What Is a Business Administration Degree?

Woman stands confidently in front of her team

A business administration degree is a popular choice among today’s college students. It prepares graduates to pursue meaningful and lucrative opportunities in all sectors, including nonprofit organizations, for-profit companies and even government agencies. This degree may also prepare graduates to launch their own companies.

Additionally, an academic background in business administration allows graduates to explore meaningful work in virtually any industry — from entertainment to manufacturing to space exploration. It will also help graduates refine their decision-making skills and leadership style as they explore opportunities in management.

In short, business administration is a versatile specialization that will give students a solid framework of in-demand competencies.

Understanding the Basics of Business Administration

A business administration degree is often confused with a business management degree. While they are quite similar, there are a number of differences. Business administration involves the day-to-day operations of the company. It is the goal of administration professionals to improve the business’ efficiency, with an eye toward aligning the daily operations with the company’s long-term growth objectives.

While business administration professionals oversee the finer details of running the company, business management experts focus on the overall picture, such as the company’s growth and expansion efforts. Business management also tends to be more involved with leading teams and structuring the organization. Business administration is the ‘quantitative’ business degree program requiring additional finance, economic and account courses beyond the business core. Whereas business management is the ‘qualitative’ business degree program with less quantitative courses but additional management courses.

Now that you are familiar with the differences between these two degrees, it’s time to take a closer look at business administration. Business administrators focus on the processes of running the company. They often act as project managers and team leaders, overseeing the daily operations of their department and making sure that those operations are aligned with the company’s overall objectives.

Identifying Areas of Specialization in Business Administration

Business administration professionals tend to specialize in one particular area of business operations. This is especially likely to be the case if they work for a large company. Here’s a look at some possible areas of specialization that may interest you:

  • Finance
  • Accounting
  • Marketing
  • Project management
  • Human resources management
  • Supply chain management

Typically, a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree will provide students with broad knowledge and skills across all of these categories. This enables them to work on getting their foot in the door at a company. However, later on in your career, you may decide that it’s time to further refine your skill-set and pursue a higher-level position. At this point, you may consider going back to school.

Earning your Master of Business Administration (MBA) will set you apart from many other job candidates. The MBA program is widely recognized as the gold standard in academic achievement among business professionals. You can earn a general MBA, or you can choose an MBA with a specialization that speaks to your own career goals. For example, some MBA programs emphasize business administration for professionals who work in cybersecurity, the sports industry or the public sector. You could also choose a specialization in finance, marketing or accounting.

Characteristics and Traits of Successful Administrators

Every administrator will bring their own unique set of skills and characteristics to the workplace. In general, however, the following characteristics and traits define effective business administrators:

Leadership Skills

Leadership skills are essential. Administrators must have high emotional intelligence (EQ) and understand how to nurture solid interpersonal relationships. Effective leaders are also those who know how to motivate their team members.

Communication Skills

Effective administrators are able to clearly explain what they need from their team members. Written and verbal communication skills are crucial in the workplace.

Problem-Solving Skills

Unexpected issues will always pop up in the workplace; they are simply inevitable. Effective administrators are flexible enough to accommodate last-minute changes. They are also able to think on their feet and solve problems creatively.

Of course, successful business administrators must also have an in-depth understanding of their industry. As you work toward your business administration degree, it can be helpful to identify your preferred industries, and explore articles, blogs and podcasts from thought leaders in those industries.

Exploring Career Opportunities With a Degree in Business Administration

Regardless of which career path you choose, the career opportunities for graduates with a degree in business administration are nearly limitless, considering that it is a versatile degree with a broad range of applications. Here is a look at just a few of the possibilities:

  • Sales manager
  • Market research analyst
  • Commercial loan officer
  • Accountant

You can start preparing to reach for future career success by earning your Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree at Grand Canyon University. Active professionals who already hold a bachelor’s can further enhance their career qualifications by earning their Master of Business Administration (MBA) online at GCU. Or, choose from our many MBA specializations, including finance, health systems management and cybersecurity. Click on Request More Information at the top of your screen to begin your academic journey today.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.