A Comprehensive Guide to an Online Business Degree

Students in online business degree programs explore the fundamental principles that drive business, including managing people and resources and crafting strategic plans. Learners can also specialize in one of several areas such as accounting, finance, international business, and small business. Whether a student completes an associate degree or a doctorate in this field, a degree in business is one of the most versatile majors available, and graduates are prepared for a range of lucrative career opportunities.

Business is one of the most popular undergraduate majors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), areas such as financial analysis and supply chain management are experiencing faster than average growth and also feature above-average salaries.

Many business graduates move into management or executive positions, while others pursue careers in accounting, human resources, or marketing. Concentrations prepare graduates for specialized fields like logistics or international business.

Earning a business management degree online provides working professionals with the flexibility and accessibility to complete their program without ever leaving the comfort of their home. Many of the nation’s top universities offer online or hybrid options.

Accessibility

Students in an online business management degree can access online lectures asynchronously. Many online business programs even deliver a semester’s worth of materials upfront, letting students complete the work at their own pace and as their schedule allows.

Flexibility

While many traditional business schools use a cohort model, online business degrees provide a flexible learning experience so that students can begin their degree any time of the year.

School Options

Online learning allows students to find a program that fits their interests and skills, regardless of where they live. While a local college or university may not offer an MBA, for example, online learning makes some of best universities in the country accessible to anyone with an internet connection.

Diversity

Business is driven by networking, and online business degrees feature students from around the country with diverse backgrounds. This expansive network gives online students an additional edge over their on-campus counterparts.

Technology

With advances in technology, online learners can easily connect with classmates and faculty through live lectures, online discussion groups, and video conferences.

Graduates of online business programs increase their job opportunities and salary potential as they earn higher-level business degrees. While graduates with an associate degree earn about $37,456 per year, the median salary increases to $51,931 for professionals with an MBA and $85,957 for those with a Ph.D. in business administration.

While careers that require graduate degrees often come with higher salaries, they also require a substantial commitment of time and resources to complete. Most MBA programs require two years of full-time coursework, and a Ph.D. can take up to five years. Earning an online business degree helps working professionals advance their career opportunities while remaining employed. Researching the entry-level degree requirements for positions such as human resources manager or financial analyst can also help prospective business students plan their degree around their career aspirations.

Median Salary for Entry Level Professionals by Degree Level
Associate Degree, Business Administration $37,456
Bachelor’s Degree, Business Administration $45,301
Master’s Degree, Business Administration $51,931
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Business Administration $85,957

Source: PayScale

Associate Degree in Business

An associate degree in business introduces key principles of the field and prepares graduates for entry-level work or a bachelor’s degree in business or a related field. The curriculum for an associate degree often requires 60 credits and includes classes in accounting, finance, and project management. Full-time students can complete an associate degree in two years.

To apply for an associate degree program, applicants typically need a high school diploma or equivalent, and many associate-granting institutions do not require ACT or SAT test scores. After earning the degree, most graduates are prepared to transfer into a four-year business program.

Students earning an online associate degree in business can also customize the degree around their interests and career goals by completing a specialization. As a professional degree, business prepares graduates for careers as diverse as bookkeepers, project managers, and other entry-level business positions.

Example Courses:

Accounting

This course introduces students to cost behavior, cost analysis, managerial accounting, and financial accounting. Coursework often helps students decide if they want to pursue a career in accounting, and specializations within accounting are available.

Project Management

Project management courses introduce students to the best practices in managing projects, including the theory and practice of project management, techniques in the field, and the management process.

Principles of Finance

Finance courses at the associate level introduce students to finance and provide foundational knowledge in business, financial information, and financial statement analysis. This may be required for advanced finance coursework.

Business Ethics

Business students are often required to take a business ethics course that examines ethical decision making in business, including scholarly works, case studies, and real-life ethical problems in business.

Business Internship

By completing a business internship, students gain real-world experience in their field. Many programs allow students to customize an internship around their interests, earning professional experience and academic credit simultaneously.


Bachelor’s Degree in Business

Earning a bachelor’s degree in business prepares graduates for many entry-level positions in marketing, finance, and accounting. Graduates are also prepared to pursue an MBA. Business programs at the bachelor’s level introduce students to fundamental principles and offer opportunities to specialize within the field.

An online bachelor’s degree in business requires approximately 120 credits, which full-time students can usually earn within four years. Incoming students with an associate degree or other transfer credits may be able to finish faster. Most schools require a high school diploma or equivalent, SAT or ACT scores, and a minimum GPA.

Degree-seekers in a bachelor’s program can specialize in an area within business that meets their career goals, interests, and strengths. While core classes provide a foundational education in business, many programs provide electives like entrepreneurship or small business management. Prospective students interested in an online degree can research the top online business administration programs to find the best fit for their educational goals.

Example Courses:

Business Analytics

Coursework in business analytics teaches decision-making skills that include analyzing business problems, solving problems in operations, and developing solutions for business problems. Students may use modeling tools, simulations, or other analytical techniques.

Marketing

Marketing is a popular business concentration, and bachelor’s-level marketing courses introduce students to concepts like marketing analysis, gaining competitive advantages through marketing, and marketing ethics.

Financial Management

Students in financial management courses develop financial decision-making skills, analyze stock and bond valuation, and financial-planning and asset management skills.

Business Law

Coursework introduces students to legal issues relevant to the field, including criminal law, contracts, and hiring an attorney. Students also learn legal conflict resolution and ways to prevent legal issues.

Small Business Management

Coursework includes the growth, management, and challenges of owning and operating a small businesses.


Master’s Degree in Business

MBA programs provide corporate-level business management training, and graduates are prepared for many upper-level business positions. The coursework in an MBA program emphasizes management skills, such as managing people, financial resources, and evaluating business decisions.

While an MBA is the most popular graduate degree, business students looking for a master’s degree have other options. An MBA provides a broadly-focused business education applicable to a variety of careers; however, a master’s in business allows students to focus on a specific subject area such as supply chain management or business analytics. Similar master’s degrees include a master’s in accounting or a master’s in finance.

Before enrolling in an MBA or other master’s in business program, applicants must hold at least a bachelor’s degree, which does not have to be from a business-related field. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, more than half of MBA applicants in 2017 had an undergraduate degree in a field other than business. Graduate programs may require specific prerequisite courses, and most require GMAT scores; some specialized degrees may also accept the GRE. The admissions process evaluates applicants on their academic record as well as their prior work experience in business.

An online MBA degree requires two years of full-time coursework; part-time programs usually take longer. Some master’s in business programs also offer accelerated options, which can be completed in 12 months. These curriculums include foundational courses that prepare MBA students with critical business and decision making skills, such as management accounting and strategic management.

An MBA is often a requirement for many upper-level management careers, including executive positions. Prospective graduate students in business can research the top online MBA programs to find the best fit for their career goals and interests.

Example Courses:

Management Accounting

Coursework outlines accounting practices for managers and introduces concepts of accounting data to direct the operations of an organization. As a foundational course, management accounting prepares students for management-level position.

Financial Decision Making

As business professionals, MBAs often make important financial decisions. This class covers problem-solving techniques; methods for making decisions; and topics like capital budgeting, working capital, and risk management.

Strategic Management

Students examine the creation of corporate strategies and their implementation, including case analysis, the external business environment, and corporate strategy.

Operations Management

Courses in operations management examine the concepts of methods of operations management, including quantitative methods, strategic planning, and carrying out operations. These classes may also cover tactical and operational planning.

Entrepreneurship

Many MBA programs offer an elective course in entrepreneurship, which includes idea generation, venture financing, and management practices for entrepreneurs. The course may also cover recognizing opportunities and venture capital consulting.


Doctoral Degree in Business

A doctoral degree in business prepares graduates to teach business at the college level, conduct business research, and pursue high-level positions in management and consulting. A doctorate is a substantial commitment, with most programs taking between three and five years to finish, depending on how long it takes to complete the dissertation.

Prospective doctoral students in business can choose either a Ph.D. in business or a doctorate in business administration (DBA). The Ph.D. prepares candidates for academic careers or research-focused positions, and students must complete a dissertation with original research to earn the degree. The DBA is a professional degree, and rather than emphasize theoretical research, coursework focuses on practical knowledge.

To gain admission into a doctorate in business program, applicants should hold at least a bachelor’s degree, and many programs require a master’s degree in business or a related field. Prospective students must also submit GMAT or GRE scores, along with several years of work experience. Graduates with a Ph.D. or a DBA are prepared for academic careers and high-level management positions.

Example Courses:

Applied Statistical Analysis

Students cover analytic techniques to develop, measure, and analyze data. Learners are also introduced to research methods such as descriptive statistics, regression analysis, and exploratory factor analysis.

Global Business

This course explores global capital, emerging economies, cross-cultural competency, and global consumer markets. Global labor and production business concerns may also be addressed.

Organizational Behavior

Doctoral candidates learn theoretical approaches to organizational research, group dynamics, and leadership. This course also emphasizes the presentation of information in an organizational environment.

Doctoral Seminar

Many students specialize within an area of business, such as management, marketing, accounting, entrepreneurship, or accounting. A doctoral seminar covers applied research in one or more specific areas of business.

Doctoral Dissertation

Doctoral students are often required to complete a dissertation, which requires independent, original research; a literature review; data collection; and analysis.


Business Concentrations and Specialties

While some schools offer a general business or management degree, many students prefer to specialize in an area within the field. Under the broad umbrella of a business degree, there are several concentrations that allow graduates to pursue diverse career opportunities. For example, business students can specialize in accounting, human resources, marketing, or finance, each of which lead to exciting career paths and job growth opportunities.

Accounting

Accountants prepare and examine financial records to ensure that they are accurate. They may also prepare individual or corporate tax returns, assess financial operations, or manage the accounting efficiency at an organization.

Economics

This field studies the distribution of resources, analyzes economic data, and evaluates economic issues. Professionals may work for private corporations, nonprofit organizations, or governmental agencies.

Finance

Financial analysts and financial managers analyze financial data, produce financial reports, direct financial investments, and plan for their organization’s financial goals and health. Within finance, professionals may also provide investment guidance to businesses and individuals.

Human Resources

Human resources managers and specialists provide services to the employees of a public or private organization. They may provide benefit services, training, and oversee the recruitment and hiring process.

International Business

Professionals working in international business operate commercial businesses in foreign markets. This includes the sales, manufacturing, distribution, and any other form of business activity that crosses international boundaries.

Marketing

Marketing managers direct and coordinate marketing policies, which includes identifying potential customers, developing price strategies, and monitoring product trends. They may also plan advertising pushes and research competitors.

Supply Chain Management

Supply chain managers, also known as logisticians, `analyze and coordinate a supply chain for a public or private organization. This includes the acquisition, allocation, and delivery of a product to customers.


Median Salary For Managers by Specialty
Accounting Manager $67,833
Economic Development Manager $64,301
Financial Manager $70,095
Human Resources Manager $64,112
International Business Manager $75,000
Marketing Manager $62,741
Supply Chain Manager $81,584

Source: PayScale

A business license or certificate can lead to increased job opportunities and salaries, and nearly all business-related licenses and certifications require a degree in business or a related field. These designations represent expertise in a field such as accounting, project management, or business analytics. Some careers may even require a certification in order to receive employment. Accountants, for example, must hold the certified public accountant (CPA) designation to qualify for certain kinds of positions.

While business schools provide a broad, professional education, below are just a few of the licensure or certifications that may be required for a career in business.

  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA): CPAs meet rigorous professional standards. In order to earn this certificate, accountants must pass the four-part CPA examination, have 150 semester hours of coursework, and spend between $750 and $1,000. CPA requirements vary by state, and CPAs earn 10% more than non-certified accountants.
  • Project Management Professional (PMP): Project management professionals must meet education and work experience requirements and pass the PMP examination. The certification is open to associate degree holders as well as those with higher-level degrees. The process costs between $400 and $550, and certified PMPs earn 20% higher salaries on average than non-certified project managers.
  • Six Sigma Certification: The Six Sigma Certification program offers three levels of certification: yellow belt, green belt, and black belt. Business professionals earn the designation by completing a web-based exam on Six Sigma principles, and the certifications cost between $200 and $400. The organization uses a web-based proctor system for the examination.
  • Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP): The SHRM-CP designation recognizes human resource professionals who meet high levels of excellence in human resource management. The certification requires minimum degree and work experience levels for students and HR professionals, and a four hour examination. The certification costs between $300-$400.
  • APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP): Supply chain professionals earn a certification through APICS by passing an exam and meeting continuing education requirements. The CSCP increases salary by 12% and improves hiring potential by 65%. Applicants should have three years of supply chain experience or a bachelor’s degree.
  • Entry Certificate in Business Analytics (ECBA): The certification in business analytics recognizes the abilities of entry-level business analytics professionals. The certification requires 21 credit hours of professional development within the last four years and a web-based examination. The one-hour exam requires a desktop or laptop computer, a webcam, and a microphone.

Graduates of an online business degree pursue a variety of career paths, depending on their specializations, interests, and strengths. Business professionals may provide management services for health care organizations, financial institutions, or other corporations, and they may also work for government agencies. MBA graduates can also become top executives that design strategies and policies for their organization. While the BLS considers a bachelor’s degree the entry-level education requirement for many of the positions below, advanced positions may require an MBA.

Business Careers

Executives

These professionals work in both client-focused and research roles. General psychologists must have a Ph.D, Psy.D, or Ed.D, and many positions require licensure.

Business Operations Managers

Business operations managers coordinate the operations at an organization, which includes managing daily operations, resource planning, and creating policies.

Human Resource Managers

Human resource managers coordinate an organization’s administrative functions, including recruiting and hiring staff, consulting with executives, and connecting management with employees. An MBA may be required.

Financial Managers

Financial managers produce financial reports, direct an organization’s investments, and create plans to meet the organization’s financial goals. This is a great time to enter the field, as it is expected to grow 19% by 2026, according to the BLS.

Accountant

The BLS indicates the demand for accountants will grow faster than average over the next decade. Many accountants become CPAs to increase their earning potential.

Business degrees prepare graduates for a range of careers, including those in accounting, tax preparation, finances, and management. Currently, accounting positions have the highest salary potential for business majors, with mid-career salaries in the six figures. Chief accounting officers and partners in accounting firms average nearly $200,000 a year by the time they reach their late careers. Even entry-level salaries in these areas can quickly approach six-figures, as shown in the chart below from PayScale.

Graduate students who specialize in accounting can expect to find careers in accounting firms, internal auditing, or as a chief financial officer. With an MBA, accountants are also prepared for management roles, such as a holding director, CFO, or CAO.

Salaries depend on a variety of factors that include experience, degree, and location, so prospective accountants need to research the specific salaries in their area.

Best Jobs For Business Majors by Salary Potential
  Entry Level (0-5 Years) Mid-Career (5-10 Years) Experienced (10-20 Years) Late-Career (20+ Years)
Chief Accounting Officer (CAO) $72,000 $94,000 $163,000 $190,000
Partner – Accounting Firm $98,000 $137,000 $173,000 $193,000
Tax Director $125,000 $154,000 $163,000 $174,000
Chief Financial Officer (CFO) $94,000 $112,000 $144,000 $155,000
Internal Audit Director $89,000 $118,000 $145,000 $137,000

Source: PayScale

The Best States for Psychology Careers
Click Here to View The Full List of States
STATE EMPLOYMENT HOURLY MEAN WAGE ANNUAL MEAN WAGE
Alabama 70,090 $52.98 $110,210
Alaska 17,490 $52.29 $108,770
Arizona 148,850 $48.53 $100,940
Arkansas 59,650 $42.20 $87,780
California 919,820 $62.60 $130,200
Colorado 109,620 $61.04 $126,970
Connecticut 116,730 $64.30 $133,730
Delaware 17,850 $66.69 $138,710
Florida 276,220 $57.04 $118,650
Georgia 240,090 $54.91 $114,210
Hawaii 36,410 $47.19 $98,160
Idaho 37,210 $39.70 $82,580
Illinois 425,610 $53.43 $111,130
Indiana 142,820 $44.81 $93,210
Iowa 86,320 $44.85 $93,290
Kansas 65,630 $48.19 $100,230
Kentucky 84,230 $45.04 $93,670
Louisiana 81,710 $46.00 $95,670
Maine 34,140 $44.32 $92,190
Maryland 151,790 $60.55 $125,940
Massachusetts 268,850 $61.90 $128,750
Michigan 195,980 $53.48 $111,230
Minnesota 168,370 $55.13 $114,670
Mississippi 54,940 $39.18 $81,490
Missouri 124,860 $51.04 $106,160
Montana 14,830 $41.83 $87,000
Nebraska 44,910 $48.05 $99,940
Nevada 59,660 $48.84 $101,580
New Hampshire 36,610 $56.07 $116,620
New Jersey 205,230 $70.68 $147,010
New Mexico 39,030 $44.86 $93,310
New York 471,740 $71.75 $149,240
North Carolina 180,470 $58.50 $121,670
North Dakota 20,300 $47.77 $99,360
Ohio 239,640 $51.47 $107,060
Oklahoma 88,660 $45.63 $94,900
Oregon 110,970 $49.51 $102,990
Pennsylvania 226,740 $58.57 $121,830
Rhode Island 21,240 $62.44 $129,870
South Carolina 87,700 $46.68 $97,100
South Dakota 11,580 $50.47 $104,970
Tennessee 164,680 $45.40 $94,440
Texas 456,030 $59.60 $123,960
Utah 83,120 $44.90 $93,380
Vermont 12,250 $49.34 $102,630
Virginia 170,770 $63.97 $133,050
Washington 153820 $58.53 $121,740
West Virginia 27910 $41.52 $86,360
Wisconsin 130390 $50.09 $104,180
Wyoming 11430 $47.66 $99,140

Paul Burke Co-founder and CEO, RentHoop

Paul Burke is the co-founder and CEO of RentHoop, a mobile app for finding roommates, and a new project, RntX. RentHoop, recently named as one of the Most Promising Housing Apps to Watch in 2018, by Forbes, is the fastest-growing roommate finding app on the west coast. The app has been covered by national publications such as USA Today, MTVu, Geekwire, and NBCNews.

Paul is a graduate from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. He graduated with a degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing and a minor in economics in 2014.

Prior to RentHoop, Paul worked in a number of sales and marketing roles, most notably, for the Lowe’s-backed home improvement network, Porch.com, where he made more than 20,000 cold calls.

How has earning a business degree helped you advance your career?

In business school I was introduced to like-minded people, business literature, and an alumni network. Those three things can help you get that first job, idea for a business, or a co-founder.

What makes business an exciting career opportunity right now?

There are a lot of fields in business, mostly marketing and data analytics, that are moving extremely fast. It plays to your advantage if you are open to adopting new technology and platforms before anybody else.

Is it important to choose a business specialty right away? What tips do you have for students who aren't sure which focus they would like best?

Don’t rush choosing a specialty. Your brain and interests are still developing and it will take exposure to at least a few different classes to know which is going to be the focus of your collegiate career.

Weighing a more practical degree against a more passion-driven degree isn’t something I had to decide between as I knew I wanted to do marketing. For someone struggling on a decision like that, I would really think about minoring in one of those specialties.

What are some practical tips to prepare for an interview?

Come in prepared, having read up on the interview. Be present and smile. It’s always good to keep in mind that interviewing is a two-way street. They’re interviewing you of course, but you’re also interviewing them. You want to gauge whether this is a company where you can flourish and contribute as well. That should calm your nerves if you think about it like that.

What advice would you give to someone who is afraid to fail in their endeavor to start their own business?

The worst thing that usually happens is that you immerse yourself into an idea or product, learn about how to structure and run a company, wear multiple hats, learn a bunch of new things, and end up not making a lot of money. Everything you learn along the way will help you in your next endeavor or make for a great story when you interview for jobs.

How important is networking and what are some easy ways to stay connected to other entrepreneurs in your community?

Be curious and helpful. Learn as much as you can from other entrepreneurs who are mostly willing to share stories and advice with people who ask. If you feel attached to a project, see how you can help them. It’s a sure way to get connected and possibly even get you a job.

How do you stay up to date with the latest advancements and technology in the business world?

Twitter is an amazing tool for learning new things. The top innovators are always looking to promote their ideas and things they’re working on so it can be a huge benefit if you follow the right people on the forefront of technology and business.

What does continual education for an entrepreneur look like for you?

I do a lot of reading now, more than I did in college. Most of my education comes through reading, writing, and learning from others. I continue to go to events and ask people about what they do and listen to what their work and industry is like.


Scholarships are available to business students at all levels. Applicants may need to submit transcripts, letters of recommendations, or meet scholarship requirements in order to qualify for monetary awards, and some allow recipients to reapply for multiple years. With awards as high as $20,000, nearly all business students can benefit from scholarships.

Business Scholarships for Associate Degree Students

Jeffrey L. Esser Career Development Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The Government Finance Officers Association offers the Jeffrey L. Esser Career Development Scholarship for government employees earning a degree in business with a focus on government.
Amount: $5,000 to $15,000

Abbott and Fenner Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The Abbott and Fenner Scholarship, offered by a business consulting firm provides funds for students attending an accredited, post-secondary institution.
Amount: $1,000

Future Business Leaders Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The National Pawnbroker Association offers the Future Business Leaders Scholarship to students related to an NPA member or sponsored by an NPA member.
Amount: $1,000

Virtual Business Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Knowledge Matters awards the Virtual Business Scholarship to high school students planning to pursue a post-secondary business degree.
Amount: $2,000

Business Scholarships for Bachelor’s Degree Students

Business, Economics, and Public Policy Scholarships

Who Can Apply: The National Society of High School Scholars offers Business, Economics, and Public Policy Scholarships to high school seniors planning to major in business.
Amount: $1,000

AACE International Scholarships

Who Can Apply: The AACE International Scholarship is awarded to college students pursuing a career in cost engineering or cost management. Applicants must be full-time students with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Amount: $2,500

Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Offered by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship is open to business majors interested in careers in fraud prevention.
Amount: up to $10,000

Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Zonta International offers the Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship to women pursuing a business degree.
Amount: $2,000 to $8,000

Business Scholarships for Master’s Degree Students

Mark Beaumont Scholarship Fund

Who Can Apply: The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences offers the Mark Beaumont Scholarship to support students earning a degree in the business of interactive entertainment.
Amount: $2,500

Government Finance Professional Development Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The Government Finance Officers Association offers s Government Finance Professional Development scholarship to business students who are interested in government finance.
Amount: $10,000

Prospanica Foundation Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The Prospanica Foundation offers scholarships to MBA students who have a 3.0 GPA or higher and attend an accredited MBA program. Applicants must be Prospanica members.
Amount: $2,000 to $5,000

Mary Elizabeth Lockwood Beneventi MBA Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The Daughters of the American Revolution offer the Mary Elizabeth Lockwood Beneventi MBA scholarship to students attending a full-time, accredited MBA program. Applicants should have a minimum 3.25 GPA.
Amount: $2,000

Business Scholarships for Doctoral Degree Students

Minorities in Government Finance Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The Government Finance Officers Association offers a Minorities in Government Finance scholarship to full-time business students interested in government finance.
Amount: $10,000

McKnight Doctoral Fellowship

Who Can Apply: The McKnight Doctoral Fellowship funds African-American and Hispanic students who want to teach at the college level and are attending a Florida university.
Amount: $17,000 per year for three years

Michael J. Barrett Doctoral Dissertation Grant

Who Can Apply: The Institute of Internal Auditors offers the Michael J. Barrett Doctoral Dissertation Grant for doctoral students in business who focus on auditing.
Amount: $10,000

Koch Scholars Program Graduate Scholarships

Who Can Apply: The Koch Scholars Program funds African-American scholars enrolled in a full-time doctoral program in business at a historically black college or university. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Amount: $20,000

General Guides

  • Careers for Business Majors: Learn more about your career options when you earn a degree in business. Our guide covers the job skills you will develop, the minimum requirements for the most common jobs in business, and alternative careers for those with an educational background in the field.
  • Business Resources: We have compiled a collection of the best academic journals, websites, and open courses available to those in business.

Business Software for Students

The tools used by business professionals are drastically different than what they were a generation ago. Today, mastering business software is a critical part of business education. Students need to understand the most important software in their field, including tax software, customer relations programs, and collaboration tools. Many business professionals rely on these software programs daily in their careers.

  • Accounting and Tax Software: Many business professionals provide accounting and tax services for clients or businesses, and the top accounting and tax programs include TurboTax and Quickbooks. These programs simplify the process of keeping accurate accounting records, create annual reports for businesses, and file tax returns.
  • Word Processing Tools: Business students need to master the suite of Microsoft Office products, as well as cloud-based options like Google Docs to create effective written communications.
  • Customer Relationship Manager (CRM): Business professionals manage a number of client processes, and software designed for customer relationship management (CRM) can ease the process. CRM software manages customer data, customer interactions, automates business processes, and handles marketing and customer support. CRM software increasingly relies on cloud-based models.
  • Networking: Working professionals benefit from their ability to cultivate and maintain networks. They rely on networking solutions like LinkedIn to connect with colleagues and pursue career opportunities. Networking tools can also help business students find jobs, show their credentials, and demonstrate their potential for growth.
  • Collaboration Tools: Managers need to know the top collaboration tools in business, including Basecamp, Asana, and Slack. These programs let colleagues share documents, schedule meetings, and collaborate on projects. As many corporations move toward remote workplaces or satellite offices, the importance of these collaboration tools grows by the day.

Professional Business Organizations

Professional organizations offer several benefits to business students. These organizations allow learners to network with professionals in their field, access job opportunities and scholarships, and receive certifications. Many professional business organizations conduct research, publish journals or magazines to help members stay current in their fields, and provide member discounts.

In addition to the organizations listed below, business students can find other resources at the Best Colleges Business Resources page.

  • American Management Association: The American Management Association (AMA) offers professional development tools for business professionals, organizations, and governments. AMA provides members with access to seminars, webcasts, conferences and research.
  • Entrepreneurs’ Organization: The Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) dates back to 1987, and today it has a global network of entrepreneurs. EO connects business owners and offers professional development tools.
  • Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda: Future Business Leaders of America, in concert with Phi Beta Lambda, operates the world’s largest career student business organization. The Phi Beta Lambda division runs more than 500 chapters for college students and connects them with alumni and business professionals.
  • United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship: The USASBE, an affiliate of the International Council for Small Business, advances entrepreneurship education, conducts business research, and operates several special interest groups within entrepreneurship.
  • American Business Women’s Association: The American Business Women’s Association connects business women in diverse occupations and focuses on networking, leadership, and education. Members have access to conferences, a magazine, and corporate discounts.