Earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree can be an important step in building your career. And yet, choosing an MBA program is just the beginning. While the MBA curriculum will train graduates in a broad range of areas — including accounting, marketing, and finance — students can also decide to specialize in a certain area of study.
That’s where the emphasis on business management comes in.
What is business management? An MBA degree with a business management emphasis can prepare students to lead and manage the operations of a business — either their own business or one they step into.
In fact, there is a great need for business management professionals. According to a recent study, management was identified as one of the most in-demand skills at Fortune 500 companies. And The Princeton Review found that general management, international management, and operations management are three of the most in-demand MBA specializations.
Here is a look at what an MBA with a focus on business management entails, including skills attained from the program and prospects for a career in the field.
What Is Business Management?
Business management is an MBA specialization that trains students to manage the operations of a business. This can include organizing the human resources department, developing marketing strategies, overseeing production, conducting competitive analysis, and planning inventory.
Students will also be trained in areas such as supply and demand, quality control, and risk management. Essentially, any area of study that is vital to the running and success of a business will be covered in a business management program.
What Marketable Skills Are Attained in a Business Management Program?
Now that we’ve answered the question, what is business management? it’s time to look at the marketable skills attained by earning an MBA with an emphasis in business management.
A business management program will arm graduates with organizational, problem-solving, and decision-making skills that are crucial for a range of careers in business leadership. If there is a sudden change in inventory or organizational structure, a business manager must know how to react. If an unexpected disaster or an obstacle to normal operations occurs, a business manager must have a clear contingency plan in place.
MBA students with a focus in business management will gain the theoretical and practical tools they need to successfully lead a company.
Still, there are select skills that are particularly valuable in today’s job market and business landscape.
Filling in the Gaps: Business Management Skills Wanted
According to a survey by the Financial Times, there are five important skills employers are looking for in MBA graduates:
- The ability to work with a wide range of people
- Time management and prioritization capabilities
- An understanding of the digital impact on companies
- The ability to build, maintain, and grow a network of people
- The ability to solve complex problems
These are considered “soft skills,” which aren’t necessarily learned through memorization or study, but rather through practice, communication, and interaction. Business management students can cultivate these skills by working with real-life examples and case studies.
Soft skills also topped LinkedIn’s list of skills companies need most in 2019, including creativity, collaboration, and adaptability. The report noted that soft skills are becoming increasingly important as more business operations are run by technology and artificial intelligence systems. More than ever, companies need real, human people who can use their intuition and savvy to help them stand out.
In terms of hard skills, LinkedIn highlighted the importance of business analysis, competitive strategies, and corporate communication — all of which a robust MBA program will cover.
In fact, it’s this mix of soft and hard skills that will set one business management graduate apart from another. Consider the top people-management trends of 2019. They include people-to-people skills like building personalized employee experiences and people-to-machine skills like taking a data-driven approach to building a more productive workforce.
What Careers Follow a Business Management Program?
There are a range of career opportunities waiting for MBA graduates with a focus on business management. They will be able to put their business management skills to work as operations managers, human resources managers, purchasing managers, or chief executives — whether they want to work for a retail giant, industrial organization, or health care leader.
Management analysts or management consultants, for example, can help an organization run more efficiently by proposing strategies for driving revenue and cutting unnecessary costs. Employment in this career is expected to grow 14% from 2016 to 2026, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is double the growth average of 7%.
Graduates with technical skills, in particular, will be well prepared for the job market, which is increasingly in need of managers who understand data-driven strategies and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain-based currency.
What Is Business Management? An Opportunity
Entering an MBA program with a focus on business management is an opportunity to launch the next phase of your career. The online Master of Business Administration degree program at Ohio University is packed with programming to help cultivate in-demand business skills and prepare students to enter a tough but needy job market.
If graduates can face that market with the tools and techniques companies are seeking — including hard technical skills and soft people skills — they can be well on their way to a bright future in business management.