According to a recent Georgetown University study, careers in the business field are among the most popular and highest-paying options available. Within the business field itself, business management is one of the most common career choices among students. Business management professionals are often the leaders within the company and handle both personnel issues and the day-to-day operations of the organization. When working for a larger company or corporation, a business manager may oversee the operations of a specific department, such as finance or human resource.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports show that the demand for business managers is expected to grow by an average of 5% over the upcoming decade, which is slightly above the national average. BLS records reveal that the average business manager earns $105,660 per year. However, actual salaries vary greatly based on education, experience, and specific job title.
Both small and large companies, as well as nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies, hire business managers to handle various aspects of business operations. Business managers can expect to spend the majority of the day in their office working or attending meetings. They may also be required to travel to meet with clients or attend corporate functions. A good business manager should have exceptional communication and leadership skills as well as strong decision-making, organizational and strategic planning abilities.
If you are considering a career in business management this guide is for you. It will explain the benefits of seeking an online business management degree and how to determine which program is best for you.
Benefits of an online business management degree
While some entry-level positions in business management may be available, the best way to jump-start your career and to ensure continued success is to earn a business degree. There are several degree options for students pursuing a career in business management, including:
An associate degree program is ideal for students wishing to start their education at the community college level. Graduates can expect to find entry-level positions at small to midsize businesses or franchises. Most associate degree programs take an average of two years to complete.
Some community colleges offer transfer programs that allow students to transfer some, or all, of the credits earned during the associate program to a four-year college or university. If you’re considering earning a bachelor’s degree later, be sure to inquire about any transfer program available before scheduling classes.
Most business management students begin their careers by obtaining a bachelor’s degree at an accredited college or university. There are numerous online bachelor’s degree programs available that allow you to earn your business degree right from home. These programs typically take four years of full-time studies to complete. Graduates with a Bachelor of Business Management can expect to obtain an entry-level position at a small, midsize or large business or corporation or nonprofit organization.
Some students advance their careers by earning a graduate degree, such as a Master of Business Management (MBM) or Doctor of Business Management (DBM) degree. Online MBA (Master of Business Administration) or MBM degrees take an average of two years to complete, while a doctorate degree takes an additional two to three years.
Many graduate students specialize in a specific field of business management, such as human resource and financial management. Business managers with a graduate degree can expect to earn a higher salary than those with an undergraduate degree.
Fortunately, many colleges and universities offer online degree options. There are many great benefits of earning a business management degree online, including:
Online programs typically provide greater flexibility than traditional in-person classes. While some colleges require students to attend online classes at specific times, others simply upload class lectures and assignments and allow students to complete the coursework at a time that is most convenient for them.
Either way, students have the ability to work online classes around their busy schedules, which may allow them to continue working while obtaining an online program. For many students, this higher level of flexibility gives them the ability to pursue a business degree online that otherwise may have been unattainable.
If you’re worried that between your work and personal responsibilities you may be too busy to go to school, you’ll be happy to know that online school can help you save time. Since online classes can be taken right from the comfort of your own home, you will not have to waste time commuting back and forth to school. Instead, you can spend that commute time studying and completing assignments.
Completing your business management degree online can also help you save money. First, you can save on gas money by not commuting back and forth to school. Secondly, you can save on room and board by eliminating the need to relocate and pay for housing near your school. Instead, you can complete the entire online program right from your home.
Easy teacher-student communication
One of the biggest complaints students at on-campus universities have is teacher-student communication. Some professors are only available during scheduled office hours, which may be inconvenient for many students. Furthermore, some professors don’t check their email throughout the day. These issues can make direct communication difficult.
Online students don’t have these issues. These professors are used to online communication and likely check their email several times throughout the day. This easy communication allows students to obtain direct assistance and support as needed.
Types of online business management degrees
If you’re considering a career in the business field, you may be confused as to the difference between business management and business administration. While these two fields of study are very similar, there are also some distinct differences that must be understood.
First, business administration and business management are both very popular options for students wishing to pursue a career in business. Both programs cover a wide range of business-related topics, such as accounting, human resource, and marketing. In smaller businesses, business administrators and business managers may be interchangeable and handle the same types of duties. However, in larger corporations and governmental agencies, these two types of professionals carry out very different roles.
Business manager role and education
Business managers typically focus on the overall management of the business. They focus on duties, such as personnel management, strategic planning, and goal setting. While business managers have an in-depth understanding of the day-to-day operations of the business, they tend to focus more on long-term planning and overall management of the company. Business managers must have strong leadership and interpersonal skills.
In larger corporations, a business manager may handle the overall operations of a specific department, such as marketing or finance. With experience and training, business managers can move up into executive-level positions, such as CEOs and General Managers
Undergraduate online courses in business management cover all the basic business classes, such as economics and business law as well as management-specific courses, including operational and human resource management. Graduate students can expect to take more in-depth courses, such as strategic management and international business studies.
Business administration role and education
Business administrators, on the other hand, focus more on the day-to-day operations of the business. In many cases, they are responsible for overseeing the operations of a specific department, such as HR, IT, and finance. However, in small to midsize businesses and nonprofits, these professionals may handle administrative tasks for the entire company. Business administrators can also move into executive-level positions, such as CEO, CFO, or COO with the right experience and training.
Undergraduate programs also include general business online courses, such as business ethics, microeconomics, and accounting as well as administrative-specific classes, including computer applications, project management, and business analytics. Graduate students can expect to take higher-level courses in finance, business communication, marketing, and business strategies.
Business management concentrations
Many business school students at both the undergraduate and graduate level select a specific concentration under their business degree program. While there are dozens of business management specialties available here’s a look at the most popular.
- Accounting: Accounting professionals handle a variety of duties, such as the company’s financial statements, account receivables, and payables, bank reconciliation, and taxes.
- Finance: Financial managers focus on financial long and short-term planning for the company. They analyze financial records, forecast future earnings, and play a major role in strategic planning for the business.
- Marketing: Marketing managers help to build brand awareness for the company. They use a variety of marketing techniques and strategies to generate leads and build a customer base.
- HR management: Human resources managers take care of personnel matters, including hiring and terminations, maintaining employee records, and managing employee benefits.
- Business analytics: Business analysts evaluate company metrics, including sales, financial, supply-and-demand and talent retention, to determine the strength of the company, identify weaknesses and help with the strategic planning process.
- Project management: As the name suggests, project managers handle major projects for the company, such as a new product launch. These managers collaborate with all necessary parties to ensure a seamless and effective process.
- International affairs: Managers that handle international affairs work for large corporations with a global presence. They collaborate with key players in various countries to create a cohesive deployment of goods and services across the globe.
- Information technology (IT): IT manager help to maintain the company’s computer infrastructures. They ensure online security for both the business and its customers, identify potential IT risk, oversee any technology upgrades or investments, and handle IT issues as they arise.
- Supply chain management: Supply chain managers solely focus on the supply chain aspect of the business. They work with managers from various departments, company executives, and vendors to ensure the company has the supplies it needs.
- Community development: These managers work directly with local and state agencies to create community development plans for local municipalities.
- Business administration and business management are the most popular degree programs available. However, some students already know the business specialty they want to build their career around. In these cases, students, either at the undergraduate or graduate degree level will stray away from the broader business administration and business management programs and choose a specialty business course instead. There are numerous business management degree options available, such as:
|Degree||Average annual salary||Description|
|Accounting||$71,550||Accountants handle everything from financial statements to taxes to financial audits. Many accountants work to earn their CPA (Certified Public Accountant) certification.|
|Human resource management||$116,720||These managers are the head of the HR department and handle all types of personnel issues, including hiring and firing employees and managing benefits.|
|Business management in Sales||$126,640||Sales managers oversee the sales department of the business. Their duties include tasks, such as hiring and training sales representatives, tracking sales, and analyzing results.|
|Facilities management||$96,940||These managers handle the day-to-day management of business properties, including maintenance, parking, security, and cleaning. They also work with contractors and service professionals to make necessary repairs, renovations, and upgrades.|
|Healthcare managers||$100,980||Healthcare managers work as business managers within a healthcare setting. They must have extensive knowledge of both business principles and healthcare practices.|
Courses for an online business management degree
The amount of time it takes to earn a degree in business management varies by degree level. There are four main business management degree levels, including associate, bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees and each program has its own graduation requirements. While program specifics vary from school to school, below is a look at the average requirements for each type of online business management degree program.
Associate degree: Students must typically complete 60 credit hours of online coursework to obtain an associate degree. On average, a student can complete this degree within two years of full-time studies.
Bachelor degree: Online students can typically complete an online bachelor’s degree program within four years when attending full time. Students must complete an average of 120-semester credits. If you’re a transfer student from a community college or other university, you may be able to transfer many of your already completed credits to lower your requirements.
Master degree: Master degree programs can take anywhere from 18 months to 3 years to complete, depending on the specific program. The number of required credits ranges from 30 to 60.
Doctorate degree: A doctorate program can take between three to six years to complete depending on the program requirements. Most doctorate programs require students to complete between 90 and 120 credit hours, although some work experience may qualify for credit hours.
Undergraduate business management programs
Undergraduate students take a mixture of general education and business-related courses as well as a number of electives. General education and elective courses typically account for one-third or one-half of the coursework needed for graduation. These general education courses fall into five prime categories, including English (composition and speech), mathematics (algebra, calculus, and statistics), science (biology, chemistry, and physics), social science (history, psychology, and political science), and humanities (music and arts). Some schools may also require students to take specialty classes, such as physical education and job readiness.
The other half of an online bachelor’s degree program requirement involves business-related courses. These core courses include topics, such as:
- Foundations of accounting
- Business marketing
- Introduction to business law
- Business ethics
- Organizational behavior
- Operations management
- Human resource management
- Business analytics
- Business communication
Graduate business management programs
Most graduate programs don’t require as many if any, general education classes. Instead, students focus on higher-level business courses. Some of these classes include broad business-related courses, such as accounting, economics, finance, marketing, and business ethics.
However, if you have selected a concentration under business management, you will take advanced classes in your specific field of choice. For example, if you selected a concentration in human resources, you can expect to take master-level courses in HR theory and practices, talent development, and innovative workplaces.
Most colleges and universities, especially advance collegiate schools, also require graduate students to complete an MBA internship with an approved business or organization. It’s important to understand this requirement prior to starting an MBA program, since it may interfere with your work schedule and require a commute to and from your intern location.
Tips for choosing the right online business management courses
As an undergraduate student, you’ll have the opportunity to choose a variety of elective courses while completing your business degree program. The decision about which courses to take should not be taken lightly because having the right training can help boost your career after graduation. While your elective options at the graduate level are limited, they are still extremely important.
Fortunately, there are several tips to make sure you select classes that are both enjoyable and beneficial to your future career.
Career advancement: The first thing you want to consider is career advancement. Determine which electives are most likely to help you advance your future career. Take some time to read through various online job postings for business management positions to identify what skillsets and knowledge-based abilities employers are looking for in candidates. Consider taking classes that allow you to build these skills.
For example, if speech is not a course requirement, you should consider taking this class because strong communication skills are necessary for business management. Additionally, if you are considering a career in international business management, you may want to take social science courses that focus on countries with global economies, such as China, Japan, and Germany.
Specialty or concentration: If you have selected a concentration under your degree program, your advisor will help you select courses within this specialty. However, if you haven’t selected a concentration or you have a secondary interest, it’s still important to select business courses that closely align with your career goals.
For example, if your career goal is to work for a small business, you will likely need both operational and personnel management skills, so be sure to take courses in both operational management and HR management.
Course requirements: Don’t forget to check out the course requirements before picking electives. This factor is true for even general education classes. You must be able to complete all the necessary requirements to successfully pass the class.
For example, a basic music class may seem straightforward, but you could be required to attend one or more local concerts. Be sure you can fit this into your schedule before taking any course with off-line requirements.
Personal interests: You are more likely to do better in a class if it covers materials that interest you. Be sure to read through the list of elective courses available to you before making any final decisions. This will ensure that you select the classes that are the best match for you.
Top schools with online business management degree programs
Online business management degree programs are the ideal option for many students. Fortunately, there are a large number of colleges and universities that offer online BA (Business Administration) and BM (Business Management) degree programs. Whether you are looking for an undergraduate or graduate online degree program, there are several things you should consider when deciding which school to attend.
When searching for an online school, the most important thing is to find one that is accredited by the AACSB (Association of Advance Collegiate Schools of Business). This is the accreditation that employers look for when hiring candidates. Additionally, if you plan to further your career, this accreditation is required and without it, you may not be able to transfer any credits or attend a higher-level degree program.
All of the top schools for business maintain this accreditation. In fact, schools with this accreditation should proudly acknowledge it on their website but you can also use the AACSB website to verify any school’s accreditation.
Another factor you want to check before deciding on an online management degree program is the graduation requirements. Many schools, especially at the bachelor’s degree and master’s degree level require students to complete a professional internship with an approved company or organization.
Take the time to read the details of this requirement to ensure that the internship can be completed at a location close to your home. You also want to check for other graduation requirements, such as in-person testing or attendance at professional business-related conferences. Having an understanding of all necessary travel or time-consuming activities should be understood before starting any online program.
Concentrations and specialties
If there is a specific specialty of business management you want to concentrate on, be sure to find a school that offers that exact program. Specifically, ask the school about the various types of business management concentrations it offers as well as a comprehensive list of its business-related courses. This information can help you compare online universities to determine which school offers the program and courses that best match your career goals.
Business career preparation
Yes, even online business schools offer business career preparation services – at least the good ones do. Make sure you find out what type of career preparation services the school offers its online students. Don’t just take the admissions counselors word for this. Actually, contact the business career prep center and ask what types of services are available.
At a minimum, the online school should help with resume writing, mock interviews, aptitude testing, assistance with internship placement, career advice, and graduate school planning support. Also check out some of the school success metrics, such as graduation and graduation-to-job attainment rates.
For many students, tuition costs are a major concern. When comparing costs, be sure to include all related fees, such as activities, lab, and tech fees. This step will give you a clear idea of just how much the online program cost.
If college costs seem out of reach, don’t despair. There are plenty of financial aid options available, including:
- Federal student aid: The Federal Student Aid program can help eligible students offset the cost of college. Interested students should complete the required FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) by the designated deadline to determine eligibility and apply for aid. Eligible students may qualify for both federal grants and federal-backed student loans. Beware that while grants do not have to be paid back, federal student loans must be paid back upon graduation.
- Grants: Many states also have a student grant program that can provide even more financial support to cover the cost of college. Some states have their own student grant application, while other states work in conjunction with the FAFSA application. You can contact your college or state’s Department of Education for more information.
- Scholarships: There are literally hundreds of scholarships available to students entering the business field. Scholarships work much like grants, in the fact that the money does not need to be repaid. Check with your local school or college or conduct an online search to determine which scholarships are best for you.
- Loans: If you don’t qualify for federal or state financial support, you may still be able to take out a loan to cover the costs of school. Check with your local bank to see what options are available to you.