Choosing a Business Administration Concentration

After researching all the options, you’ve decided to earn a degree in business administration online.

Now you need to figure out where you want that degree to take you. Determining early where you want to go with your career can help you make the most of your degree.

Don’t be worried about this — it’s OK to begin pursuing a business degree without choosing a concentration. If you’re simply interested in all the dimensions of business, opt for no concentration at all. You’ll still get a strong foundation in accounting, finance, marketing, economics and management, and gain exposure to international business and project management.

If you have an idea of what you would like to do after college, here are some of the concentrations to consider, based on your interests and abilities.

I Am Good with Numbers

People who like working with numbers and money might be drawn to concentrations in accounting and finance. Accountants and finance professionals should know how to help decision-makers make sense of financial information.

  • Accounting is concerned with the ability of an organization to record expenses, revenue, income and cash. Most accounting careers fall into two categories: Financial accounting helps prepare the statements distributed publicly to governmental authorities, shareholders and investors; managerial accounting looks at internal operations.  
  • To grow and thrive, companies need to know which projects to pursue and the best places to invest resources. Finance examines return on investment and net present value to identify opportunities with the greatest potential for an organization.

I Like to Work with People

If you like to boast that you’re a “people person,” consider concentrations that are concerned with enabling human capital — the people — at an organization to do their best work.

  • Human Resource (HR) management is involved in every aspect of the employee experience, from hiring and onboarding, to training, to (eventually) separation. The HR function is particularly important today as competition for talent increases.
  • Management’s responsibility involves making decisions, setting goals and directing the people that will help the organization reach its objectives. Managers need to display a variety of skills, including planning, budgeting, leadership, analyzing and decision-making.

I’m Interested in Data and Technology

Companies need to know how to collect raw data and use the latest techniques, tools and technologies to use information and make well-informed decisions.

  • Businesses accumulate vast amounts of data today. The field of business analytics looks at how to examine and interpret that data so that organizations can make the most profitable and productive decisions.
  • Information technology (IT) has become integrated into every facet of business operations, helping organizations become more effective and efficient. Computer information systems professionals make sure the investment in IT aligns with the goals and functions of the business.

I Want to Get Products and Services into the Hands of Customers

There are three concentrations that revolve around marketing and sales. People considering these career paths may need good interpersonal skills and a strong knack for understanding customers’ wants and needs.

  • Technology has forever changed how companies approach sales and marketing. E-commerce and digital marketing knowledge can help organizations build stronger, more profitable relationships with their customers online.
  • Marketing is concerned with how to create products and services, promote them, distribute them and set appropriate prices. Marketing requires a mind that’s both creative and analytical, especially now that there’s fierce competition for customers and so many organizations are moving to make strategic decisions based on data.
  • The sales function plays a critical role in any successful business. The goal of strategic sales management is to build long-term, trusting relationships that benefit both buyer and seller, and lead to repeat business.

Additional Concentrations

  • From large multinationals to emerging start-ups, there is a growing need for international business knowledge to help organizations build relationships overseas, promote products and services, and adhere to regulations in different countries.
  • Companies are always evolving to position themselves for growth, counter threats and increase productivity. Project management professionals create roadmaps, set timelines and assign roles so that the organization can achieve its goals. In this field, there is a strong emphasis on processes and methodologies.
  • As the population ages, the need for healthcare is growing rapidly. Healthcare administration provides the business support and growth that allow medical organizations of all sizes to provide quality care to patients.
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