You know you want a career in business. However, this type of career covers a lot of ground and a vast number of industries, not to mention career paths. With job titles like administrator, appraiser, accountant, analyst, assessor, examiner, investigator, and manager, it can be confusing. What do these titles mean, and what do these people do?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists more than 20 different job categories in the fields of business and finance. Almost all of them require a bachelor’s degree. This means that you are very likely to find entry-level business management jobs in just about any of those categories.
Your initial step is to decide what area in which to work. While the business and finance world might be an obvious answer, business management skills are needed across many professions. Business management skills are needed in diverse areas like mining, education or the arts. This means you have many choices on where and how to use your business degree, especially if management was part of your core curriculum.
What the experts say
Job employment site Indeed recently presented a report on jobs in the future. They used the phrase, “opportunity jobs.” The defining benchmark for opportunity jobs is that they should have shown high salary growth during the last 10 years – even after inflation. They should also pay more than $57,700 a year. What this means is that opportunity jobs defy the reduction or loss of wages that has affected many other occupations in recent memory. What are the occupations that qualify as opportunity jobs?
The vast majority – 92 percent – of opportunity jobs are located in five broad categories of occupation. Those categories are healthcare, management, business and finance, computers and technology, and architecture and engineering. Business management skills are in demand across all five categories. Some of the related job titles include:
- Sales managers
- Management analysts
- Accountants and auditors
- Medical and health service managers
- Marketing managers
- Human resource managers
- Financial managers
- Administrative services managers
- Industrial production managers
This list represents business management jobs that exist in multiple industries, sectors and subsectors. As such, few degrees offer as much versatility or mobility as a business management degree.
Another resource for job seekers
Another job and recruiting site that posts company and salary reviews daily is Glassdoor. In 2016, the site posted college majors with the highest starting salaries. Out of 20 majors, four were directly related to business management jobs. The salaries are based on payment during the first five years after college. Below are the majors with their starting salaries, and some sample entry-level job titles.
- Financial analyst
- Investment banking analyst
- Financial analyst
- Financial analyst
- Management analyst
- Account manager
- Marketing manager
- Market research analyst
Entry-level business management fields
Knowing what fields are open to recent college graduates is important because a business management degree is flexible enough to let you fit into almost any profession. Hiring companies and graduate job seekers often miss each other because recent graduates don’t know how their degrees fit into industry sectors or subsectors. Therefore, searching out industries that you like and have a high demand for graduates is essential when trying to narrow your job search. Two fields that come up repeatedly as being entry-level friendly are sales and healthcare operations.
The benefits of a career in sales
Sales is traditionally an excellent area for starting out or transitioning between careers. This is because the sales field is more goal-oriented and less experience-based. The most important measurement for success in a sales environment is profit so anyone who can assist in meeting organizational sales quotas is valuable. The rewards for meeting sales goals can also be generous depending on the firm.
Business management degrees and sales
The sales field encompasses many other subdivisions such as marketing, insurance and finance. Although a degree isn’t necessary to start out as a sales representative, a business management degree is necessary to work in management and to keep moving up. Business management degrees help you communicate and connect with people as sales is very people-oriented.
Using business management degrees to move up
If you are entrepreneurial-minded, there are business management jobs in business development. A business management degree can be useful in this area because of the need for planning and management on multiple levels. Many large companies have divisions dedicated to obtaining new business and clients. From business development, you could also move up into marketing management.
The benefits of a business management career in healthcare operations
The second field is healthcare operations. Healthcare is a large, shifting arena with clientele who are aging and multiplying. Healthcare is unique because it is both a business that is a necessity for everyone. There are many job roles for administration and management in a variety of different areas and levels of healthcare. Within the healthcare profession are four main areas: healthcare providers, suppliers, insurance and policy-makers. This means that you could work as an administrator or manager for nursing facilities, clinical pharmacology centers, healthcare consulting firms, pharmaceutical companies or specific departments within a hospital like anesthesia.
Business management degrees and healthcare operations
Because the healthcare field is a necessity, there are providers, suppliers, insurance, claims and policymakers all across the United States and the world. You are not limited by region and should explore any geographical areas that suit your needs. In fact, smaller regions may have less competition for business management jobs and fewer candidates qualified to get jobs that require business degrees. You might be the person that a particular employer has been seeking.
Using business management degrees to move up
Because the healthcare field is also a business, it has a need for business specialists like human resource managers, operations manager, customer service, project managers, reimbursement, claims, billing managers and accounting or auditing administrators. There are also management opportunities in sub-categories like nursing, therapy services, occupational therapy, business and direct patient care, health informatics, imaging and diagnostics, dialysis, geriatrics, health education and nuclear medicine. Within the business specialists category, there is the potential for future advancement.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that sales and healthcare operations are both one-dimensional. Any field that has people in it requires administration and management of people and goals. There will also be financial tracking and organizational development needs. All corporations and businesses need to plan for the future, and this is where business degrees, especially business management degrees, can shine.
Now that you are narrowing your job search down to a selected industry, sector and specific title, be careful when examining the salary. Many times, data sources will post a median or middle salary for employees who have been working for 3 to 5 years. Look for entry-level salaries because that is more common for recent graduates. This will also align your expectations with the real world according to your region and experience.
Another way to become familiar with real-world expectations is to intern before your job search. Not only will you become more familiar with your job role and duties but it also could help to increase your initial salary. When you come into an entry-level position with additional experience beyond school, you become a more desirable candidate. An intern comes to entry-level jobs with more skills than a student who did not intern. An internship may be useful when negotiating a starting salary.
Remember that you are just beginning in your career. To reach the median income stated in many business degree jobs posts and data sites, you may have to plan for improvement and promotion. Stay on top of what employers are paying and seeking in interns and new job hires. This information may change quarterly or annually. Researching regularly will help you make better decisions about business degree jobs.
Planning for promotion
Landing that first job is just the beginning. Your education will continue as you work your way to the next salary raise or promotion. How do you plan for this? You build off what you already know about business degree jobs and have learned in your degree program that prepared you to be flexible. Continue to learn about other job skills and tasks that you may not be doing at first hire. An essential skill is learning how to manage projects and the people working on them.
Track your achievements
Effective project managing shows that you understand the goals of your group and this will result in tangible, quantifiable results. Pay attention to recommended advice about how to practice excellence in your field. Keep track of what you have learned and the positive results gained for you and your organization. This will benefit your own personal continuing education and what you learn is transferable information and achievements that will follow you from institution to institution and even industry to industry. Tracking your achievements allows you to get better business degree jobs.
Business management degrees are flexible so take the time to explore industries, sub-industries and sectors. Look at professions for which you have a passion, but also look for industries that are entry-level friendly. This will help narrow your job search by thinking about how to make a business management degree fit into that arena. Remember that almost every sector is a business and needs administration and management professionals. Keep your eye on your long-term goals and think about what position and salary level you want in several years from now. Business degree jobs are a good entry into many fields, but it is a good idea to know your ultimate goal for that field so you can continue to grow.