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Applied Management Degree Program Overviews by Level

Applied management is a general business program that discusses broad leadership and regulatory policies applicable to most professions or industries. Associate, bachelor's and master's degree programs are available in this field.

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Essential Information

Undergraduate programs in applied management are geared toward students with career training who want to continue their education in higher education programs. General education courses are included along with management theories and human resource fundamentals. Some associate degree programs may be presented online. Bachelor's degree programs allow students to gain a deeper understanding of the discipline and to choose an industry of interest.

Students who choose master's-level programs can further develop their leadership and analytical skills. In addition to studying online commerce, information technologies and organizational behavior, students should expect to fulfill practicum and thesis requirements. Doctoral degree programs can also be found, but are more rare than programs at lower educational tiers.

The International Association of Business Communications and other organizations offer continuing education classes for graduates of the above programs.


Associate Degree in Applied Management

Associate degree programs in applied management are often designed for people who have had basic occupational training from military service schools, technical institutes, community colleges or industry-related schools. Although these business degrees are prevalent, individuals seeking long-term, high-level careers may wish to use this as a stepping-stone toward a higher degree rather than pursuing immediate entry-level occupation upon graduation. These programs typically last two years and result in an Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science.

Prerequisites for associate degree programs in applied management are commonly a high school diploma or its equivalent. However, some online programs base acceptance largely on a personal interview. Programs commonly offer general education units, as well as basic business courses. The latter might address:

  • Accounting principles and economic systems
  • Management theory
  • Human resources
  • Business in society
  • Marketing decisions

Bachelor's Degree in Applied Management

These programs help students develop their own business philosophy and hone their business skills. Some programs focus on a specific industry and explore leadership and management skills accordingly. A high school diploma or its equivalent, along with standardized testing scores, are generally the only education prerequisites to enroll. These programs may lead to a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Business Administration.

Although bachelor's degree programs in applied management share many themes with their associate-level counterparts, they often allow students to dig more deeply into specific fields and tailor their studies to certain professional applications, such as working in advertising, finance or personnel management. Additional coursework may focus on:

  • Business statistics and corporate finance
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Project management
  • Behaviors of individuals and organizations
  • Information systems
  • Organizational change

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Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Applied Management

MBA in Applied Management programs share many of the same educational goals as undergraduate degree programs; however, the same topics are covered in more depth. Graduate programs also focus more on hands-on opportunities in leadership, decision-making and communication. They teach students analytical skills for assessing and executing long-term agendas. The prerequisite for these programs is a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college, often with at least a GPA of 2.75.

Coursework at the master's degree level may be flexible to accommodate a student's unique interests and career objectives; however, some schools offer a more rigid schedule for the professional MBA. A practicum is usually mandatory and a thesis paper or project may be required. Common themes include:

  • Legal and ethical business principles
  • Strategic management alternatives
  • Supply and demand in marketing
  • Finance, operations management and marketing
  • Information technologies
  • Local and global markets

Popular Careers

Graduates seeking immediate, entry-level business positions often work as assistants or aides before they are able to ascend to management roles. Jobs may include:

  • Administrative assistant
  • Assistant manager
  • Sales clerk

Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) listed 34 kinds of managers in 2015, each with its own employment outlook. These managers include top executives - for whom 6% job growth is anticipated between 2014 and 2024 - and human resource managers, for whom a 9% increase in hiring was predicted during the same time. The BLS reported that the median expected pay for all managers was $98,560 per year in May 2015 (www.bls.gov). Most managerial wages fall between $46,370 and more than $143,950 the same year.

Continuing Education

Continuing education courses may be available from colleges and universities both on-campus and online. Professional business associations - such as the MBA Association and the International Association of Business Communications - also offer ongoing programs.

Students interested in earning an applied management degree program can do so at an associate's, bachelor's or master's level. Popular career options for graduates include positions as administrative assistants or sales clerks.

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