Learning to Lead: How to Pursue a Career in Business Management

Business managers have a unique opportunity to use their innovative ideas to grow businesses and their leadership skills to improve communities. A broad look at the people who hold these positions across the country shows, however, that the realm of corporate leadership is deeply lacking in diversity. The Harvard Business Review reports that black professionals are far less likely to hold white-collar managerial positions than their white colleagues; white men are the most-represented group in management, followed by black men, followed by black women. It’s no secret that the state of our country’s businesses is deeply influential to the lives of people in communities across the nation. Therefore, it matters who’s leading our businesses. 

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Why Should You Go into Business Management?

Chances are, you won’t find yourself in a corporate management position fresh out of college. Still, you may recognize qualities in yourself that would make it an excellent career for you to pursue. The best business managers are highly self-disciplined and self-motivated; they don’t depend on other people to keep them on track. They’re first-rate brainstormers who are creative enough to come up with new ideas yet practical enough to make those ideas a reality. Of course, it helps to be a natural leader with an aptitude for working with others toward a common goal. You may also be motivated by the fact that you see a gap that can be filled by your presence. African Americans across the board are needed to lead, especially in business.

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Preparing for Success

In high school, take business classes if they’re available. This will not only help create building blocks for further study, but will also give you a better idea of which areas of business interest you the most. If your high school doesn’t offer a class in business or if you don’t have time to take one, check with a local community college to see if they’re offering an introductory business class you could take over the summer. This will give you a significant head-start once you get to college, and you may even be able to earn credits to transfer to your future school.

Business, however, is not a discipline that should remain wholly in the classroom. Once you begin the process of selecting a college to attend, pay attention to where each school’s graduates end up. Does the college help students to get internships and work experience? What kind of companies do they end up working for? What kind of positions do they hold? Finding a school that thoroughly prepares its students for life after graduation is key to kickstarting your professional life as quickly as possible.

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Schools to Check Out

With students in the United States choosing to major in business more than any other discipline, it’s no surprise that it’s not difficult to find a university that offers a business degree. Our member HBCUs, for example, house some especially impressive business departments. Virginia Union University boasts a robust undergraduate business program, as well as a comprehensive set of certificate offerings that let you focus on your specific area of interest. VUU’s entrepreneurially-focused Center for Small Business Development provides practical, hands-on experience for students ready to succeed in the workforce. The business and accounting division at Miles College prepares students for careers in both management and accounting providing quality instruction and training in critical skills needed for personal and professional growth. Miles College ensures that its graduates are prepared for graduate study, entrepreneurship and careers in public and corporate sectors. And, with five distinct undergraduate degrees within the field of business, management and marketing, Bethune-Cookman University is a great place to zero in on the area of business that interests you most. 

Large group shot of UNCF Koch Scholars Program participants

Koch Scholars

Scholarships and Programs

For business majors especially, there is a wealth of scholarship opportunities available. The UNCF/Koch Scholars Program offers scholarships, mentorship, academic support and networking opportunities to undergraduate African American students studying a variety of business degrees. Similarly, the UNCF/Nissan Scholarship Program, the UNCF-Anthem Corporate Scholars Program and the CVS Business Scholarship are all available to students pursuing degrees exclusively to business majors, or to business majors and students in a few select disciplines. By making smart financial moves in funding your education, you’ll be better prepared to take on life graduation to the best of your ability.

As you’ve probably discovered, business managers can find themselves working and succeeding in a wide variety of fields. While this is an exciting opportunity, it can also be overwhelming. Submit a major interest form, and one of our experts will provide you with key information about different schools and scholarship programs that could be a good fit for you as you journey on your educational path. And, to stay informed week to week, follow us on UNCF social media, where we’ll keep you updated about the latest news and opportunities. Pursuing a career as a business manager is an ambitious goal, but an entirely achievable one. We’re here to give you a push in the right direction.