An online bachelor’s degree in business administration can help students gain the skills that are essential for a variety of careers. Those who concentrate their studies in a specific area -- such as finance, marketing, or accounting -- can gain a specialized skill set and knowledge for their intended career. Depending on the school, students may work towards a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in business, business administration, or business economics. Students take a combination of general education, business, and non-business elective courses during the four years that it typically takes to complete the degree program.
Online Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration: Coursework and Training
The curriculum of online business programs varies by school. However, there are some common courses across schools, and there are also several courses outside of the business degree that can help prepare students for both future classes and their intended career.
Business Degree Courses
- Managerial Accounting: Students learn about common accounting decisions and procedures that management must make to profit the company. Examples of accounting concepts that students learn include capital budgeting, stockholders’ equity, and cost and profit analysis.
- Finance: Students use mathematical and accounting concepts to calculate values often used to make personal and corporate financial decisions. Examples of such values include the time value of money, interest rates, and the price of stocks and bonds.
- Consumer Behavior: Students analyze buyer behavior in purchasing decisions. They examine the decision-making process as well as psychological, social, and economic factors that drive consumers to make a purchase.
- Entrepreneurship: In entrepreneurship classes, students explore the process of starting their own business. They examine case studies of successful and unsuccessful entrepreneurial ventures, come up with their own idea, develop a plan to obtain financing, figure out the operational logistics of the venture, and market the product or service.
- Organizational Behavior: In organizational behavior classes, students examine human behavior in organizations and learn about topics such as communication, etiquette, and motivation in a professional setting.
Courses outside of Business
- Rhetoric: Rhetoric courses aim to improve the speaking and writing abilities of students. Since effective communication is essential in any business field, rhetoric courses give students the opportunity to work on their public speaking, writing, and persuasive discourse skills.
- Economics: Since the success of a business and the strength of an economy are tied together, it is important for business majors to have a foundation in economics. Basic economics courses are often required in a bachelor’s degree program and cover topics such as supply and demand, unemployment, and competition in various types of market economies.
- Foreign Language: Since globalization in business is becoming increasingly prevalent, proficiency in a foreign language is a beneficial skill to have, particularly for students interested in international business.
Potential Career Opportunities for Individuals with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration
Though some business career opportunities are available to associate degree holders, employers typically require candidates to have at least a bachelor’s degree for entry-level employment.
Below are some careers in which graduates can apply the skills that they gain in an online business degree program:
- Accountants and auditors prepare and assess financial records to ensure accuracy and compliance with accounting regulations. Based on those financial records, they also recommend changes to reduce costs and increase profitability. In addition to accounting classes, students interested in becoming an accountant or auditor should have a strong foundation in math and take electives such as auditing and tax accounting.
- Financial examiners review balance sheets, assess the risk level of loans, and evaluate bank management to monitor compliance with financial institution and transaction laws. Students interested in a career as a financial examiner should take courses in accounting to gain relevant knowledge and skills.
- Financial analysts help businesses and individuals make investment decisions. Students interested in this career should specialize in finance and have extensive knowledge in options pricing, bond valuation, and risk management.
- Personal financial advisors provide financial advice to individuals in relation to investments, taxes, and insurance. Students who want to become a financial advisor should take personal finance and finance courses and have a strong understanding of tax laws, risk management, and the various types of investments available.
- Market research analysts examine market conditions in various business sectors and geographic areas to gain an understanding of what people want, who will buy a certain product or service, and what price people are willing to pay. They also collect and analyze data about consumers, competitors, and market conditions. Students interested in becoming a market research analyst should specialize in marketing and have strong communication skills to effectively explain the implications of the analyzed data.
After earning their bachelor’s degree, students also have the opportunity to continue their business education by pursuing a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) or a specialized graduate degree in accountancy, finance, management, or management information systems. Students interested in pursuing a master’s degree in business administration should research schools to learn more about specific admission requirements.
For comprehensive information about a bachelor’s degree in business administration as well as the potential educational and career opportunities available after earning the degree, take a look at the Guide to College Majors in Business.
Accountants and Auditors, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012
Financial Analysts, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012
Financial Examiners, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012
Market Research Analysts, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012
Personal Financial Advisors, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012