In the business world, there are a number of degrees and certifications that may prove useful. One of the field’s more prominent buzzwords is “business administration.” What exactly is it, though, and why is it important to your career?
Facts about Business Administration
Workers in business administration handle the day-to-day tasks of business operations. While the board of a business tends to focus on larger-picture issues and handles initiatives aimed toward the future, the hard work they do would go nowhere without an excellent team of business administrators on the ground floor.
Because they are crucial to any successful business plan, becoming a business administrator is an excellent place to begin a career in business without going through an MBA program. Alternatively, it could be used as an excellent foundation for an MBA.
This is because there is significant room for growth when dealing in business, and each separate component of business can build upon itself. While you may want to start as a business administrator, doing so will prove very helpful if your ambitions are to move up the corporate ladder. Many of today’s industry leaders and top business executives have gotten their start in business administration, and every industry requires a business administrator.
Interesting Facts about Administrative Management
Even within industries that are complex and highly technical, like biomedical engineering technologies, there is a need for business administrators, or “admins.” These admins are responsible for ordering parts, tools, interfacing with the customers, delegating technicians and keeping the lines of communication open.
A good admin, therefore, can make the difference between a shop that fails and a shop that succeeds. They are a lot more than just the logistics arm of a business. Admins can direct other employees to matters of priority or tell them how to access information pertinent to their jobs. In a company with a capable admin, the actual shop manager can feel free to take a vacation or focus on the development and advancement of her employees.
Business Administration Basics
Business administration offers multiple pathways to employment. As discussed above, almost every office in every industry needs an excellent administrative staff person. Since there is a clear and consistent need for a business administrator, there are quite literally thousands of educational programs offering everything from administrative certifications to full-blown four-year degrees, and even some master’s programs.
While it could be extremely tempting to try to gain acceptance to the most exclusive program that you qualify for, you may not need it. In high-demand fields that do not require a specific degree, but instead requires a set of proven skills, if you can show that you’ve successfully done an administrator’s job in the past, it may take you further than a baseline certification or accelerated degree program would. The role of business administrators can be different from office to office; however, there are a few things that every administrator should know how to do.
Goals of an Administrator
One of the fun facts about office managers is that their skill sets may be consistent from industry to industry. Basic skills required of an administrator may require the following, regardless of the industry:
- Understand and execute departmental goals: Administrators need to demonstrate that they are aware of all of the metrics for success that have been established for their office. In keeping with the biomedical admin example, if you know that your shop has a goal of handling 20 different preventative maintenance projects a month, you can keep your technicians up to date on how they are performing weekly, or even daily, if that is what is needed to maintain focus.
- Overseeing and executing budgetary activities: A biomedical shop has a monthly budget for tools, personal protective equipment (PPE) and office supplies. A good admin would need to implement any orders within those budgetary constraints. They would also be responsible for sending out invoices, ensuring that contractors are paid and catching problems as quickly as possible. This is considered to be one of the most stressful parts of an admin’s job.
- Basic management activities: Most admins do not have the power to hire or fire anyone. However, they are the person who will have perhaps the most contact with clients and customers. They are also the point of contact for many different contractors. Keeping all of the different projects moving and organized falls largely on their shoulders.
Jobs for Business Administrators
Every active office that is larger than a handful of employees tends to operate best with a business administrator on board. There are a number of possible fields of employment for a business administrator, including:
- General Management: All of the tasks listed above are general administrative duties. However, a degree in business administration could open up general manager roles immediately. If you are looking to break into management early, proving you have the skills to be a successful business administrator is crucial. A general manager could have the power to hire and fire employees and is also responsible for evaluating employees and providing feedback to them on a regular basis.
- Hospitality Management: One of the industries that sees a “revolving door” of staff is the hospitality industry. An administrator who knows what he is doing can hear the complaints of staff and advocate for them. Many times, problems that occur with employees can be helped by making them feel valued and heard by the people that manage them, so excellent interpersonal skills are critical.
- Office Administration: Office managers update schedules, manage appointments and meetings and keep up with the regular operations of their staff. Administrators may also serve as a sort of communication line between upper management and operations staff.
- Operations Management: Operations managers oversee a group of people and manage them, their progress and development, and handle all of the other business management tasks set before them.
How to Become a Business Administrator
Your path to becoming a business administrator can be as varied as the jobs that you will be eligible for after you’ve become a business administrator. How you approach becoming a business administrator will depend on where you are in life.
- High School Graduate: Without a lot of experience to fall back on, you may want to look at local community colleges to see if any of them have a program in business administration. If you must look at a four-year extended degree program, speak with an advisor to see how many credits you can transfer from a cheaper institution. Take advantage of any internship programs that you can and focus on building a skill set as well as getting good grades.
- College Graduate: Even if you didn’t graduate with a degree in business administration, you might have all of the qualifications needed to become a business administrator. After you’ve graduated, most colleges offer their alumni job advice. You could also contact any university’s program for business administration and see if you could either transfer credits or achieve a certification.
- Changing Careers: If you’ve been in the working world for a while and need a change of pace, you may be able to slide into a business administration role. Before you leave your current office, you may want to inquire about how to transition into business administration. Some companies will require you to get a certification before they transfer you; however, that is not how all companies operate. Provided you have an excellent understanding of the operations and what being an administrator for your office would entail, some companies will transfer you without requiring anything else.