Business education is a branch of education that involves teaching the skills and operations of the business industry. This field of education occurs at multiple levels, including secondary and higher education institutes. Education in business has many forms, mainly occurring within a classroom of a school. Internships are also another way to receive this type of education. A business education has many components, as there are many different areas of the business industry as a whole. An education in business varies greatly in its curriculum and popularity around the world. Career development is often an integral part of an education in business.
Business is taught as an academic subject at secondary level in many countries, including Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Lesotho, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Nigeria, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Argentina, Sweden, Tanzania, Malaysia and the United Kingdom. At pre-tertiary level, it is often called Business Studies, and usually combines elements of accountancy, finance, marketing, organizational studies, human resource management and economics.
At the university level, students have the opportunity to take undergraduate degrees, usually a bachelor's degree, in business and management. Specific curricula and degree-granting procedures differ by program and by region. In general though, the program will comprise either preparation for management and general business, or a detailed - more academic - focus on a specific area. Regardless, all will typically include basic selections such as Accounting, Marketing, Finance, and Operations Management.
Management-directed programs are designed to give a broad knowledge of the functional areas of a company, and their interconnection, and also to develop the student's practical managerial skills, communication skills and business decision-making capability. These programs thus incorporate training and practical experience, in the form of case projects, presentations, internships, industrial visits, and interaction with experts from the industry.
Subject specific programs, on the other hand, focus on a particular area, and are often more weighted towards theory. Even in these cases, however, additional to their major, students are exposed to general business principles, taking initial courses in accounting/finance, human resources, statistics, marketing, economics, and information systems.
Degrees offered here include:
- The Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree is awarded to students who complete three to four years of full-time study in business administration. The degree often, though not always, requires a major in a specific field such as accounting, finance, HRM/personnel, marketing, management, management information systems, real estate, strategic management, or others. Similar programs include the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA), a quantitative variant on the BBA, Bachelor of Science in Business and Bachelor of Administrative Studies degrees. The Bachelor of Public Administration (BPA) is an undergraduate degree in public administration. The Bachelor of Business Management/Bachelor of Management Studies are similar to the BBA, but with a stronger emphasis on leadership and management skills.
- The Bachelor of International Business economics (BIBE) degree is awarded to students who complete four years of full-time study in business administration. In the last 2 years students must choose a specific field (such as the ones mentioned in the BBA). This degree is taught only in English and its aim is to enable students to work abroad and be prepared to manage large, multinational firms. It is compulsory to study abroad for at least 6 months. This degree appeared with the Bologna Process in Europe and is taught in universities like the Pompeu Fabra University.
- The Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com, or B.Comm; Bachelor of Commerce and Administration (BCA) is an alternate title) is, likewise, an undergraduate degree in general business management, although it is more theory-based and usually incorporates an academic major. The distinction between the B.Comm and the BBA, then, is often that the latter specifically applies theories to real-life business situations, while the former concentrates more broadly on a wide range of ideas and concepts in commerce and related subjects.
- The Bachelor of Business (B.Bus or B.Bus (Major)) degree is an undergraduate degree in general business management offered by universities in Australia, Ireland and New Zealand. Similar in nature to the Bachelor of Commerce degree, Bachelor of Business degrees are often awarded at technology-focused universities in accordance with the Dawkins review (1986) of the Australian higher education sector. At many Australian universities, a Bachelor of Business degree enables graduates to undertake greater specialty in their chosen academic major as compared to a general BBA degree.
- The Bachelor of Management and Organizational Studies degree (BMOS in Canada) is a four-year undergraduate degree in business management. However, this degree teaches knowledge-based business and is as much theoretical as it is case-based. The BMOS degree especially emphasizes social sciences such as psychology, sociology, economics, etc.
- The Bachelor of Business Science (B.Bus.Sc) degree is similar to the BCom. However, it is a four-year honors-level course with an increased focus on the major and covers management theory in further depth. Also, students taking this approach are able to major in various quantitative disciplines not (typically) available in the B.Comm or BBA; related to this—and similarly in distinction—all B.Bus.Sc students require a full first-year mathematics course, and in addition to this, courses in statistics.
- The Bachelor of Accountancy (B.Acy or B.Acc or B. Accty) degree is a specialized degree in accountancy; it is often the principal (or only) undergraduate degree recognized for later professional practice. It is distinct from a BBA or B.Comm with a major in accountancy in that the entire program is focused on accountancy, while other topics are supplementary. It is also known as Bachelor of Accounting, Bachelor of Accounting Science, or Bachelor of Comptrolling (B.Acc.Sci or B.Compt).
- The Bachelor of Economics (B.Ec, B.Econ.Sc; sometimes BA (Econ), B.Sc (Econ), B.S.Sc (Econ) or BBA (Econ)) degree is similarly a specialized degree in the field of economics. Courses may last anywhere from three years to six years and are typically more theoretical and mathematical than the BBA or B.Comm with a major in economics (often substantially so). Economics is not a business discipline per se but a social science, and economics degrees are therefore often offered through liberal arts colleges.
- There are various other specialized business degrees such as the Bachelor of Finance and Banking. A further example is the Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management (BAOM) degree, which is awarded to students who complete a four-year course of study in the field. The core functions of this program are the teaching of organizational functions, communication, group behavior, decision-making, human resources management, ethics, and to develop and deploy in the students effective skills in management and leadership. Also offered are the Bachelor of Science in Business Education (BSBE), an undergraduate degree in the teaching of business and the Bachelor of Business Teacher Education (BBTE), a variant on the BSBE.
At the graduate school level, students seek a variety of master's degrees, either in general management–very commonly the MBA–or in a specific area, such as marketing or finance. A further distinction is that students pursuing postgraduate degrees often have some business experience, although this is not always a program requirement.
Corresponding to both of these, graduate degrees in business and management are generally of two sorts.
- On the one hand, programs such as the Master of Science (M.Sc) or Arts (MA) or Commerce (M.Com) in General Management (sometimes also called Master in Management, or MIM) usually do not require professional experience. (Often the M.Sc in Management is for graduates with a first academic degree in a social science, while the MA in Management is for other backgrounds. The Master of Engineering Management, MEM, is aimed at graduates with an engineering background.)
- On the other hand, the Master of Business Administration (MBA) requires a minimum of two to three years of professional experience and is open for graduates from any field.
A related distinction: the M.Sc in Management is more specialized than an MBA, and is more suited for academic research, while the MBA is more industry- and management-focused.
As regards degree structure, postgraduate business programs are, in general, designed such that students gain exposure to theory and practice alike; the mix, though, will differ by degree and by school, as discussed. Learning is then through lectures, case studies, and often team projects (“syndicate” work). The theory is covered in the classroom setting by academic faculty. Particularly in the MBA, the theory is then reinforced, and revisited, also in the classroom setting, through the case method, placing the student in the role of the decision maker, "complete with the constraints and incomplete information found in real business issues." Practical learning often comprises consulting projects with real clients, or at least addressing an actual case, and is often undertaken in teams. The practical elements (as well as the case studies) may involve external practitioners, and sometimes executives, supporting the teaching from academic faculty. (See Business school#Use of case studies and #Other approaches.) One of the challenges for business academics is demonstrating that their curriculum is relevant to those who want to become managers.
Degrees offered include:
- Master of Accountancy/Master of Professional Accountancy (M.Acc, M.Acy/MPA or M.P.Acc), focused on accounting as a profession
- Master of Bioscience Enterprise (M.Bio.Ent), focused on the commercialisation of biotechnology
- Master of Business Administration (MBA), a master's degree in Business Administration
- Master of Business Communication (MBC),
- Master of Business and Management (MBM), focused on generalist managerial and leadership skills; often intended for students beginning their careers
- Master of Business Education (MBE), focusing on teaching business teacher education
- Master of Business Engineering (MBE), focused on the design and management of enterprises
- Master of Business (M.Bus) and Master of Commerce (M.Com or M.Comm), focused on a particular area of business or economics; often theory weighted
- Master of Computer Information Systems (MCIS), professional graduate degree focused on business technology solutions
- Master of Economics (M.Econ/M.Ec), theory oriented; but often available as a more practical "applied" degree
- Master of Engineering Management (MEM), aimed at graduates with an engineering background
- Master of Enterprise (M.Ent), multi-disciplinary; entrepreneurship combined with a specific discipline
- Master of Science in Finance / Master of Applied Finance (M.Fin); training in financial management and corporate finance, as well as the more specific financial modelling and risk management
- Master of Health Administration (MHA)
- Master of International Business (MIB), focused on International Business
- Master of Management (MM), focused on leadership coupled with interrelated management issues
- Master of Management: Co-operatives and Credit Unions, a post-graduate degree for co-operative and credit union managers
- Master of Marketing Research (MMR) a postgraduate degree focusing on research in the field of marketing
- Master of Nonprofit Organizations (MNO or MNPO), the postgraduate degree for philanthropy and voluntary sector professionals
- Master of Project Management (MSPM or MPM)
- Master of Public Administration (MPA)
- Master of Real Estate (M.Sc.RE)
- Master of Science in Business Administration (MSBA), advanced training in a particular area of business administration
- Master of Science in Business Administration in Computer Information Systems (MSBA-CIS), advanced training in business technology
- Master of Science in Management (MSM), management focused, targeting recent graduates
- Professional Science Masters (PSM), interdisciplinary; advanced training in science or mathematics, with professional skills required for a commercial context.
- Green MBA, often offered as a "Master in Sustainable Business" (MSB)
At the doctoral level, all degrees offered are research focused, although they do differ as regards their relative weightings of theory versus practice. Typically, the DBA, DPA, DHA and D.Mgt emphasize managerial practice alongside research; relatedly, the theses for these degrees will often focus on applied research. The other doctorates here are (exclusively) theory and research based. Entrance is usually on the basis of a relevant master's degree, and for practice-weighted degrees, relevant managerial experience. For the topic areas applicable to the thesis component see: List of fields of doctoral studies in the United States #Business Management/Administrative Services. Degrees offered here include:
- Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
- Doctor of Commerce (D.Com)
- Doctor of Health Administration (D.H.A.)
- Doctor of Management (D.M., D.Mgt)
- Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)
- PhD in Management (Ph.D)
- Ph.D/M.B.A (double degree)
- Fellow Program in Management (FPM)
- Engineering Doctorate (EngD), A professional doctorate involving a management thesis and taught MBA courses in the UK
- Doctor of Education (EdD), A professional doctorate with concentrations in business and education, including Management, Marketing, Accounting, International Business
A business education can either be a broad-based curriculum or one can choose to have a concentration, in which they focus their learning on one particular part of the industry. Examples of these concentrations and some topics they typically cover are:
- Organization Structure
- Marketing, Sales and Public Relations
- Marketing analytics
- Brand Management
- Economics and Analytics
- Market Trends
- Supply and Demand
- Fixed Income Securities
- Valuation Models
- Business Law
- Legal Risk
An internship is when a person works for a company for a temporary amount of time, typically for a few weeks over the summer or winter. By participating in the program, a student will be able to act in the everyday operation of the industry. They give the participants real-world experience in their desired career. Internships also give the company it is at an idea of whether or not the participant would be a good fit as a full-time employee. Many people complete internships while they are in school, whether that be secondary or post-secondary education. These are very common, and have started to be a requirement, in finding a job in the business world. Although internships are by no means a new form of educating a student, the amount that have completed a program has only continued to grow. In 2008 about one out of every two graduating college students had included a completed internship in their job applications.
There is has been significant evidence that has indicated that completing and internship develops skills essential to success in the business world as well as everyday life. The skills that are mainly developed while participating in an internship program includes interpersonal and social skills, as well as quantitative or other technical skills. Many internships use group projects as well in order to develop teamwork and leadership skills. All of these skills are vital to a business and are difficult to be taught in a class room. These skills are very valuable to a company and the ability to train these skills is making internships extremely valuable in business.
Business education does not contain the same curriculum and structure in one country as it does in the next. These programs tend to differ in the number of core courses and electives requires to take, the integration of the industry in their academics, and any specialization areas offered in business. Graduates of business across the world have different choices when it comes to their career. Many nations have issues that are major problems in their programs because of this.
In India there are around 1,600 business schools, which is one of the largest proportions of them in the world. But the grand scale leads to decreased quality of the curriculum and of the staff. This increases the unemployment rates of business school graduates. Many courses have underutilized outlines while the exams base themselves on memorization instead of understanding of the material. The business industry of India also plays only a minimal role in the academic setting, creating a disconnection between students and their desired careers. There has been a significant increase in the number of programs in China. Many graduates of these programs can easily find a full-time job. Specifically, the value of an MBA degree has increased one’s ability in getting hired. The higher education programs tend to lack relevant content in comparison to other global programs.
The United States is the global leader in business education. Many programs are of elite quality because of organizations such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
Programs in Germany are of increased cost in comparison to other nations. Spain lacks the aspect of skill development in their curriculum whether it is soft-skills or analytical and practical skills. England possesses many elite business schools but, in their courses, tend to leave out education of their own country.
Many programs within a business education have a main focus on the career development of their students or audience. They want to prepare them for entering the labor market and ensure they possess the best knowledge and skills of the industry possible. The aid in these programs can range from the guidance in career choices to solidifying a student’s first full-time job. The idea of curriculum is typically integrated straight in to the curriculum of one’s business education. This allows the students to focus on both at the same time while also understanding the importance of thinking of their life after school has on their life. Additionally, it allows students to think more about their goals and interests to determine if their current path of academics is what they wish to continue. Many faculty members will typically reach out to students and attempt to connect to graduates. This connects the current students with alumni in their field, allowing them to hear from people in their career path who were in their place not too long ago. This information lets students understand what is necessary to do in order to succeed in their desired career. There are instances however, where the effort of career development while still obtaining a degree does not yield a desire result. Research of business undergraduates state that only about 60% obtain a full-time job by graduation and of that percentage, only 40% have one that is consistent with their major.
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- See for example BBA program outlines at: uregina.ca; Institute of International Trade
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- See for example: "The HBS case-method", hbs.edu; "The Chicago Approach", chicagobooth.edu; "Practical Learning", jbs.cam.ac.uk; "Academic Experience", gsb.stanford.edu.
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