When you're required to declare your major upon acceptance into a university, there are so many options to choose from. For students that don't yet have a sense of what they'd like to do when they graduate, this can put a lot of pressure on them. It also doesn't help if parents and other family members are trying to steer you in a direction that you're not interested in going. But for those who at least know that they want to make a decent living and have some flexibility in their career choices, then getting a degree in business administration may be the way to go. Colleges and universities around the world offer programs in business administration, which leaves you with many options regarding where you can choose to study, as well as many potential job opportunities available in the future.

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The definition of a business administration degree is a four-year bachelor's degree that provides students with the tools, resources and skills necessary to pursue a job or career in business administration.

Business Administration Degree Definition

Some people choose to study education, medicine, history or music, while others choose to study business. Learning about business is a great way to learn powerful skills and have diverse job options, that typically result in a higher salary than other occupations. A business administration degree is one of the most popular choices among college students for this reason, as it provides students with the tools necessary to start their own business or become an administrator in a business that's already successful. Additionally, if you study business administration, then you'll have the freedom to be in any industry that you dream of working in. You can also have the option of working in a large business or a start-up. As long as it's a business, it can be the right fit for you.

What Is a Bachelor in Business Administration?

Although you can have some luck finding jobs in business after earning a two-year degree, you'll have much more success with a bachelor's in business administration. This is because most private, public and non-profit organizations require a four-year degree when it comes time to hire a new staff member. With a bachelor's degree in business administration, you'll learn everything from business management principles to meaningful interpersonal skills, and you'll find that you'll be more comfortable taking on leadership roles and doing things like making decisions quickly. Business majors are also able to make connections and network with their peers, which will certainly come in handy later in life.

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All of these skills, like communication skills and writing skills, you'll learn through the courses you take in your major, and you'll be given plenty of opportunities to exercise these skills in and out of the classroom. This is because depending on your program, you'll also be required to have some internships during your time in school. This will give you a chance to gain relevant experience that will come into play once you graduate and enter the workforce.

The main principles and practices you'll learn in business administration are in organizational leadership, strategic planning, people management and business-oriented computer applications. After all, you cannot be a good businessman or businesswoman unless you know how to work with others. That being said, each school takes their own unique approach to the program they offer to students, so it's important to look into what makes your prospective school stand out from all the others. For instance, what is the teacher-to-student ratio like? Where did alumni from the program end up after graduation? And what programs are in place to help students be as successful as possible and ready to apply for jobs upon graduating?

Business Administration Degree Requirements

If you want to get into a business program, then you'll have to make sure you meet the business administration degree requirements. This is different for all schools, and obviously, more reputable business schools will be more strict when it comes to making admissions decisions. First and foremost, you must have a high school diploma if you want to pursue a four-year degree in anything. But if you already know from a young age that you're interested in pursuing a degree in business administration, then it's a good idea to take as many courses as you can in the categories of communications, social sciences, computer literacy, English and math while you're still in high school.

That being said, don't worry if you weren't a math-whiz in high school, or your high school didn't offer too much flexibility in terms of choosing classes that would have served as nice pre-requisites for a business program. As long as you did well in high school, and your heart is in your application, then you can apply for a business administration program anywhere. Some students may decide to pursue an associate's degree in business administration before applying for a four-year degree or to just get a taste as to whether or not it's something they like. Of course, if you have an associate's in business administration, you'll be that much closer to getting into the four-year program of your choice. Though, it's certainly not necessary if your grades were top-notch in high school, and your overall application is strong.

Business Administration Degree Courses

Before you apply to a business administration program, it's good to know what you're getting yourself into in terms of coursework. Although every business program around the world is a little bit different, you can expect to find more or less very similar business administration degree courses wherever you enroll:

  • Computer applications and systems
  • Business communications and critical thinking
  • Principles of accounting
  • Business research
  • Microeconomics
  • Marketing
  • Business law
  • Finance for business
  • Global business strategies
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Business ethics
  • Management theory and practice

Business Administration Careers and Jobs

If you're thinking of pursuing a degree in business administration, then it's likely that you already know a bit about the different career options and jobs to choose from. In a world where it's getting more and more difficult to find a well-paying job that offers you some kind of flexibility, a degree in business administration is becoming much more appealing. But if you're still just curious about which business administration careers and jobs are available, you'll be surprised to see the diverse options:

  • Accountant
  • City budget manager
  • Loan Officer
  • Sales manager
  • Operations manager
  • Public relations manager
  • Banker
  • Administration executive
  • CEO
  • Retail store manager
  • Business consultant
  • Department store manager
  • School administrator
  • Human resources manager
  • Healthcare management

Schools That Offer a Business Administration Program

There are many schools in the United States and around the world that offer degree programs in business administration. That being said, there are some schools that are recognized as having "better" business administration programs than others. Though you can certainly take business courses pretty much anywhere, if you're really striving to get into a good program, then it's best to know where you should be applying:

  • Dartmouth College
  • UPenn (Wharton)
  • Harvard Business School
  • Northwestern University (Kellogg)
  • University of Michigan
  • Stanford University
  • NYU (Stern School of Business)
  • MIT (Sloan)
  • The University of California (Haas School of Business)

Business Administration Degrees Online

Some students don't have the ability to attend a four-year college in person, either because they're already working, they have a family, or they aren't in a position to get up and move to another city just to be able to enroll in school. Luckily, there are many business administration degrees online that you can apply to, which will allow you to get the same education, just at a distance:

  • Penn State World Campus
  • UMass (Isenberg School of Management)
  • Temple University (Fox School of Business)
  • ASU Online (W.P. Carey School of Business)
  • UF Online (Warrington College of Business Administration)
  • University of Georgia (Terry College of Business)
  • Drexel University Online (LeBow College of Business)

Further Education in Business

After you graduate with your degree in business administration, you have the option to enter the workforce directly or continue with your education. Some choose to do both at the same time, others choose to work for a few years then go back to school, and others choose to just stay in school and continue their education. There's no right or wrong option. Some students have a lot of luck finding an excellent-paying job right after college, but others feel that they'll have more opportunities and higher-pay with further schooling under their belt. You just need to go with what feels right for you.

After pursuing a four-year business administration degree, you can continue on to get an MBA, which is a master of business administration. If this is something that interests you from the start, then you can also opt to enroll in a joint BA/MBA program. Otherwise, after your MBA, you can pursue your DBA, which is a doctor of administration degree, which can generally take between three and six years to achieve. Keep in mind, though, that when it comes to business, some of the greatest CEOs of time have created successful businesses without needing to go to school.

The Pros and Cons of a Business Administration Degree

When it comes to pursuing a degree in business administration, there are some things that you should consider. Like with any major or career path, there are positive sides and negative sides to it, and a person should fully understand all those sides before committing to a major. It can be very stressful to change your major halfway through school because you chose something that wasn't right for you. If that happens, chances are you'll have to essentially start all over again. Therefore, it's best to fully understand the business administration degree definition, before going forward.

The pros of pursuing a business administration degree are that if you work in business, then you'll tend to make nice money after graduation. It's also easy to work your way up in the field. Business is never something that's going to be replaced or go out of style, and therefore, jobs will always be plentiful. You can also have a lot of freedom and flexibility in choosing an industry that you're interested in working in. Additionally, you'll learn skills that are transferable across other careers, if you ever decide later on that you need a career change.

Some of the cons, however, of pursuing a degree in business administration, are that like with many bachelor's programs in the U.S., schools, in general, are very expensive. Many students have to take out loans with high interest rates in order to pay for school, and this can set you back, even if you do get a job after college that pays well. Along with this, you'll have to put in a lot of work into your studies if you want to be successful, so if attending school isn't really something you're interested in, then it's best to think twice about getting your degree in business administration.

About the Author

Hana LaRock is a freelance content writer from New York, currently living in Mexico. She has spent the last 5 years traveling the world and living abroad and has lived in South Korea and Israel. Before becoming a writer, Hana worked as a teacher for several years. Hana enjoys reading, cooking, and watching foreign films.