What Can I Do with a Degree in Business?
A bachelor’s degree in business administration prepares you for a wide variety of jobs as virtually every industry and organization benefits from a fundamental understanding of best business practices. Whether you want to work for a not-for-profit or a traditional business or even start your own business, having a degree in business administration is a solid investment in your future.
How much money can I make with an undergraduate business degree?
An undergraduate business degree is a very flexible degree, and as a result, the pay range for business degree holders varies greatly. According to Payscale.com, the median average salary for business administration undergraduates just out of college was $48,000. However, this will largely vary based on industries, positions, and location.
Generally speaking, working for a larger business in a more metropolitan area will result in a higher salary and more organized career path. Of course, this isn’t a universal rule.
What jobs can I get with an undergraduate business degree?
Almost every position within an organization can benefit from a solid grasp on business, but positions which focus on the administration and financial aspects of a business are likely to be the best fit for most people with a business administration degree. These include financial positions such as accounting, management positions, and positions within human resources, among others.
We’ve listed a few such positions, along with their average salaries and a general description of the position below. All of the pay data is based on publicly available information provided by Payscale.com.
Special events coordinator -- $42,000
As the name suggests, a special events coordinator plans events. The variety in this position comes from the types of events you’ll be involved in planning: large company meetings, fundraisers, parties, award ceremonies, etc.
As a special events coordinator, you’ll plan the logistics of an event. This means arranging the venue, inviting guests, creating programs, orchestrating entertainment, planning catering, and even handling the marketing of the event. As you can imagine, such a diverse range of tasks pulls from a large list of skills, so many event coordinators work with teams of specialists to accomplish these goals. On the day of the event, in addition to basking in the glow of the event, you’ll be overseeing the entire affair.
Because special events coordinators touch on a lot of different areas, they need a wide variety of skills. These include everything from the general organization and communication skills that all jobs benefit from, budgeting expertise, and project management skills to more hard to define skills like good taste. While it can be a demanding job, if you’re the kind of person who loves having a physical representation of your hard work and who loves to host, being a special events coordinator can offer an experience unlike any other.
Office Manager -- $49,000
Office managers are the first point of contact for a team and are often the primary spokesperson of the team within a company. They manage the day-to-day operations of the office, which includes a diverse set of tasks such as taking calls, managing inventory and supplies, overseeing scheduling, maintaining office space, training clerical staff, and managing records.
As an office manager, you’ll ensure that an office is running smoothly and that the businesses needs are being met by the staff. This includes a great deal of organization and supervision as well as a keen eye for detail. Maintaining databases and records for different departments can demand a wide variety of knowledge and keeping an office productive involves both ordering enough paper for the printer and making sure there aren’t distractions that are disrupting work. In the most extreme examples, office managers even take on the basic roles of a human resources specialist, as they are often the first people to hear about confusion about benefits or troubles that are brewing within a department.
The role of an office manager demands excellent communication, time-management, problem solving, and conflict resolution skills. It also requires the ability to multi-task and delegate tasks, as you’ll frequently be pulled in multiple directions at once in a busy office. In addition, being a team player is essential to managing a productive team.
It is important to understand that the role of office manager varies tremendously based on the organization you are a part of. In smaller organizations, your roles will likely include more responsibilities as the company has less specialized staff to manage certain tasks. While larger organizations will likely focus more on the organization and leadership roles, as many of the other tasks will belong to specialized positions.
Human Resource Specialist -- $51,000
Human resources is a very broad field which includes topics such as recruiting, training, payroll, benefits, termination, employee relations, and many others. A human resources specialist is typically responsible for multiple tasks within the HR department, but will work underneath a human resources manager as a part of a larger team.
As a human resources specialist, you will be the first point of contact for many employees, and you’ll be called upon to answer questions, enter data, and assist with health benefits. Much of your job will focus on employee-related paperwork and question answering, so communication and time-management skills are essential to succeeding in this position. In addition, as some of your work will require the creation of reports and ensuring compliance with different labor laws, having good research and analytical skills can be keys to success.
Having a familiarity with human resources practices and terminology will be important to getting your first job in human resources, as will having a business-related undergraduate degree. Higher paying positions typically require considerable experience working within the field.
Auditor -- $57,000
Auditors examine the practices and records of a business and look for errors and improvements. In general, an auditor is sought after when financial records need to be proven or when a business is lagging behind expectations for some unknown reason. As a result, every industry makes use of auditors, but the position is uncommon within small businesses.
As an auditor, your communication, research, and financial skills will be paramount, as much of your job includes combing through financial records and interviewing staff. You will then use the research you conduct to create an audit opinion that is supported by sufficient evidence and is designed to be used by management to make decisions and act.
Many auditors work for large corporations, especially those with multiple branches, but some are self-employed or work with the government.
To become an auditor, you’ll need to demonstrate excellent financial understanding. As a result, having a strong understanding of accounting is important. In addition, your business writing and communication skills will need to be top-notch as you’ll often be communicating with people who have less expertise than you do on subjects relating to finance and accounting.
Financial Analyst -- $61,000
Financial analysts are specialists in investments and financial policy. As most corporations and businesses have a legal responsibility to use income in ways that promote growth, the role of a financial analyst is vital to most large businesses.
As a financial analyst, you’ll monitor market trends and economic factors to ensure your corporation is making smart investments, in the terms of cash investments, product development, and acquisitions. Financial analysts are expected to understand a company’s current investments and their future potential growth, as well as be able to communicate those details and make recommendations to decision-makers.
To become a financial analyst, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in business, finance, or a related field; a strong grasp of financial policy and different investment strategies; and excellent communication skills.
Tax Examiner -- $49,000
As the name implies, tax examiners are responsible for examining the tax and revenue documents for a company. This will include creating financial forms or filing tax documents for clients.
As a tax examiner, you will organize and evaluate tax returns and look for financial errors. In addition, you will look for ways to take advantage of tax credits and deductions that might be able to reduce the tax liability of clients.
Having a good understanding of spreadsheets software and other organization systems will be useful in managing the tax information of different clients. In addition, having a keen eye for detail will be vital when you are comparing documents and looking for errors or inconsistencies on different tax forms. Finally, most tax examiners work in team environments with other tax experts, so team collaboration can be important (especially when dealing with a complex return to a large corporation).
In addition to a bachelor’s degree in business, finance, accounting, or a related field, having a tax certification, such as an Enrolled Agent certification, can assist in getting started in this industry.
Accountant -- $51,000
Accountants perform the financial calculations and planning for businesses in every industry. While the basics of the job do not fundamentally change, being an accountant allows you to work with people and companies that you connect with.
As an accountant, you’d create cash flow reports, do financial planning, manage risk assessment for new ventures, maintain balance sheets, and work to prepare tax documents for a business.
For most positions, becoming an accountant begins by getting your Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification. This is a very demanding certification that basically requires a degree with a concentration in accounting. The requirements to become a CPA are decided at the state level, but generally include 150-credit hours at the university level, with a concentration on accounting and auditing courses, completing a 4-part certification exam, and demonstrating a high ethical standard.
Even if you don’t have an undergraduate degree in accounting, there are still ways to get into the accounting profession. The two most common methods are
- Working in an accounting-adjacent position (such as bookkeeping, financial advising, or budgeting) and using that experience to qualify for accounting positions and certifications
- Getting a master’s degree in accounting and getting your CPA certification
Working as an accountant also has excellent growth opportunities, as many certifications exist to help you further specialize your expertise and grow your toolset. Many accountants will earn their Certified Public Accountant (CPA) at the beginning of their career, but other certifications, such as the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) or Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), exist to refine skills and demonstrate expertise.
Marketing Specialist -- $51,000
A marketing specialist works with their organization to promote services and products. Depending on the size and complexity of an organization, a marketing specialist’s role can vary dramatically. Within some organizations, a marketing specialist might develop complete marketing approaches for multiple products or brands. In other organizations, they may only work on a single aspect of a large campaign as a part of a larger marketing department.
As a marketing specialist, you would work to create marketing plans for products. This involves working with product stakeholders to determine target demographics and creating a marketing plan on the best methods to reach those demographics. Beyond planning, marketing specialists work with creative departments to create advertisements and other marketing campaign elements, such as web advertisements, print advertisements, and even TV commercials.
Career growth within marketing is heavily reliant on experience and skill building. Because marketing specialist positions can vary so much, having a diverse set of skills and experiences means you can work on more complicated campaigns and develop more thorough marketing campaigns.
Data Analyst -- $61,000
A data analyst is an expert in acquiring and organizing data about various topics. Whether collecting specialized data sets from existing larger data sets or acquiring new data, a data analyst provides the information that stakeholders and team members need to make decisions.
As a data analyst, you may collect information by conducting surveys or creating data reports using big data tools (such as Google Analytics or Salesforce reports). Then you’ll organize this data into more digestible charts, reports, and tables so that stakeholders can easily access and sort this data based on their needs.
Becoming a data analyst requires excellent organization and communication skills, as well as technical skills in software and tools such as SQL, Microsoft Excel, Salesforce, and Microsoft Access. Being able to predict the needs of stakeholders with regards to reporting is very important in these positions, as collecting and organizing data can be both time consuming and time sensitive. In short, having both a business and IT background or education can be beneficial to aspiring data analysts, so a business degree with a specialization in information systems is an excellent choice.
Do I need an undergraduate business degree to get an MBA?
In general, no you do not need an undergraduate business degree in order to get a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA). While you will need to have an undergraduate degree, most schools do not require that topic be in business or even in a closely related field. In fact, depending on the industry you’ll be working in, having an undergraduate degree outside of business can be a benefit as your undergraduate degree may provide additional insight into a specialized industry.
Is an undergraduate degree in business worth it?
Getting an undergraduate degree in business administration is an excellent way to prepare for a career in a wide variety of industries. Business graduates enjoy a high employment rate and competitive salaries while not being tied down to a specific field or location, and as a result have a great deal of flexibility when it comes to finding positions in the workforce.
In short, if your plans are to take on a financial, organizational, or management position within an organization, getting an undergraduate business degree is a great start.
Getting an undergraduate degree in business
Start enjoying some of the flexibility that a business degree offers while studying by joining the University of Florida Online. UF Online is nationally ranked #1 for best online bachelor’s program in business by U.S. News and World Report 2021. Students earning this degree will learn from some of the nation’s top professors and will receive their degree from the nationally recognized Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida. All of this, while being able to learn from anywhere.
Visit our business degree page or check out one of our free virtual information sessions to see how University of Florida Online can help you get started on the path to your future, today.