Bachelor’s in business administration
A bachelor’s degree is an investment of time and money. It can be prudent to choose a program where you can quickly put your education to work. An undergraduate degree in business administration allows you to do just that.
A bachelor’s of business administration, or BBA, equips you for entry-level business positions. Compared to graduates with degrees in disciplines like psychology, English, or computer science, a BBA can better prepare you for the business world. In addition, a BBA is highly versatile, meaning you can find work in numerous fields, such as banking, healthcare, retail, manufacturing, and technology.
In this article, we cover the different BBA programs, how they work, and what it takes to earn one.
What is a BBA?
A BBA is a 4-year program that gives students a broad overview of how companies function. Students learn general principles of business operations, while also building their communication and decision-making skills.
A BBA often contains courses in accounting, marketing, management, economics, and law. Most programs allow you to specialize in a discipline relevant to your career goals.
Concentration areas vary, but usually include subjects like human resource management, management, healthcare administration, finance, real estate, project management, and supply chain.
Students can pursue a BBA through a traditional, in-person program, or online. Choose an online course and you may have fewer opportunities to connect with other students and professors. The advantage is more flexibility in scheduling.
Other benefits of online courses include:
- the opportunity to study at a college outside of your geographical area
- the chance to develop skills needed to work in an online environment
- the possibility to continue working while taking courses
It is advisable to choose an accredited program that meets the minimum academic standards. Future employers may check if a candidate has attended an accredited institution to ensure they have the requisite skills.
Business school accrediting bodies that evaluate academic programs include:
- Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
- Accreditation Council for Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
- Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)
- Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)
BBA entrance requirements
Entry requirements for BBA programs vary. Highly selective schools like the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, or the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, require higher GPAs and test scores than regional universities, smaller private colleges, or online schools.
To get into a top-ranked university, generally requires a high school GPA of between at least 3.5 and 4.0. Your SAT score also needs to be higher than the national average of 1051. Math is a significant component of many business courses, so strong math scores on your transcript and standardized tests may be helpful. Some schools also require the submission of a personal essay or attendance at an interview.
What will you learn in a BBA program?
BBAs provide a broad overview of the business world. Generally, there is less of a focus on analytical skills than a bachelor’s of science in business. BBA programs vary in structure, although typically include courses such as statistics, marketing, economics, finance, accounting, principles of management, and entrepreneurship.
The first 2 years of the program includes basic academic classes like English, history, math and science, along with some introductory business courses. The majority of business courses are provided in the third and fourth years.
BBA degrees can usually be customized based on your career goals, but most offer a similar core curriculum of business courses, such as:
- introduction to international business
- operations management
- leading and managing
- principles of marketing
- financial accounting and analysis
- organizational behavior
- business policy and strategy
- legal and ethical environment of business
- management and corporate communication
BBA students also take electives to dive deeper into core subject matter, expand on their interests, and learn more about trending business topics. Such courses develop skills for the business world or to become an entrepreneur.
Taking classes in a concentration area provides specialized knowledge that can be used immediately. For example, some schools offer multiple classes in entrepreneurship and business planning. These provide the necessary training to launch a venture, run a family business, protect intellectual property, and more.
Choose a concentration like international business and use your acquired knowledge of private equity, debt markets, stakeholder capital and cryptocurrency, in a career in global corporate finance.
BBA double majors
Students often choose to pursue a double major, completing coursework in 2 different business fields. The wider skillset they develop can make them more marketable to employers. It usually only takes a little longer to complete a double major than a single major.
Schools have different double major policies. Some require students to complete a specified number of hours before declaring a second major, others expect you to have a high GPA. As there are also colleges that don’t offer double majors, make sure it’s an option when choosing a program.
Some popular double major combinations include:
Computer information systems and accounting
An excellent combination for those interested in information technology, auditing, or forensic accounting. This course can open up a wide range of career possibilities, including public or private sector work, or even consultancy.
Economics and supply chain management
Students learn about aspects of supply and demand, as well as the flow of goods. It prepares them to work in fields like procurement, logistics, purchasing, and forecasting.
Statistics and economics
This combination is excellent preparation for a career in computational finance or financial engineering.
Marketing and entrepreneurship
Provides the resources you need to create and launch a business. You can learn how to develop a brand image that is consistent with the intended demographic.
Studying abroad vs internship
Although not a requirement, study abroad programs and internships can improve a student’s career prospects. Many BBA students choose to do them during their junior years or upon completion of their core courses.
Your college or university may have a formal study abroad program, or you might take classes at a foreign university by way of reciprocal agreement. Many students spend this time staying in a residence hall, apartment, or with a family.
Depending on how the program is structured, you could spend a semester or an entire academic year abroad. Some take place over summer vacation or the winter holidays, providing an abbreviated experience.
Studying abroad is a terrific way to immerse yourself in a new culture while continuing with your degree. But bear in mind it may increase the price of your tuition and housing.
Internships are different because students don’t usually earn course credits for them. Some internships pay a salary or a stipend, others no compensation. They often take place during the summer months, and are an opportunity to make connections, get workplace experience, and learn new skills.
If your college is able to help you to find an internship, they will typically expect you to submit an application and compete with other candidates. Your grades, extracurricular activities, and academic recommendations tend to be factors that can determine whether you are accepted.
Some companies, like JP Morgan Chase, offer pre-internships. These give students an opportunity to learn about the financial services industry and meet people who can help develop their careers. Pre-internships may last from a few days to a couple of weeks. Many larger companies routinely hire interns for full-time roles after they graduate.
A BBA can lead to various careers, many with high earning potential and the chance for advancement.
Here are some of the jobs BBA graduates take upon leaving college:
Financial and investment analyst
A financial and investment analyst gathers information, does research, and analyzes assets such as stocks, bonds, and commodities. They also help individuals or companies manage their investment portfolio to ensure good returns.
Insurance underwriters review insurance applications. They determine whether to offer insurance, and under what terms.
Financial service sales agents
Financial services sales agents sell products and services for companies. They may sell directly to consumers or to other businesses.
Project management specialist
Project management specialists work in a variety of industries. They are responsible for planning, executing, monitoring, controlling, and closing projects.
Management analysts conduct studies and evaluations, design systems and procedures, and prepare operations and procedures manuals to increase efficiency.
Market research analyst
Market research analysts research metrics to help plan sales efforts, including pricing, advertising campaigns, and other strategic endeavors. They gather information about factors such as competitors, distribution methods, prices, and sales.
Loan officers evaluate and authorize applications for personal and business loans. They may work in banks, credit unions, mortgage companies, auto dealers, and other entities.
Opportunities for advancement
The careers above are an excellent way to get your foot in the door once you have an BBA. However, your climb up the corporate ladder doesn’t need to end there. Armed with work experience and a degree in business, expect advancement opportunities to present themselves quickly.
You can also use your undergraduate degree and work experience to apply for a master’s of business administration (MBA). This program offers a unique networking opportunity, and the skills you learn can lead to leveling up your career.
A good investment in your future
There’s a reason the BBA is one of the most popular business degrees available. These programs are versatile, customizable, and can prepare you for jobs across multiple industries. They’re a great way to support your career goals.
When deciding on a BBA program, it helps to keep your career aspirations in mind. If you want to work on Wall Street or advance to the C-Suite of a multinational organization, you might consider one of the renowned schools like Wharton, Stanford or NYU. Otherwise, local or regional universities offer excellent business programs.
Many students have found the BBA to be an excellent investment in their future. Specialization in areas such as marketing, international business, entrepreneurship, or accounting, can lead to a variety of career possibilities.
Yes, a BBA can help you get into a good MBA program. If you’re shooting for a top-tier MBA school, it might be a good idea to apply to leading undergraduate business schools as well.
A BBA is a versatile degree that can open the door to numerous opportunities. These include banking, healthcare, finance, project management, marketing, and insurance.
BBA degrees can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $85,000, depending on the type of program, fee structure, and residency status.
Yes, many schools offer online BBA programs. Some are entirely online, others offer a hybrid curriculum that combines in-class and online learning.
AACSB is a global organization that provides quality assurance, business education intelligence, and learning and development services to more than 900 accredited business schools.
SBA helps Americans start, build, and grow businesses.