By Leesa Davis
A bachelor’s degree in business can prepare you for a variety of jobs in just about any industry. Whether working for a nonprofit, a financial firm, or a wholesale manufacturer, people who hold a business degree can put their skills to the test.
According to a 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics report, 25% of business degree holders fall into the occupational group “management occupations,” and 22% fall under “business and financial operations occupations.” Santa Clara University compiled 2020 data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to identify the most common occupations among business degree holders, including those requiring a master’s degree or a law degree. Earning any one of these degrees will lead to higher salary potential.
In order to obtain a business degree, first consider what your interests are as well as your skills and strengths. Are you highly organized and enjoy meeting and speaking with new people? Do you know your way around numbers, spreadsheets, and data analysis? Or are you a pro at looking at the big picture of a company’s operations and inefficiencies? Business majors complete coursework across a broad range of disciplines, including negotiation, sales and marketing, operational management, financial and quantitative analysis, and data research.
You can also often get a degree or certificate in a specialized area within business, such as human resources or entrepreneurship. Some people have degrees in other industries and wish to pivot to the business sector.
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#10. Lawyers, judges, and related workers
- Percentage of business degree holders working this job: 1.53%
- Annual mean wage: $144,470
Lawyers provide legal counsel and represent their clients in legal disputes. There are various types of lawyers working in fields such as corporate and business litigation, immigration, and criminal defense. Business and corporate lawyers, for example, specialize in employment law, contracts, and mergers and acquisitions. Lawyers often work in private law firms or as prosecutors in government offices. Prospective lawyers are required to have a juris doctor degree, usually obtained by graduating from an accredited law school, and passing their state’s bar exam.
#9. Human resources workers
- Percentage of business degree holders working this job: 1.60%
- Annual mean wage: $71,210
Human resources—often referred to as “HR”—is the department often charged with handling the hiring and onboarding of new employees for companies and organizations, but there’s a lot more to their job. HR professionals also keep existing employees updated on policies and procedures, respond to questions related to payroll, and investigate employee issues and conflicts, among other duties.
People who work in this industry generally have a degree in human resources or another business-related degree. Candidates may gain experience working as HR Assistants, customer service representatives, or in other related fields.
#8. Retail salesperson
- Percentage of business degree holders working this job: 1.74%
- Annual mean wage: $30,060
A retail salesperson is responsible for ensuring high-quality customer service for the product they are selling. A typical day working in retail may mean greeting customers and informing them of sales and promotions, processing payments, or setting up displays on the store floor.
Work hours vary for people in this industry and it’s not unusual for retail salespeople to work on weekends or during holidays. There’s no formal education required for working as a retail sales associate as most people in these roles receive training on the job. Training sessions for this role usually include learning about customer service, store policies, and loss prevention measures.
#7. Supervisors of retail sales
- Percentage of business degree holders working this job: 2.01%
- Annual mean wage: $46,890
A retail supervisor oversees retail staff in a store, coordinates deliveries, checks the store inventory, handles paperwork, and assists customers, among other duties. For those that don’t care too much for an office environment, this role may be of interest. Hours can be long and may vary for this position. Skills that are helpful for this position include having excellent communication, attention to detail, and management and sales experience.
#6. Management analysts
- Percentage of business degree holders working this job: 2.03%
- Annual mean wage: $100,530
People who work as management analysts must have a knack for problem-solving and superb analytical and leadership skills. These are the people who get creative when it comes to tackling tough issues that may arise on the job.
Management analysts make suggestions to improve an organization’s productivity and may find themselves analyzing revenue and employment reports. People in these roles can work in the finance and insurance industry or in government. Successful candidates for these jobs are usually required to at least have a bachelor’s degree. Employment for management analysts is projected to grow by 14% through 2030.
#5. Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing
- Percentage of business degree holders working this job: 2.06%
- Annual mean wage: $77,750
Sales representatives have varied responsibilities and job duties may include attending trade shows and conferences, preparing contracts, processing orders, or negotiating wholesale prices.
Educational requirements differ for sales reps and at times can depend on the types of products being sold. A position as a sales rep can be high-pressure because job security along with commission or bonus earnings often depend on how much of the product is sold.
#4. Chief executives
- Percentage of business degree holders working this job: 3.47%
- Annual mean wage: $213,020
Chief executive officers are the top-level positions at companies and organizations in every industry. People in these executive roles usually have many years of experience as industry leaders and their daily functions include building long-term business plans, developing company-wide policies, negotiating corporate partnerships, and implementing policies that guide the future of the company.
There’s no single path to becoming a CEO. Some CEOs have had formal training in their area of expertise including accounting, while others became a CEO through entrepreneurship and learning one or more lines of business along the way.
#3. Financial managers
- Percentage of business degree holders working this job: 3.96%
- Annual mean wage: $153,460
Financial managers often work in banks, investment firms, and insurance companies. Job duties as a finance manager may involve creating and overseeing financial reports, analyzing or predicting market trends, and advising companies and organizations on best financial practices.
People employed in this role typically have at least a bachelor’s degree in business, economics, or a similar field. Finance managers also often complete additional certifications or securities licenses if they wish to hone their skills in a specific practice.
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#2. Other management occupations
- Percentage of business degree holders working this job: 5.87%
- Annual mean wage: $107,230
There are various management positions within businesses such as overseeing marketing and finance departments. A business manager might be responsible for hiring staff, organizing employee training, conducting office meetings, and ensuring the work environment is safe and in compliance with government regulations.
People in these roles usually have strong leadership skills and are required to have a bachelor’s degree in business or a related field. An MBA may be required for people who wish to advance to more senior-level positions such as consultants or directors.
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#1. Accountants and auditors
- Percentage of business degree holders working this job: 9.05%
- Annual mean wage: $83,980
If you enjoy working with numbers and are analytical and detail-oriented, you may want to consider a career as an accountant or auditor. Accountants make sure that all financial documents are accurate for businesses and organizations. They prepare and maintain financial reports, keep records of profits and losses, offer tax advice, and may help reconcile bank statements.
Auditors follow up on the work of accountants and verify that the financial statements are accurate. Accountants and auditors can work as CPAs for a public accounting firm, government agency, or for consultancies. Top cities for corporate accounting include Boston, New York City, and Chicago.