How to become a business administrator (with tips and steps)
Updated 17 August 2023
The world of business administration is a diverse and growing field with many job opportunities. A business administrator may work in a variety of industries, including education, healthcare and nonprofit organisations. If you're interested in becoming a business administrator, you may be wondering what education and experience you need. In this article, we discuss what a business administrator is, how to become a business administrator and list some important skills for the role.
What is a business administrator?
A business administrator is someone who manages the day-to-day operations of an organisation. Business administrators work in all types of industries, from manufacturing to retail. Some roles focus on managing people or finances, while others focus on handling legal matters and inventory management. They may hire new employees, set up meetings with clients or suppliers, research new markets or products and order office supplies. Depending on the size of the facility and the needs of the organisation, this role may be entry-level or higher-level management.
How to become a business administrator
When learning how to become a business administrator, be aware that it may be a management position requiring a specific educational background or an entry-level role. To improve your skills and experience, you may consider pursuing certification or continuing education courses. Internships are another way to obtain this role. Regardless of the route you take, focus on developing skills that are key to any business administration role, such as interpersonal communication and organisational ability. The following steps may guide you into a business administration career:
1. Pursue an education
You may benefit from getting an education in business administration before pursuing a job in this field. Business administration is an undergraduate degree that prepares you for a variety of jobs, including business management and operations. Courses in this field give you the knowledge and skills to manage businesses and allow you to develop your communication skills. Some schools offer undergraduate degrees with specialisations in accounting or finance, which may prepare you for positions in those areas after graduation.
2. Get an internship
Internships are one of the best ways to gain experience in your field, and they also help you make valuable connections with people in your industry. Many different types of internships are available, so consider what type of internship might be right for you before applying. Some are paid and some are unpaid, but unpaid internships may offer other benefits as compensation. Internships range from one-time volunteer opportunities to ongoing paid positions. Your boss may ask you to work a certain number of hours per week or month, depending on the type of internship.
3. Choose a specialisation
A specialisation refers to an area of expertise within your chosen field. A few examples of specialisations in business administration include accounting, finance, marketing and human resources. You may also be able to get a certificate in a specific specialisation from your university if there's one available for it. Check with your university to see if they offer any specialisations. It may also be useful to talk with your professor or research online about what types of specialisations are best suited for you based on your interests and career goals.
Working with people who are successful or well-connected may help you progress in the business administration career path. Make sure your network contacts know what kind of work experience and skill set you have, so they may recommend you to others when hearing about job openings. Remember that online communities and social media provide another way for professionals like yourself to expand your network while keeping up with industry news, events and projects across industries.
5. Consider an MBA
An MBA is a great asset for entry-level business administrators, but try to determine which programme is right for you. Consider how much time and money the programme costs, what its curriculum looks like and whether or not the school's accreditation is relevant to you. Research the career services department at your prospective school and look at their placement rate. They may also have an alumni network in place with whom you're able to connect with after graduation.
Once you've researched all of these questions, make sure you're able to fully commit yourself to your coursework so you get the most out of the programme. Upon completing your MBA to a high standard, you may be able to branch out into other areas of business administration. For example, the MBA may allow you to specialise in finance even if you hadn't previously considered that field.
6. Stay up to date on new technology
To become a successful business administrator, stay up to date on new technology. Make sure you're able to use the latest technology and possess the appropriate skills for the jobs you're interested in. Business administration is a broad field that encompasses many different areas, each with its own technological requirements.
7. Apply to jobs
It's possible to find your ideal job by searching the internet. Consider also looking for opportunities in your local area. If you have a particular skill or qualification, try to find out if there are any jobs that require it. For example, if you're an accountant with experience in the food industry, look for opportunities within this sector.
Business administrator skills
Business administrators possess a wide range of skills that enable them to effectively manage their organisation and its employees. Therefore, there are many areas you might consider improving upon when searching for work as a business administrator. Here are some general characteristics that define the best candidates for this role:
Interpersonal communication, or the ability to communicate effectively and appropriately with others, is a key skill for anyone working as a business administrator. To communicate effectively, you require good listening and speaking skills, including:
listening carefully to make sure you understand what someone else is saying and asking questions whenever necessary
using active listening techniques like nodding your head and making eye contact with the speaker so they know you're paying attention
using non-verbal communication, such as facial expressions and body language, to show interest in what someone else has said or done
Being organised is particularly important for roles in business administration. Administrators work out which tasks are most urgent and ensure they're done first to maintain the smooth operations of their working environment. Typically, they use a diary or electronic calendar to keep track of tasks such as managing office supplies, arranging travel and accommodation for employees who are to attend meetings or go on business trips, organising staffing schedules and dealing with inboxes.
Computer literacy and technology
Some of the most important technical skills to develop as a business administrator are familiarity with social media, search engines, office software and email. Understanding how to use these tools efficiently allows you to communicate quickly when necessary. In addition to software, understanding computer security and maintenance may protect your organisation from spam and other cyber threats. You may also benefit from using common office applications to write reports, maintain spreadsheets and create presentations.
As a business administrator, you're responsible for ensuring that your organisation runs smoothly. This means that leadership is an important skill to have. Often, business administrators learn and develop their leadership skills over time. It may seem intimidating at first, but it's possible to become comfortable with leading a team if you start by following some basic steps:
understand what leadership entails and how it affects your job as a business administrator
review the qualities of good leaders and identify how they relate to your work style
research different types of leadership styles and decide which one works best for you in your working environment
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