Maybe you’re just entering your degree program and are considering a business major. Or maybe you’re about to graduate from business school, and there’s no turning back now. Either way, you need to know what to do with a business degree so you can take your next step.
A business degree is one of the most flexible degrees out there, so get ready for an abundance of options. With a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in business, you can follow nearly any career path in the business world. From human resources to sales to financial services, there are a lot of jobs for business majors.
We’ll cover the different job opportunities you can pursue as a business professional and the average salary you can expect from each role.
What To Do With a Business Degree: 13 Career Opportunities
Your business education can lead you down a lot of different career paths. To decide which one to follow, consider your interests, skill sets, and salary requirements. All of the salaries we cite here are based on the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
1. Sales Representative
If you have excellent interpersonal skills, you could make a great sales representative. In this role, you’ll work with a company’s clients to help them find the products and services they need. A big part of this job is identifying the customer’s biggest problem and explaining how your company’s product can solve it, so problem-solving skills are a must for sales reps.
Sales representatives’ earnings are often commission based, so salaries can vary widely in this role. Your own salary may change from one month to the next. While this instability can be frightening, it can also create a lot of opportunity — the amount you make will be directly linked to how well you do in the job.
2. Sales Manager
Average salary: $126,640
As a sales manager, you’ll oversee a team of sales representatives. Because this is a management role, you’ll need to gain experience as a sales rep first, and you’ll likely still perform some of the same duties. You may serve as the sales rep for your company’s highest-priority clients, or you may only work with clients when you’re helping junior reps on your team.
Like all management roles, this role requires more business administration work than a junior role. You’ll spend a lot of your time hiring and training your team, assigning sales territories and quotas, and evaluating your team’s performance.
3. Human Resources Specialist
Average salary: $61,920
If you earn a BBA with a specialization in human resource management, then you’re on track for a career as an HR specialist. Specialists generally handle one or more aspects of human resources. This can include serving as a recruiter to facilitate the hiring process, overseeing employee trainings, or handling employee benefits like healthcare, childcare, and life insurance.
4. Management Analyst
Average salary: $85,260
Management analysts or management consultants typically go into a company for a short period of time to analyze how effectively the company is operating. Then, they offer suggestions to improve the company’s management processes, and make the company more efficient and profitable. This role requires a lot of critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and it’s a great fit for business management majors.
5. Market Research Analyst
Average salary: $63,790
Market research analysts look for opportunities to sell a company’s product. They identify target customers, track market trends within an industry, and develop marketing strategies. Nearly every industry uses market research to develop their marketing plans. So, research analysts can work in fields as diverse as fashion and farm equipment.
To excel in this role, you need to enjoy working with data and have good time-management skills.
6. Public Relations Specialist
If you work in public relations, you’ll be responsible for managing your company’s public image. You’ll work closely with the media and may plan press conferences to make big announcements for the company.
You’ll need excellent problem-solving and communication skills to succeed. If your company receives negative press, it will be your job to spin the story into something positive. Because bad news can come and any time, this role can require odd hours and overtime.
Average salary: $108,350
Actuaries are math and statistics whizzes who calculate the cost of risk. They often work for insurance companies where they assess the risk of issuing an insurance policy and determine how much a policy should cost in different scenarios. (For example, it will be more expensive to insure a house in Tornado Alley than in a place where there aren’t any natural disasters.)
Similar to a CPA, an actuary needs to pass a series of professional certification exams after completing their undergraduate degree or graduate degree.
8. Supply Chain Analyst
Average salary: $74,750
In this business operations role, you’ll analyze every part of your company’s process for sourcing materials, creating products, and distributing them to customers. The supply chain starts with getting materials from vendors and ends with delivering finished products to consumers.
Your job will be to improve your company’s supply chain management. You’ll work on identifying waste and inefficiencies, and making suggestions to improve the process.
9. Project Manager
Average salary: $95,260
If you color code your spreadsheets and organize your inbox, then you should consider a career in project management. In this job, you’ll need to be an organizer-extraordinaire. You’ll keep track of all the moving parts that go into a company project. You’ll gather information, plan out the assets you need, and assign tasks and deadlines. Project managers can work in nearly any department from marketing to information technology.
10. Financial Analyst
Average salary: $81,590
If you’re majoring in finance, you’re an ideal candidate for a career as a financial analyst or financial advisor. In this role, you’ll help your company or clients plan for their financial future.
A financial analyst typically works at a medium to large company, analyzing financial data. Your goal will be to identify unnecessary spending, create budgets, and plan funding for large projects. This job is a stepping stone toward a career as a financial manager.
A financial advisor does similar work to a financial analyst, but on a smaller scale. In this role, you’ll work with individuals to help them improve their financial management skills. You’ll provide clients with financial services like budgeting, investing, wealth management, and retirement planning.
11. Real Estate Agent
Working as a real estate agent is similar to running your own business. You’re part sales person, part project manager, and part entrepreneur. You’ll also likely do a lot of your own financial management, so you’ll need all your business knowledge to succeed.
After you earn a business degree, you’ll need to complete some additional coursework to learn about real estate laws and prepare yourself for your real estate licensing exam.
12. Operations Manager
Average salary: $104,690
If you want to be a part of the decision-making team at your company, consider a job in operations management. This high-level management role oversees the process for producing goods and services. You’ll spend a lot of your time coming up with strategies to make the company more efficient.
You need a lot of on-the-job experience to get hired as an operations manager. But, this position makes a great long-term goal for students majoring in business administration.
Average salary: Varies
One of the rewards of entrepreneurship is that you can work on anything you’re passionate about — start a small business selling local art, create your own nonprofit organization, or set up a consulting firm.
There’s no cap on how much money you can make — but there’s no minimum either. It can take awhile for a new business to become profitable, and you may earn very little income in the beginning. You’ll need to draw on all your business skills to create a successful business model, but once you do, you can achieve the wealth and freedom that come with being your own boss.
Your Future Is Your Business
If you’re still working on your degree, the best thing you can do is get an internship. An internship will help you build your resume with real-world work experience, which will make you a more competitive candidate when you start applying for entry-level jobs.
But, even if you’ve finished your degree without doing an internship, you can still find a job as a recent college grad. Join the Scholars community to learn about amazing entry-level job opportunities and get access to the largest hub of career information for students and recent grads.