Most employers looking to fill management positions require this degree as a minimum.
- Your salary will average $8,000 more per year than that of graduates with an associate's in the same field; experience will add to your expected compensation.
- You will have more job options available in comparison to those with an associate degree, or no higher education, as you will qualify for many more positions within the field.
- A business management bachelor's degree program's credits will easily transfer to another career field such as administration.
- This degree will take an average of four years to complete if you attend a college or state university full time, so it will take you longer to enter the workforce. Employers also prefer to hire those with experience in the field, whether that's in marketing, accounting, or some other work they have as business professionals.
- Upper management or positions as leaders typically require a master's degree or other advanced education, so if you wish to enter top management, you'll need to continue your education. You may need to find employment and work on your graduate degree part time to comply with the needs of your employer.
- Your employer may require specific certifications or specialized knowledge not covered by your undergraduate degree, meaning your employment may be contingent on completing specialized training in a timely manner.
Certificate vs. Bachelor’s
There are several certificates you might earn instead of a bachelor's degree; these are designed to give you a working knowledge of a specific area within business management. Certification is valuable if you already hold a degree in a different subject but, because most management positions prefer to hire those with a bachelor's degree, certificates should not be seen as a substitute for a degree.
Some employers might require special certification in a particular subject such as project management; in these situations, there is usually a time allowance for you to take the certification class and exam within the first six months or year of employment.
What Business Management Bachelor’s Degrees are Available?
There are three basic bachelor degrees offered in business management. Here's a quick look at each:
- Bachelor of Arts in Business Management (BA in Business or Management): in an arts program, the electives are more generalized, so you have more choices in other studies as opposed to choosing only business subjects.
- Bachelor of Science in Business Management (BS in Business or Management): Here, electives are restricted to specific courses such as accounting or human resources within the business field.
- Bachelor of Applied Science in Business Management (BAS in Business or Management): This includes core business curriculum, combined with a specialized management area such as operations management or business law.
Some schools title a business management degree under "business" or "business administration" and offer management as a specialization within the program, so you should research offered degrees before enrolling in a program. Look at the specific courses required under each program, as well as any specializations offered, rather than narrowing your search to cover schools that only offer a degree titled "business management".
Although each school sets their own admission requirements, as a rule of thumb you should have a GPA of at least 3.0. Some, but not all schools, also have minimum SAT score requirements. You will need to submit a copy of your transcripts as well as personal information when you apply to each school. If you didn't do so great in high school, but still want to earn your bachelor's degree, you might consider taking the first two years at a community college in order to show you can maintain a solid GPA. Then you can transfer your credits to a four-year school to complete your bachelor’s degree requirements.
How long does it take to earn a Business Management Bachelor's?
A bachelor’s degree is considered a four-year degree; it typically takes four years of full-time coursework to complete. If you already have an associate degree, it should take about two more years to earn your bachelor's. A bachelor's degree consists of 120 credit hours, so you can calculate your time frame by dividing the number of credits you take each year into 120.
If you're still in high school, you may be able to take college classes, allowing you to shorten the actual time in college needed for a bachelor's degree. Most colleges also have a testing procedure in place that will allow you to take and pass an exam for college credit. For example, if you're an ace in English, you may be able to take and pass a test and skip one or more required English courses while receiving full credit.
Potential Careers in Business Management with a Bachelor’s
Virtually every type of business requires management and, while a small corner store can be a one-man show, there are many facets of management within a larger corporation. Here are some examples of bachelor degree-level careers within the field of business management, as well as the average annual income of each position.
- Account Manager:
An account manager works with the marketing and sales teams to develop new customer relationships. They typically work with other businesses, giving presentations and sales pitches in order to bring the potential customer on board as a regular client. They also explain cost factors to clients and monitor the budget of each account.
Average Annual Income: $52,900
- Business Analyst:
A business analyst gathers data concerning procedures or projects within a company. They analyze the information to offer alterations or possible solutions to specific problems concerning the inspected policy or procedure. They may spend their day poring over documents or interviewing employees in order to gather all the pertinent facts regarding the issue at hand.
Average Annual Income: $59,400
- Sales Manager:
A sales manager sets the strategy behind a sales campaign. They may also set sales goals, work with customers to resolve complaints and issues, and track customer preferences in order to set new sales goals. Sales managers often also oversee the sales territories and set training initiatives for new sales members.
Average Annual Income: $59,800
- Marketing Manager:
A marketing manager is charged with estimating the services and products demand by identifying new potential product markets to help the growth of sales. They may also oversee a marketing team and monitor the marketing budget to meet expenses and growth goals.
Average Annual Income: $63,800
- Financial Analyst:
A financial analyst composes graphs, spreadsheets, and charts in order to analyze a company's finances and then explain it to corporate board members. They may conduct in-depth analysis to forecast industry expectations and prepare prospectus for investment plans.
Average Annual Income: $59,500
Options to Advance
The field of business management has excellent opportunities for advancement. Generally speaking, you might advance through experience and a proven track record alone, but to reach upper management you will likely need to earn at least a master's degree.
Your options will depend on your chosen career. For example, a marketing manager might rise to marketing director and then chief marketing officer. A sales manager might advance to regional sales manager and then national sales manager.
Your employer might have specific educational requirements in place. If so, you will need to complete the designated classes or programs as indicated. For the best chances on advancement your long-term plan should include a master's degree in the area you've chosen to specialize in. That, combined with experience, will allow you to apply for upper management positions on the board of directors of major corporations.
Best Bachelor of Science in Business Management Programs
Washington and Lee University
The business program at Washington and Lee is fully accredited and is one of the few business degrees you can earn at a top-rated liberal arts university. As a well-established university, there is an excellent student support system in place if you need extra help.
- Business Administration Degree; specialization choices of Marketing Management and Managerial Finance
University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business
Los Angeles, California
Marshall focuses on building leadership and managerial skills to foster entrepreneurial talent; an internship and seminars provide hands-on experience for all business students. Marshall is also proactive in introducing new concepts and innovative processes to business education.
- B.S. in Business Administration
Fairfield University: Dolan School of Business
Dolan focuses on teaching strategic planning, leadership traits, and decision making processes as applied to business organizations. Dolan also integrates the theories of business with the relationships between business and society to provide a well-rounded business education.
- B.S. Business Management; concentrations choices are general management, human resource management, business and society, and entrepreneurship.
University of Pennsylvania: Wharton School of Business
Wharton is one of the best business schools in the country and its curriculum reflects this history. A combination of classwork and personal experience will maximize your college experience; specialized concentrations will allow you to focus on the specific area in which you wish to build your career.
- B.S. in Business with concentrations in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Multinational Management, Organizational Effectiveness, Strategic Management
Kent State University
Kent, Ohio (plus six other campuses)
Kent has a solid business management program that will prepare you for entry-level positions. An extensive selection of elective courses allows you to specialize in one or more areas of business without declaring a concentration.
- Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Business Management
Traditional Schools Offering a BS. in Business Management
Devry has a focus on technology, and your online degree program will include the latest tech in the business industry. An interactive learning program gives you hands-on experience combined with convenient online courses.
- B.A. in Business with specialization in: Business Intelligence and Analytics Management, Human Resource Management, Retail Management, Small Business Management, and Entrepreneurship
Southern New Hampshire University
Manchester, New Hampshire
Southern New Hampshire University is dedicated to the success of their students and offers an admission counselor as well as an academic advisor to help you transition smoothly into the role of an online student.
- BS in Business Administration; specializations in Management Information Systems, Nonprofit Management, Organizational Leadership, Project Management
Walden offers a wide range of concentrations so you can specialize in the exact area of business management you plan to build your career in. Walden holds full accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
- BS in Business Administration; concentrations in Management, Healthcare Management, Human Resources Management, Small Business Management, Marketing
Purdue Global University
Purdue Global offers a full 14 concentrations, allowing you to focus on a specific area of management. Purdue also offers credit for work experience so you may earn credits for work, military, and other academic experiences.
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration; 14 concentrations to choose from
Grand Canyon University: Colangelo College of Business
Colangelo has a full-spectrum business program that is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (ACBSP). The business program is offered both online and on campus so you can access all aspects of the learning experience.
- Bachelor of Science Business Management
Business Degrees & Career Paths