If you are considering majoring in business administration, you are in good company. The degree path is consistently popular, and with good reason. Studying business administration equips you with a broad and versatile set of skills that can help you secure several different well-paying jobs. Specialization options allow business administration students to choose one niche to explore in-depth or to develop their full range of general business skills. After graduating, you can forge your own path, finding work opportunities that further focus your skills and, if desired, going to graduate school for any number of different business-related degree programs. As you begin your undergraduate business administration studies, you should plan to take a diverse group of foundational business classes, upper-level coursework in the areas that most interest you and general education classes that make you a well-rounded learner.
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Core Business Classes
In a business administration degree program, you need to learn all aspects of business, from accounting to personnel recruitment and everything in between. Generally, to be recognized as a business degree program, at least 25 percent of the undergraduate curriculum must consist of conventional business coursework, according to business degree accrediting body AACSB International. Your core business courses are the foundational classes required for all business administration majors. Through these classes, you will develop the breadth of business knowledge that makes a bachelor’s degree in business administration so versatile.
Your core business administration courses might include introductory classes in financial accounting, managerial accounting, marketing, financial analysis and business law. While not so narrowly focused on leadership skills as a business management degree, most business administration degree programs will include coursework in strategic management, operations management, organizational behavior and similar management-focused subjects. Once you complete your foundational business coursework, you will build upon it through general or specialized intermediate business classes. Often, you will complete a capstone course near the end of your college education that brings together the material you have covered both in and outside of the classroom throughout your business studies. Since employers in the business world so heavily value experience and practical skills, business students should take part in an internship if possible.
With your business degree, you could work in many business and finance occupations, such as loan officer, management analyst, logistician, budget analyst, cost estimator or human resources specialist, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Many business administration programs offer students the chance to build focused areas of expertise as well as broad business knowledge. Business schools do this by housing different concentrations, specializations or academic tracks within their business administration degree programs. Like a major within a major, your area of specialization requires you to complete specified coursework. The variety of concentrations available within business administration programs is huge, but many schools themselves offer just a handful of options. Among the most popular business administration tracks are finance, accounting, management, marketing and human resources.
Students who choose to study general business, rather than focus on one specialization, continue to take classes in an array of different business topics just as they did earlier in their education, but they are now advanced enough to complete upper-level coursework.
Liberal Arts and Science Classes
While preparing for your future business career might be your main reason for pursuing a bachelor’s degree, a college education is about more than training for a single career. It is important for college graduates to be educated on other subjects, as well, so that they can be great critical thinkers, problem solvers and communicators and can understand the complex issues that arise in the world.
Most four-year colleges and universities have mandatory general education requirements that students must meet in order to graduate. These classes often include everything from writing and composition to math, laboratory science and humanities. While you are unlikely to learn many technical business skills through your general education courses, taking these classes is about more than checking off a list of graduation requirements. They add real value to your knowledge base and, in the case of certain subjects, to your understanding of business principles and markets.
For example, general education classes in macroeconomics and microeconomics can help undergraduate business students understand the economy and how economic issues impact business organizations. While you don’t need high-level abstract mathematical knowledge to succeed as a business professional, a basic business calculus or applied calculus course can be important for developing your analytical skills and learning to apply math skills to business problems. Classes in psychology, sociology and anthropology are all crucial to helping business majors understand the thinking and behavior of individuals, groups and cultures and societies. This knowledge can give you a better understanding of marketing campaigns, better management strategies and better sales and communications skills.
Some schools require as many as 60 credits, or half of your total college studies, of general education coursework.