If you’re uncertain what you plan to do with your business-related bachelor’s degree or MBA, it’s probably because the path before you can lead in so many directions. The skills and knowledge you’ve developed over the course of your studies — ranging from analytic numeracy to knowledge of salesmanship and of how to deal effectively with people — can be applied to virtually every area of human activity.
Here are four examples of business career paths that can unfold over the course of a working life.
1. Become a Marketing Specialist in Charge of Your Own Assigned Brand
Being a brand manager involves running one brand within a company and being responsible for how well the brand does. You’re in charge of strategies for positioning the product and trying to win market share from competitors. It’s a job that requires grace under pressure, thinking strategically, and delegating effectively to assistants to do it well.
You can become this person by starting with an entry-level marketing analyst job once you have your undergraduate business degree. Working to earn your MBA could enable you to move up to an assistant brand manager position.
2. Begin at Entry Level, But Aim for the Top
Imagine carrying your Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree into an entry-level accounting position at an international company. Then imagine learning all you can about all aspects of its operations, showing enthusiastic leadership at every turn, and steadily earning promotions.
John Ferraro, COO of professional services company Ernst and Young, first became involved with the company as a college intern. Upon graduating in 1977 and becoming a CPA, he worked at EY’s Milwaukee, Wisconsin office. Becoming a partner in 1988, he continued to work his way up through the executive ranks to where he is today, in charge of global operations for this company of 167,000 people, working out of its London headquarters.
The moral of this story: Don’t be afraid to dream big.
3. Take What You’ve Learned and Start Your Own Thing
You don’t necessarily need a degree of any kind to launch a business. And if you have a business degree, you may find yourself watching friends from school earning more money working for others than you will be making during the early lean years of running your own company.
But if you’re really passionate about being a business founder, the deeper understanding you’ll gain from earning your degree will save you from much of the learn-by-the-seat-of-your-pants trauma and the basic business errors that your unschooled new enterprise peers will find themselves going through.
4. Take What You’ve Learned and Change the World
If you’re the kind of person who wants to have a positive impact on the world, many businesspeople feel they do so by working for socially responsible companies whose products and services help to solve problems. But another option for you could be going to work for a nonprofit organization.
Nonprofits have many of the same work roles as for-profit companies. They need accountants, marketing people, local managers, and national executives.
According to an interview with Alison Davis, Executive Director of MBA-Nonprofit Connection, nonprofits are especially challenging to work for, as they have very limited resources. At the same time, a more egalitarian and democratic ethos defines them, and you may find this environment makes you happier.
Your business degree can lead you down any number fulfilling professional paths, if you combine your interests and passions with the skills you have learned.