Need to make business your business?
Whether you’re still at university or you’ve recently graduated, figuring out what to do with your degree can be tough. Luckily, there are a range of career paths that’ll put your analytical, problem solving, and decision making skills to good use.
To help you figure out what direction to take, here’s what you can actually do with your business degree:
Jobs to do with your business degree
Business Analyst – Business Analysts look into how a business’s processes work, in order to analyse their effectiveness and suggest potential improvements. This could involve everything from data evaluation and analysis, to identifying problem areas and implementing changes.
How to get there: Whilst there are no set entry requirements to become a Business Analyst, employers may look for candidates with knowledge of project development methods (e.g. PRINCE2®), alongside other industry recognised skills and qualifications. A background in testing or software development could also be useful.
Chartered Management Accountant – This role is all about managing a company’s finances, whether it’s through preparing financial statements, monitoring expenditures, or analysing financial performance. With this information, they’re able to plan for the future in a way that maximises profit and minimises loss.
How to get there: To become a Chartered Management Accountant, you’ll need to gain membership to the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). Studying for an AAT, ACCA or Sage qualification is a great place to start, and gaining experience in a related field (like business analysis or admin) could also improve your chances of breaking into this role.
Risk Manager – Want a job that involves making important business decisions? A career in risk management could be your calling. Risk Managers are primarily responsible for identifying and assessing threats to an organisation, in order to come up with plans that are designed to minimise, avoid, or transfer risks.
How to get there: A degree in a related field (e.g. business) is often essential for those looking for work in this field. Knowledge of risk management is also key, whether it’s learnt from your degree, a qualification, or during a work placement or internship. If you’re struggling to land a job as a Risk Manager straight away, it’s also possible to work your way up from a Risk Assistant position.
Stockbroker – This position is based on managing clients’ investments, to ensure they get the best possible return on the stock market. Their role may vary depending on whether they work on an advisory (providing advice on investment decisions), execution only (following a client’s buying and selling requests), or discretionary basis (making decisions and executing them).
How to get there: Aside from a degree in business or management, employers will also look for candidates with relevant work experience – whether it was gained through placements, internships, or by working in a similar role (e.g. financial services or sales). You could also enter into this role through a graduate training scheme.
Investment Banker – Whether they’re working in corporate finance, debt capital markets, or equity capital markets, it’s an Investment Banker’s job to provide all kinds of financial advice and services to institutions, companies, governments and individuals. This involves managing everything from mergers, bonds, and shares, to acquisitions, privatisations, and more.
How to get there: If you want to become a Investment Banker, experience in the industry is crucial. Many investment banks offer internships for students and recent graduates, and some even provide full-time work on completion. Working in an entry-level role (e.g. compliance, HR) at an investment bank is also a great way to show your interest in the industry, as well as gain the contacts and experience needed to work your way up.
Business Advisor – If you’re interested in putting your business knowledge to good use, a career as a Business Advisor could be for you. Their role is to provide strategic business and financial advice to all kinds of companies, using their excellent business acumen and keen communication skills to promote growth and success.
How to get there: Landing a role as a Business Advisor is all about your experience, which is often gained through running your own business or shadowing an SME – although you could also develop your skills and knowledge by finding economic development advisory roles within the local government. If you’re still studying, it’s also a good idea to see if there are any enterprise opportunities available at your university.
Other potential roles: Analyst, Data Scientist, Project Manager, Logistics and Distribution Manager, Business Consultant, Sales Manager, Tax Advisor, Forensic Accountant.
Skills to utilise
No matter what role you’re interested in pursuing, you’ll have gained a range of useful abilities – as well as transferable skills – from your business degree.
- Problem solving
- Analytical skills
- Decision making skills
- Critical thinking
- Time management
- Strong communication skills
- Knowledge of business structures and operations
- An understanding of the effects caused by economic changes
- Report writing skills
- Skills in interpreting financial data
Some roles will require further study, whether it’s to gain membership to a professional body, further your knowledge in a certain area of business, or even branch out into a totally different field.
And whilst postgraduate study (e.g. a Master’s) and/or MBAs are a common choice, many business graduates will find that professional qualifications are a great way to stand out. Not only do they provide vital training and knowledge, they’re also recognised by employers worldwide.
Popular professional bodies include:
- Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
- Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)
- Chartered Management Institute (CMI)
- Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM)
- Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
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