What to Expect in a Business Management Program

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If you’re interested in business management, you already know a thing or two about yourself. Unlike general business programs, enrolling in a business management program means you want more than just a great career in the business sector. You want a leadership role.

Whether you hope to take your education into a career working as a manager, owning your own business or getting in on the ground floor of a startup—a business management program could be the key you need to open the doors of your future.

If you’ve already gained some experience working in business, you know the right degree can be a great way to signify your readiness for promotion or to stand out from the pile of job applicants. But what about the education itself? Can you expect to graduate a business management program with new ideas, industry awareness and the skills you’ll need to feel comfortable in a new role?

To answer those questions, you need more information. Read on to get a better idea of what these programs look like and what you can expect to learn if you enroll.

Business management skills you can expect to develop

Before you enroll somewhere, you want to be sure this kind of program will offer you the skills you want to develop. A degree is often a great move for your career prospects—but you’d like to graduate with the skills that will position you to thrive in business management roles.

So what are employers looking for? We analyzed almost 900,000 business management-related job postings from the last year to find out which skills employers most wanted in their applicants. Here’s a look at the top five transferable skills you’ll need for these positions:1

  1. Communication
  2. Teamwork and collaboration
  3. Planning
  4. Problem-solving
  5. Organization

While many of these are skills you’ve been honing your entire life, they can still be refined further when applied in a business setting. Notice that the two top skills have to do with interpersonal abilities—these are a focus for business management students.

“Emotional and cultural intelligence skills are needed to manage people in an organization,” says Rasmussen College Business Management Department Chair Dr. Jennifer Trout.

“But it’s not just about managing others—you need to manage yourself as well.” Trout explains that leaders and managers in any organization should understand how their behaviors and emotions impact other people. “This skill is also especially important for fostering relationships and strengthening interpersonal communication.”

The Rasmussen College Business Management program also develops students’ skills in management, organizational leadership, finance, accounting and business ethics.

Some of the skills business managers need are more conceptual, helping managers see the bigger picture, build strategy and think critically to solve problems. “Being able to take information, synthesize it and turn it into a decision that is either reactive or proactive is essential for overall organizational success.”

Trout emphasizes that managers need to know how to use all sorts of technology resources and data to help make those decisions as informed as possible. “No one is going to just hand you the information, so students must learn how to gather the information as well—not just synthesize it.”

Business management courses you can expect to take

The skills might give you an idea of what to picture in a business management program, but let’s take a closer look at some specific business management courses to get a better feel for what to expect.

Managing a Diverse Workforce

“This course tends to be one of our highest rated courses for student satisfaction,” Trout says. The class helps aspiring managers learn about interacting with diverse groups in many different situations.

“You get to learn more about yourself and others concerning diversity and inclusion. Just seeing the ‘ah-ha!’ moment with students is one more step in understanding differences and aiding in the inclusion factor of our future workforce communities.”

Strategic Management

“Strategic Management adds to the hard skills students need to gain,” Trout says. “The course has students express all sides of management as one can manage people, processes, systems, data or projects, and strategize on how these would impact the overall success of the organization.”

Since skills like critical thinking and problem-solving are so critical in management, courses like this one have a huge role in helping students prepare for the challenges of the job.

Business Law and Ethical Behavior

Depending on your experience, you might already be pretty good at strategy and working with people—but subject areas like business law tend to be “deep in the weeds” for the average person. But it’s important for business managers to have some familiarity with the legal side of business to help them make informed choices and see the larger forces that impact each organization.

Introduction to Data Visualization

Part of being an effective manager is being able to present a compelling case for a plan or strategic initiative. One of the best tools for getting your point across in a clear and concise way is through the use of data visualizations. In this course students will learn about the tools for creating data visualizations and how to effectively display information for audiences of varying sophistication. 

Emerging Markets, Trends and Technologies in Business

This future-focused course centers on emerging technologies and trends in business—including artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, augmented reality, blockchain and green energy technology. In this course, students will examine how these technologies are applied today, their potential effects and any limitations they may have.

Business management careers you can expect to pursue

Part of the appeal of a Business Management degree is the fact that it is fairly versatile when it comes to the jobs you’d be able to effectively pursue. That said, the job titles most closely associated with this program include general manager or operations manager. Management roles can be found throughout an organization in specialized areas like sales, finance, HR, retail, operations and marketing—so there are several avenues to branch out toward.

Additional roles like business analyst, project manager, account manager and sales representative are also commonly associated with a Business Management degree.

Making a business management program work for you

Everyone needs something a little different from their academic path. Some students crave flexibility and the right timing. Some need to accommodate barriers to commuting or to the traditional 9-to-5 schedule. Whatever your specific needs are—it’s smart to compare notes ahead of time and make sure the program you choose is a good fit.

Trout says one unique aspect of Rasmussen’s Business Management degree program is that it is offered in a fully online competency-based education (CBE) format. This format allows for more flexibility when tackling coursework. For example, if you have a strong handle on a subject, you’d have the ability to work ahead and get everything done in a marathon weekend or two—allowing you more time to focus on your other courses throughout the term. This is a great opportunity for students who come in with work experience to utilize what they already know and put it toward their program in a tangible way.

“It is pretty neat to see students being able to show what they learned from their real-world experience and apply it toward a degree,” Trout says.

Does this sound like a good fit for you? Check out the Rasmussen University Business Management degree page for more information about this program.

1Burning-Glass.com (Analysis of 898,131 job postings for business managers May 01, 2018 - Apr. 30, 2019.)

About the author

Brianna Flavin

Brianna is a senior content manager who writes student-focused articles for Rasmussen University. She holds an MFA in poetry and worked as an English Professor before diving into the world of online content. 

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This piece of ad content was created by Rasmussen University to support its educational programs. Rasmussen University may not prepare students for all positions featured within this content. Please visit www.rasmussen.edu/degrees for a list of programs offered. External links provided on rasmussen.edu are for reference only. Rasmussen University does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced. Rasmussen University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

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