Business administration is by far the most popular subject at German universities. More than 200,000 students are currently enrolled. No wonder: Graduates have good career prospects and high salaries . But what exactly do business administration professionals deal with?
Business administration and its facets
The subject of business administration is part of the economic sciences. As the name suggests, the focus of the course is on the management of individual companies. The students learn how to run a company in such a way that it generates a profit . In this way, business administration is differentiated from economics , which deals with the economic relationships within and between individual countries.
The range of courses in business administration is huge. Basically, a distinction can be made between general business administration and specialized courses.
In the general courses of study , students first learn in general how business processes can be organized so that a company can survive on the market. At almost all universities there is the possibility to specialize in a certain field of activity after the introductory courses of the basic studies. These are, for example, marketing , controlling or personnel management .
The specialized business administration courses are characterized by the fact that the students specialize in one sub-area right from the start. There are also many courses that focus on specific economic sectors, such as the automotive or real estate industry . In recent years, courses in the field of international business administration have also emerged, which focus on globalization.
Bachelor’s degree in business administration
At the beginning of the bachelor’s degree, all students deal with the basics of business administration. This includes above all mathematics as the most important auxiliary science in business administration. Analysis is on the curriculum as well as lectures on statistics . Since business economists also need an overview of the entire economic context and the functioning of the individual markets, students attend economics courses.
The courses and seminars differ depending on the university and degree program. In the general degree programs, students often attend courses in the areas of accounting, human resources management, sociology and law . In the higher semesters, the students then in most cases select one or two areas that they deepen. In the specialized courses, on the other hand, the individual focus subjects, such as personnel management or certain economic sectors, are the focus of the course from the start.
Master’s degree in business administration
More than half of all Bachelor graduates follow up with a Master’s degree after completing their first degree. On the one hand, a master’s degree promises better opportunities for advancement and income . On the other hand, there is the possibility of setting priorities, for example on management or controlling. These master’s programs are particularly interesting for graduates of a general Bachelor’s degree in business administration who want to specialize. But it is also possible to deepen the knowledge from an already specialized bachelor’s degree. In addition, there are business administration master’s programs that tend to convey broad, general specialist knowledge. Some of the master’s programs are open to graduates from other departments.
Where can I study business administration?
Business administration courses are offered at universities, technical colleges and professional academies. Studies at universities of applied sciences and vocational academies are often more practice-oriented than at universities. At most universities, practical semesters and internships are integrated into the study program. They give the students first insights into the everyday life of companies. Dual study programs offer even greater practical relevance . Practical training and the study of theory are combined there.
Personal requirements and (possible) admission criteria
An interest in economic topics and contexts is essential for studying business administration. The safe use of numbers is also indispensable for business economists. But you don’t have to be a math genius. Many universities offer special courses to compensate for any deficits. However, good school grades are important in order to have a chance of a place at university.
Since the subject is popular, many universities choose their applicants through internal procedures . The decisive criterion is often the grade point average of the high school graduation. Some universities also conduct personal selection interviews or test applicants’ knowledge in written tests. Good English skills are particularly required in the international study programs . Some federal states allocate the study places for business administration centrally via the Foundation for University Admissions (formerly ZVS).
According to studies, around 80 percent of graduates find a job immediately after graduation. After five years, 40 percent of all graduates have worked their way up the career ladder and hold a managerial position. The career opportunities for business graduates are generally good . However, graduates should not rely solely on their degree. Because with more than 200,000 fellow students, the number of competitors who are pushing onto the job market also increases. Many academic advisors therefore recommend completing internships during your studies in order to gain additional qualifications.
In principle, business economists work at all levels of companies . This includes personnel management, bookkeeping, controlling, marketing or sales. As a rule, this corresponds to the main subjects offered. Thus, prospective business graduates can influence their future job opportunities by choosing a focus. With their qualifications, they gain a foothold in companies in all sectors. Graduates are also in demand in the service industry , for example in consulting. The starting salaries of Master’s graduates are often significantly higher than those of Bachelor’s graduates. Master’s graduates can also pursue an academic career.
Advantages of experience abroad for business graduates
Companies that operate internationally are particularly looking for graduates who have gained experience abroad . One or more semesters abroad during your studies are ideal in order to acquire the additional qualifications that are often required. Excellent command of English and a good knowledge of another foreign language make you stand out from the crowd of applicants . Experience abroad also signals intercultural skills to the employer. Foreign universities often offer special course content and you get the chance to expand your profile. This is also how you set yourself apart from the other graduates. In addition, studying abroad is a good opportunity, early onto make international contacts .