A Guide to Top Jobs and Career Paths for Business Majors
Business majors have a unique opportunity to study and understand business principles before joining the professional sector. With a background in business, you will be prepared to work in a variety of settings in business, government, nonprofit organizations and more. Whether you're eyeing tech or manufacturing, fashion or agriculture, a major in one of the following areas will give you the knowledge and skills to work in a setting that is right for you. This makes business majors strategic, flexible and employable job seekers.
According to Glassdoor data, a Business Major is a top 20 highest paying college major, and specific focuses like Accounting, Finance, and Marketing are also high earning.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics agrees. According to the BLS, "Employment of business and financial operations occupations is projected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations, adding about 773,800 new jobs. Globalization, a growing economy, and a complex tax and regulatory environment are expected to continue to lead to strong demand for accountants and auditors. In addition, increasing usage of data and market research in order to understand customers and product demand, and to evaluate marketing strategies, will lead to a growing demand for market research analysts."
If you’re asking yourself: what can I do with a business major? Read on to learn the details about these exciting careers.
Skills for Business Major
It takes a deep, organized thinker with problem-solving skills to succeed in a career in business.
These are some specific skills that business majors refine through their academic work and use throughout their careers:
- Analytical Thinking and Complex Problem-Solving
- Interpersonal Relationship Building
- Economic Understanding
- Marketing Understanding
Where to Begin After Getting a Business Degree
One of the best things about earning a business degree is the options you have career-wise… That also happens to be one of the main caveats. Many business graduates find themselves asking, “Now what?” Internships are a great way to kickstart your career. The value in completing internships includes both the opportunity to gain real-world experience as well as networking. You will work with managers, coordinators, analysts, you name it, who have industry connections. These people will be able to write your recommendations for post-grad jobs and connect you with those need-to-know people in the business. Before asking for their advice, however, reflect on your experiences in and outside of the classroom. What did you like? More importantly, what didn’t you like? Where do you want to work geographically? What kind of work environment inspires you? Let these questions guide your job search and use them when asking for recommendations from industry professionals. In his book 101 Lessons they Never Taught you in College, Rutgers professor Mark Beal advises, “analyze the market and find a way to turn yourself into a category expert that will easily differentiate yourself from all other candidates seeking a position in your chosen category.”
Job Search Tips for Business Majors
Once you know what kind of role you’re after, refine your strategy for getting it. Work and grow your network. Meet with contacts you know in the industry-professors, professionals you met during internships, friends, family members and other contacts.
Check out professional societies and organizations, noting who you know among the membership. Ask your professors and peers about industry associations. See if you can attend a chapter event or a meeting as a guest. Then aim to make connections.
In the same way, see what your university offers in terms of alumni connections. This can be a rich resource for networking. Be open to mentorship, informational interviews and internship opportunities. All stand to help you learn more about what you want and what options are available to you.
Update your Glassdoor profile, and research companies and open positions. Cultivate an informed sense of what positions and companies you’re targeting. This way, when you get the chance to talk with contacts in your network, you can ask specific questions.
Refine your professional candidacy package. You want to be poised and ready when an opportunity presents itself, so have your materials ready to go.
Continuing Education and Certifications for Business Majors
Many professionals go on to lead long happy careers after they earn a bachelor’s degree, without additional credentials. But if you feel inclined to continue your education, there’s ample support and reason to do so. Many business majors choose to attend graduate school, which is free for graduate students who teach or complete research.
According to UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, earning a professional business degree, or an MBA, can have a number of both expected and unexpected benefits in your life. In fact, those benefits often extend beyond your career and professional goals and are applicable to your non-work life as well. It’s no surprise then that 22 percent of those who complete a bachelor’s degree in business go on to get a graduate degree in the field. Benefits include:
- Transferrable skills
- Strategic thinking
- Differentiation as a job candidate
- Higher income
If your ambition is to teach business, you may need to do some additional certification work to prepare for the role. The website Tobecomeateacher.org details how to make the move from business student to teacher, explaining: “Completing a teacher education program, as well as student-teaching experience, are requirements before an individual qualifies to apply for a license or certification to teach in their state of residence.”
Internships for Business Majors
Internships help young professionals make important discoveries about their professional ambitions and trajectory while also providing experience. They also give young professionals the chance to make important connections and bolster their network.
Doing an internship stands to serve your well, and opportunities are plentiful for those with a business interest.
Entry-Level Jobs for Business Major
Finding a professional fit is a process of self-discovery. Each role you assume teaches you about yourself, what role and professional environment best suits you. These are some common starting points for those who majored in business.
Top Jobs for Business Majors
Plenty of students wonder, “What jobs can I get with a business degree?” But honestly, it might be easier to list the ones you can’t get. Here are just a few of the most popular jobs for business majors:
Average Base Pay: $56,600
Number of Open Jobs: 40,500
Description: Accountants are responsible for logging and reporting on the day-to-day financial functions of a company. As such, you can expect cost reporting, billing, recording invoices and maintain a fixed asset system.
Average Base Pay: $105,000
Number of Open Jobs: 34,000
Description: Management consultants can expect to lead teams through complex business projects. No two days are alike in management consulting as each account can be from different industries facing unique situations. You analyze business practices and deliver potential solutions to your team and client to set them up for success.
Average Base Pay: $66,000
Number of Open Jobs: 45,000
Description: Calling all math-lovers! Financial analysts conduct audits, reports on the industry and performs system reconciliations. You’ll need a concrete foundation of the business and accounting systems.
Average Base Pay: $105,000
Number of Open Jobs: 3,000
Description: Actuaries are crucial for all businesses and companies, especially rapidly developing ones. As an actuary, you will manage risk and uncertainty down to a science. Your job would essentially entail assessing, analyzing and interpreting risks and opportunities and reporting on them as such. Your understanding of business goals and needs is necessary for your recommendations of business practices.
Average Base Pay: $132,000
Number of Open Jobs: 5,400
Description: This one obviously requires a law degree but is nonetheless a great career path. Corporate attorneys are generally members of a firm, working on retainer with several client companies. Their duties include defending their clients to protect their rights in a variety of business issues such as compensation, OSHA regulations, workplace discrimination, harassment and more.
Average Base Pay: $60,000
Number of Open Jobs: 10,500
Description: Supply chain analysts oversee all product and merchandise visualization, meaning they monitor warehouse processes, workflow and activities. Further, supply chain analysts anticipate the needs of merchandising materials. They directly communicate with distribution centers to ensure a responsible, timely transfer of merchandise to its respective outlets. Strong supply chain analysts are detailed, meticulous, effective communicators and have the ability to proactively problem-solve.
Average Base Pay: $69,000
Number of Open Jobs: 180,000
Description: If you’re a people-person, this job is for you. As a sales manager, not only are you expected to successfully sell products or services, but you are also a team leader. Having a superior ability to stay organized and manage people is a unique skill-set that sales managers must master and exercise each day.
Average Base Pay: $102,300
Number of Open Jobs: 8,200
Description: Economists use data to forecast upcoming or impending behavior in the economy. Pattern-tracking and statistical analysis are two necessary skills economists must possess. Much like an actuary, economists need to be able to read and interpret risks, and relay them to the appropriate audiences in a digestible way.
Average Base Pay: $73,000
Number of Open Jobs: 10,400
Description: Operations Research Analysts work across a variety of teams to optimize business practices, ultimately making the company more successful. With business objectives and goals in mind, operations research Analysts study various teams to diagnose problems or make tasks more efficient, thus producing strategic best practices.
Average Base Pay: $72,000
Number of Open Jobs: 66,000
Description: Love Excel? Let me introduce you to the Business Operations Manager. Business Operations Managers work with company leadership to develop OKRs and manage performance. After analyzing performance, Business Operations Managers record suggestions as to how to maintain momentum or redirect focus, and communicates those to company leadership.
Having the commitment, depth of knowledge and skillset to pursue a business degree is impressive. Plus, it prepares you for an exciting career that’s rich with possibility! Here are a few more resources to help you on your path to success: