Becoming a Business Manager: Salary Info & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of a business manager career? Get real job descriptions, salaries and career prospects to see if becoming a business manager is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Business Manager Career

Businesses managers can work in many industries and fields, so they have flexibility in their career choices. Read on to see if becoming a business manager is right for you.

Pros of Being a Business Manager
Variety of fields available (sales, advertising, marketing and administrative services)*
Some fields have a degree of creativity (advertising or promotions)*
Jobs can be found in any industry (manufacturing, healthcare and retail)*
Some jobs have high earnings (sales, marketing and advertising)*

Cons of Being a Business Manager
Long hours may be necessary*
Intense competition for jobs*
Advancement may be limited to those with graduate education*
May have pressure to meet deadlines*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Career Information

Job Description and Duties

Businesses are everywhere, so you can expect that business managers have a variety of duties. These duties often depend on the manager's skills, education and specialization. These workers can coordinate the efforts of other professionals to create budgets, ad campaigns and financial strategies. They may be in charge of maintaining buildings or equipment. They also may purchase better equipment or technology to promote efficient work. Business managers must be able to communicate well in order to make sure that others can stick to a company's plans.

Career Paths and Specializations

If you're looking to be a business manager, you can choose a specific field to go into. If you are interested in strictly the financial side of business, you can be a financial manager. These workers check the flow of monetary assets, and they can work for firms, international companies and banks. They make sure a company or an organization adheres to both short-term and long-term financial goals in order to remain cost-effective.

Administrative services managers oversee operations that can involve several departments, such as telecommunications or data processing. Some of these workers maintain the physical assets of a company, including the grounds, buildings or office equipment.

Companies also need managers that can promote their businesses and products. The marketing, sales, public relations and advertising industry focuses on this side of business. An advertising manager may work with various agencies and firms in order to create attractive campaigns, commercials or ads for a variety of media. Public relations managers make sure that a company remains transparent and approachable to the public.

Sales managers supervise sales representatives, and they analyze customer preferences in order to boost sales. A marketing manager develops new products, pricing and services based on customer needs.

Salary and Career Prospects

There are many different fields for this job, so salaries and career prospects can vary. In 2014, the BLS reported that the median salary of administrative services managers was $83,790; advertising and promotions managers earned $96,720; financial managers earned $115,320; marketing managers earned $127,130; human resources managers earned $102,780; and sales managers earned $110,660. In 2014, public relations and fundraising managers earned $101,510. Jobs in all fields were expected to grow at an average rate, with a 5%-9% increase from 2014-2024. Jobs for public relations and human resources managers are expected to see the highest growth rate.

What Are the Requirements?

Education Requirements

Because of the wide range of specialties available, education requirements can vary for each business manager. According to the BLS, most business managers have a bachelor's degree. The field of study depends on your interests. For example, a financial manager would need to have a bachelor's degree in finance, business administration or accounting.

However, an advertising manger might be better off with a degree in journalism or advertising, with a few business classes on the side. Two common degrees that seemed to be acceptable for many business manager jobs were business administration and finance. You should note that many employers prefer business managers graduate degrees, though this is not a requirement.

Also, if you're looking to be a financial manager, you may work in an accounting department. You may be required to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to qualify for work. You should also know that some administrative service managers in smaller companies may need only a high school diploma or an associate's degree.

Useful Skills

Each specialization can require a different set of skills, but the BLS mentions some general qualities that all business managers need to have:

  • Communication skills
  • Leadership abilities
  • Creative thinking
  • Critical thinking
  • Attentiion to detail

Job Posting from Real Employers

Employers who are simply looking for business managers don't specify a degree program, but they usually require a bachelor's degree. Specialized fields tend to require certain degree programs, such as business administration. Here are some examples of job postings from Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com from March 2012:

  • A firm in Colorado seeks a financial manager who can work with a pharmaceutical company to develop and evaluate financial reports. A bachelor's degree in finance, accounting, statistics, information systems or mathematics is required, along with several years of experience.
  • A credit union in Texas asks for an advertising and marketing manager with a bachelor's degree in communications. The candidate is required to have experience in graphic design and knowledge of Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Macromedia and Quark.
  • A staffing service in Michigan seeks a sales account manager who can work as a contractor to the automotive industry. They required the account manager to speak both English and Japanese and have excellent communication skills.
  • A hotel in New York seeks an administrative services manager with a master's degree in economics.

How to Make Your Skills Stand Out

In order to be more competitive in the field, you can get a master's degree in business administration or a field related to your work. Additionally, you can receive certification from a variety of organizations. You may also want to become proficient in working with computers programs, so that you can keep up with advances in technology. Work experience can help you gain advancement, so internships may be helpful. You may also want to participate in manager training programs held at colleges or firms.

Alternative Careers Paths

Top Executive

If you're looking for a job that is more lucrative, you might consider becoming a top executive. Like business managers, these executives oversee business operations, but they often are given more responsibility within a firm. Their job titles can range from chief executive officers to president of the company.

Top executives usually have a bachelor's or master's degree, as well as years of experience. However, aspiring top executives face considerable pressure and competition. The BLS states that their median annual earnings were about $167,000 in 2011, and a 5% increase in employment is expected from 2010-2020.

Personal Financial Advisor

If you were more interested in going into business for yourself and helping others make good investment and financial choices, you could become a personal financial advisor. These workers need a bachelor's or master's degree in a field such as accounting or business, and they may be required to have a license. They also must have impeccable interpersonal skills, as much of their business comes from a clientele base. According to the BLS, personal financial advisors earned about $67,000 in 2010, and they are expected to enjoy a 32% employment growth from 2010-2020.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA: Project Management
      • Master: Management/Project Mgmt
      • M.S. in Management
      • Master : Business Admin
      • MBA: Health Care Management
      • MSM in Leadership
    Bachelor's
      • BSBA in Management
      • BBA: Project Management
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • BSBA - Investment
    Associate's
      • Associate: Business Admin.
      • AASBA -Entrepreneurship
      • AASBA in Small Business Management
      • AASBA in Food/Hotel Management
      • Associate: Business Admin. - Office Mgmt
    Certificate
      • Executive Leader Graduate Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Johns Hopkins University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MA in Public Management
      • Master of Science in Government Analytics
      • Master of Science in Research Administration
  • Campus and Online Programs
    3. Louisiana State University Shreveport

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Project Management Concentration
      • Master of Business Administration - Project Management Specialization
      • Master of Science in Nonprofit Administration
      • Master of Business Administration - Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise Concentration
      • Master of Business Administration with a General Business Specialization
      • Master of Business Administration - Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise Specialization
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
      • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate
  • Campus Locations:
    5. American National University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration
    Associate's
      • Business Administration Management - Associate
    Certificate
      • Business Administration - Diploma
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Project Management
      • MS - Management
      • MS - Organizational Leadership
      • Master of International Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Project Management
      • BS - Business Management
      • BS - Organizational Leadership
    Certificate
      • Undergraduate Certificate - Project Management
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Regent University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Individualized Studies
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Leadership Coaching
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      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Strategic Leadership
    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - General Management
      • Master of Business Administration - Innovation Management
      • Master of Arts in Law - Business
      • Master of Arts in Law - Non-Profit Management
      • Master of Arts in Not-for-Profit Leadership
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    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Business - General Management
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  • Online Programs Available
    8. Notre Dame de Namur University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Masters in Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Tulane University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Online Master of Professional Studies in Cybersecurity Management
      • Online Master of Professional Studies in Information Technology Management
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Saint John's University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration: Interdisciplinary Business

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • MBA: Project Management
  • BSBA in Management
  • Associate: Business Admin.
  • Executive Leader Graduate Certificate

Which subject are you interested in?

Johns Hopkins University

  • MA in Public Management
  • Master of Science in Government Analytics
  • Master of Science in Research Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Louisiana State University Shreveport

  • Master of Business Administration - Project Management Concentration
  • Master of Business Administration - Project Management Specialization
  • Master of Science in Nonprofit Administration

What is your highest level of education completed?

Georgetown University

  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
  • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate

What is your highest level of education completed?

American National University

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Business Administration Management - Associate
  • Business Administration - Diploma

What is your education level?

Colorado State University Global

  • Master of Project Management
  • BS - Project Management
  • Undergraduate Certificate - Project Management

What is your highest level of education?

Regent University

  • Doctor of Strategic Leadership
  • Master of Business Administration - General Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Business - General Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

Notre Dame de Namur University

  • Masters in Business Administration

What is your highest level of education completed?