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Online Degrees in Business: A Springboard for Management and Finance Careers

Business-savvy students may want to focus their education with a degree that goes beyond the basics. Leadership and management degrees are available both online and on-campus, and they can be earned at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

For students considering leadership versus management degree choices, a combined program offers the best of both worlds. Students can expect to learn the nuts and bolts of managing a business -- from accounting to marketing to finance -- while also developing the skills need to lead a team of employees.

The result is a comprehensive education that prepares to students to work in a variety of capacities such a serving as a department director, executive officer or even an entrepreneur.

What management and leadership degrees are available?

Degrees in leadership and management are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. At both levels, students may be able to specialize in a concentration such as one of the following:

  • Human resources management
  • International business
  • Marketing and public relations
  • Sustainability management

Those earning a bachelor's degree can choose to immediately apply to enter the workforce or use their undergraduate studies as a starting point for a MBA or a master's degree in management and leadership. Doctoral degrees are also available as well as certificate programs for those already working in a business setting.

Not all schools offer their management and leadership degrees online, but the following institutions are a few of the ones that provide fully online programs:

  • New York University: B.S. in leadership and management studies
  • Capella University: Bachelor's degree in business with a management and leadership specialization
  • University of Notre Dame: Executive certificate in leadership
  • Michigan State University: Master's degree in management strategy and leadership
  • Antioch University: Ph.D. in leadership and change

Students looking for a master's degree in management and leadership might also want to consider programs from highly ranked business schools. According to U.S. News & World Report, the best business schools in the nation include the Business School at Harvard University, the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

How do students pay for management and leadership degrees?

Students can use a combination of public and private funds to pay for their education. By completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, students can find out whether they might be eligible for the following sources of aid, among others:

  • Pell Grants
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants
  • Stafford Loans
  • Federal Work Study
  • State grants and scholarships

Private funds often come from scholarship programs. Some schools may administer their own programs, or students can apply for money from foundations and associations. For example, The National Society of Leadership and Success and Business Professionals of American both run scholarship programs for business students.

What's the job outlook for someone with a management and leadership degree?

Leadership and management degree jobs vary significantly, and there is no single career for individuals with this education. Instead, degrees in management and leadership can lead to jobs in a number of business or entrepreneurial areas.

However, regardless of where they choose to work, business graduates should have steady job prospects, as many careers in the field are expected to have average to above-average growth in the coming years, compared with the 11 percent national growth the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts for all occupations nationwide. The BLS anticipates the following job growth nationally for these leadership and management degree jobs from through 2022:

  • Social and community services managers: 21 percent
  • Public relations and fundraising managers: 13 percent
  • Human resources managers: 13 percent
  • Administrative services managers: 12 percent
  • Top executives: 11 percent

Not surprisingly, employment opportunities appear to be greatest in large metropolitan areas. According to the BLS, the metro areas of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta and Washington, D.C., are home to the largest numbers of business and financial operations occupations.

Sources:

  1. Scholarships and Awards, The National Society of Leadership and Success, http://www.societyleadership.org/memberinfo/awards.php
  2. BPA Scholarships, Business Professionals of America, http://www.bpa.org/service/scholarships
  3. "Best Graduate Schools: Top Business Schools," U.S. News & World Report, 2014, http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools
  4. Management Occupations, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Jan. 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/home.htm
  5. "BS in Organizational Management vs. BS in Organizational Leadership," Lubbock Christian University, http://onlineprograms.lcu.edu/bsol/organizational-management-leadership-comparison.asp
  6. Occupational Employment and Wages: Business and Financial Operations Occupations, Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013,
    http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes130000.htm#nat
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