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What Does a Career in Business Administration and Management Look Like?

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Business administration and management professionals can assume leadership roles in nearly every industry.

Does a career in business sound appealing? Then you might consider pursuing business administration and management. Succeeding in this field requires people skills and a knack for leadership, and a good way to start is by earning a business degree.

Read on to learn what a business administration and management career looks like in terms of earnings, professional responsibilities, and educational requirements.

What Do Business Administrators & Managers Do?

Business administrators and managers help organizations run efficiently and meet their short- and long-term goals. These professionals also direct the activities of lower-level employees by communicating regularly about their progress and adherence to company regulations. They also communicate with executives, who provide direction and guidance.

Administration and management has eight major branches: finance, marketing, human resources, strategy, production, operations, service, and information technology (IT). In all of these specialties, duties can include both everyday tasks — like training employees — and long-term managerial tasks, like deciding where to invest funds.

Though often grouped together, business administration and business management differ in their focuses.

Administration encompasses the daily tasks necessary to keep a business organization functioning, while management is more concerned about an organization's higher goals, like expansion, developing an identity, and diversifying.

There are no requirements for licensure or certification in business administration and management careers, but it can be helpful to obtain optional certifications in particular areas of expertise. Graduate-level certificates in administration and management can help, too.

Where Do Business Administrators & Managers Work?

Business administrators and managers work in a variety of industries, including retail, marketing, healthcare, and finance, usually in the private sector and working for for-profit organizations.

Depending on the size of the organization, a business manager might manage or handle administrative duties for an entire organization or for a particular department within an organization, like human resources, sales, or marketing.

Careers in administration and management often require long hours, including overtime hours. The typical manager or administrator works 50-60 hours per week, and some may work more.

Skills

A variety of soft and hard skills are required for a successful business administration and management career. Employers place high value on strong communication and leadership skills: the former to convey company goals to employees and take direction from those above them, and the latter to command the respect of those working under them.

Earning a business degree can help you strengthen these skills. For instance, coursework in organizational leadership can refine your skills in leadership, communication, and conflict management by providing a theoretical framework to assess your own choices.

Career Information

As the data below indicates, administrators and managers enjoy high salaries and demand, especially in metropolitan hubs like Seattle, Los Angeles, and Houston. Administrative services managers, for instance, make a median annual salary of $96,940, and the BLS also projects an employment growth rate of 6% between 2019 to 2029.

Salary and Job Growth for Administrative Services Managers

Median Salary

$96,940

Job Growth (2018-2028)

6%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Highest Paying Cities for General/Operations Managers

Similar Careers

Top Executives

Top executives plan the strategies and policies of an organization at the highest level. Unlike administrators and managers, they do not work in a specific department, instead creating goals for an organization as a whole. Depending on their level, these employees usually communicate directly with higher-ups, with lower-level team managers reporting to them.

Human Resources Managers

Human resources managers handle the administrative functions of a company's human resources department, performing tasks such as recruiting, interviewing, and hiring new employees, resolving workplace conflicts, and acting as a buffer between management and employees. These managers ensure the health of an organization by supporting and directing its employees' activities.

Management Analysts

Rather than setting goals for an organization, management analysts derive strategies for how to measure an organization's progress toward its goals and analyze its overall efficiency. They collect performance data and interviews with employees, analyze the outcome of business policies, and then make recommendations to managers, administrators, and executives about how to improve.

Why Become a Business Administrator or Manager?

Many people are drawn to the field of business administration and management because of the level of responsibility it entails. Good management helps businesses set feasible goals and then meet those goals; bad management can drive a company under.

One of this field's biggest challenges is the stressful nature of having to make these high-level decisions. However, many administration and management professionals find this challenge fulfilling and derive professional satisfaction from solving problems. The type of person who does well in this field handles stress gracefully and enjoys a fast-paced work environment with complex responsibilities.

The demand for business administrators and managers is fairly steady because these employees can find work across different branches of business, helping organizations meet changing societal needs. Their work not only impacts everyone working under them, but also affects the consumers who use or purchase their employers' products and services.

How to Get Hired

Obtaining entry-level work as a business administrator or manager usually requires a bachelor's in business management or a bachelor's in business administration

A business management bachelor's differs from a business administration bachelor's in that it offers coursework related to organizational management theory and leadership strategies. The business administration bachelor's may also cover these topics, but it typically focuses more on day-to-day aspects of business.

Employers usually prefer candidates with several years of experience and strong communication and leadership skills. At the beginning of your career, you can impress employers by including internship experience and membership in professional organizations on your resume or CV.

Organizations

American Management Association

A nonprofit with 25,000 members, AMA advocates for administration and management professionals nationwide. Members can access online training courses and professional certifications at a discount.

National Business Association

NBA provides support for self-employed individuals and small businesses, including financial assistance, educational workshops, and products tailored to help entrepreneurs starting out on their own.

American Business Women's Association

ABWA has represented the interests of female American business leaders since 1949. The organization's member resources include discounted online courses, subscriptions to ABWA publications, and discounted access to the National Women's Leadership Conference.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Role of Business Administration?

Business administration and management professionals deal with the short- and long-term upkeep tasks and goals of organizations. They help ensure that goals are set and met and that things run smoothly and efficiently.

Is Business Management a Stressful Job?

Business management can be stressful because it entails juggling a variety of high-stakes responsibilities, including directing other employees' activities, maintaining records and facilities, and training new hires. Good time management and organization is key.

How Do I Get Started in Business Administration or Management?

Many people get started in business administration or management by earning a bachelor's degree in business from an accredited university. After graduation — or even before — you can obtain an entry-level job or secure an internship, which imparts valuable experience and networking opportunities and helps you get a foot in the door.

Is Business Management a Good Career?

Many people find fulfillment working in business management because it offers high salaries, a fast-paced work life, and a strong emphasis on working closely with others. If those things interest you, then business management is a good career option for you.

Image Credit: Dean Mitchell | Getty Images

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