Business and Management Degree Programs

Updated April 27, 2021 | Staff Writers

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Whether you were born with an entrepreneurial spirit or have a knack for leadership, you may be interested in pursuing a business and management degree. Top business management degrees can provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to start your own business, scale the ladder in the corporate world, or advance in your current field. As you can see, business administration and management degrees are versatile, so no matter what your interests or career goals, the chances are good that you’ll find a business/management degree program that’s a good fit for you.

Business Administration and Management Degrees: Salary Potential

One thing most all business and management degrees have in common is that they have the potential to be highly lucrative. In fact, if bringing home the proverbial bacon is a top priority for you when it comes to career goals, then business and administration management degrees may be the perfect fit for you. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employees in management occupations make more per year than those in any other occupational group. As of May 2016, these business professionals brought home well over $100,000 a year on average. Of course, there are many different types of business and management occupations, and some are more profitable than others. The BLS reports that the highest paid managers are computer and information systems managers; architectural and engineering managers; advertising, promotions, and marketing managers, and finance managers:

  • Computer and Information Systems Managers: $135,800
  • Architectural and Engineering Managers: $134,730
  • Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers: $127,560
  • Financial Managers: $121,750

Are Business and Management Degrees Necessary?

No matter what type of business management position you’re interested in, pursuing one of the many business and administration management degrees available today is probably a good idea. There are a few management occupations that require only a high school diploma or equivalent, but it is important to note that these positions also happen to be the lowest paid management positions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers: $66,360
  • Property, Real Estate, and Community Association Managers: $57,040
  • Lodging Managers: $51,840
  • Food Service Managers: $50,820

Although the above management occupations do not require a management degree, it could still help a great deal. Business and management degrees—even at the associate’s level— give workers a competitive edge in the field by providing them with a solid understanding of important business principles as well as an added credential that many employers will find impressive. Let’s look at the different types of business and management degrees available.

Types of Business and Management Degrees

Associates Degrees in Business and Management

An associates degree in business and management is the first step up on the ladder of business and management degrees, but even so, it can provide valuable skills that will help you succeed in the business world and a credential that many employers in the field of business will respect when hiring entry-level managers and supervisors. Associates-level business and management degrees usually take two years to complete, but accelerated options are sometimes available, which can shorten this completion time. Moreover, many associate’s degrees in business and management programs are flexible in regards to scheduling, allowing students to meet degree requirements on their own time and via a part-time or full-time basis. The curriculum for associates business administration and management degrees is typically broad and provides students with foundational skills in various areas of business:

Topics Covered in Associate’s-Level Business and Management Degree Programs

  • business communication
  • marketing and promotion
  • accounting, economics, and finance
  • business and administrative technologies
  • business ethics and law

Bachelor’s Degrees in Business and Management

Bachelor’s-level business administration and management degrees provide students with the skills and credentials needed for most management occupations. These degree programs are typically four-year programs that give students a broad, but comprehensive business education. Bachelor’s in business and management degrees prepare graduates for well-paid positions in a variety of different areas of management:

Salaries for Sample Management Occupations Requiring Bachelor’s Degrees in Business and Management

  • Natural Sciences Managers: $119,850
  • Sales Managers: $117,960
  • Compensation and Benefits Managers: $116,240
  • Public Relations and Fundraising Managers: $107,320
  • Human Resources Managers: $106,910
  • Training and Development Managers: $105,830

The curriculum for business administration and management degrees at the bachelor’s level will vary depending on the program you choose. Bachelor’s degrees in business and management can be general, but they may also provide opportunities for students to specialize in a particular area or sub-field of business:

Bachelor’s Business Administration and Management Degrees: Specializations and Areas of Emphasis

  • Logistics/Supply Chain Management
  • Advertising/Marketing
  • Finance/Accounting
  • Healthcare Administration
  • IT
  • Human Resources

Whether you choose to specialize in one or more of these areas or choose a general track, you will still be required to take core business classes. These courses will provide you with a foundation of knowledge regarding business practices and principles:

Example Core Classes for Business Administration and Management Degrees (Bachelor’s)

  • Introduction to Business Communication
  • Managerial Accounting
  • Business Strategy
  • Economics 101
  • Mathematics for Business
  • Operations Management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Global Management
  • Information Systems for Management
  • Fundamentals of Marketing

Business administration and management degrees at the bachelor’s level also prepare students to further their business studies in a graduate program.

Master’s-Level Business and Management Degrees

Master’s-level business administration and management degrees prepare students for some of the highest-paid jobs in the industry. These positions are often supervisory roles and require top leadership skills.

Business Administration and Management Degrees: MBA Programs

One of the most popular types of masters business and management degrees is the Master of Business Administration, commonly referred to as the MBA. MBAs are highly respected in the business industry and gain recipients entry into executive leadership positions in some of the biggest and most profitable companies in the country. MBAs are not only potentially lucrative, but they’re also very versatile. Available MBA concentrations span a wide range of sub-areas in the field of business, including marketing, finance, technology, entrepreneurship, and many more. Thus, students pursuing these top business management degrees can choose a specialization aligned with an area of business that interests them, and that will help them advance in their respective careers.

In addition to content customization options, many masters business administration and management degree programs offer flexible scheduling options that can help busy professionals complete their degrees on their own time. Depending on the particular program you choose, you may be able to work on your degree on a part-time or full-time basis, for instance. Additionally, evening or online classes may also be an option. Some MBA business and management degrees also offer hybrid formats for those students who desire a mix of online and traditional classes.

Sample MBA Courses

  • Foundations of Teamwork and Leadership
  • Corporate Strategy
  • Operations Management
  • Managerial Economics
  • Business, Government, and the International Economy
  • Legal Studies and Business Ethics
  • Principles of Financial Accounting
  • Marketing Management
  • Leadership and Corporate Accountability
  • Applied Business Statistics

Business and Management Degrees: Master of Accountancy (MAcc) Programs

Another common type of business degree is the Master of Accountancy or MAcc program. These graduate business degree offerings primarily serve to prepare students for careers as certified public accountants, or CPAs. While many MAcc programs require students to have undergraduate degrees in business, others will waive this requirement provided students are willing to take some required foundational business classes. Once these prerequisites are met, students can proceed to core MAcc classes:

Sample MAcc Core Courses

  • Research Methods for Accounting Professionals
  • International Accounting
  • Accounting Information Systems
  • Accounting Theory
  • Advanced Auditing
  • Financial Statement Analysis
  • Forensic Examination and Data Analysis
  • Professional Ethics and Legal Issues for Accountants

Master of Accountancy (MAcc) programs typically take two years to complete, but accelerated options are available.

Business Administration and Management Degrees: Master of Science in Finance (MSF) Programs

Those individuals who desire a top position dealing with the financial aspects of business should consider a Master of Science in Finance commonly referred to as an MSF. These types of business and management degrees prepare students for leadership positions in consumer banking, corporate banking, risk assessment, financial planning, portfolio management, and related areas of finance. MSF programs typically consist of 30-36 credit hours of coursework.

Sample Courses for Master of Science in Finance Programs

  • Investment Banking
  • Corporate Finance
  • Money and Capital Markets
  • Quantitative Methods in Finance
  • Real Estate Investments
  • Computer Skills in Financial Analysis
  • Forecasting and Risk Analysis
  • Investment Management and Analysis

Like most other masters-level business administration and management degrees, Master of Science in Finance programs usually take no more than 2 years to complete.

Business and Management Degrees: Master’s in Management (MIM)

Other top business management degrees include the Master’s degree in Management or MIM. This business degree prepares students for management roles in a variety of industries, including healthcare, finance, marketing, and technology among many others. Graduates of MIM programs go on to work in sales and advertising, general management, leadership development, consulting, etc.

Master’s in Management degree programs are broad, focusing on management roles in various sub-fields of business, but they often allow for specialization. Depending on the specific program, students may be able to choose a concentration, or they may select electives to customize the content of the curriculum.

Sample Courses for Master’s in Management (MIM) Programs

  • Management of Information Technology (IT)
  • Operations Management
  • Business Analytics
  • Business Communication
  • Financial Management in a Global Environment
  • Managing People and Organizations
  • Statistical Analysis for Management

Unlike other types of master’s-level business administration and management degrees, Master’s in Management (MIM) programs can typically be completed in less than a year’s time.

Business Administration and Management Degrees: Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

The terminal degree in business is the Doctor of Business Administration or DBA. These top business management degrees are broad and focus on research and emerging issues in the field of business. Often, students will have many options when it comes to cognates or specialization areas:

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) Cognates/Specializations:

  • Marketing
  • International Business
  • Strategic Management
  • Information Systems
  • Project Management
  • Leadership
  • Homeland Security
  • Social Impact Management
  • Human Resources

Some DBA programs allow students to devise their own specialization based on their own individualized career goals.

The curriculum for Doctor of Business Administration programs will vary depending upon the specialization area chosen, but some core business classes, as well as research courses, will overlap.

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) Courses:

  • Contemporary Challenges in Business
  • Executive Decision-Making
  • Ethics in Business and Management
  • Organizational Leadership: Doctoral Theory and Practice
  • Qualitative and Case Study Methodology for Business Analysis Research
  • Advanced Organizational Behavior

Online vs. On-Campus Business and Management Degree Programs

Advancing technology and a growing demand for convenient higher education options have triggered a dramatic increase in the number of available business management degrees online. These distance education options have also become increasingly attractive to prospective students due to their flexibility, affordability, and perhaps most importantly, high quality. Indeed, these programs have made it possible for distance education students to receive the same high-quality business instruction from the convenience of their own homes as they would if they were to attend classes in person.

When considering the prospect of pursuing a business and management degree online, however, it is important to note that not all of these online business programs are alike. In fact, they can vary greatly, especially in regards to curriculum delivery. For instance, some schools offer their online programs synchronously. This means that students are required to log into the learning platform at a specific time and attend live lectures and discussions. Other online business administration and management degrees can be completed asynchronously. With this format, students can log in to their learning platforms at any time to view recorded lectures and post to online forums, for instance. Of course, there are benefits to both synchronous and asynchronous formats. For example, students taking synchronous business courses have the advantage of interacting with their classmates and professors in real time, whereas students studying asynchronously must forego this experience. Asynchronous students do have the benefit of scheduling their coursework at a time that best suits them rather than being held to specific meeting times.

Another key difference among the various online business administration and management degrees offered online is the matter of on-campus visits. While it is possible to find business and management degrees that can be completed entirely online, some require minimal visits to campus for the purposes of orientation, review sessions, residencies, and the like. Depending on your individual circumstances, on-campus visits may be a refreshing break from the ordinary and an opportunity to spend some face-to-face time with classmates and professors, or they may pose a major inconvenience that would cause you impossible scheduling difficulties. For this reason, it’s important that you choose a format for your business and management degree online program that is right for you.

Some online business and management degree programs offer internships and even study-abroad programs. In most cases, internships can be arranged in the student’s local area, sometimes even at their place of employment, for added convenience.

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