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Top Online Business Schools

Top Online Business SchoolsStudents with degrees in computer science, psychology, mathematics, accounting, economics and journalism can all be valuable to a business or company provided they have learned the skills needed to apply their education in a profitable way. Some business schools offer internships to give students the needed work experience while other schools may provide the traditional graduate level degrees with particular emphasis on branching subjects such as finance, social entrepreneurship and human resource administration.

As business continues to move overseas and expand to over sea markets, many business schools are offering degrees specifically in international business. These degrees may be beneficial to aspiring managers and executives; however, they do not change the fundamentals of the job they must perform. These degrees should be sought by business managers who are currently working, or are expecting to work, in an international environment.

Best Online Business Schools

The following schools were ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the 2012’s best online schools  a master’s in business administration. The schools were ranked based on faculty credentials and training as well as student honor roll and admissions selectivity.

1.   Arkansas State University

2.   Clarkson University

3.   St. Joseph’s University

4.   Jones International University

5.   Northcentral University

6.   Marist College

7.   George Washington University

8.   Ball State University

8.   Madonna University

10. Herzing College

Below are some of the business focuses available from online schools and colleges through SchoolsGalore.com

Information Security Management

Information security, also known as information assurance, is the process of protecting the confidentiality of a company’s critical data from cybercriminals and corporate espionage. Duties of an information security manager may include managing information teams, blocking intrusions and implementing firewalls and virus protection software. They may also be responsible for assessing an individual’s information access privileges. Some managers may oversee an IS penetration team and plan “attacks” on their own company’s database to expose weaknesses.

Due to the nature of the profession, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov, 2012) notes that information security managers need to understand programming languages and have a degree in computer science, or a related field, to keep up with emerging technologies.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov, 2012) reported an annual  national wage of $77,990 median for information security analysts in 2011. The top 10 percent earned up to $124,860 nationally and the lowest 10 percent earned up to $42,770 nationally in 2011.  The BLS predicts nationwide employment growth in the field of up to 22 percent as many large institutions move to protect their sensitive data from attacks (BLS.gov, 2012).

Marketing Research Management

Marking research managers go beyond working with sales staff and advertising firms, they monitor trend data for indications that a new product or service may be needed, they oversee the development of new products or the redesign of old products and they identify which markets the product may compete. In addition, they help maximize their company, or organization’s market share and profits.

Because some managers may have to sign off on market research studies or advertisement contracts, the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) notes that some marketing research managers may be required to have taken classes in accounting or statistics, or have earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics or journalism. As with many management professions, experience is valued and the BLS suggests students take business management classes and complete an internship while in college (BLS.gov, 2012).

Certification is available from the Marketing Research Association to individuals with at least three years of work-related experience in the survey and opinion process. Certification shows an individual can conduct marketing research and is a visible badge of distinction for the certified.

As with most certifications, continued education is a requirement for recertification. The exam consists of 100 multiple choice questions based on skill and practical knowledge and all applicants are required to pass the exam. The association does note, however, that graduates from University of Georgia’s Principles of Marketing Research Program are exempt.

The BLS reported a national annual wage of $116,010 median for marketing managers in 2011. The top 25 percent earned up to $155,050 nationally and the lowest 25 percent earned up to $83,290 nationally in 2011 (BLS.gov, 2012). The BLS also projects an expected growth rate of up to 14 percent in the employment of marketing managers from 2010 to 2020 (BLS.gov, 2012). This growth could be the result of expanding green, or environmentally friendly, products and services.

Human Resources Management

HR managers specialize in management-employee relations and oversee employee contracts and grievance procedures. HR managers specializing in employee relations work with higher management to draft employee contracts. They may also and inform employees of job details and their expected duties, work conditions and environment, pay and the benefits programs available to them. Employee relations managers are also responsible for resolving disputes, ending employee contracts and working with management to address issues with current laws regarding sexual harassment and employment rights.

The BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) notes that while many employers may require a bachelor’s degree, the level of education varies depending on the position and employer. Certification is also available for recent graduates of an MBA program but with no HR experience: the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) offers the Assurance of Learning Assessment (ALA) which can show a level of competence in HR management without the work experience and the Human Resource Certification Institute offers a range of certifications, such as the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR).

According to the BLS, employment for HR managers is expected to grow by up to 13 percent between 2010 and 2020 (BLS.gov, 2012). Growth for HR managers is expected to be tempered as employment opportunities depend upon company growth and expansion. The BLS also reported a national annual wage of $99,130 median in 2011 for human resource managers, with the top 10 percent earning up to $169,310 nationally and the lowest 10 percent earning up to $60,070 nationally in 2011 (BLS.gov, 2012).

Accounting & Financial Analysis

Accountants are required to review financial books to ensure accounting procedures are being followed and laws are not being broken. Often times accountants deal with documents which are required to be made public and could have negative repercussions upon individuals and companies. Accountants are also expected to assess financial operations and make recommendations to clients or management and explain their findings. As an extension of corporate accounting, financial managers prepare financial reports for senior management and are responsible for the financial health of their organization.

According to the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012), finance managers and accountants may be employed with titles such as controller, finance officer, credit manager and risk manager. They may also be found as one of a company’s top executives, often as a Chief Financial Officer, or CFO. Additionally, the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) notes that many companies require their accountants to have earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and some may prefer the applicant pass the Certified Public Accountant Exam or earned a master’s degree.

The CPA exam has been compared to the Bar Exam as one of the most challenging exams to pass. Certification as a Public Accountant is required by the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission for any accountant filing reports (BLS.gov, 2012).

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov, 2012), 24 percent of accountants and auditors worked for tax preparation, bookkeeping or payroll. According to the BLS, accountants and auditors earned a national annual wage of $62,850 median in 2011, with the top 10 percent earning up to $109,870 nationally and the lowest 10 percent earning up to $39,650 nationally in 2011 (BLS.gov, 2012). Many accountants worked full time and many worked more than 40 hours a week during the end of a company’s budget year or during tax season. The employment for financial analysts is expected to grow by up to 23 percent from 2010 to 2020, as investment portfolios are becoming more complex and regulatory reform is increasing the need for accurate bookkeeping (BLS.gov, 2012).

Learn more about accredited business programs from online schools and colleges through SchoolsGalore.com

When researching online colleges and universities, make sure to verify that your choice of school is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council or by another accrediting agency that approved by The U.S. Department of Education or The Council for Higher Education Accreditation, or both. DETC and CHEA both provide a searchable list of approved schools.

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and the Association of MBAs both accredit MBA granting institutions. Both the AACSBA and the AMBA provide lists of approved schools.


Sources and further reading:

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation

The U.S. Department of Education

The Distance Education and Training Council

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

O*NET Online

U.S. News & World Report

The Marketing Research Association

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

The Association of MBAs