One of the most popular online bachelor’s degrees is business administration, and here at CSU, that is definitely true.
The number of undergraduate students in the College of Business is reportedly the highest among other programs with more than 2, 500.
Sonya Rogers, undergraduate chair of the College of Business, sees versatility as a key reason many seek a business degree.
“I believe every organization is grounded by a foundation of business that includes some form of opportunity for graduates to work in a financial, human resources, management, marketing or IT fashion,” she said. “Students wish to obtain a degree that will enable them to seek various possibilities for employment.”
Student Astrid Soto, a 20-year employee with JB Hunt Transportation, agreed, adding that an online business degree gives one a base from which to build upon.
“It’s a degree that can open up many options for me,” she said. “I know it will be able to take me further down the road in my career.”
Soto chose to focus on international management which is among the nine concentrations CSU offers in the business administration program. According to Rogers, the two most popular concentrations currently are general business and health care administration. She said most choose these fields for two reasons.
“Students think they will most likely be able to interview for various positions and serve in a leadership role in some business, industry, government, or social service respect if they complete a degree in this field of interest,” Rogers added.
General business administration student and CSU employee Nancy Riggs echoes that reasoning.
“I selected this degree for many reasons, but the main one is because it’s expandable. I’m in the field of business already and it will give me the opportunity to move up in my current position or if something were to happen with moving on with my life from CSU, then I could still utilize this degree,” she explained.
Luz Bonet, a stay-at-home mom, said she decided to pursue her bachelor’s degree in business administration/management because she’s always wanted to own a business.
“I love my degree,” said Bonet, who is nearing graduation. “I didn’t know anything about business at first, but now, I have learned so much. My confidence is so better and my English and writing have really improved.” Bonet is second-language learner who hails from Puerto Rico.
Aside from versatility and a strong foundation, Rogers added that prospective business students should know that the degree plans offer students the chance to learn “business theories, policies, and procedures which are needed to assume a prominent position in the world of business.”
Helping students learn and achieve are 110 adjunct and seven full-time faculty members in the college. One of those high-caliber adjunct faculty members is Elizabeth Serapin who has taught accounting and finance and now teaches human resources. She has been with CSU since 1996.
Serapin said she enjoys her work because it allows her to reach students “in a 24/7 environment who thought they could not learn (accounting), then find out they could and take the time to email me to thank me. Reaching and making a difference in a student’s life with education. This is the reason I teach.”
“I love the freedom to be able to teach or become a student from your own home,” said adjunct faculty member George Ackerman who teaches business law at CSU. “I check in four times a day, seven days a week, but that is because I enjoy teaching. I also feel it is my responsibility to be there for students. The only way they can improve is if I am there to assist, and motivate them continually.”
Serapin said her online classes are interesting because of the “diversity of the students in one class that can share their ‘real world’ experiences to correlate theory and practice.”
Students take away much from not only Ackerman’s and Serapin’s classes, but business courses in general. “Theory and practice that they can use not only in business, but in their personal life,” Serapin said. “Students gain a foundation of understanding that CSU faculty and staff are here to support them to be successful in their educational and personal goals.”
As students pursue these goals, they must bear in mind the ever-growing and changing world of business, just as CSU faculty and administration does.
“I think real estate and information technology will begin to soar in enrollments due to the possibility of growth in these fields for various career opportunities,” said Rogers about the future of the business world.
Adjunct faculty member Daniela Green, who teaches project management, eCommerce and ethics classes, says she sees “more people working on virtual teams rather than traveling since company budgets are tighter.”
Green added,” Online courses are continually in demand, so it is up to colleges and universities to keep up with new technology both in the classroom and in their technical infrastructure to be able to keep up with these trends so they can bring that cutting edge technology, knowledge and experience to the students and staff.”
With these changes and more in mind, several CSU programs are being revisited, said Rogers. “The internship program is being updated and courses which do not offer a final exam are being revised. Plus, there is the thought of delivering more capstone courses for each program. All courses are being benchmarked for assessment purposes and the desire to improve educational standards at CSU,” she said.
She also said CSU is hoping to offer a concentration in emergency management services. “This program has been examined through benchmarking and the supply of comparison charts that feature reputable programs presently offered at other institutions.”
As for the near future, Rogers said she recently wrote a course regarding professionalism and communication that will be offered for staff and students (3 credit hours). The text is titled, “Professionalism: Skills in the Workplace.”
For those considering a bachelor’s degree in business, several students and faculty said one should not stop there.
“I personally feel that an MBA or a master’s degree in any field is vital in today’s work environment and demand for educational requirements to pursue higher paying, more prestigious jobs,” said Rogers. “A bachelor’s degree has its value, but a master’s degree can generally ‘open more doors’ for a brighter career path.”
Ackerman concurred, “An undergraduate degree 10 years ago was not as important as it is today. In our society today, a Masters seems to be required and a PhD will help accomplish life dreams.”
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