What Is a BBA? Guide to the Bachelor of Business Administration

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A bachelor of business administration degree prepares students for careers in management, finance, accounting, or other fields related to business. Read on for more on everything from curriculum to skills to job prospects.

[Featured image] A Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) student in a black jacket sits in front of a desktop computer and smiles at the camera.

BBA stands for Bachelor of Business Administration—essentially a bachelor's degree you can earn to prepare for the business world. Many students who earn a BBA choose to go into management or start their own businesses. However, many others may use the degree as a starting point for a career in a field like marketing, accounting, finance, real estate, or even education. You may find your BBA program doesn't just focus on business administration. Instead, it allows you to specialize in an area like marketing, health care, accounting, or management so you're better equipped to work in those industries.   

A great number of four-year universities and colleges offer BBA degrees, and many of them even have online programs. It's not uncommon for a person to gain some work experience and return to school to earn a BBA to help advance their career. Many even continue on to earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. A degree in business administration can open doors. It looks good on your resume, and it can arm you with the tools you'll need to succeed in business, whether you want a new career in a new industry, to become an entrepreneur, or simply go for a promotion within the company where you work now.   

What is a BBA?

A Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) is a bachelor's degree that helps you establish a fundamental understanding of business and how various aspects of it apply to the real world. It's a well-rounded degree currently in high demand because it's so versatile. Not only can you strengthen the skills you'll need to succeed in the business world—like communication and leadership—with this degree, but you can also prepare yourself to work in dozens of other industries. For example, many people choose to earn a BBA if they want to move up into a management position. 

BBA vs. BSBA: What's the difference?

Some people who want to study business administration opt to earn a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration or a BSBA. The main difference is that a BSBA is more of a specialized degree. While both degrees can prepare you for the business world, to become an entrepreneur, or to move up within a company, a BSBA focuses more on certain aspects of a particular field or skill. Your BSBA may be geared specifically towards a type of business administration, like health care or law, or it may focus on honing particular skills, like finance or accounting. You might also concentrate on specific business models rather than general aspects of business. Another difference is that the BSBA may focus more on math, technology, and analytics, while a BBA involves more liberal arts.

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Types of BBA degrees

Depending on the school and program, you may be able to get a BBA by attending school full-time, part-time, online, or in person. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks. 

Full-time BBA

A full-time Bachelor of Business Administration degree typically takes four years to earn, depending on the requirements of the school. To be considered a full-time student, most colleges and universities require you to take a minimum of 12 credits each semester, or at least four classes per semester. The more credits you're able to take each semester, the faster you can earn your degree, but the less time you'll have to spend doing things outside of school.

Part-time BBA

If you take fewer than 12 credits each semester, or the equivalent of three classes or fewer, most schools classify you as a part-time student. While it can take longer to earn your Bachelor of Business Administration degree on a part-time basis, it can be a good option if you have commitments outside of school such as family responsibilities or a job. There’s no limit on the time it takes, but the average is around five to six years. 

Online BBA

You can approach online Bachelor of Business Administration degree programs on a full- or part-time basis. How long it takes to complete largely depends on how many courses and credits you take each semester. Admissions and academic requirements are typically the same as they would be for on-campus students, but with the added flexibility of earning your degree from anywhere with an internet connection. 

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BBA admission requirements

Admission requirements vary depending on the school. Many schools require that you complete a certain amount of postsecondary courses before entering a Bachelor of Business Administration program. Examples include general education requirements like math and English in addition to business courses like microeconomics and macroeconomics. Others have admissions requirements similar to any undergraduate degree program, including: 

BBA curriculum

Like many bachelor's degrees, earning a BBA means attending a four-year college or university, either online, in person, or via a combination of the two. Because many people who choose to earn a BBA already have careers or unique schedules, numerous schools offer programs you can complete at your own pace. Others offer accelerated programs that allow you to complete a four-year BBA in three years. You'll typically need to earn 120 credits to finish your degree, whether you finish in three or four years. 

While you complete your degree, you'll take some core courses, but the majority of your classes will cover a well-rounded variety of business topics. Some typical courses you might take in order to earn your BBA include:  

  • Accounting Principles

  • Business Ethics

  • Business Finance

  • Human Resources Management

  • Introduction to Statistics 

  • Macroeconomics 

  • Microeconomics

  • Marketing Principles 

  • Organizational Communication

  • Principles of Management 

  • Strategic Thinking and Innovation 

Common areas of study

When you choose to study business administration, you often have the opportunity to pick a specific concentration or area of study that interests you the most or will help you further your career goals. Of course, each school will offer different areas of study, but some of the most common include:  

  • Accounting 

  • Entrepreneurship 

  • Finance

  • Information systems management 

  • Organizational leadership 

  • Supply chain 

  • Project management

  • Technology management

  • International business

  • Computer application 

  • Health care administration 

  • Hospitality

  • Logistics

  • Retail 

  • Marketing  

Common skills you’ll develop 

While earning your BBA, you'll have the opportunity to develop an array of skills you can apply to numerous jobs in the business world. These include both mathematical and technical skills that apply directly to the basics of modern business, as well as human skills that will help you succeed in almost any workplace. 

Technical and mathematical skills

Technology has become more important than ever in the business world. As a BBA student, you'll learn practical technical skills that have real-world applications. For example, you probably already know how to use a computer, but a BBA program might foster a better understanding of common software, like PowerPoint and Excel. You'll also learn about the technical side of various aspects of business, especially if you choose a concentration like accounting or finance. Some of these skills might include:  

  • Auditing

  • Budgeting

  • Cost analysis

  • Database management

  • Financial reporting

  • Knowledge of information systems

  • Project management

  • Some programming 

You'll find that many of these skills overlap with advanced mathematical topics, so as a business administration major, you'll likely find yourself taking math courses where you can gain these skills. These might include calculus, quantitative methods, advanced algebra, and statistics. 

Workplace skills

As you work on your BBA, you'll also develop workplace skills. These skills are important in any work or business environment, but you can improve upon some specific to business administration. These include but aren't limited to:  

  • Adaptability

  • Analytical thinking

  • Communication, both oral and written, particularly in a business setting

  • Creativity

  • Decision-making

  • Entrepreneurial skills

  • Innovation

  • Leadership

  • Organization 

Conceptual skills

In business administration, it helps to be able to view the company or organization you work for as a whole so that you can act in ways that benefit the entire company. Developing these skills is particularly important if your goals include working in upper management. Examples include:

  • Understanding the interdependence of different parts/departments within a business

  • Identifying the influence of politics and social/economic forces

  • Scoping the business impact of various challenges and opportunities

  • Developing different strategies and courses of action for various scenarios

7 jobs you can get with a BBA 

In many cases, you can use your BBA to prepare for a career in many industries, though additional training, education, and experience may be necessary. Take a look at seven potential job ideas you can get with your degree: 

*All salary data represents median annual salary in the United States according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2021)

1. Financial advisor

Median annual salary: $94,170

Financial advisors help people or businesses manage their money. In this role, you might manage or monitor accounts, suggest or choose investments, and help plan for major life events like marriage, college, having a baby, or retirement. If you're a BBA graduate with an interest in finance, this may be the job for you.  

2. Real Estate agent or broker 

Median annual salary: $48,770

Many real estate agents are self-employed, making this a great option if you have dreams of becoming an entrepreneur. As an agent, you'll help clients buy, sell, and rent homes and commercial property. As a broker, you'll be more involved with the contracts and actual transactions. It's ideal for anyone who doesn't like to sit in an office all day and enjoys irregular hours. Keep in mind you'll also need to get additional licensing if this is the route you choose. 

3. Human resources manager  

Median annual salary: $126,230

While you don't need a BBA to work in human resources, you may need a degree to become a human resources manager for a company. In this role, you'd be responsible for your company's staff, including recruiting and hiring new talent, supervising payroll, ensuring employees are properly trained, and working as a mediator between employees and an organization when a problem arises or a new policy is implemented.  

4. Accountant  

Median annual salary: $77,250

Accountants might prepare tax returns, manage books for organizations, maintain financial records for individuals, make suggestions to improve financial health, and prepare important financial documents. People who work in this field must be good with numbers and details. Becoming a licensed certified public accountant (CPA) can help advance your career even further. 

5. Operations manager

Median annual salary: $97,970

Operations managers work across a variety of industries, like retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. They're responsible for the day-to-day operations of a store, factory, restaurant, hotel, or office, which means you need great leadership skills and the ability to multitask. Because you'll work in industries like retail and hospitality with irregular hours, you may also have a unique schedule that includes nights and weekends. 

6. Marketing manager  

Median annual salary: $133,380

If you prefer to mix your BBA with creative talents, a career in marketing may be your best bet. Marketing managers manage marketing departments, campaigns, and budgets and focus on creating new or better campaigns that drive customers to an organization. They keep up with data, industry trends, and consumer feedback to help drive their department's success. Many schools even offer a marketing concentration within their BBA programs.  

7. Loan officer 

Median annual salary: $63,380

Anyone who enjoys working with numbers might consider becoming a loan officer. This finance-oriented job will have you working for banks, mortgage companies, car dealerships, and lending services and making decisions on commercial and personal loans. 

Consider getting an MBA

Once you earn your BBA, you may consider going on to earn an MBA. This advanced degree in business administration will help increase your knowledge in the areas of business that will help you further your career. Not only does it look good on your resume, but it could help you get a raise or a promotion. Some schools even offer a BBA/MBA dual enrollment program that allows you to earn both degrees at the same time. 

Next steps

Prepare for a broad range of jobs with a BBA degree–a popular option for many business students. If you think that this is a good match for your goals, start researching programs and schools to find one that fits your needs. Explore what it's like to earn your degree online by trying a course like Business Sustainability in the Circular Economy from the University of London Bachelor of Science in Business Administration or Research Design: Inquiry and Discovery from the University of North Texas Bachelor of Science in General Business. 

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Article sources

1. Zippia. “Business Administrator Demographics and Statistics [2022], https://www.zippia.com/business-administrator-jobs/demographics/." Accessed May 13, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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