Business administration is a widely used term that broadly describes the basic management, operation and performance of businesses. It includes knowledge of a range of principles, including decision-making, people management, resource allocation and financing. Individuals who study business administration can develop a comprehensive management skill set built on core business elements, including the following:
- Marketing operations
- Business information technology
- Strategic management
- Organizational behavior
- Human resource management
The field of business administration has become the most popular area of concentration at both the undergraduate and graduate level during the past thirty years, according to 2014 data from the National Center for Education Statistics. There are more bachelor's degrees conferred in business each year than other core fields of study, including humanities, engineering, computer science, social and natural sciences, and mathematics.
The popularity of this particular path may stem from its diversity: It allows graduates to pursue a multitude of business careers across several disciplines, from retail to government, technology to medicine.
What jobs can you get with a business administration degree?
Because of its inherent diversity and extensive nature, business administration doesn't just lend itself to one career path. For example, the following 10 careers topped U.S. News and World Report's best business jobs list for 2014:
- Market research analyst
- Operations research analyst
- Financial adviser
- Business operations manager
- Bookkeeper, accounting and audit clerk
- Marketing manager
- Financial manager
- Meeting, convention and event planner
- Compliance officer
This list includes several careers that students could pursue after completing a business administration degree program. Below you'll find information about four of those careers, including a job description and 2013 salary information by earning percentile, to provide users with a glimpse of potential earnings for both entry level employees (the 10th percentile) and more experienced professionals (median and 90th percentile).
1. Market research analysts are responsible for conducting a variety of research into market conditions, from consumer demographics to purchasing behaviors, as well as measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
- $33,490 (10%)
- $60,800 (Median)
- $114,250 (90%)
2. Operations research analysts use mathematical modeling to analyze data about products, software or services, in order to identify and suggest solutions to problems in logistics, operations or other areas.
- $42,070 (10%)
- $74,630 (Median)
- $130,210 (90%)
3. Bookkeepers maintain, record and process financial records, adhering to local, state and federal procedures and regulations.
- $22,020 (10%)
- $35,730 (Median)
- $55,170 (90%)
4. Financial advisers provide guidance to individuals, couples and families on a range of topics, such as investments, insurance, taxes and business withholdings.
- $33,190 (10%)
- $75,320 (Median)
- $124,680 (90%)
As noted above, students can pursue opportunities in finance, health care, construction, retail, technology and more. Other potential business administration careers include accounts receivable clerk, commercial lender, banker, forecast analyst, appraiser and human resources administrator.