Earning a business management degree builds valuable skills in management, finance, and marketing, preparing graduates for multiple positions in the business sector. Candidates with business degrees also benefit from a growing and lucrative job market. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that management analyst positions will grow 14% by 2026; it also finds that sales managers earn a median salary of over $120,000. With so many opportunities available, earning a business management degree helps graduates take their career to the next level.
Earning a business management degree builds valuable skills in management, finance, and marketing, preparing graduates for multiple positions in the business sector.
Business management students use their training in operations management, human resources, financial analysis, and business strategy to advance their careers. This article walks through how to choose the best business degree for your interests and career goals, how to locate the top business degree schools, and how to use the tools business students need to succeed in the job market after graduation.
Should I Get a Bachelor's in Business Management?
A business management degree helps graduates gain positions in sales, marketing, finance, and human relations. These growing fields provide opportunities for career advancement and offer above-average salaries. Prospective business students benefit from the ability to complete their business degrees in person or online. An on-campus bachelor’s may appeal to students moving directly from high school into college, while an online program benefits working professionals, learners planning a career change, and students with family obligations. With either option, professionals with a business management degree expand their career opportunities.
While earning a business degree, students build valuable skills that transfer to the job market. These include management training, analytical skills, and business strategy knowledge. Business programs often provide concentrations for students who want to expand their abilities in a subfield such as finance or accounting. While completing the business curriculum, students benefit from networking opportunities through professional organizations and student groups, and many business programs also help students secure internships and provide job placement assistance.
After graduation, a business management degree prepares graduates for a variety of positions. In many sectors, candidates without a bachelor’s degree cannot compete for the most desirable jobs, so earning a business degree helps applicants stand out and demonstrate their value. Professionals considering a certification to increase earning potential also benefit from holding business degrees. For example, the Project Management Institute (PMI) reports that project managers who earn the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification earn 20% more than non-certified project managers.
What Can I Do With a Bachelor’s in Business Management?
As a versatile degree, a bachelor’s in business management prepares graduates for a variety of career paths. Business graduates work in accounting, sales, finance, and marketing, holding positions as managers and analysts. In many of these fields, a bachelor’s degree in business management qualifies candidates for entry-level positions. After gaining work experience or earning an advanced degree, professionals can increase their career opportunities and salary potential. Workers in this field often earn high salaries, with sales managers and marketing managers earning a median salary of over $100,000 a year.
Accountants prepare financial records, including personal and business tax records. They review financial records to ensure their accuracy and oversee financial operations for businesses. A bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in accounting prepares candidates for many entry-level accountant jobs. At the higher levels, professionals with a master’s can become CPAs.
Median Annual Salary: $69,350
Projected Growth Rate: 10%
- Sales Manager
Sales managers oversee, train, and organize a team of sales representatives for their company. They design training programs and analyze data to set sales goals, and many sales managers travel to represent their company or meet clients. A bachelor’s degree plus work experience qualifies professionals to work as sales managers.
Median Annual Salary: $121,060
Projected Growth Rate: 7%
- Management Analyst
Management analysts research an organization’s structure and create plans to improve its efficiency. Also called management consultants, these professionals advise managers on how to reduce costs, increase revenues, and increase profitability. A bachelor’s degree in business prepares professionals for entry-level positions in this field.
Median Annual Salary: $82,450
Projected Growth Rate: 14%
- Marketing Manager
Marketing managers design and direct marketing plans for their company, including developing pricing strategies, overseeing product trends, and performing competitor research. The position may require several years of work experience in marketing, and some companies may require an MBA.
Median Annual Salary: $129,380
Projected Growth Rate: 10%
- Financial Analyst
Financial analysts work for both businesses and individuals, analyzing their investment decisions. They provide advice on investing in stocks and bonds and measure the historical performance of investments while projecting future growth. Business majors with a concentration in finance qualify for entry-level positions.
Median Annual Salary: $84,300
Projected Growth Rate: 11%
How to Choose a Bachelor's in Business Management Program
Choosing the right bachelor’s in business management program shapes a student’s entire professional career. With so many available business degree programs, prospective students may feel overwhelmed by the process. By researching key factors, such as the program length, the cost, and the location, students can choose the best business degree program for their career goals and interests.
Many students start their search for a business program by considering costs and location. In-state, public schools charge the lowest tuition, followed by out-of-state public schools and private schools. However, prospective students must consider tuition discounts for online students and scholarship opportunities when choosing a program. Some students may not want to relocate to earn a degree. In these cases, students benefit from the flexibility and affordability of an online business degree. Most programs let students complete internships locally, meaning students can earn a top business degree from the best programs in the country without relocating.
Prospective students need to research the degree requirements, curriculum, and specializations when considering business programs. Some schools list degree requirements that add to the length of the program, while other schools provide accelerated options. Students with transfer credits can check a program’s curriculum to see whether their credits meet graduation requirements. Transfer students can also contact an admissions advisor for a transcript review.
During the research process, students need to learn about a program’s available specializations. Many business majors specialize in an area such as accounting, finance, or marketing, and programs that do not offer a particular concentration may not serve as a good fit. Finally, prospective students always need to check a program’s accreditation status.
Programmatic Accreditation for Bachelor’s in Business Management Programs
Unlike regional or national accreditation, which reviews an entire college or university, programmatic accrediting agencies specialize in one field, such as business, education, or social work. In business education, programmatic accrediting agencies evaluate business schools to ensure that they meet the highest educational standards. Accreditation benefits students in several ways. First, accredited programs grant credits that transfer to other schools. Second, some MBA programs only accept undergraduate degrees from accredited institutions, so students considering a graduate degree need an accredited bachelor’s degree in business. Finally, accredited programs meet the requirements for certifications, which benefit professionals in the job market.
In business, three accrediting agencies confer programmatic accreditation: the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, and the International Accreditation Council for Business Education. Prospective students should only consider attending programs accredited by one of these three agencies.
Bachelor's in Business Management Program Admissions
Earning a bachelor’s in business management starts with the admissions process. In most cases, students must gain admission to the college or university that grants the degree. Prospective students must meet any prerequisites, such as GPA minimums, and put together their admissions materials, including test scores. Compared with on-campus programs, online programs may require additional materials such as more letters of recommendation or a statement of purpose.
By researching the admissions process for each prospective school, students can narrow their choices. For example, students may eliminate either programs where they do not meet the prerequisites or schools with strict transfer credit policies. Prospective students may also consider application fees when deciding whether to apply to particular programs. Some online schools waive the application fee, and students can also apply for a fee waiver.
- Minimum GPA: Some programs set a minimum GPA for full admissions, which may go as high as a 3.0. However, many offer provisional admissions to students who do not meet the minimum GPA. Schools may also consider candidates with lower GPAs who earn high test scores.
- Application: Most colleges and universities provide an online application for prospective students that asks about the applicant’s educational background and experience. Students can use CommonApp to apply to over 700 different colleges with one application.
- Transcripts: Students need to submit high school transcripts and any college transcripts when applying for admission. Many schools waive the high school transcript requirement for transfer students. Schools may use these transcripts to award transfer credits.
- Letters of Recommendation: Many colleges require two or three letters of recommendation that speak to the applicant’s academic and personal qualifications. Students should give their recommendation writers about a month’s notice.
- Test Scores:Most schools require either SAT or ACT scores for undergraduate admissions. Potential business students can research the average test scores for admitted students at their target schools. Schools may waive the test score requirement for transfer students.
- Application Fee: College application fees may reach as high as $90 for a single school. However, applicants can apply for a fee waiver if they meet income eligibility guidelines. Some colleges charge no application fee.
What Else Can I Expect From a Bachelor's in Business Management Program?
Before enrolling in a business management program, prospective students need to research the program’s length, curriculum, and available concentrations. Students earning a bachelor’s in business management can strengthen their career prospects by concentrating in a field such as finance, marketing, or accounting. Earning a certification can also help business management graduates in the job market.
|Management||A management concentration in a business management major emphasizes labor relations, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills. Students take several specialized management courses beyond the general business courses required for the degree, with a focus on management theory and techniques. Graduates may later earn an MBA.||Sales representative; management analyst; sales manager|
|Finance||Business management majors who concentrate in finance complete additional courses in investment strategy, advanced financial management, and portfolio management. These courses provide a foundational background in finance and the principles of financial management.||Financial analyst; financial manager|
|Accounting||Business students considering a career in accounting benefit from this concentration; they complete courses in financial reporting, cost accounting, and auditing. Students may also study federal income taxation, with an emphasis both on personal and business taxes.||Accounting manager; operations manager|
|Marketing||A concentration in marketing prepares business management majors for careers in advertising, sales, and marketing. Students take courses in marketing research, sales management techniques, and consumer behavior. These courses prepare graduates for careers in marketing or for a graduate degree in marketing or an MBA with a marketing focus.||Marketing manager; marketing analyst; sales manager|
|Information Systems||Business management students can concentrate in information systems and learn how to manage, develop, and use information systems to streamline an organization’s processes. This concentration focuses on technology and bridges fields such as operations, management, and project management.||Information systems analyst; information systems manager|
Courses in a Bachelor’s in Business Management Program
Each business management program designs its own curriculum and concentrations. However, many offer courses from the sample curriculum listed below. These classes provide foundational knowledge in business management and prepare graduates for careers in business.
- Introduction to Business Management
Introductory courses provide foundational knowledge in business, the economy, and management. Students examine organizations, management strategies, and managerial decision making. They analyze the formulation and implementation of business strategies and learn about case studies in the field. Regardless of their concentration, most business management majors take this course.
- Business Communications
Introductory courses may also include business communications, which emphasize effective communications in a business setting. This course covers written and oral communications, with an emphasis on team projects.
- Operations Management
Classes in operations management introduce students to an overview of business environments, structural problems in operations, operations management, and operations solutions. Students gain an understanding of the design and delivery of goods and services, including systematic planning and processes in various industries.
- Business Strategy
Business strategy typically serves as an upper-level course that allows business management majors to apply their knowledge of business to strategic decision making. The course may cover both domestic and international business, analyzing competitive strategies and examining the decision-making process. The class may incorporate case studies, simulations, and group projects.
Many business management programs include a course in entrepreneurship, which often counts as an elective. The class applies fundamental business knowledge to the design and implementation of new business ventures. Students gain theoretical understandings of entrepreneurship and may work in teams to design a business development plan for a start-up company.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor’s in Business Management?
Typically, a bachelor’s degree in business management requires 120 credits and takes four years of full-time study. However, some programs may take more than four years based on their course requirements and schedule. Internships, for example, may add time to the degree, and schools may only offer certain courses once.
Students may finish a bachelor’s degree in less time by transferring credits or enrolling in a bachelor’s program with an associate degree in business management. Transfer students may complete a bachelor’s degree in as little as one year, depending on the school’s transfer credit policies. Some programs also offer accelerated options that allow students to complete credit requirements faster. Prospective students can also earn a degree part time while working, which extends the length of time to degree.
How Much Is a Bachelor’s in Business Management?
The cost of a bachelor’s degree in business management varies depending on the institution. In general, in-state, public schools charge the lowest tuition, averaging $9,970 a year according to College Board. Out-of-state public institution tuition averages over $25,000 a year, by comparison — with private schools typically charging the highest tuition rates. Some institutions offer tuition discounts for online students, which can help business management majors save money.
Students can bring down the cost of a bachelor’s degree either by applying for scholarships and grants or by limiting extra costs such as commuting and parking. When comparing programs, prospective students should also consider any additional fees or technology costs that may add to the pricetag. Financial aid packages can help students afford the cost of a business management degree.
Completing credits at a community college before transferring into a bachelor’s program also saves money. Community colleges typically charge lower tuition rates than four-year colleges. For example, in-state, two-year colleges charged an average tuition rate of $3,570 according to College Board. However, students considering this route should make sure that their credits transfer to a bachelor’s program before enrolling.
Certifications and Licenses a Bachelor’s in Business Management Prepares For
- Certified Public Accountant
Business management graduates who specialize in accounting may plan to become a CPA. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (APICS), which offers the certification, reports that CPAs earn 10% more than non-certified accounting professionals. The certification requires a master’s degree plus additional graduate-level coursework, and applicants must pass a four-part CPA exam.
- APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional
Business management students specializing in operations management or supply chain management may benefit from the CSCP designation. Certification holders must pass an exam and meet continuing education guidelines. A bachelor’s degree meets the educational and experience requirements.
- Project Management Professional
Project managers may choose to complete the PMP certification, and a bachelor’s in business administration meets the educational requirements. Candidates must pass an examination and pay between $400-$550 in fees. However, PMI, which offers the certification, reports that certified PMPs earn 20% more than non-certified project managers.
- Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional
Business management students who concentrate in human resources benefit from the SHRM-CP certification. A bachelor’s in business management plus one year working in HR meets the educational and experience requirements, and candidates must also pass a four-hour exam. Students currently earning a bachelor’s degree can also take the exam if their degree meets the eligibility standards.
Resources for Business Management Students
PMI offers certifications in project management and related fields, which help business management graduates stand out in the job market. PMI offers provides events, training, and resources for project managers.
A data collection site dedicated to entrepreneurship, Global Entrepreneurship Monitor creates reports and provides information on entrepreneurship.
Zonta International offers a scholarship for women earning a degree in business who hold membership at their local chapter. The organization has awarded over $1.2 million in scholarships.
Business management students benefit from networking opportunities. While joining professional organizations helps students build a network, maintaining a current LinkedIn page while in school helps graduates find jobs.
Run by the federal government, the SBA gives loans and other financial support to small businesses and entrepreneurs. The organization also offers counseling and support to small business owners.
Professional Organizations in Business Management
Professional organizations help students build their networks before they graduate and start looking for jobs. These organizations provide opportunities to connect with business management professionals, offer professional development resources, and hold annual conferences. Many also offer career services, job boards, and scholarship opportunities geared toward students. By joining professional organizations, students gain an advantage when they enter the job market.
The AMA provides professional development resources for business students and managers. The association offers webcasts, seminars, and research for members, and also hosts conferences for networking opportunities.
A professional organization geared for students, FBLA-PBL calls itself the largest student business organization in the world. With over 500 chapters for college students, the organization helps students build a professional network during a business management program.
Business management students concentrating in entrepreneurship or planning venture initiatives benefit from the EO. The organization provides professional development resources for its global network of members.
In concert with the International Council for Small Business, the USASBE focuses on entrepreneurship at the small-business level. The association provides educational resources, research, and networking opportunities.
The AFA promotes economics through a scholarly journal, an annual meeting, and events. For business management students concentrating in finance, the association provides a careers board with job postings.