Business Administration Standards

Give Your Students What They Need To Succeed!

MBA Research National Business Administration Standards are the starting point for your students’ academic and career success.


Our Standards Are The Basis Of Everything We Do

Standards are broadly-based knowledge and skill statements that identify what students should know and be able to do as a result of instruction.

We focus our research, curriculum and instructional materials design, and assessment activities on four business-related clusters:

  Business Management
  Hospitality and Tourism Management

Our research efforts incorporate both primary and secondary research based on business sources rather than educational sources. Business-based research provides a mechanism for the identification of current, actual skills and knowledge needed by employees in the workplace.

Our Standards Will Help You:

  • Focus on real-world skills and concepts so that students have the “right stuff” they need to succeed
  • Identify skills and knowledge needed across all business careers as well as those specific to a particular business career
  • Incorporate 21st Century Skills into your curriculum
  • Prepare students for competitive events
  • Stay on top of emerging trends in the business world

Our Framework:

Because of our engagement and research with business professionals and organizations throughout the country, these standards are unique in education.

Our continuous research process utilizes focus groups, interviews, business association standards, surveys, and certification criteria. This research and development process is what allows us to deliver standards that provide current information on the skill sets being used in the workforce today.

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Business Administration Core Standards

Through our research, we have learned the importance of equipping students with the skills and knowledge needed for any career in business. The standards within the Business Administration Core apply to all career clusters in business. Our standards are organized on the premise of starting broad and narrowing in specificity as the student progresses in their program of study. This ensures that students enter the workforce, college, or a career with an understanding of these core concepts.

Career Cluster Standards

Business Management Standards
Finance Standards
Marketing Standards
Hospitality & Tourism Management Standards

Our Approach to Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship research is integrated across all career clusters in our standards. Learn more about our approach to entrepreneurship within our standards below.

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Unpacking The Standards

Business Administration Core

Our research efforts resulted in the identification of similar, overlapping skills and knowledge across the four clusters (Business Management, Finance, Marketing, and Hospitality & Tourism Management).

This common know-how is the Business Administration Core, composed of the following topics:

  • Business Law
  • Communication Skills
  • Customer Relations
  • Economics
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Financial Analysis
  • Human Resources Management
  • Information Management
  • Marketing
  • Operations
  • Professional Development
  • Strategic Management

Levels of Specificity

Each of the four clusters contains content that is common to its pathways and is known as the Cluster Core. Each of the clusters is composed of four to five Pathways, and each Pathway contains content that is common to the jobs in it. Finally, there is content that is specific to a job or product, known as Specialties.

Instruction should be designed to move from general to specific, setting up the high school curriculum around the content in the Business Administration Core and the Cluster Core.

As students progress in their education, they should acquire content increasingly more specific to their area of interest in business.

Curricular Organization

The content within each of the four clusters is organized into Standards, Performance Elements, Performance Indicators, and Objectives.


Standards identify what students should know and be able to do as a result of instruction in any of the business-related clusters. These statements encapsulate the overarching intent/purpose of a work function.

The Economics Standard identified in the Business Administration Core, for example, is: “Understands the economic principles and concepts fundamental to business operations.” Each Standard/Instructional Area represents a particular topic—not a course.

Performance Elements

Each Standard is composed of multiple Performance Elements. These statements are broad-based work or cognitive performances that aid in defining the Standards.

A Performance Element from the Economics Instructional Area, for instance, is “Understand the nature of business to show its contributions to society.”

Performance Indicators

Performance Elements are defined through Performance Indicators that are specific work-based actions—either knowledge or skills. They specify what an individual worker must know or be able to do to achieve the Performance Elements. These learning outcomes are measurable (i.e., can be assessed).

For example, one of the eight Performance Indicators for the Economics Performance Element “Understand the nature of business to show its contributions to society” is: “EC:070 Explain the role of business in society.”


Each of the Performance Indicators is further defined through a series of Objectives. This organizational component specifies the scope of each Performance Indicator. Their use tells teachers what content to include or exclude from their instruction.

For example, the Performance Indicator “Describe the concepts of economics and economic activities” is defined through Objectives as follows:

a.  Define the following terms: economics, scarcity, economizing, opportunity cost, trade-offs, consumption, consumer, production, producer, exchange, and distribution.

b.  Explain why wants are considered unlimited.

c.  Discuss why scarcity exists.

d.  Describe the three economic questions that all societies must answer.

e.  Explain the importance of decision making in economics.

f.  Describe four economic activities.

g.  Discuss three factors that affect the value of money payments in a market economy.

Curriculum Planning Levels

MBA Research’s philosophy is that curriculum should be organized from simple to complex, thereby enabling students to acquire foundational understanding and skill before they acquire more advanced skills.

Each Performance Indicator is assigned to a curriculum-planning level based on the job level at which it is first needed within businesses. These curriculum-planning levels progress from simple to complex:

  • Prerequisite (PQ)
    • Content develops employability and job-survival skills and concepts, including work ethics, personal appearance, and general business behavior
    • Appropriate for 9th-11th graders, students with little/no business background, and students with special needs
  • Career Sustaining (CS)
    • Content develops skills and knowledge needed for continued employment in or study of business based on the application of basic academics and business skills
    • Appropriate for “typical” high-school students of average and above-average abilities and interest
  • Specialist (SP)
    • Content provides in-depth, solid understanding and skill development in all business functions
    • Appropriate for advanced high school students and post-secondary students
  • Supervisor (SU)
    • Content provides the same in-depth, solid understanding and skill development in all business functions as in the specialist curriculum, and in addition, incorporates content that addresses the supervision of people
    • Appropriate for young adults at post-secondary level
  • Manager (MN)
    • Content develops strategic decision-making skills in all business functions needed to manage a business or department within an organization
    • Appropriate for young adults at post-secondary level
  • Owner (ON)
    • Content develops strategic decision-making skills in all aspects of business that are needed to own and operate a business
    • Appropriate for young adults at post-secondary level

Cluster Core Fanouts

Pathways Fanouts

National Business Administration Standards Placemat


Interested In Learning More About Our Standards?

Looking for a high-level overview? Standards Executive Summary (1 pg)

Interested in a deeper dive into the research? Standards Introduction (5 pg)

Looking for an extensive report on our foundations? Standards Full Guide (21 pg)

Want to learn our terminology? Standards Glossary (1 pg)

Get In Touch

Learn more about the National Business Administration Standards by getting in touch with our team today.