The basics
STUDY ABROAD : Subject Guides - Must read

Studying business administration abroad: what you need to know

We tell you everything you need to know about studying business administration abroad

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What is business administration?

Business administration is a wide field that encompasses many types of management positions. From major corporations to independent businesses, every company needs skilled administrators in order to succeed.


There are many different roles related to business administration, including business support, office manager, and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), among others. Most large companies have a dedicated group of administrators.


Why study business administration?

Business administration prepares students for a career in business or entrance to graduate school. You’ll gain specialised skills and improve your capacity to analyse, communicate effectively with associates, think independently and thrive in real-life work situations.


Because business administration includes a broad range of fields, you’ll have many opportunities to find an area that feels right for you. You'll gain knowledge of economics, accounting and finance, while studying topics like marketing and managing operations, ethics and organisation.


When you find the right fit, you’ll discover that working your way up the ladder can be both challenging and rewarding. Plus, skills you attain in one capacity will translate into others as your career path evolves. 


Students at an event at London Business School. Photo: London Business School


Would you be a good business administration student?

Motivated, organised individuals will thrive in business, where environments are often high-powered. Being able to deal with stress will help you keep your cool – and keep your business in the black.


Generally speaking, you’ll need to have excellent communication skills, as you will be working with a variety of different people, sending out memos and making reports. You will also need to be at ease making presentations and be able to lead people as well as feel comfortable working in a group with different personalities.


Another important skill is being able to understand how many different parts of a system or organisation work together, so that you can make workable systems and figure out what's wrong with those that don't work. It will help to be well-schooled in maths and have an understanding of economics, since you may need to make budgets and analyse your office, department or company's performance.

What can you do with a business administration qualification?

A bachelor's degree in business administration will qualify you for a wide range of leadership positions and other advanced roles in private, public and non-profit organisations. You'll have the choice of working across industries as a business analyst, human resources generalist, operations manager or marketing specialist. Some business administration graduates also venture into entrepreneurship, building their own successful companies from the ground up.


A lot of top business executives will get their start working in office administration or in hospitality, retail, sales or operations management. Executives and administrators work in every industry, from one-person businesses to multi-national corporations.


Many people choose to continue their education by earning a Masters in Business Administration (MBA). Your management opportunities can increase exponentially with an MBA, the most popular degree awarded in business. Some career prospects include executive director, corporate controller and independent consultant.


Notable universities for business administration

Most of the world’s top business universities are found in the USA and Europe.


According to the QS World University Rankings for 2015, the world’s best was the London Business School, followed by Harvard University in the USA and INSEAD in France. The USA has four institutions in the top 10 in total, including Stanford (4th), University of Pennsylvania (5th) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (6th). In the UK, Oxford is ranked 8th in the world, and The London School of Economics is 9th.

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About Author

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Stephen Palmer graduated from the University of Sunderland with a degree in Film and Media. Since then he has worked as a copywriter, proofreader and web editor. In his spare time he enjoys keeping fit, reading, playing video games and improving his Norwegian.