What Is Business Administration?

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For college students with a passion for leadership and excellent organizational skills, a degree in Business Administration may be your ticket to the career of your dreams!

What is Business Administration

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If you are looking for a degree program that will open doors to a variety of career options and has long-term staying power in the job market, then considering a degree in Business Administration can be a smart choice for a successful future.

Your Ultimate Guide to Business Administration

Interested in learning more about Business Administration?

Check out our Business Administration Ultimate Guide to get the facts you need:

Business Administration FAQs:

What Is Business Administration?

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Business administration is a program of study offered by colleges and universities that closely examines business practices, management, theory, and related business disciplines.

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The study of business administration deals with more than just the everyday accounting and paperwork that goes into running a business. When working in the business administration field, you are responsible for assisting a company in managing the daily operations of their business to ensure the success of reaching their targeted goals.

Business Administration Topics of Study:

  • Human Resources
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Management
  • Health Services Administration
  • Hospitality and Tourism

There are several areas of Business Administration that you can pursue, and your choice depends on your skill-set and interests.

Business Administration Career and Salary Outlook

A major draw for earning a Business Administration degree is the high level of flexibility within the field. Due to this, the salaries can vary widely depending on the type of position you accept, and those who earn a four-year degree have a greater chance of reaching the higher end of the salary range.

While you may start in entry-level positions, there is potential to reach high-level management jobs in the business world with higher salaries – including CFO, CEO, or even business owner! The career opportunities open to business school grads are impressive.

Careers Annual Median Salary
HR Director $124,942
Financial Controller $121,361
Operations Manager $91,016
HR Manager $89,615
Executive Assistant $77,281
Office Manager $67,136

*Job and salary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The above table highlights the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics high salary range for several career specializations for individuals attaining a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration – and the numbers are impressive!

Whether you enjoy the financial aspects of business or have the people skills necessary to excel in human resources, there are numerous options available to you when choosing to earn a degree in Business Administration!

Online Business Administration Programs

operations managers checking reports

If you are an adult student heading back to school or someone who needs to take classes that fit around your work schedule, pursuing your business administration degree online might be worth considering.

Online Associate’s in Business Administration

There are several accredited colleges that offer associate degree in business administration online programs. 

Online Bachelor’s in Business Administration (BBA)

Online Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)


Online Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA)

With the increase in online courses over the past several years, there are a number of accredited universities offering Business Administration degrees entirely through online study.

Business Administration FAQs

Is Business Administration a Good Fit for You?

 administrative assistant making online reports

Now that you know a little bit more about the field of Business Administration and the types of business degrees you could pursue, you are probably wondering if it is a good fit for you. So, what skills do you need in order to succeed in this career path?

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While there are many skills that you will learn through the course of your business education, here are some basic personal characteristics that are important when considering if a degree in Business Administration is right for you:

  • Excellent Communication Skills
  • Detail-Oriented and Strong Work Ethic
  • Flexibility and Ability to Adapt
  • Great Multi-Tasking Skills
  • A Passion for Leadership and Management
  • Innovation and Creativity
  • Strong Computer Skills

Does this sound like you? Then pursuing a degree in Business Administration may be an excellent fit for turning your current skills and strengths into a well-paying career!

What Does a Business Administrator Do All Day?

HR manager planning staff's schedules

As a business administrator, you will be responsible for a number of important tasks within the company. If you’re curious about a business administration job description, regardless of what career path you choose, the most important aspect of your job will be communication!

If you love talking with people and facilitating projects, this could be an excellent career choice for you! Common responsibilities of Business Administration that you may encounter include:

  • Planning, organizing, and leading duties of your assigned department
  • Overseeing staff members
  • Assisting in financial aspects of the business
  • Handling required reporting and data-entry
  • Hiring new employees
  • Working as a team leader

The responsibilities you will have throughout your career vary based upon your chosen specialization and the type of job you choose.

Do I Need an Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration?

office manager managing company operations

With all of the options within the Business Administration field, we are often asked about the best way to go about earning your degree. Luckily for you, when it comes to Business Administration, you’ve got a number of options.

Many colleges offer both an associate’s and bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. However, for the most earning and career potential, working towards a bachelor’s degree is the best option for the majority of students. Once you have a four-year degree under your belt, opportunities will open up with a wider range of businesses seeking professionals to help them with the management and operation of their company.

After deciding to pursue a bachelor’s in Business Administration, the next step is to choose your concentration within the degree program. Some colleges allow the flexibility to change concentrations or choose one at a later time, so be sure that you check with your school to understand their policy.

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Take time now to do some research into the different career paths available to you as a business administrator. Do you enjoy math and computer work? Perhaps consider a concentration in finance or accounting! How about working directly with employees or leading a team project? Then human resources or management may be a good fit for you!

Regardless of your interests, the Business Administration field is large enough that you should have no problem finding a concentration that fits your career aspirations. After all, educated business administrators are something that nearly every business is seeking to help them meet their long-term goals!

Business Administration Courses

two staff members organizing company's data

Whether you attend a brick and mortar college or are earning your business degree online, there are several core courses that you will be required to take. These classes may include a variety of learning opportunities, including lectures, projects, presentations, or workshops and seminars from leading experts in the field.

Beyond the standard general education credit courses that you will be expected to complete as part of your degree plan, a few of the common courses found within the Business Administration major include:

  • Finance and Accounting
  • Human Resources
  • Business Ethics
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Global Business
  • Project Management
  • Public Relations

The above classes are a general guideline of the type of course you may encounter through your educational career. However, keep in mind that the specific courses that you will be required to take will be influenced by your chosen concentration within the Business Administration degree.

With continuing growth in the business world, the future for Business Administration degrees is looking bright! If you have great communication skills, enjoy leading others, and have a passion to help companies reach their highest potential, then this field may be your perfect starting point for a successful career!

Business Administration Specializations and Concentrations

Business Administration itself is a broad field, covering the skills necessary to lead a business. Most programs allow students to choose an area of concentration to help tailor their education to meet their career goals.

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Here are some common concentrations for Business Administration majors:

  • Human Resources
  • Accounting
  • Finances / Investments / Banking
  • Information Systems
  • Marketing
  • Real Estate
  • Risk Management and Insurance
  • Corporate Management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Health Administration
  • International Business

As you compare schools and degree programs, take a look at what concentrations they offer that may complement your degree and help guide you into the career path you’re considering.

Business Administration Job Description

business colleagues having work conversation

As a Business Administrator, it will be your job to oversee a business and its operations to ensure that goals are being met. Businesses all across the world, of all sizes and in all industries, need skilled administrators in order to succeed.

Whether you are a CEO, manager, analyst, advisor or hold another important title, you may be responsible for:

  • Establishing and evaluating long- and short-term goals
  • Implementing policies and procedures to improve efficiency
  • Analyzing market trends
  • Making decisions about finances and budgets
  • Consulting with other executives and managers in and outside of the company
  • Negotiating contracts
  • Identifying ways to cut costs and/or improve performance
  • Overseeing purchasing, hiring, training, and quality control

The responsibilities listed above may fall on you or on other individuals, depending on the size and type of the company you’re leading. Your role may also evolve and change as you climb the corporate ladder. In this field, you will have almost unlimited opportunities for career growth, and can expect to be constantly challenged and rewarded.

What’s the Difference Between Business Administration and Business Management?

Business Administration and Business Management are so similar that they are sometimes used interchangeably, but the two are not identical.

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If you are comparing the programs, here is the information you will need in order to choose which is best for you:

  • Business Administration: Focuses on overall operations of business; Students are able to specialize in one area by taking elective courses or choosing an area of concentration
  • Business Management: Focuses on interpersonal aspects of business; Ideal for those who want to supervise or manage people

The core curriculum for both degree programs is similar and includes business fundamentals like marketing, law and ethics, economics and finance.

What Can You Do With a Business Administration Degree?

finance manager presenting reports during meeting

With a degree in Business Administration, you will develop the leadership and managerial skills needed to work in an entry- or mid-level position in nearly any industry. You could be a CEO, manager, analyst, advisor or another top executive in workplaces such as:

  • Banks, Credit Unions, Loan Offices
  • Real Estate Brokerages
  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Retailers, Sales Organizations
  • Distribution Centers
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • Government Agencies
  • Manufacturing Firms
  • Transportation Agencies
  • Trade/Labor Institutions

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in the business and financial fields is expected to grow 10% from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average. This, of course, makes Business Administration an excellent choice with a secure future!

What Is a Business Administration Degree?

A Business Administration degree will provide you the tools to take on administrative or managerial roles in business, and may also allow for additional training in your specialized career field. As a student you will take general education courses, and learn the fundamentals of business. You can expect to take classes like the following:

  • Management Theory
  • Principles of Microeconomics
  • Business Research
  • Computer Applications
  • Global Business Strategies
  • Principles of Accounting
  • Financial Management
  • Marketing Principles

In addition to these general business courses, most colleges will allow you to choose an area of concentration. Some common concentration choices include healthcare administration, human resources and information systems.

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Choosing an area of concentration will allow you to learn career-specific skills that will help you thrive in your chosen field.

What Does Business Administration Do?

HR managers happy to hire the applicant

Business Administration is the overseeing of a business, including operational, organizational and managerial aspects. Quite literally, it involves administering a business.

If you work in this field, no matter what your job title may be, you may take on some or all of the following roles:

  • Establishing policies and procedures to streamline business
  • Analyzing data about costs, operations, productivity
  • Handling finances and budgets
  • Setting goals and developing strategies to meet them
  • Hiring, promoting, and overseeing employees and management

Of course, the responsibilities will vary depending on your position and industry, and may also evolve and change over time.

What are the Most Popular Business Administration Degree Jobs?

The most popular Business Administration degree jobs include positions as top executives, accountants, financial managers and more. Because it is such a broad field, graduates can choose from high-paying positions in almost any industry!

Here are some popular choices, along with their 2017 median salaries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

Careers 2017 Annual Median Salary
Advertising, Promotions and Marketing Manager $129,380
Financial Manager $125,080
Sales Manager $121,060
Human Resources Manager $110,120
Top Executive $104,700
Medical and Health Services Manager $98,350
Administrative Services Manager $94,020
Personal Financial Advisor $90,640
Financial Analyst $84,300
Management Analyst $82,450
Insurance Underwriter $69,760
Accountant / Auditor $69,350
Purchasing Manager / Agent, Buyer $66,610
Loan Officer $64,660
Market Research Analyst $63,230
Real Estate Appraiser / Assessor $54,010
Tax Examiner and Collector, Revenue Agent $53,130

The occupations listed above are all in high demand, and that is likely to remain the case. The (BLS) reports that the field as a whole is expected to grow 10% from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average.

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This means choosing Business Administration as your major is very likely a wise investment that will lead to a secure future.

What Is a Business Administration Major?

Executive Assistants doing a project together

A Business Administration major is the best way to gain a comprehensive understanding of business fundamentals, as well as the specific training necessary to pursue the career of your choice.

As a student in this major, you will likely take courses in:

  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Marketing

In addition to these core business classes, most colleges will allow you to choose an area of concentration, tailoring your education to suit your future career path. Some popular concentrations include human resources, entrepreneurship, corporate management, and healthcare administration.

Why Should I Choose Business Administration as a Major?

You should choose to major in Business Administration if you are looking for a degree program that will enable you to pursue a wide variety of challenging, lucrative occupations in business.

While some majors pigeon-hole graduates into a career they may grow out of, a major in Business is both flexible and adaptable. You will be qualified to work in finances and accounting, as well as directly overseeing personnel.

A few career options* include:

  • Accountant / Auditor ($69,350)
  • Financial Analyst ($84,300)
  • Human Resources Manager ($110,120)
  • Top Executive ($104,700)

* Salary data from median salaries, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Skilled administrators are needed in all sectors, all around the world. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in the business and financial fields is expected to grow 10% from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average.

What Is Business Administration Degree Good for?

Loan Officer managing company's budget

A Business Administration degree is good for someone who wants to work in the business world, constantly challenging him/herself and growing professionally.

The skills you gain as a Business Administration major may help you to:

  • Communicate more effectively
  • Speak in public
  • Manage time effectively
  • Self motivate / discipline
  • Think critically
  • Problem solve
  • Make difficult decisions
  • Analyze and interpret data
  • Manage personnel
  • Manage resources
  • Understand economic principals, finance, etc.
  • Understand how organizations operate

These skills will help you succeed as a CEO, Sales Manager, Financial Analyst, or in any number of other lucrative, in-demand positions in business.

What Is Business Administration All About?

Business Administration is all about organizing and overseeing business operations. Depending on the occupation, it may involve developing strategies to streamline processes, analyzing data and market trends, implementing business law and ethics, managing finances, and more.

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This is a career field that will best suit someone who is highly organized, goal-oriented, and has leadership skills but also works well in a team environment.

Is Business Administration a Good Major?

businesswoman giving presentation to business team

Yes, Business Administration is a good major! As a Business Administration student, you will have opportunities to meet other successful business people – professionals, professors and peers. These individuals can provide support, guidance and even help you secure a job.

In this competitive field, having a network of contacts and a degree in Business Administration from an accredited school will put you ahead of the competition. With this degree, you could pursue positions such as*:

  • Human Resources Manager ($110,120)
  • Advertising, Promotions and Marketing Manager ($129,380)
  • Personal Financial Advisor ($90,640)
  • Sales Manager ($121,060)
  • Top Executive ($104,700)* Salary data from median salaries, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

But those are just a few examples. An education in Business Administration is highly customizable, and can lead to exciting business careers in nearly any industry. You can climb any corporate ladder, or start a business of your own – the possibilities are almost endless!

Why Should I Study Business Administration?

Business colleagues in a meeting

You should study Business Administration because it can open the door to challenging and rewarding jobs in nearly any industry.

This degree is one of the most versatile. You may be a CEO, a Financial Analyst or a Marketing Specialist, or hold another important title. You may work in a large corporation, private business, financial institution, a distribution center, a school, a hospital, a retailer, a non-profit organization or any number of other businesses.

Whatever your title, wherever you work, you will indeed be a vital part of the business’ success. The (BLS) reports that the field as a whole is expected to grow 10% from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average. The field is also very rewarding. You will be able to evolve and grow, set goals for yourself, for others and for the company, and climb the ladder to achieve greater successes.

Ready to start your journey?
Elizabeth Abner
WRITTEN BY Elizabeth Abner

Elizabeth is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Foreign Policy and earned her master's degree in business administration. For her undergraduate studies, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in international business. Elizabeth's research is focused on universities offering online degree programs.