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Top career paths for business graduates

December 21, 2016 by Lindsay Racen


Commencement season is one of the most exciting times of our lives. After the speeches have been read, the tassels and caps have flown, hoods and stripes have been granted, the graduates and their supporters excitedly dream about what’s to come. Today, we celebrate the future ahead by exploring top career pathways for new graduates, starting with stellar careers for those in business and professional studies.

Career opportunities for business professionals 

U.S. News and World Report is not only the foremost authority of ranking universities, it is also a great resource for sharing the top careers in the marketplace today. Whether you’re finishing up your bachelor’s or master’s degree, consider some of these top career pathways.

For the Big Data Gurus 

There are so many great options for those with minds for big data. Market research analyst positions are among the top in-demand fields. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projections we can expect to see an impressive 20 percent employment increase for this occupation between 2018 and 2028. These experts study consumer habits and use their observations to formulate recommendations to companies on how to package, brand and sell products. They understand economies of scale and the complex rules of supply and demand, collecting and using data to drive decision making processes. Graduates of programs that study e-business strategic management, business intelligence and data analytics or related concepts may find the perfect fit within this field. 

One of the reasons why this position is ranked so high in the standings is because it offers a high opportunity for upward mobility. It requires at least a bachelor's degree, and masters degrees only add to the possible career pathways. Records show that salary ranges from $34,310 on the low end for entry level positions to $121,080 for the seasoned professionals, with a median of $63,120. In terms of regional demand, California residents have an advantage as the top-paying cities for market research analysts include San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland. 

For the Finance Focused 

The demand for number crunchers doesn’t seem to be fading anytime soon. All of the newly trained finance and accounting experts out there are prepped for the future. The range of industries and positions that accountants can find themselves in is nearly endless. In addition to tax preparation for individuals, public accountants can perform auditing, provide consulting for corporations, nonprofits and governments. Businesses and organizations have internal personnel to create processes that refine lean fiscal operations, with the goals of eliminating waste and fraud. State and federal positions help maintain the structure of the American economy. 

Given all of these options for professional development it's clear why accounting positions are rated high for upward mobility. The Labor Department agrees by predicting that 1,424,000 new openings will be created in the taxes and accounts receivable fields between 2018 and 2028. Salary ranges are similar to market research analysts, with a high of $122,840. Related positions landing in the top 10 include financial advisors and managers, bookkeepers and audit clerks. Look into getting a master's degree in finance online if you want to open new doors for yourself in the job market.

For the Marketing Minded

This one is interesting because there is such a wide range of opportunities in the industry. Market research analysts have have remained high on the list throughout the years. Although these positions do require a fair amount of data analytics skills, one of the most important functions of the job is to translate findings to clients in an easy-to-understand way, which requires strong interpersonal communication skills. This unique combination of talents is why the BLS notes that statistics, math, computer science and business administration may be good specialties to pursue in college, but studying one of the liberal arts or social sciences like communication can also serve a budding analyst well. 

The marketing managers are the masterminds behind driving your purchasing process as a consumer. They touch the traditional advertising realm and today can often extend into the digital arena to promote brand messaging based on specific target audiences. The median annual wage for a marketing manager is about $132,620, with the best in the biz sitting on $208,000 annually. Although some with exceptional talents may land a job with just a bachelor's degree, most companies fill these vacancies with candidates that have an MBA or higher. Having an MBA will also provide more opportunity when it comes to finding international business jobs.

For the People Persons 

When interviewing for a job, some candidates like to use the phrase, "I'm a 'people person'." In the cases where this is undoubtedly true, you often find great organizational leaders and human resource managers.  Although not in the top 10, the human resource specialist is securely rooted among the best jobs for business professionals, after all every organization relies on great people and leaders to survive and thrive. The daily routine for these hard workers can easily fluctuate, training specialists may perform tasks ranging from recruiting to answering employees' corporate wellness questions. 

The importance of human resource specialists in the business environment is undeniable. Their salary range stands between $36,280 and $104,390 with a projected five percent employment growth in the field between 2018 and 2028. Human resources and team development positions are perfect not only for MSHR grads, but also those studying organizational leadership. These individuals truly are people persons who can help manage change and how the workforce handles it, an invaluable skill for advancement in today's ever-changing world.

Add to your resume with new business skills

Congratulations to all lifelong learners who continuously look for new opportunities to grow and develop. Those with a bachelor's degree in hand may want to consider pursing a graduate-level program like an MBA, master's in human resources or organizational leadership. For those who already donned their hoods at as post-baccalaureate grads, there are always professional development and certificate programs that can help you hone your business acumen and add to your resume. Advancing your education can ultimately help open doors in your career and propel you to new heights. 



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