Guide to College Majors in Management

So much of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to work.
--Peter Drucker

What Is Management?

Management is an essential business function. A manager is a person responsible for pulling people and a project together--and a management degree is your ticket to becoming that person.

A college degree in management will greatly enhance your career opportunities. And even if you don't yet work at a management level, you'll still benefit by gaining an understanding of the process of management--the principles of organization, the need for division of labor and allocation of resources, and the necessity of a formal hierarchy in larger organizations. But if your goal is to move into a management position or improve your current role in management, then you need to have great communication skills, logical linear thinking, and comfort and competence in leadership; you must also be decisive and enjoy leading a team toward goals.

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Career Education in Management

Management degree programs can help to develop effective interpersonal skills, foster decision-making and entrepreneurial thinking, and familiarize you with diverse business environments. The skills you develop can be applied to areas such as personnel management, organizational behavior, production, international and small business, healthcare, government agencies, financial institutions, telecommunications, hospitality, and education.

Bachelor's Degrees in Management

As with most business fields, preferred management candidates will have a minimum of a bachelor's degree. You may choose to start with an associate degree and get your foot in the door of the workforce, but in order to advance, you will eventually need to complete your BA or BS in management. A standard bachelor's degree in management takes three to four years and will give you a broad management education, with the option to tailor your curriculum to your area of interest.

Online Business Management Training

Online college classes are gaining in popularity among working business professionals as they seek to enhance their resumes without putting their careers on hold. Online degrees in management offer the added advantage of immediate use--a working business management student may apply his new knowledge on the job the day after he learns it.The goal of any management course is to develop business competencies such as accounting, business law, economics, management, and marketing-essentially, to gain competency in the administration of human and physical resources and to acquire skills useful to any organization.

Applied Management Degrees

An applied management degree bypasses any extra coursework that doesn't directly relate to the management function. It has a more intense, career-specific focus and is appropriate for those who already hold a degree or professional credentials and need to enhance their knowledge in order to move into management positions. It says to your organization that you are committed to fulfilling the official duties of managing projects, finances and people. If you're not already working at a management level, it shows that your goal is to get there; if you are a manager, it shows that you want to be the best you can be at your position by adding to the skills that got you there in the first place.

At the bachelor's level, an applied management degree offers courses in the key functional areas of management, so that you can advance into supervisory positions. The degree focuses on managing the complex interactions between different management topics when defining and solving real-world business problems. A Bachelor of Science in Applied Management can often be completed in two years or less.

Organizational Management Degrees

Organizational management is another popular management specialization, dedicated to fostering new ways of leading and working with organizational change and transitions. Organizational management students learn about virtual work teams and work design, as well as employee and team development within corporations, profit and non-profit agencies, education and government. In this field, you can often choose a subspecialty like information technology or human resources.

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Learn more about online management degree programs offered at these universities:

University of Phoenix, DeVry University, & Capella University

What Can You Do With a College Major in Management?

A management degree can be applied to virtually every industry and organization, and each one will have its own 'wish list' for potential employees.

Deciding on a career in management starts with selecting your area of specialization and then obtaining education, credentials, and experience within that field. A management degree provides you with greater flexibility and value in the highly competitive business job market. When you enter the workforce, you'll face keen competition. Managers of highly complex services, such as contract administration, generally need at least a bachelor's degree in business, human resources, or finance.

General and operations managers oversee the operations of all kinds of companies. Their duties can include supervising daily operations, formulating company policy, and managing the use of materials and human resources. In some organizations, these managers' jobs may overlap with the duties of CEOs.

A management analyst or consultant is often hired on a contract basis by organizations which are experiencing major changes in operations. For example, if a company undergoes rapid growth, a merger, or downsizing, they can benefit by having an outside expert come in to work with the current management team.

As a management consultant, you'll analyze the current status of an organization, examine their goals and resources, and then present your findings and your suggested solutions to any outstanding problems. You may also be asked to help implement any changes, such as staff layoffs and restructuring programs. Your attention to detail, understanding of sound business practices, tact and compassion, presentation skills, good judgment, time management skills, and creativity will all be put to good use in this career. Since management consultants often work with minimal supervision, they need to be self-motivated and disciplined.

About 33% of management analysts work alone, while others are employed by large international organizations, in computer and data processing firms, and for all levels of government. Management consultants are in high demand in organizations conducting international business. The pay is high and the work is satisfying according to professionals in the field, but a 60-hour workweek is common and a great deal of travel may be required. Job opportunities are expected to be best for those with a graduate degree, industry expertise, and a talent for salesmanship and public relations.

Project managers in computer and information technology compile requirements, budgets, and schedules for their company's IT projects. They manage projects from beginning to end, working with internal and external clients, consultants, vendors, and computer specialists. Strong technical knowledge is essential for computer and information systems managers, who must understand and guide subordinates, yet also explain details in non-technical terms to senior management and potential customers.

Strong growth is expected in this type of management position due to constant developments in information technology and the growth of electronic commerce. Traditional companies hire analysts to design intranets or company Web sites, or establish online businesses. The volatility of the computer and data processing services industry forces the most successful management analysts to have knowledge of traditional business practices as well as software applications, system integration, and web site management skills. Earnings for computer and information systems managers vary by specialty and level of responsibility.

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Certification and Licensure

Because management degrees cover such a broad range of interest areas, there is no single certification or license required after obtaining your management degree.

An example of a function-specific credential is the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation bestowed to members of the Institute of Management Consultants USA. To apply you need at least five years' experience in the consulting field and a bachelor's degree. The CMC certification is internationally bestowed and recognized by any of the 35 national institutes that are members of ICMCI (International Council of Management Consulting Institutes).

The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) confers the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation upon applicants in the accounting field who complete a bachelor's degree or attain a minimum score on specified graduate school entrance exams.

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