General Management Degree Program Overviews by Level

Oct 20, 2019

General managers organize a workplace and run a business's day-to-day operations using a variety of skills learned on the job and through degree programs. Bachelor's and master's programs are available for this career.

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Essential Information

General management degrees are available at the bachelor's and master's levels. These programs provide students with a foundation in accounting, human resources, marketing, finance, and leadership. Students also complete electives in business topics that interest them, and a final project is sometimes required for undergraduates.

While four-year bachelor's programs provide students with a broad background for positions in various fields of business, two- to three-year master's programs generally prepare students for careers in middle and upper management. Bachelor's students must have a high school diploma or GED to enroll, while master's students will need a bachelor's degree.

Bachelor's Degree in General Management

Bachelor's degree programs in general management provide exposure to multiple aspects of business. These degrees might come in the form of a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration or a Bachelor of Arts in General Management. Students are exposed to such traditional business areas as finance, administration, accounting, and marketing and are given a comprehensive perspective on the relationships between them.

Liberal arts courses in composition, the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and mathematics are often part of a bachelor's degree program. Courses specifically relating to general management may include:

  • Accounting fundamentals
  • Marketing fundamentals
  • Budgeting
  • Labor relations
  • Decision making
  • Production systems

Master's Degree in General Management

Graduate degree programs for general management are frequently offered as Master's in Business Administration with a general management orientation. Programs are designed to further develop the analytical, critical-thinking, and organizational skills necessary for effective business management. As with bachelor's degree programs, master's degree program courses survey key areas of business such as accounting, finance, and marketing. However, some may provide opportunities to emphasize international business, logistics, or public administration.

The structure of general management programs varies. Some use a conventional format of core and elective courses, others require that courses fall into core business areas but give students maximum flexibility in choosing them. Possible general management courses may include:

  • Business finance
  • Data and statistical analysis
  • Leadership principles
  • Business law and ethics
  • Problem analysis and decision-making
  • Negotiation and conflict resolution

Popular Career Options

Students who earn a general management degree acquire a broad range of skills with applications across multiple classes of business. The following are among the industries where they may find employment:

  • Advertising and marketing
  • Insurance
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing
  • Retail

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

A range of middle- and upper-level positions are open to graduates of a master's degree programs in general management, primarily as general and operations managers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, projects 7% growth in the employment of general and operations managers over the years 2018-2028. Competition for these positions that are available is likely to be intense. General and operations managers earned a median salary of $100,930 as of May 2018, according to the BLS.

Aspiring general managers can gain education through either a bachelor's or master's degree program. Graduates can find work in several industries, including insurance, retail, and advertising and marketing.

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