Finish Your College Education with Online General Business Degree

November 16, 2023

People who don’t complete a college degree typically cite several factors – financial strains, family commitments or health challenges. Later, they may find years of high-quality work and experience take them only so far.

A degree completion program such as the University of Arkansas’ online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in general business can help these hard-working, ambitious people reach their full potential. The degree can boost career prospects and earning potential.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, earnings rise and unemployment rates drop with every level of education completed. For example, the median weekly wage for someone with some college education but no degree in 2022 was $935. That median weekly wage increased to $1,432 with a bachelor’s degree.

What is a Degree Completion Program?

Jeff Hood
Jeff Hood

A degree completion program is specifically designed to give those who have started but not finished their undergraduate degree the opportunity to complete it — faster and more affordably than starting from scratch. Completing a four-year degree online gives the flexibility and convenience needed without taking time away from other commitments like attending in-person classes.

“We designed our degree completion programs, and specifically the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in general business degree, for working professionals who either had some college, or even a lot of college, but had to stop and were unable to finish,” says Jeff Hood, assistant dean for undergraduate programs at the U of A’s Sam M. Walton College of Business. “We designed this program to be 100% online to provide an easier route to finishing a degree while continuing to work as a professional.”

Hood, who earned his Ed.D. in Adult Education from the U of A, explains that students pursuing their business administration degree online from the U of A come from many different educational and career backgrounds.

“There is no such thing as a typical student in the program,” he says. “There are very few traditional full-time students in the program. We don’t see the 18- or 19-year-olds you would typically see on any university campus. Our students are much more likely to be in their 30s.”


Earn a Comprehensive General Business Degree

As a general business degree, the U of A online program offers an overview of various business areas, including courses in accounting, economics, finance, information systems, management, marketing, retail and supply chain management. The program, Hood explains, is not a professional qualification tied to a specific career outcome. Instead, it offers graduates the educational credentials employers look for when hiring and promoting employees.

“The University of Arkansas has online degrees in disciplines like accounting and supply chain, but those are very specific fields of study,” says Hood. “Our general business degree is really more about delivering a solid foundation in essential business skills and enabling students to earn a degree from a top-ranked, accredited business school which is recognized by employers across the nation, helping them progress in their careers.”


Benefits of an Online Business Degree

As an online business degree, the business administration in general business degree offers nontraditional students a highly flexible opportunity to complete their studies. The program is designed to attract students with a wide range of experience.

“One student could come into the program with 24 hours of college credit,” Hood says. “Another student might have 68 credit hours. It depends on where they start in the program as to how much work they have left to do.”

To earn the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, students must complete a minimum of 120 credit hours with a minimum of 30 hours at the U of A. Completing those hours on campus can be challenging for working professionals. That’s where the importance of U of A’s flexibility comes in.

“A regular on-campus student at the University of Arkansas would likely be taking anywhere between 12 and 18 hours a term,” says Hood. “An online-only student can do that as well, but it’s not always easy. If you have a full-time job, a family, and other responsibilities in life, you may only want to take one, two or three courses a semester.”

The general business degree program is 100% asynchronous, enabling students to learn on their schedule and balance their studies around existing work and family commitments. While there are no required meetings, instructors still hold office hours where students can stop in and visit them face-to-face or on a video call, Hood notes.

While the program follows the traditional 15-week fall and spring semester schedule, with optional summer classes in two five-week sessions, students can work at their own pace.

“A student could join the program in the spring term and take two courses from January to May,” Hood explains. “We might not see them during the summer term because they have other commitments, but we’ll see them take another two courses in the fall. It is completely flexible, and we do not require that they complete the program in a certain timeframe.”

The U of A faculty who teach online are fully committed to facilitating this flexible learning environment, Hood says.

“Students may choose to do their work at 10 o’clock at night after the kids go to bed,” says Hood. “I can’t guarantee the professor is going to be awake at that point to answer any emails, but professors are encouraged to respond to emails within 24 hours.”


Graduate From a Top-Ranked Business School

The flexibility of the U of A online business administration degree is just one reason students are attracted to the program, Hood says. Another reason: the prestige of the business school. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Walton College among the best business schools.

“We’re very proud of the rankings,” Hood says. “Rankings are not 100% of who we are, but they are certainly part of the story. I think that reflects the value of the education you get if you choose to get a Walton College degree.”

The college also has close connections with many major employers in Arkansas, Hood adds.

“We are very close to the Walmart world headquarters, the Tyson Foods world headquarters, the J.B. Hunt world headquarters and the Simmons Foods world headquarters,” says Hood. “We have lots of major companies located in Northwest Arkansas, mostly thanks to Walmart being here.”


Continuing a Legacy of Innovation

The Walton College offers innovative programs in the tradition of its namesake, Sam M. Walton, the visionary business leader who founded Walmart Stores Inc. based in Bentonville, Arkansas.

“Walton College is the beneficiary of a gift from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation,” says Hood. “It was the Sam Walton family that gave the college its name. We are very proud to provide a top-notch education under that name.”

Through its close ties to the corporate world, the Walton College calls upon influential business leaders to inspire students.

“Doug McMillon, the CEO of Walmart, is a graduate of the Walton College and is frequently in the college and is a big supporter of everything we do,” says Hood. “We routinely have guest executives come in and speak to our classes. And occasionally, we will have an executive come in and teach a class for a whole semester as an executive in residence.”

The U of A top-notch faculty includes scholars who are well versed in their field of study through research as well as experienced business leaders, Hood adds.

“We have plenty of instructors who have come to us through industry, where they might have worked at Walmart, J.B. Hunt, or Tyson for 15, 20 and sometimes 30 years. As a result, they have valuable real-life work experience,” Hood says. “All of that ultimately benefits the student when they get in the classroom.”


Join the Razorback Family

Graduates of the U of A online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration program are every bit a part of the Razorback alumni network as graduates of in-person programs, Hood says.

“We are the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas ONLINE, and any student that graduates with a business degree is a graduate of the University of Arkansas,” says Hood. “When students graduate, we send them a nice box of alumni gear, and we make sure that we do our best to help them stay connected to the University of Arkansas.”

That includes the same level of support and services a traditional, on-campus student would receive after graduation, he adds.

“We provide them with all the academic advising and support, career support, and student success support to make sure that they have everything they need to succeed,” says Hood. “When they graduate and move out into the working world, they are proud to say, ‘I’m a graduate of the Walton College at the University of Arkansas ONLINE.’”


Walton Staffer Exemplifies Success

Alisha Waddell had an associate degree when she was hired by the Walton College as an assistant in the human resources department in 2016. She has been promoted several times, now working as assistant director of payroll support for the college. Like other students in the program, she started college fresh out of high school. In 2007, she had some college credits under her belt from Lincoln High School, but she left the college she was attending in Memphis after one year and came home, enrolling instead in Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville.

The 90% tuition discount the U of A offers employees motivated her to pursue a bachelor’s degree, Waddell says, and she needed the flexibility of online delivery. Because she was given new responsibilities four times in the past seven years, she found it helpful to take fewer courses some semesters as her work demands dictated.

“There is a big difference between being 34 and being 18,” she says. “I have the wisdom to know what I can’t do at this moment. I’ve been able to adjust and be flexible. I’m doing it for me. If I didn’t finish the degree, it’s on me. It has been a lot of work, and the countdown (to graduation) is on.”

Waddell plans to walk at commencement in December.

“I’m a crier,” she says. “I feel like I’m probably going to cry. My mom will probably cry and then I’ll cry. It has been a team effort. I’ve had people at church pushing me and saying, you can do it, and everybody at work. There will be a collective sigh of relief.”


Learn More about the General Business Degree

Visit our website to learn more about how the online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in general business degree from the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas can help you finish your college education and take your career to the next level.

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Bachelor of Science Business Administration in General Business

Earn a bachelor’s degree in General Business from a top-ranked, accredited business school recognized by employers across the nation and beyond. Gain a solid foundation in essential business skills.

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