What is Business Administration?

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By DeVry University

September 16, 2021
5 min read

Part of what makes the world of business so exciting is how diverse the work can be. With a wide variety of companies specializing in many different products or solutions, one factor that can help an organization achieve its goals is a strong backbone in business administration.

Business administration refers to a broad range of activities associated with business management or the day-to-day operations of a business or department. This can involve the management of resources like people or time, organizing operations and creating plans to achieve short and long-term goals. Oftentimes business administration practices can be found in the following departments:

  • Finance
  • Human Resources
  • Product Management
  • Marketing
  • Research and Development

Business Administration Degree Program Courses

Business administration courses in a program such as our Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration at DeVry combine core business principles with general courses that help develop critical thinking, judgment and decision making:

  • Core degree courses: Financial accounting, finance, managerial accounting, principles of economics, marketing, data analysis and more comprise the core courses in the degree program, helping you to develop a strong foundation in essential business concepts.
  • General degree courses: Communication skills, humanities, social sciences, mathematics and natural sciences and personal and professional development round out the program’s general degree courses, preparing you to demonstrate teamwork with diverse populations and use real-world applications to solve business problems.

Why Is Business Administration Important?

A business can have a brilliant product or service but without a solid foundation in business administration, it may struggle to develop smooth operations in the marketplace. Without fundamental business administration practices in place, like the skills learned in an academic business administration program, a company and its employees may find it challenging to pursue their goals and priorities.

For example, within a finance department, the business administration team is responsible for ensuring employees get paid promptly and appropriately. Similarly, a Human Resources team with solid business administration practices may be able to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to hiring and resources. They work to ensure skills and staffing levels are where they need to be to complete projects and achieve business goals. Without these fundamental business administration practices in place, you can see how a company could find itself facing extra hurdles to clear.

What Are Some Business Administration Career Paths?

Developing a strong core set of skills in business administration gives you a good tactical foundation that can allow you to build on your specific interests and talents and find an organization or field of work that interests you. It may also be advantageous to look for internship opportunities that could enable you to gain on-the-job experience in a business administration environment before being hired.

Some career paths associated with an education in business administration can include areas of business such as:

  • Human Resources
  • Operations Management
  • Finance
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Hospitality
  • Administrative Services
  • Sales Management and Marketing 

Job Outlook for Business Administration Graduates

Completion of business administration courses in an undergraduate degree program such as a Bachelor's of Business Administration may help open up a wide range of career possibilities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in the business operations field are expected to experience steady growth, about 7% on a national level from 2021 to 20311.  This amounts to about 31,900 openings for administrative managers each year, on average, over that time period.

What Skills Make an Effective Business Administrator?

An effective business administrator's skills can vary depending on the field of work, the size of the company and many other variables, but there are some core competencies that you can focus on to set yourself up to enter into the business world. While analytical skills are important, you can also expect to leverage these core soft skills on a daily basis.

Financial Management

In business, savvy financial management can be critical to success. Understanding the basics of accounting, cash flow, profit and losses helps you ensure your employees get paid and demonstrates that you're equipped to grow the business and you can sustain day-to-day operating costs. It can also help you weather financial hardships that may occur. Having a solid understanding of core business financials will help you appropriately forecast and plan for the future while keeping the business running smoothly and efficiently.

Problem Solving

Problem-solving is a powerful skill that is important for success in the business world. Part of what keeps business interesting is its unpredictability. For example, an employee might not show up for a shift as planned or a customer may have a complicated request. The ability to find a solution and adapt to spontaneous events can make you an important resource for your manager, colleagues and customers.

People Management

One of the most valuable assets of any organization is its people. Knowing how to support and manage your team can make all the difference in achieving your business goals. The better your people work together, the greater the success you may enjoy as a group.

Communication

When your staff or team fails to communicate properly, a breakdown can happen within your department or organization. A big part of successful professional communication involves respectfully expressing yourself, but another major component is the capacity to listen. By developing strong listening skills, your coworkers can feel heard and respected, and you can avoid some common pitfalls caused by poor communication skills.

Project Planning

A more functional and tactical skill associated with good business administration is project planning or project management. Sound project planning involves agreeing on a common goal and following the steps needed to reach it. Knowing ahead of time how many people and resources are needed, how long each phase of the project is expected to take and any other important factors involved helps your project stay on budget and on time, plus it can help reduce confusion and errors along the way.

Leadership

In business administration, there may be times where you're expected to take the lead role for a certain project, task or team. Having effective leadership skills can help you stay on target with team goals and help affect positive change in the organization. However, leadership skills are not only valuable in a management position. Applying a leadership mentality in your individual role can help you demonstrate ownership and pride in your work, as well as help you inspire others around you to do the same.

Customer Service

Every business has customers and how you treat them is critical. Understanding the basics of good customer service can go a long way in ensuring customer retention, repeat business and positive word of mouth. When you seek to understand the customer's perspective and use your problem-solving skills to find a solution to their unique needs, you demonstrate that they are more than a number, they are a person and you want to help.

Advanced Degree Options for Business Management Graduates

After earning a Bachelor’s in Business Administration, you may consider pursuing a postgraduate degree, such as a master’s degree. At DeVry, we offer hybrid and online master’s degree programs that can help you to develop a deeper understanding of business practices, interpersonal skills and leadership abilities, preparing you to pursue more senior-level management roles in your industry, or take on new challenges in another.

If you want to focus your advanced education more sharply on a particular business area, we offer a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree with 10 MBA specializations to prepare you to pursue opportunities in a broad range of career paths:

Interested in Exploring a Career in Business Administration?

If you’re ready to explore career opportunities in today’s fast-paced business world, our Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration can prepare you to pursue positions in a broad range of fields, including marketing, supply chain management, human resources, finance and more. Our 100% online course options and convenient 8-week sessions allow you to balance your commitment to education with work, family and other obligations in your busy life.

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1Growth projected on a national level. Local growth will vary by location. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/administrative-services-managers.htm