Business, Management, and Administration Career Cluster Overview
For as long as people have been exchanging goods and services for payment of some sort, business transactions have been a part of life. All businesses can be defined as organizations that provide customers with the goods and services they want. Most businesses attempt to make a profit, that is, make more money than it takes to run the business. Some businesses, however, attempt only to make enough money to cover their operating expenses. These businesses, which are often social service agencies, hospitals, foundations, or advocacy groups, are called nonprofits or not-for-profits.
The jobs in this cluster deal with all aspects of maintaining a well-run business, which includes developing business plans; obtaining the necessary funds to run the business; hiring and developing staff; examining the competition; creating and promoting the business’s goals, identity, and products; and tending to all of the administrative and information needs of the business. In large corporations, these functions are handled by hundreds of employees in different departments, which may be spread out across several geographic areas. In smaller start-up businesses and some nonprofit organizations, one or two people handle all of these responsibilities. By developing skills in several of the job categories within this cluster, opportunities for advancement and growth are almost limitless.
Business, Management, and Administration Career Pathways
The six career pathways in this cluster are administrative and information support, business analysis, business financial management and accounting, human resources, management, and marketing.
Administrative and Information Support Career Path
Workers in this area are responsible for the day-to-day administrative duties in a business. They also ensure that information moves throughout the business in an efficient and timely manner. Typical responsibilities in this category include data entry, filing, word processing, answering and redirecting telephone calls and e-mails, and greeting and recording the visits of guests and clients. Careers in this field include customer service representatives, office administrators, receptionists, secretaries, and typists and word processors.
Business Analysis Career Path
People who work in this area are problem-solvers. They analyze various types of data and, based on their analyses, make recommendations on how the business should proceed in order to best fulfill its goals. People in business analysis help set prices, construct budgets, improve communication systems, and determine which consumers are most likely to purchase a business’s products or services, among other things. Careers in this field include credit analysts, financial analysts, and management analysts and consultants.
Business Financial Management and Accounting Career Path
Workers in this area create and use the accounting systems that enable a business to keep track of its profits, losses, and overall expenses. People in this area are adept at working with numbers and are often responsible for highly sensitive financial information. Careers in this field include accountants, auditors, bookkeepers, collection workers, and financial services brokers. Read more about Accounting Careers.
Human Resources Career Path
Human resources professionals are responsible for the hiring and management of employees. They interview new applicants, plan and execute employee training and development programs, manage and administer benefit programs, mediate in matters of workplace conflict, and ensure that a business complies with all current labor laws. Human resources professionals must be good communicators who enjoy working with people. Careers in this field include personnel specialists, event planners, executive recruiters, and labor union business agents.
Management Career Path
Workers in this broad category work at the top levels of a business. They determine the need for and hire new employees, monitor employee performance, evaluate a business’s workflow, communicate with customers and clients, and work with other departments and managers to ensure the overall success of a business. Careers in this field include business managers, cost estimators, and risk managers.
Marketing Career Path
Marketing professionals are excellent communicators. They are responsible for delivering a business’s message about its products and services to the right audience. To do this, they conduct extensive research on current market trends and competitor’s strategies. Marketing professionals are responsible for a business’s internal communications, as well, ensuring that employees are up-to-date on the business’s latest achievements and undertakings, among other things. Careers in marketing include buyers, marketing researchers, media relations specialists, public relations specialists, and telemarketers.
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Exploring Business, Management, and Administration
To prepare for a career in business, take a well-rounded high school course load, including humanities, science, and business electives. Most colleges and universities offer a wide variety of business majors, including business administration, marketing/advertising, and human resources. Talk with your guidance counselor about the best way to shape your educational experience to prepare you for a career in business.
Most jobs in the areas of business, management, and administration require a four-year bachelor’s degree. Certain administrative or clerk positions, such as receptionists, file clerks, and customer service specialists, may require a high school diploma or two-year associate’s degree, but a bachelor’s degree is necessary for advancement in most businesses. A good way to gain exposure to various aspects of business is to seek employment during summer vacations and other breaks from school. If you have good computer, communication, and other basic office skills, apply for work through a temporary agency. This is a valuable way to gain experience in a variety of businesses and departments. This can help you determine the business career path that will suit you best once you graduate.
Business, Management, and Administration Careers Outlook
Almost all businesses are affected by changes in the economy. When the economy is thriving, consumers have more money to spend, which means that they buy more products and services. When the economy suffers a downturn, however, virtually all businesses suffer along with it, as consumers cut back on spending. During economically unsound periods, many companies lay off or terminate employees in order to stay afloat.
The economy is currently experiencing one of these unsound periods. Most businesses are being cautious and conservative in spending, hiring, and expansion. Technology also continues to influence business. On one hand, the increased use of automation has limited the number of workers needed in some areas, but at the same time, new workers are needed to purchase, monitor, and analyze automation technology.
Business, management, and administration continues to be one of the largest and highest-paying segments of the job market, however. Job prospects should continue to be good for workers who stay up-to-date on the latest developments in their field and constantly look for new ways to contribute to the success of their business.
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