Experience and Skills for Business Management Careers
Sought-after skills might vary a bit from career to career in this field but there are some that are nearly universally coveted by employers. Here are a few of the most important.
Practical Financial Management
Across the board, business managers in every field need to know their way around financial documents. That includes keeping track of money that comes in, documenting money that goes out and balancing it all. It also means staying compliant with local, state and federal laws, designing budgets, creating financial reports, interpreting data and doing projections based on the numbers.
These days, all of this number crunching and data visualization are done digitally so business managers need to be able to use a range of software.
Practical skills and experience you can pop on your resume may be more important for getting hired, but soft skills are what will make you a success as a business manager. Say hello to some of the most critical:
Knowing how to talk to employees, clients and other managers is an art more than a science, and it's one that can only be developed through practice. Effective communication means getting your point across clearly, quickly and in a way that strengthens relationships.
Business managers are leaders above all else. Leaders build teams, foster an environment of collaboration and steer the ship toward progress. Of course, this is easy in theory and close to impossible in practice. Doing it effectively means balancing personality types, resolving or circumventing conflicts and finding creative solutions to problems.
As a business manager, you're constantly pulled in several directions at once and every demand seems to bear the same weight. Knowing how to parse out your time wisely can mean the difference between staying on top of problems as they crop up or letting things spiral out of control.
Great business managers are always looking at the big picture, thinking a few steps ahead. In their role as leaders, this means having the foresight to keep employees on task and direct manpower into the right areas.
Business Management Industries
The field of business management branches into a wide array of industries including human resources, sales and operations management.
Human Resources Management
In the broadest sense, the human resources industry is responsible for managing 'human capital'. That means recruiting new talent for a company, herding employees through the hiring process, making sure they get paid, handling benefits packages and, in some cases, letting people go.
Day in and day out, manufacturers churn out products, farms produce crops, imports arrive by the millions and new businesses pop up offering a service: to the tune of billions of dollars in commerce daily. The industry responsible for selling all of these goods and services is called sales. Sales teams use a wide range of tactics to sell to government agencies, consumers and other businesses.
Roles in operations management spill over into many disciplines but the industry is primarily concerned with the planning, organizing and overseeing of the production of goods. The field is responsible for making sure everything runs efficiently, products are delivered on time and that output meets demand.
Highest Paying Careers in Business Management
Business management is typically a high-paying career and managers are often the best-paid workers in their respective companies. Some careers in the field offer a little more green than others, though. Here are a few.
Computer and Information Systems Managers
According to 2018 reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer and information systems managers make a median annual salary of $142,530. Those in the finance and insurance industries made $148,620 and professionals in the information field brought home the most at $157,810.
The BLS reported in 2018 that financial managers commanded a median salary of $127,990 per year. Managers in the professional, scientific, and technical services field took home $151,610, those involved in the management of companies and enterprises made $143,560 and professionals in manufacturing brought down $127,710.
The median salary for sales managers is $124,220, but having experience and working in the right industry can pay off. Again, finance and insurance ($153,940), professional, scientific, and technical services ($146,840) and manufacturing ($131,490) were the highest-paying industries.
The top 10% of the field made more than $208,000 a year.
What Jobs Can You Get with a Business Management Degree?
Are you considering a degree in business management? If so, there are several career options available to you that are lucrative, stable, and provide opportunities for advancement. The main benefit of earning a business management degree is that it allows you to work in several industries such as healthcare, corporations, and non-profits.
Careers available to you will depend on what degree you've earned and your experience in the field. Here we'll look at some of the career options at each degree level as well as salary info and expected growth in the field. You can use this career information to help decide which business management school, degree and career path is right for you.
Associate Degree in Business Management Jobs & Salary
There are many career options available to those who have an associate degree in business management. Typically, these careers will be entry-level and require no experience. You can start exploring careers available to associate degree here alongside salary and job outlook information.
Median Salary*: $37,870
Job Growth*: -5%
Administrative assistants can work in nearly every industry. Their main duties include supporting office operations, aiding managers or company personnel in financial report preparations, organizing and planning meetings, and acting as the main point of contact to direct calls and emails.
Median Salary**: $46,257
Job Growth*: 10%
Office managers oversee and maintain office operations. They also make sure that staff and operations are running smoothly, whether it's maintaining office supplies, coordinating company or department events, or assessing cleanliness of the work environment. Strong communication skills are essential for this career.
Median Salary**: $44,420
Job Growth*: 3% (all sales positions)
Sales representatives maintain and build client relationships by working closely with customers to help sell a product. They also seek out new sales opportunities. Sales reps may be involved in inside sales, interacting with clients and customers who call or walk into a company directly, or outside sales, which involves visiting clients.
Bachelor's in Business Management Jobs & Salary
Bachelor's degree holders also have many careers to explore. Typically, these will be more managerial or leadership positions that aren't commonly available to people with an associate degree. Job options will usually be higher in salary as a result.
Median Salary*: $84,300
Job Growth*: 11%
Financial analysts work with individuals or companies to help them make wise investment decisions and forecast future earnings. In doing so, they will analyze past performance, identify trends in fiscal performance, forecast future performance, and explore other investment opportunities.
Median Salary*: $100,410
Job Growth*: 8%
The role of business operations manager can vary from company to company, but in general, operations mangers interact with employees, managers, and stakeholders to ensure high quality and efficient business operations. They may also deal with finances, budgeting, human resources, risk management, or inventory management.
Median Salary*: $132,380
Job Growth*: 10%
Marketing managers are in charge of developing and executing a marketing plan for a product or service offered by a business. In doing so, they assess customer demand and evaluate competitors in the market. Marketing managers will also look to identify key markets to break into, and detail budgets and targets for the product or service. Strong leadership and communication skills are necessary in this career.
Master's Degree in Business Management Jobs & Salary
Similar to bachelor's degree holders, graduates of a master's business management program have many management and leadership roles available to them. A master's degree will make you more competitive in the job market and can lead to a higher salary since job opportunities will be more senior level roles.
Median Salary*: $82,450
Job Growth*: 14%
Management analysts are in charge of improving a business's efficiencies by reducing costs. They will evaluate business practices, develop solutions, and recommend changes to leadership. They can work for a specific organization or more commonly can find consulting or contractual work. Management analysts typically specialize in certain area of the business such as business structuring, or they can specialize in a certain industry such as healthcare.
Senior Project Manager
Median Salary**: $104,028
Job Growth*: 8%
Senior project managers lead projects from the planning and development stages all the way to execution. The senior title differs from the general project manager title due to the more complicated and sizable projects senior project managers take on. They can also take on multiple projects at a time.
Director of Operations
Median Salary*: $183,270
Job Growth*: -4%
These executives work in almost every industry in companies of every size. In larger businesses, a director of operations may be referred to as the chief operations officer (COO). Regardless of title, these professionals oversee daily operations of a company. They often report to the CEO of the company and largely will be in charge of driving company vision, developing growth strategies, and leading management teams.
Source: *bls.gov (Salary: 2017, Job growth: 2016-2026); **payscale.com
Other Business Management Careers
There are several other careers available to business management degree holders outside of the career options described above. Be sure to explore all your options to research careers that are right for your interests and skills.
Here are a few other options to consider:
Business Management Degree Career Paths
Climbing the corporate ladder is a realistic opportunity for those seeking a business management degree. Earning a higher degree and having work experience in the field will make you more competitive in the job market and open up new opportunities. As you earn your initial degree or more advanced degree, it's also important to consider specializing your coursework to your specific areas of interest. That will give you a competitive edge when looking to move up the ladder, so you'll want to consider business management programs that allow you to specialize in a certain area.
You should also consider alternative industries to explore, since business management opportunities are prevalent in almost all industries. Some of these industries include: