Business jobs that involve supervising workers or overseeing projects and campaigns are necessarily above entry-level. Whether you are eyeing your rise to your first mid-level management role or planning your path to executive “C-suite” leadership positions, you need a college education and years of work experience before you can arrive at the management career you want. Management degrees exist at both undergraduate and graduate levels and come in many different forms. A bachelor’s degree is enough formal education to qualify you for some management roles, while master’s degrees are required for others.
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Types of Management Degrees
Degree programs in business management can be general or specialized. At the undergraduate level, many management programs are considered Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) programs in which students opted to complete a management concentration. BBA programs have a broad curriculum that consists of introductory and basic coursework in a variety of different business fields to expose students to each of the main aspects of business. BBA students who choose the management concentration focus on coursework such as organization theory, human resource management, leadership and motivation, negotiation and international management. These classes help students understand how different types of business organizations operate, what complex issues individuals and groups within an organization face and how to apply strategies for effective management to real business scenarios.
Other undergraduate options in this field include Bachelor of Science in Business Management programs. Generally, non-BBA programs in management are broad in the sense that they seek to develop versatile leadership skills rather than technical knowledge of subjects like accounting, finance or marketing. However, they focus more narrowly on the theory and practice of management strategies and approaches than on acquiring a well-rounded understanding of the business world.
Graduate management degree options have a lot in common with undergraduate degree programs. The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is the graduate version of the BBA and includes graduate-level studies in a breadth of business topics, with the option to specialize in management or another concentration. Students can also look for non-MBA options, including the Master of Science in Business Management and Leadership or the Master of Liberal Arts in Management degree. One of the biggest distinctions between MBA and master’s in management programs is the focus of the curriculum. While traditional MBA programs emphasize business analytics and quantitative analysis, even for students in the management specialization, non-MBA master’s in management programs tend to focus on leadership skills and knowledge of business structure and organizational development.
Management degrees at the graduate level are often more specialized than those offered at the undergraduate level. Master’s degree programs exist in operations management, project management, international management and technology management.
Jobs With an Undergraduate Degree in Management
An undergraduate degree like a BBA with a management concentration or a Bachelor of Science in Business Management is a great choice for students who want to work in a management role, once they have enough work experience. Because you study different aspects of business as part of your undergraduate management degree, you can easily use this education to get your first entry-level business role and begin working your way up. Most management roles require only a bachelor’s degree, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). With your undergraduate management degree, you could rise to roles such as marketing manager, financial manager, human resources manager, sales manager and top executive, all of which enjoy a six-figure median salary. A bachelor’s degree in management can also qualify you for well-paying analyst and business consultant roles.
While you can earn an associate’s degree in management, most students who do so plan to continue their education. Without at least a bachelor’s degree, students of business management typically qualify for only entry-level jobs, not lucrative leadership roles.
Leadership Career Opportunities With a Master’s Degree
While you can do a lot with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, earning your master’s degree still offers you a competitive edge in the job market. This advanced education can be especially important if the role you are seeking is highly competitive, as many top leadership roles are. Although you can get manager jobs in several areas of business with only your bachelor’s degree, the BLS recognizes that employers are increasingly giving preference to students with a master’s degree.
At certain companies – often, those with the highest wages and most prestige – even non-leadership jobs like budget analyst, financial analyst and financial services sales agent are more likely to go to candidates with a master’s degree than a bachelor’s degree.