Skip to main content
Select Source:

A Guide to Business Administration Careers

Business administration jobs allow you to use your financial, managerial, analysis and organizational skills to succeed in the industry of your choice. An education in business provides you with these important concepts and prepares you for work in a variety of types of organizations. You may start in office administration and develop your career toward executive level positions. Small businesses and large companies with thousands of employees both need administrators with the ability to manage operations and use innovative concepts that lead to success for the organization and the people it employs. Your education can be a foundation for a career that fits your goals and strengths, and as you grow in your role, your business administration salary may increase as well.

What Is Business Administration?

Business administration positions involve a variety of leadership, organizational and analysis duties. Every organization needs administration of its processes, staff, policies, contracts, finances and overall business plan. There are many responsibilities that come with business administration jobs. Some of the regular duties you can expect during a career in business administration include:

  • You will take part in managing the daily processes that go into manufacturing products, providing services and other activities associated with your company’s profit-making operations. You will ensure that products and services are readily available to clients and are meeting and exceeding client expectations.
  • You will work with other employees to outline the processes, company policies and goals for individual departments and the overall enterprise. You will need to ensure that the procedures and policies are being enforced, and you will track progress on each organizational goal.
  • You will look for ways to use new technologies to improve the organization. You may be encouraged to find innovative new approaches to current processes.
  • You will work with the finance team and each part of the organization to evaluate finances and ensure that budget planning is on track.

Later in your career, you may establish financial and budget guidelines and goals. You may take on additional responsibilities as you grow within an organization, including duties such as:

  • You will perform organizational evaluations and identify areas that need improvement. You may consult with department heads and make changes to departments, programs or policies. You also may find areas to cut costs.
  • You will present operational reports to other executives, board members and other staff in leadership positions and consult them about practices.
  • You will perform evaluations and gather performance data from financial statements, sales reports and other measurements of company status.
  • You will negotiate contracts with vendors and consultants and approve agreements with other parties and clients. You may also appoint department heads and other management positions.

What Are the Types of Business Administration Degrees?

Getting a solid foundation in business administration principles can help prepare you for a career, provide you with upper-level training or give you an idea of the roles you would like to pursue. There are several certification and degree programs in business administration:

  • Associate’s degrees prepare you for entry-level business positions.
  • Bachelor’s degrees provide you with further management skills that qualify you for a wide selection of employment opportunities.
  • A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is an advanced degree that sharpens your analysis, leadership, management and organizational skills and can place you on the path to leadership roles in companies.
  • Certification programs sharpen your skills for upper-level roles. Examples of certification programs include the Certified Manager (CM) credential through the Institute of Certified Professional Managers or certifications for administrative service managers through the International Facility Management Association.
  • A Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) provides the highest level of leadership and management training, and graduates of this program spend three to six years gaining expertise in high-level concepts, research and analysis.

Students looking for jobs with business administration degrees will find that the opportunities available depend on their education level along with work experiences. Many students choose to continue their education while working by pursuing their degrees online. Online course options offer the flexible scheduling necessary to complete coursework while working full-time or part-time.

What Kind of Positions Are Available to Graduates With Business Administration Degrees?

Private, public and non-profit organizations all have the need for some form of business administration work. Entry-level positions usually involve management of daily operations. The highest-level business administration work usually involves research positions or executive-level management positions. Top executive positions include:

  • CFOs: chief financial officers who oversee a company’s financial reporting, budgets, assets and investments
  • COOs: chief operating officers who oversee other executives and make high-level decisions and policies for the company’s departments
  • CSOs: chief sustainability officers who ensure that the company is operating within environmental regulations and craft sustainability strategies
  • CIOs: chief information officers who oversee the company’s IT policies and direction

You also may enter high-level management position in general management or operations management. These positions require you to oversee daily operations, staff schedules and assignments, resource management and the creation of operational and human resource policies.

You can plan your education goals around the type of work you would like to do and how far you would like your career to go into upper management or business research and analysis. In general, each level of education you complete along with your work experience can open up new business administration career paths:

  • Associate’s degree opportunities:
    • Entry-level office management and administrative roles
    • Management positions in retail and sales
    • Management trainee positions
    • Customer or client-facing support roles in technology
    • Project assistant roles
  • Bachelor’s degree opportunities:
    • Business analysis
    • Entrepreneurship and business ownership
    • Marketing
    • Operations management
  • MBA opportunities:
    • Consulting work
    • Advanced leadership positions
    • Corporate controller positions
    • Executive director positions
  • DBA opportunities:
    • Senior executive-level management
    • Research positions
    • Careers in teaching and research at universities

Once you find the career path that aligns with your personal strengths, goals and interests, you can begin working your way up the ladder. Business administration positions require you to be motivated and to make good decisions for the business even in stressful situations. The concepts you learn as a student earning a business administration degree can provide you with a solid understanding of business concepts, and this foundation along with your drive and successes in your industry can help you advance your career.