Saint Leo assistant professor says business is everywhere, and a business management degree gives you the foundation to pursue your passion.

What can you do with a business administration-management degree?

According to Dr. Ronda Mariani, assistant professor of management and marketing at Saint Leo University, the easier question may be: What can't you do?

"Opportunity is everywhere," says Mariani, whose students have gone on to work at MTV, a major grocery store chain, a men's magazine, a middle school, advertising agencies, mom and pop shops and more.

"It's really wide open because everything can be looked at from a management context."

So, whether you pursue an online business degree or an on-ground degree, what makes a management so great?

Here's some insight from Mariani.

Why is a business management degree so versatile?

Dr. Mariani: It gives you the ability to work in different fields; it opens up your marketability. When you walk away with a management degree, you can be a leader – you can manage a big box store, a mom and pop, or you can work in a company.

What are some of the skills management majors learn?

Dr. Mariani: In addition to foundational knowledge, including economics and finance, they learn how to communicate, how to work in teams, how to lead, how to assess people and the importance of human capital. They learn about organizational behavior and the global aspects of business. The whole idea is to produce business professions who are able to lead themselves and lead teams.

How can a management degree help you pursue your passion?

Dr. Mariani: Just about anything you can think of needs structure and can be looked at in a business context. A business degree in management promotes an entrepreneurial spirit and teaches you to apply business concepts in just about any setting – business, nonprofit or government.

That means if you love dance, a management degree may help you open your own studio. If you love cooking, it can teach you the skills to manage your own catering business. If you have a heart for animals, a management degree could be helpful in running an animal shelter. Of if you want to work with veterans, a management degree could prepare you for a leadership position in a veterans services organization.

What is the typical career path for management majors?

Dr. Mariani: It's really wide open. I've seen students work their way from stocking shelves at a grocery store to working in the chain's corporate office. Some students start out managing accounts at marketing agencies, some start as customer service managers, some manage social media. It's so wide open; that's the beauty of it.

What is the outlook for management majors?

Dr. Mariani: It's very positive. I suggest working for a couple of years after getting your bachelor's degree, and then pursuing a higher degree with a specialization such as human resource management or health care management.

What traits make students more likely to be successful?

Dr. Mariani: Extroverts tend to do very well – type A personalities. Good candidates are able to lead; they like people and can assess them; they understand culture and they aren't biased.

What sector has the most opportunity for management majors?

Dr. Mariani: Business is everywhere; opportunity is everywhere – you are going to find what you like. The field is wide open.

What are some interesting career paths?

Dr. Mariani: Entrepreneurship, for one, and the administrative side of teaching. A principal, for example, could really benefit from a management degree.

Do most management majors work after graduation or continue their education?

Dr. Mariani: It's really a matter of the economy and whether or not you are willing to move. People who stay tend to go on to get their master's degree. But if you are willing to move, there are plenty of jobs – you could manage a city's sanitation or bus system. The larger the city, the greater the opportunities.

What advice would you give a soon-to-be management grad?

Dr. Mariani: I always recommend an internship in the student's last year as close to graduation as possible. However, for online students who are already in the workforce that may not be feasible. To them I say, use your current employment to your advantage – check what opportunities in your chosen field are available at your place of employment; share your progress, plans and goals with your supervisor; and ask for additional leadership opportunities to demonstrate your newly acquired skills.

I also recommend getting involved in university organizations. Saint Leo's Center for Online Learning offers numerous clubs and associations, including an online business association. And on campus, we have Phi Beta Lambda, Saint Leo's chapter of the Future Business Leaders of America.

How does Saint Leo's online management degree program help prepare students for success?

Dr. Mariani: Any degree program – whether you earn it on line or in a traditional campus setting – teaches you to multitask, manage your time and set priorities. Those skills are invaluable as you move on in your career. The key is picking the program that challenges you and works best with your lifestyle.

Are you pursuing an online business degree in management? What would you like to do with it?

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