What Can You Do with a Business Degree?
Are you considering pursuing a business degree but unsure of what it can offer you in terms of career opportunities? In this article, we'll explore various career paths you can take with a business degree, the valuable skills you gain through this field of study, and the exciting future of the business career landscape, along with frequently asked questions about what you can do with a business degree.
The Basics of a Business Degree
A degree in business gives you a comprehensive understanding of the principles and practices of the business world. This field of study also equips you with a wide range of transferable skills that are highly sought after by employers in various industries. From general business knowledge to project management, marketing to human resources, healthcare management to operations management, a business degree covers it all while enabling you to specialize your skills.
In the initial years of your business degree program, you will be introduced to core subjects such as accounting, economics, marketing, and management. Accounting courses will teach you how to analyze financial statements, understand budgets, and make informed decisions based on financial reports. Economics courses will help you understand the principles of supply and demand, market structures, and macroeconomic factors that influence business decisions. Marketing courses will introduce you to the strategies and techniques used to promote products and services while working in a marketing team. Management courses will teach you how to effectively lead teams and make strategic decisions with superb interpersonal skills.
As you progress in your business degree program, you will have the opportunity to explore more advanced topics and deepen your understanding of specific areas of business. You can also explore business jobs in these fields through experiential learning opportunities like internships. You can specialize your skills and career plans according to what core topics you are the most passionate about.
Specializations within a Business Degree
Business majors often specialize in a particular area of interest. Whether you're passionate about finance, entrepreneurship, international business, or supply chain management, there is a specialization that suits your interests and career goals.
If you have a knack for numbers and enjoy analyzing financial data, a specialization in finance might be the perfect fit for you. You will delve into topics such as investment analysis, risk management, and financial planning. This specialty equips you with the skills to evaluate financial data and make sound financial decisions for individuals and organizations based on their existing financial records and overall goals.
Suppose you have an entrepreneurial spirit and dream of starting your own business. In that case, a specialization in entrepreneurship will provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to turn your ideas into successful ventures. From developing business plans to understanding market trends and securing funding, you will learn the ins and outs of entrepreneurship.
For those interested in the global business landscape, a specialization in international business will open doors to exciting opportunities. You will study topics such as international trade, cross-cultural management, and global marketing strategies, preparing you to navigate the complexities of the global marketplace.
Specializing in Finance
Business degrees specializing in finance enable you to work in a variety of job roles across industries. Jobs in finance typically require at least a bachelor's degree, often with a preference for a graduate degree or other advanced degree in a related field. As a financial specialist, you can work for a traditional bank or other financial institution, or you could work at any company across industries in their financial department.
Financial analysts analyze financial records, market trends, and market data to make strategic investment recommendations. Financial analysts working in banks, financial institutions, and other businesses will also monitor and assess the performance of investments like stocks and bonds while guiding businesses and individuals about expending money to attain profit.
Financial managers oversee the financial activities of an individual or business entity. Top-level finance managers oversee the financial operations of the entire company. This role requires strong decision-making skills and confidence, as your decisions have a significant impact on the company's profitability and overall growth. You can also work as a financial manager or financial advisor in the private sector, managing the finances of a particular person or family.
Accounting involves bookkeeping for businesses, including financial records, payrolls, and business taxes. To work as a certified public accountant, you must attain a relevant finance degree in addition to government-regulated certification. In this subfield, employers prefer candidates with experience at accounting firms and financial institutions or proven experience with accounting systems and relevant software.
The job outlook for finance is positive. The projected growth of this aspect of business is higher than average, and financial managers will always remain in demand due to the importance of this line of work.
Marketing Job Opportunities
Business majors specializing in marketing can work across industries, either overseeing efforts marketing to consumers or marketing products to other businesses. Unlike most business jobs, marketing does not require an undergraduate degree in business or a related field, though employers prefer candidates with strong resumes of internships and relevant work experience or marketing education. The job outlook for marketing is high since marketing is essential to many industries.
As a marketing associate, you'll be responsible for developing and implementing marketing campaigns, conducting market research, and analyzing consumer behavior. Creativity and analytical skills are essential to marketing as you work with cross-functional marketing teams to create compelling advertising campaigns that capture the attention of your target audience.
Marketing managers oversee marketing and advertising initiatives for particular brands or companies. This role requires strong leadership skills, interpersonal skills, and communication skills since you will be leading teams and working with company executives on a regular basis.
Corporate Roles for Business Degree Holders
Many business graduates find themselves thriving in corporate environments. The corporate world offers stability, growth opportunities, and the chance to work with teams of talented professionals who share your passion for business. Corporate roles require business acumen, professionalism, and a desire to work in professional corporate environments.
In corporate environments, a project manager oversees and organizes business efforts on a project-by-project basis. This oversight is an essential aspect of business administration because large company initiatives are almost always subdivided into smaller projects and assigned to teams requiring project management.
If you have a knack for management, you could also work as a management consultant, evaluating a company's management structure and delivering recommendations to improve workflows. These management analysts serve an essential role in supporting companies' success. Working as a management analyst also enables you to work across many industries since this is an essential role in the business world.
Similarly, business analysts help guide businesses in improving their processes, products, and services, often utilizing data analysis. Business analysts conduct market research to scope out competitors' methods while analyzing their own company, then deliver recommendations to improve business efficiency. Business analysts are essential to successful business administration.
Alternatively, you might find yourself drawn towards human resources. Human resources specialists are another essential part of any workplace, and human resources roles are essential to the function of mid-sized and large multinational corporations. Human resources specialists oversee the diversity, equity, and inclusion goals of companies while protecting workers' rights and navigating conflicts in the workplace. Working as a human resources specialist requires strong interpersonal and communication skills. A bachelor's degree is expected in this career path.
For those with a knack for leadership and a desire to make a broader impact, management roles in major corporations offer an exciting challenge. As a manager, you'll be responsible for overseeing a team of professionals, setting goals, and ensuring that projects are completed on time and within budget. Your ability to motivate and inspire your team will be crucial in driving the company's success.
Entrepreneurial Opportunities for Business Graduates
If you've always dreamt of running your own business, a business degree provides you with the necessary skills and knowledge to turn your entrepreneurial dreams into reality. Armed with a deep understanding of business operations, marketing strategies, and financial management, you can launch and grow your own successful startup.
As an entrepreneur, you'll face challenges and uncertainties, but the rewards can be immense. You'll have the freedom to pursue your own vision, make decisions that align with your values, and create a positive impact on your customers and the community. With determination and perseverance, your business could grow into a successful venture, providing you with financial independence and personal fulfillment.
In terms of job outlook, entrepreneurship is challenging because it requires a lot of hard work upfront to get a startup idea off the ground and attain funding. However, many business majors find entrepreneurship an extremely rewarding line of work. If you are drawn to a challenge, enjoy hard work, and love the idea of creating businesses from the ground up, this path is for you.
Further Education Opportunities after a Business Degree
There are several advanced degree options available to deepen your knowledge of business or complementary fields. Expanding your education beyond a business degree can provide you with a multitude of opportunities to excel in a number of subfields. By pursuing further education, you can gain specialized knowledge and skills that will set you apart from other business graduates.
Advanced Business Specialties
Some business specialties require advanced business degrees or additional education in complementary fields. With an advanced degree in a complementary field, you can pursue specialized jobs in specific industries. This is a great option if you are passionate about a particular topic or envision yourself working in a specific industry.
Health administration often requires an advanced degree or complementary degree in healthcare management since this field of business is so specialized. Health administration involves overseeing and managing the business operations of a healthcare company. Job opportunities with this specialty range from management roles in a hospital to business administration at a pharmaceutical company or working in the insurance side of the industry.
As an information systems manager, it is helpful to have coursework or professional experience in the tech industry. Not all business jobs in the tech industry require a computer science degree, but coursework or a degree in a high-level field like data science can be helpful to this role.
Supply chain management is another specialization that is in high demand. In this specialty, you will learn how to effectively manage the flow of goods and services from the point of origin to the point of consumption. You will gain knowledge in areas such as logistics, procurement, and inventory management, ensuring that businesses can operate efficiently and meet customer demands.
Master's Programs for Business Graduates
A popular choice among business graduates is pursuing a master's degree in a specialized field of business or a complementary field. A master's degree can provide you with a competitive edge and open doors to senior-level positions in your chosen domain. You will have the opportunity to explore advanced concepts and theories, engage in practical applications, and collaborate with industry professionals.
Master's programs often provide networking opportunities with fellow students, alumni, and industry experts. These connections can be invaluable in terms of mentorship, job opportunities, and professional growth. You can also pursue graduate-level internships and work opportunities across many industries. Such experiential learning opportunities will enhance your critical thinking and problem-solving abilities while enabling you to further explore your career interests.
Doctoral Programs in Business
If you have a passion for research and a desire to contribute to the academic world, a doctoral program in business might be the right path for you. A Ph.D. in Business allows you to delve deep into a specific area of interest and become an expert in your field. It also opens up opportunities for careers in academia and consulting.
Doctoral programs offer a rigorous and intellectually stimulating environment where you can conduct original research, publish scholarly articles, and present your findings at conferences. As a doctoral student, you will work closely with renowned faculty members who are experts in their respective fields. Their guidance and mentorship will help shape your research and provide you with valuable insights. Additionally, doctoral programs often offer teaching opportunities, allowing you to gain valuable experience in the classroom and develop your teaching skills.
Beyond academia, a Ph.D. in Business enables you to pursue roles in research institutions, think tanks, and consulting firms. Your high level of expertise and research contributions will be highly sought after, giving you a competitive advantage in the job market. By investing in your education, you are investing in your future success.
Salary Expectations for Business Degree Holders
Business degree holders have the advantage of entering the job market with a strong foundation of knowledge and skills that are highly sought after by employers. This, combined with the ever-increasing demand for business professionals in various industries, contributes to the competitive salaries that business graduates can expect.
Entry-Level Salaries for Business Graduates
As a fresh business graduate entering the job market, you can expect a solid starting salary. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wage for business and financial occupations was $69,820 in 2020. However, it's important to note that salaries can vary depending on factors such as location, industry, and job position.
Business graduates who secure positions in major metropolitan areas like New York City or San Francisco may earn higher salaries due to the higher cost of living and increased competition. On the other hand, those who work in smaller cities or rural areas may have lower starting salaries but may also enjoy a lower cost of living.
Additionally, the industry you choose to work in can have a significant impact on your salary. Business graduates who enter industries such as finance, consulting, or technology often command higher starting salaries compared to those who choose to work in non-profit organizations or government agencies.
Mid-Career Salaries for Business Professionals
As you gain experience and climb the corporate ladder, your earning potential grows significantly. A mid-career business professional can earn a six-figure salary. However, the specific amount will vary based on factors such as your specialization, industry, and the size of the company you work for.
Specializing in a particular area of business can open doors to higher-paying positions. For example, a mid-career marketing manager in a large multinational corporation may earn a higher salary compared to a general business administrator in a smaller company. Furthermore, industries such as investment banking, private equity, and technology are known for offering lucrative compensation packages to experienced business professionals.
The size of the company you work for can also play a role in determining your mid-career salary. Large corporations often have more resources and revenue, allowing them to offer higher salaries and better benefits to their employees. It's worth noting that beyond salary, business professionals may also receive additional forms of compensation, such as bonuses, stock options, and profit-sharing, which can further enhance overall earnings.
Emerging Trends in Business Careers
The rise of technology, such as artificial intelligence and automation, is reshaping the business landscape. Professionals with knowledge and skills in these areas will be in high demand as companies seek to leverage cutting-edge technologies for improved efficiency and innovation.
While technology may disrupt some traditional job roles, it also creates new opportunities. Business graduates who can adapt to technological changes and embrace digital transformation will be well-positioned to navigate the future job market. Continuous learning and upskilling will be essential to stay ahead and forge a successful career in a rapidly evolving business environment.
Frequently Asked Questions About What You Can Do With A Business Degree
What are some entry-level jobs for business majors?
Entry-level job opportunities for people with business administration degrees exist across industries and areas of specialty. You might start a marketing career as a marketing coordinator. Financial analysts and financial advisors might begin in lower-level accounting positions or finance departments.
Entry-level management roles also exist across industries, especially within mid-sized and large companies with complex management structures. The specific entry-level opportunities available to you depend upon your chosen area of specialty and previous work experiences.
What are some high-paying jobs I can get with a business degree?
Marketing and social media management are high-paying areas of work for business majors. The median annual pay for marketing managers was $127,830 in 2022, while the median annual wage for marketing managers was $140,040.Job roles in finance, like accounting and working as a financial analyst, typically pay well.
The median annual salary for financial and investment analysts was $95,080 in 2022. Jobs in tech also offer competitive salaries and benefits packages. The growth rate for jobs in tech and overall career prospects is significantly higher than the national average in other industries, so this is a lucrative area of specialty for people with a degree in business.
How can I pay for my business degree?
Financing a business degree can be a challenging task, but there are a variety of resources available to discover scholarships. You can search for scholarships by major to hone your research to those most relevant to your academic and professional goals. You can also sort scholarships by demographic information to get matched with scholarships that are a personalized fit.
To begin your scholarship search, check out these business degree scholarships that you can apply for today!