Companies in many industries and disciplines hire business managers to lead teams in select departments and make sure those areas of the enterprise function smoothly. Depending on their context, business managers may help draft and execute strategic plans, assign jobs, organize workflow, and conduct staff meetings.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected that between 2016 and 2026, business and financial occupations will expand by 10 percent and that management jobs will grow by 8 percent.

Educational Background of Business Managers

Business managers often launch their careers by earning an undergraduate degree in a discipline such as business, management, or organizational leadership. These programs provide the foundational knowledge of business that opens entry-level positions. To advance from a starting job to a business manager role, however, frequently requires at least two years of experience and an MBA. Graduate study in business equips professionals with the leadership, communication and problem-solving skills they need to take more extensive responsibility.

MBA holders can earn double what those with a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in another field can pull in. They can also advance quickly into favorable job opportunities since many employers (up to 80 percent) plan to hire MBAs to fill open positions at the management level.

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Earn a six-figure salary as a business manager with an online MBA degree from St. Ambrose University.

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Business Manager Job Description Competencies

Business managers need to stay on the cutting edge of financial analysis, project management, operations management and human resources.

Leadership is the most important human-resource skill a business manager can possess. Conceptualizing a vision, motivating a team, empathizing with stakeholders and engendering creative solutions to corporate challenges all comprise great leadership skills.

A business manager’s operational supervision skills should include the ability to work with diverse people and a preference for doing a variety of tasks instead of just one. Besides these soft skills, business managers also need to understand a production environment, how supply chains work and how to implement major projects. They should possess quantitative skills to compile and interpret information about workflows and production.

Those quantitative skills also come in handy for financial analysis projects. Business managers use their fundamental knowledge of how accounting and financial management work to interpret quantitative analysis so that they can draw conclusions that can drive positive change.

A Business Manager’s Role

U.S. News & World Report selected business operations manager as No. 5 on its list of the top 10 jobs in business. The magazine quoted Eric Schaudt, manager of operations programs, material planning and analysis at Northrop Grumman, who said, “Operations really is the heart of most companies, because the operations department actually gets the job that the company needs to get done, done.” Business managers are the people who make sure that the job gets done.

Companies of all shapes, sizes and styles hire business managers. Financial services, sales and marketing, retail, insurance, construction and transportation companies all need people to oversee their labor force, inspire their employees, and ultimately assure their customers’ satisfaction. In all industries, a business manager’s major tasks include planning, coordinating, directing and evaluating the work of a team charged with a specific set of outcomes. Their work is vital to the overall operation and longevity of an enterprise.

A business manager can serve as the CEO of an international development organization, manage corporate travel, oversee an agency’s social media marketing team or even serve as a city or county managers.

A Business Manager’s Salary

The BLS reported the average annual salary for all management occupations stands at $102,590, the highest for all the occupational groups the BLS ranks. As in most fields, experience and skills can help a professional achieve higher earning positions in business management. Late-career earners can outpace the median salary by 10 percent or more, and business managers who possess valuable skills in financial analysis or project management may earn significantly more than others.

While business managers can find employment throughout the country, states with large urban areas such as California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey typically have especially robust markets for this profession.

Many business managers go on to careers as human resource directors, chief financial officers, and chief executive officers.

Moving from an entry-level post into a business management role usually requires at least two years of experience and an MBA. St. Ambrose University offers a 36-credit online MBA that students can complete in just 14 months. Accredited with the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, this degree can provide a springboard into a lucrative and interesting position as a business manager.