what can i do with a business degreeA degree in business administration can be an all-access pass to a wide range of careers.

There are the fields of banking and finance, obviously, but employment also can be found in the areas of manufacturing, product development, human resources, IT management and business analysis.

These positions offer careers outside the normal purview of the business world as well, making a business administration degree attractive for students who are looking to work, for example, in government or with a non-profit.

The following list covers only a fraction of the positions available with a business administration degree, but it shows the diversity and range of careers open to degree holders.

Business Administration Degree Job Options


Accountants are the number crunchers, the employees who handle a business’ financial records. Accountants also are responsible for ensuring that taxes are paid. This function makes them a bit like a business’ financial security personnel, since it’s the accountant’s job to keep the IRS at bay.

Accountants are needed wherever money is involved, in businesses from a corner store to a multinational corporation, but also in churches, hospitals, schools and non-profits.

Many accountants work for businesses or other organizations while others are independent, operating their own accounting businesses. Some specialize in tax preparations, meaning their workload increases greatly as April 15 nears.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), growth in the accounting field should be about 16%, or about average, for the period between 2010 and 2020. Average median pay for accountants in May 2010 was $61,690.

Commercial Loan Officers

Commercial loan officers are a lending institution’s gatekeeper, making decisions about who gains or is denied access to the financial coffers. Loan officers evaluate applications for loans and either authorize or make recommendations as to whether a loan is approved.

Commercial loans involve sums of money and layers of complexity not found in consumer loans. Some loans, in fact, are so large that a single bank will not be able to supply the entire requested sum, meaning the loan officer will work with other financial institutions to gather the necessary funds.

Because loans are, essentially, a gamble, loan officers must have a great deal of human judgment as well as numbers skills.

The need for loan officers fluctuates with the economy – as confidence in the economy improves, lenders loose the grip on available funds. The BLS predicts growth in the commercial loan field to increase by about 14%, which is about average for all jobs surveyed between 2010 and 2020.

Average median salary for commercial loan officers in May 2010 was $56,490, according to the BLS.

City Managers

A city manager serves as chief executive officer for a municipality. City managers typically are appointed by the city council. City managers are integral to the formulation of city budgets. They develop and implement city policy. They also hire and fire heads of various city departments.

Duties and job requirements vary from city to city.

Projected growth for all top executives between 2010 and 2020 is about 5%, below the average for all jobs surveyed. Average median annual income for city managers was $94,992 in May 2010.

Sales Managers

Sales managers oversee an organization’s sales teams. They set sales goals, analyze data and develop training programs for the organization’s sales representatives. Among their other duties are resolving customer complaints involving sales and service, preparing budgets and approving expenditures, analyzing customer preferences and sales, projecting sales and determining the profitability of products and services, and overseeing staff training programs.

The BLS predicts growth of about 12% for the period from 2010 to 2020, about average for all jobs surveyed. Median average salary in May 2010 was $98,530.

Human Resources Managers

Human resources managers take care of an organization’s administrative functions. They oversee recruiting, interviewing and hiring of new staff; consult on strategic planning with other executives in the company; and serve as a liaison between management and employees.

Other specific duties include planning and coordinating an organization’s workforce to best use employees’ talents; advising managers on organizational policies, such as equal employment opportunity and sexual harassment; coordinating and supervising specialists and support staff; mediating disputes, firing employees and directing disciplinary procedures.

Job growth in this field is about average for all jobs surveyed by the BLS, forecast at about 13% by 2020. In May 2010, average median salary for human resources managers was $99,180.

Public Relations Specialist

Public relations specialists manage the public face of an organization or individual client. They produce press releases and organize public relations programs.

Other duties include targeting audiences and determining the best way to reach them; responding to requests for information, helping clients communicate with the public, drafting speeches and arranging interviews, evaluating advertising and promotion programs to determine whether they are compatible with their organization’s public relations efforts, and sometimes running fundraising efforts.

Organizations increasingly emphasize community outreach and customer relations as a way to enhance reputation. The Internet spreads both good and bad news about an organization quickly so public relations specialists must be savvy with the Web and social networking in particular.

This has helped increase the demand for public relations specialists, with a projected growth in the field of 21% by 2020, according to the BLS.

Average median salary for public relations specialists in May 2010 was $91,810.

Advertising executive: Advertising executives create programs to generate interest in a product or service. They work with art directors, sales agents and financial staff members to discuss topics such as contracts, selection of advertising media, or products to be advertised.

Other duties include gathering and organizing information to plan campaigns, negotiating contracts and initiating market research studies and analyzing findings.

Job growth in the field for the period between 2010 and 2020 is forecast at 13% by the BLS.

Average median salary for advertising executives in May 2010 was $83,890.

Chief Executive Officer

A bachelor’s in business administration opens up a world of opportunity, but to rise to the top, an MBA (Master’s of Business Administration) is a necessity.

Duties may vary from organization to organization, but in general, a chief executive officer devises strategies and policies to ensure that an organization meets its goals. They oversee operational activities of companies and public or private sector organizations.

CEOs are the “buck stops here” of an organization. They are responsible for meeting goals, overseeing budgets, appointing department heads and managing, either directly or through delegation, all of an organization’s activities.

CEO’s carry a lot of responsibility, and they are rewarded handsomely for it. Average median salary in May 2010 as reported by the BLS was $165,080.

Projected job growth in the field is only 5%. An organization’s growth does not necessarily increase the number of top positions.

Financial Officer

Financial officers handle the financial health of an organization. They produce financial reports, direct investment activities and develop strategies and plans for an organization’s long-term financial goals.

Duties include preparing financial statements, business activity reports, and forecasts, monitoring financial details to ensure that legal requirements are met, reviewing financial reports and finding ways to cut costs, and analyzing market trends to find opportunities for expansion or for acquiring other companies.

Growth will vary according to industry but overall, employment growth in this field is forecast at 9% for the period between 2010 and 2020, according to the BLS.

Average median salary for financial officers in May 2010 was $103,910.

Marketing Research Analyst

Market research analysts study market conditions to determine the sales potential of products and services.

Among the duties of this position are monitoring and forecasting sales trends, measuring the effectiveness of marketing programs, gathering and analyzing relevant data and explaining the results to management.

Marketing can help companies cut costs by targeting audiences most likely to respond to and purchase its goods and services. Therefore, the demand for marketing research analysts is growing, with the BLS predicting an increase of 41% for the period between 2010 and 2020.

Average median salary for marketing research analysts in May 2010 was $111,440.


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