What Can Business Administration Graduates Do?
Planning to study business administration but are not sure of the areas of work you can go into? Prof Dr Zakaria Ismail, Dean of the Faculty of Business and Management at Open University Malaysia gives us a glimpse of what business administration graduates can do.
Good business administration undergraduate degree courses are designed to equip learners with essential management skills and knowledge necessary for assuming managerial positions in business organisations.
This means that the course curriculum will be designed to produce graduates who are sensitive to influences in changing business environments, and are responsive to new ideas in resolving issues which confront business organisations.
In an inherently competitive business world, successful managers or business owners of today and tomorrow are those who learn values and skills such as:
- high productivity
- customer service
- good business ethics and social responsibility
- excellent communication skills.
Degree programmes allow students to specialise in areas such as marketing, human resource management, finance, international business and general management.
Business Administration Graduates Are Versatile
The breadth of a business administration programme and the range of skills it equips graduates with, make graduates attractive to employers from a wide variety of industries.
Graduates can fill management or executive positions in the following areas:
For instance, a graduate who specialises in finance, is likely to find work in the banking industry as an executive because of relevant knowledge gained through the study of subjects such as Bank Management, Islamic Financial Management, Investment Analysis and International Financial Management on top of basic financial management and economics. This knowledge coupled with practical experience and good communication skills will help a graduate perform well in his job.
Similarly, a graduate who specialises in marketing will be able to understand the behaviour of consumers, understand how marketing research is carried out, read marketing research findings, and propose practical and appropriate marketing strategies for local and international markets because of skills and knowledge gained through subjects such as Consumer Behaviour, Marketing Research, Marketing Management and Strategy and International Marketing.
Human Resource Management (HRM)
A graduate who specialised in HRM would have studied subjects like Human Resource Management, Organisation Behaviour, Hazard Management, Employment and Industrial Laws, Cross Culture Management and Human Resource Development. These subjects provide sufficient basic theoretical and practical knowledge and soft skills for the graduate to excel as an HRM executive or manager.
A student who specialises in International Business will study subjects like International Marketing, International Financial Management, International Economics, International Human Resource Management and Cross Culture Management to expose themselves to international business environments. These subjects cover basic but practical aspects of every major and relevant discipline.
General management is suitable for those who like to have the breath, rather than the depth, of business administration knowledge.
Choosing a Course
The demand for business administration qualifications is on the rise at many institutions of higher learning. At OUM, some 800 students have been taken in annually from 2003 to 2006.
However, when selecting an institution, students should note that the quality, flexibility and relevance of a programme with regards to the job market. This is a crucial criteria to consider. With the right attitude and skills, graduates can carve exciting careers in a variety of sectors.
Studying at OUMAt OUM, most Bachelor of Business Administration (Hons) students are working adults. Therefore, most students more or less know what they want to do at their workplaces. School leavers will find programmes at OUM very interesting and rewarding because they will have the opportunity to learn and interact with mature counterparts. Students will also be required to apply the knowledge learnt in the course to solve practical assignments which very often mirror real situations faced by some students at their workplaces.
Prof Dr Zakaria Ismail is the Dean of the Faculty of Business and Management atOpen University Malaysia.Kent State University, USA. His areas of expertise are organisational behaviour and management.
This article first appeared in doctorjob's coursesNOW! Business 2007.