Live Chat Now
Give us a call

Send us a text



Business Administrator: Job Overview

By Steve Smith

The information presented here is true and accurate as of the date of publication. DeVry’s programmatic offerings and their accreditations are subject to change. Please refer to the current academic catalog for details.

April 17, 2024
8 min read

If you’re thinking about pursuing a career in business or moving up from an entry-level position to a more senior role, it is important to develop an understanding of the duties and responsibilities of a business administrator. In this article, we’ll offer an overview of the business administrator role, to answer the question: What does a business administrator do? We’ll also itemize the skills that you should earn or sharpen as you prepare to pursue a career as a business administrator. Finally, we’ll outline the educational and experiential requirements you may need to pursue this role.

What Does a Business Administrator Do?

A cursory examination of the title “business administrator” tells you little about the duties and responsibilities of this broadly defined role, other than the holder of this title is a type of administrator in business. But what does that mean? You might be wondering, what is business administration? Or you might be wondering, what’s the difference between business administration and business management, and which is right for me? If you are, that’s a good place to start.

Business administrators are sometimes called business directors, and their wide-ranging duties can include many aspects of daily operations, as well as the financial and business development areas of an organization. Their big picture role is to support the organization’s growth and productivity and, in some cases, individual department or team functionality and growth, with responsibilities that can include:

  • Strategic planning

    Business administrators are involved in a continuous process of planning and implementation of strategies to improve or streamline their organizations’ operations.

  • Hiring

    Business administrators may be involved in hiring or reorganizing staff, in collaboration with the organization’s human resources department, to be sure their large or small business has the right talent to support its goals.

  • Purchasing

    When negotiating contracts with vendors, business administrators will strive to purchase services or materials at the lowest possible cost.

  • Budget management

    With the support of the organization’s accounting or finance team members, administrators may handle this aspect of business operations, tracking business finances and managing the operating budget.

  • Marketing

    Oversight of the organization’s marketing operations may be included in the business administrator’s duties. In this capacity, the administrator will collaborate with marketing, advertising or public relations teams.

Without effective and skilled administrative personnel, businesses may struggle to meet their goals and succeed in today’s ultra-competitive marketplace. When you acquire an education in business administration, through an associate or bachelor’s degree program for example, you can open up new career paths in operations or supply chain management, administrative services, sales management, marketing, finance or other business areas.

Important Business Administration Skills

As in many other career pathways, a medley of workplace and technical skills is essential for business administrators. 

Soft skills

Among its list of leadership skills for business administration, the American Management Association (AMA) prioritizes these capabilities:

  • Critical thinking

    Closely related to another important management skill, problem-solving, critical thinking allows administrative leaders to consider all options and come to a decision they can be confident about. When developed, this skill enables administrators to not only solve problems, but to keep their organizations moving forward.

  • Adaptability

    Leaders need to be agile, adapting to shifting conditions and avoiding complacency. This skill goes hand-in-hand with transparency and accountability with your teams and your organization at large and can also be refined with experience and opportunities.

  • Motivation and team building

    Teams are assembled to work together toward common goals. An effective business administrator knows how to lead those teams with passion and frameworks that allow for strong and productive collaboration. This often involves identifying and managing team members’ strengths, weaknesses and interests.

  • Innovation

    From inventive problem solving to the ability to implement research and risk analyses to foster new innovations, this leadership skill helps you in the continuous search for ways to inspire others and achieve more.

  • Negotiation

    Knowing how to negotiate with employees is an important skill that helps leaders project a vision for their organization and motivate its people, while making sure employees are nurtured and feel they are heard. 

  • Decision-making

    It’s important for administrative leaders to develop a thought process that allows them to make difficult decisions while facing time and budget constraints, while remaining cool under pressure.

How can you develop leadership skills? Goal setting provides a framework for your personal and professional development. Set goals and, when you’ve achieved them, set some more. And since experience is a great teacher, take on projects. Projects that involve multiple stakeholders give you the best opportunities to develop your leadership skills in real time. Finally, structured leadership training is also an excellent way to develop new skills and improve the ones you’ve already acquired.

The AMA also ranks communication among the most foundational business administrator skills. Strong communication skills allow you to be diplomatic, credible, tactful and highly professional.

There are different ways to communicate and, to be an effective business administrator, you should strive to develop skills in each of them:

  • Non-verbal communication

    Gestures, facial expressions and body language all belong to this category. Many opinions or emotions can be communicated, whether intentionally or unintentionally, through non-verbal communication. 

  • Active listening

    Active listening is interrelated with non-verbal communication in that you’re not speaking much, if at all, but making sure your conversational counterpart knows that you understand them and are fully engaged in the conversation. Nodding, making eye contact and paraphrasing what the other person has said are all examples of active listening techniques. 

  • Written communication

    Whether you are writing an in-depth proposal or a sensitive interdepartmental memo, or banging out an email or text, strong written communication skills allow you to be clear, concise, grammatically correct and persuasive.

  • Visual communication

    Commonly used in business presentations, this form of communication involves the use of signs, graphics and illustrations to deliver key message points.

You can develop stronger communication skills by practicing active listening in your next in-person conversation, finding ways to make your written communications more concise (fewer words and more direct phrasing) and taking a formal communication training course. Bachelor’s degree programs in business typically include communication courses, underscoring the universal importance of this indispensable skill.

Hard skills

The technical skills required for business administrators include several applications that help teams collaborate and meet deadlines and facilitate meetings and workflows among remote workers.

  • Microsoft Office applications

    The ubiquitous Microsoft applications that help individuals and teams maintain productivity and stay connected include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Teams. Proficiency with these tools has become a necessity.

  • CRM software

    Business administrators and administrative assistants are often called upon to organize information for research, business development, customer relations or other purposes. Familiarity with customer relationship management (CRM) software like Salesforce, Pipedrive or Freshworks CRM may be beneficial. 

  • Remote teams platforms

    With so many team members working remotely these days, it’s important for administrators to be proficient in the platforms that keep them connected and allow frequent collaboration. Slack, Google Workspace, DropBox and Zoom are all examples of this type of platform.

  • Bookkeeping

    Bookkeeping belongs on this list of technical skills because of the widespread use of accounting software like QuickBooks and FreshBooks. These applications allow administrators to accurately document transactions and quickly work up invoices. More complex financial-related tasks can be left to an accounting professional like a CPA or an outside accounting firm.

There may be other technical or information technology (IT) skills that business administrators should acquire, depending on the industry, size of their organization and the specific duties assigned to them.

Business Administration Requirements

The specific requirements for any career are subject to variables like the size of the organization, the industry they operate in or whether the job is on-site or remote. There can be, however, some fundamental requirements for you to be aware of as you map out your business administration career journey.

The first step may be for you to acquire the education that aligns with your career goals. If you’re planning to pursue a business administration career, a bachelor’s degree program may be a good place to start. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the entry-level education requirement for most business and financial occupations is a bachelor’s degree. Here at DeVry, our online Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration is designed to provide a solid foundation in the core business concepts used by Fortune 500 companies, along with essential general studies in mathematics, social sciences, communications and more.

The flexibility of this bachelor’s degree program allows you to study 100% online or in a hybrid format that combines online learning with an on-campus experience. Here at DeVry, you’re able to further align your education with your professional goals by choosing one of 11 different degree specializations in areas like marketing, project management, human resources, global supply chain management and others.

If you’ve already completed a bachelor’s degree and want to pursue management-level opportunities in business, consider earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. At DeVry, our Keller Graduate School of Management offers a flexible, online MBA program with similar degree specializations so you can advance your ambition with your professional goals clearly in mind.

Earning industry experience will be your next step. You can do this in several ways. Look for internship opportunities that will allow you to work in a real-life business administration environment. In addition to being great resume builders, internships allow you to “test drive” your new career before getting your first job, and to build contacts that could become part of your lifelong professional network.    

And while you are in the driver’s seat on this journey, DeVry is dedicated to a proactive partnership to support you throughout your career. Our career services team offers resources like our HireDeVry 2.0 self-guided career development platform, virtual career fairs and employer information sessions, and one-on-one coaching appointments with our career advisors.

Begin Your Business Administration Career with Help From DeVry

If you’re ready to take the next step toward a career as a business administrator, DeVry can help. We offer a range of degree and certificate programs that can help you gain the fundamental skills required in today’s fast-moving and technology-fueled business environment.

Coursework in our online Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration is taught by experienced faculty and addresses management principles, technology applications, market influences, effective communication and more, in a program that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

Our 6 academic sessions per year allow you to start when you’re ready and learn on your own schedule, finishing on a regular or accelerated schedule that meets your personal and professional goals. Scholarships and grants can make your education more affordable. A DeVry Admissions Representative can help you with all the details.

8-Week Class Sessions

Classes Start Every 8 Weeks

Filter Blog Post Category

Related Posts