Business administration is a career path within business that emphasizes the efficient and careful management of a business. Are you ready to administer your potential?

Business Administration

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:

  • Economics
  • Marketing operations
  • Accounting
  • 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:

  1. Market research analyst
  2. Operations research analyst
  3. Accountant
  4. Financial adviser
  5. Business operations manager
  6. Bookkeeper, accounting and audit clerk
  7. Marketing manager
  8. Financial manager
  9. Meeting, convention and event planner
  10. Compliance officer
Business Teachers, Postsecondary$103,33012318.1%
Administrative Services Managers$106,05031010.1%
Business and Financial Operations Occupations$76,9108,8179.3%
Business Operations Specialists$73,8905,5358.9%
Source: 2018 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

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.

Sales managers are some of the primary strategists of an organization, directing the distribution of personnel resources and developing policies and procedures for teams of agents to follow. Here's some detailed info about sales manager careers, including where the jobs are and how much they pay.

Restaurant management may not be the first thing that comes to mind in the field of business administration, but there's no question that professionals who love food, people and a fast-paced atmosphere might just find themselves right at home.


What business administration degrees are available?

Educational programs in business administration traditionally focus on an extensive curriculum that is built on skill sets — such as management, operations and marketing — that translate across business sectors.

Students can pursue business administration degrees on three primary educational tracks. These include:

  • Associate degrees:These can typically be completed in as little as two years and offer students the opportunity to develop basic skills in areas such as business operations, problem solving, management techniques and more.
  • Bachelor's degrees:There are two types: a Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA). Bachelor's degree programs in business are the most common programs, programs that offer students the chance to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to become an effective manager.
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA): The MBA — like the bachelor's degree — is a popular educational option that also helps develop advanced leadership and management competencies in students.

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.


1. Most Popular Majors, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=37
2. Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013: Marketing Analysts, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, April 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes131161.htm
3. Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013: Operations Analysts, , Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, April 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes152031.htm
4. Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013: Bookkeepers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, April 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes433031.htm
5. Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013: Personal Financial Advisers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, April 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes132052.htm
6. "Best Business Jobs," U.S. News & World Report, http://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/rankings/best-business-jobs