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Business Development Degree and Education Program Overviews

Oct 14, 2019

Business development degree programs help students learn to analyze and implement growth ideas and strategies at a company. Degree programs in business development are available at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

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Essential Information

Bachelor's degree programs in business development generally focus on identifying and solving business problems through an understanding of ethical, social, and legal issues. Business development studies at the master's degree level can be found in a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. An MBA equips candidates with the skills necessary to pursue senior positions in management and development. A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Business Administration is typically required for those who wish to teach at the postsecondary level or perform scholarly research, likely ending with a dissertation. Graduates could also pursue employment as senior business consultants.

Bachelor's degree programs require a high school diploma for admittance. Master's degree programs typically require a bachelor's degree with previous coursework in related fields, such as business. Doctoral programs generally require a relevant master's degree as well as work experience in the field.


Bachelor of Science in Business Development

Students review the core functional and support areas of business and develop competencies in a chosen business discipline. These studies prepare graduates for positions such as analyst or market researcher. This baccalaureate program comprises classes that emphasize fundamental business theories and their application in a variety of organizational settings. Possible subjects covered in the curriculum are:

  • Fundamentals of business
  • Supply chain management
  • Business statistics
  • Marketing research
  • Organizational behavior

Master of Business Administration

Master's degree candidates study best practices in implementing new ideas and strategies and putting them into action. Students gain experience in applying business development and administration principles in a variety of settings, with courses emphasizing management and leadership practices. Areas of study include project management, entrepreneurship, critical thinking, and strategic leadership.

These graduate degree programs generally contain classes that combine theoretical and practical knowledge of business administration and development principles for use in a variety of businesses and organizations. Many programs host concentrations in entrepreneurship, merchandising, and business development. Course topics may include:

  • New product innovation
  • Strategic management
  • Operations
  • Data analysis
  • Negotiation tactics

Ph.D. in Business Administration

Doctoral degree programs generally provide the highest level of study and research in the field of business and their related disciplines, including marketing, business development, and business operations. Program lengths vary; however, most require 45-60 hours of upper-tier coursework in addition to the successful completion of master's degree credits in the field.

Classes consist of advanced studies and specialized research in areas including advertising, organizational behavior, finance, strategic management, and new business development. Course subjects include:

  • Marketing strategies
  • Business development modeling
  • Financial controls
  • Information systems
  • Empirical research methods

Popular Career Options

Graduates with a bachelor's degree are generally qualified for positions that leverage research and analytical skills in an interdisciplinary team environment. Some career options include:

  • Business development specialist
  • Business operations manager
  • Business analyst

Employment and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (www.bls.gov) reported that the percentage of employment of top executives should grow at the average rate of 6% from 2018-2028. Competition for these positions is expected to be strong due to the limited amount of openings for new entrants to the occupation. Job prospects are considered the brightest for experienced applicants holding advanced degrees, such as a master's degree, as well as those with strong leadership skills. In September 2019, Payscale.com reported that the median annual salary for business development managers was $71,968; for business development specialists, it was $53,167.

Job applicants holding a Ph.D. are generally qualified to seek advanced positions in business - such as consulting or managing - as well as in teaching and research. The BLS reported in May 2018 that the median annual salary for a postsecondary business teacher was $83,960. PayScale.com reported in September 2019 that the median annual salary for a senior business development manager was $109,690.

Bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs are available in fields related to business development, helping students to learn to develop different plans and strategies for growing a business. Graduates have several potential career positions to choose from, with skills relevant to a number of fields and organizations.

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