The world of business is wide and diverse. With all the available business diploma and certificate programs, and other business programs out there today, how do you navigate the choice and find the best business degree for you? Here is a “map” of the many facets of the corporate world, and of the best business degrees currently available.
Business Diploma and Certificate Programs
A Business diploma and certificate program is a six to twelve month program that provides training in business fundamentals. Earning this certificate may lead to promotional opportunities as well as entry-level employment in business, industry and non-profit organizations. Business students may choose to opt for general management courses or specialize in human resource management, finance, global leadership or marketing.
Business diploma and certificate programs offer aspiring business majors a chance to earn an undergraduate diploma or certificate in a short period of time from a school of business. Coursework is often accelerated, allowing students to learn a great deal in a one or two semester time frame. Programs can usually be taken online or at an institution of higher learning, and can focus on anything from general business to accounting to some other specialization.
Associate’s Degree in Business Administration
An associate degree is an academic degree awarded by community colleges, junior colleges, school of business and some bachelor’s degree-granting colleges and universities upon completion of a course of study usually lasting two years.
Associate degree programs are generally two-year programs offered by technical institutes or community colleges. They are designed to give students a general education in business, or to prepare university-bound students for the eventual completion of a bachelor’s degree in business. The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in business, the Associate of Business Administration (ABA), and the Associate of Arts in Business Administration (AABA) are typical degrees.
Bachelor of Business Administration
The Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) is a bachelor’s degree in business studies, often in the school of business. In most universities, the degree is conferred upon a student after four years of full-time study (120 credit hours) in one or more areas of business concentrations. The BBA program usually includes general business courses and advanced courses for specific concentrations. BBA programs expose students to a variety of subjects: accounting, business law and ethics, economics, finance, management information systems, marketing, operations management, organizational behavior and management, statistics, and strategy.
Most Bachelor of Business Administration programs allow students to specialize or concentrate in a particular academic area as follows:
- Management information system
- Operations management
Master of Business Administration
The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a master’s degree in business administration, which attracts people from a wide range of academic disciplines, and is a very popular business program and one of the best business degrees available.
The MBA is one of the most sought-after degrees in business administration, and there are many different types of MBA programs. Here is an outline of the MBA programs currently available at many schools of business:
- Full-time MBA programs are the most common, normally lasting two years. Students enter with a reasonable amount of prior real-world work experience and take classes during weekdays like other university students.
- Accelerated MBA programs are a variation of full time programs, lasting 18 months or less, involving a higher course load.
- Part-time MBA programs normally hold classes on weekday evenings, after normal working hours. Part-time programs normally last three years or more. The students in these programs typically consist of working professionals, who take a light course load for a longer period of time until the graduation requirements are met.
- Executive MBA (EMBA) programs developed to meet the educational needs of managers and executives, allowing students to earn an MBA or another business-related graduate degree in two years or less while working full time. Participants come from every type and size of organization – profit, nonprofit, government — representing a variety of industries. EMBA students typically have a higher level of work experience, often 10 years or more, compared to other MBA students. In response to the increasing number of EMBA programs offered, The Executive MBA Council was formed in 1981 to advance executive education.
- Distance learning MBA programs hold classes off-campus, usually online.
Doctorate of Business Administration
The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is similar to a PhD. program, but unlike a traditional PhD., it is intended to equip you as a business executive with research tools, rather than train you as a professional researcher (there is also a more traditional PhD program available in business administration, but the focus on this degree is university research and teaching). With a DBA, you will acquire a combination of business and research skills for analyzing business and corporate operations. This unique perspective—as both a business manager and a business researcher—will make you invaluable in the corporate world.
Traditionally, the DBA program features a curriculum that focuses on practical business concepts and active research rather than a purely theoretical approach to research. The DBA is often referred to as a professional research doctorate. The DBA degree may have a specialization such as management science, technology management, organizational behavior, economics, or finance. Many business schools offer both DBA and Ph.D. programs in various fields. The DBA is sometimes virtually identical to the Ph.D. in Business Administration. However, a DBA tends to focus on contemporary and practical business issues as opposed to theoretical research, although some DBAs make significant contributions to both theory and practice.
This highly advanced business degree provides candidates with a mastery of business administration literature, and teaches how to apply this knowledge to current business environments. As the global information economy evolves, organizations are becoming increasingly complex, and innovative organizational models and practices have become crucial to successfully addressing this complexity. Consequently, leadership in this environment requires higher, more sophisticated levels of knowledge and skills. The DBA program is designed to serve this need by providing doctoral-level education to professional practitioners in business and management.