One of the first questions recent graduates ask themselves is what kind of entry level jobs they qualify for with their new degree. The answer, of course, depends in part on the type of degree and the fields and industries in which you want to work, which is one of the reasons so many undergraduate students are choosing business majors. Business degrees are currently the most popular bachelor degrees: according to the National Center for Education Statistics, the greatest number of bachelor's degrees conferred in the 2012-2013 school year (360,823 of a total 1.84 million) were issued in the business field of study.1
Part of the reason for this trend is that business degrees are typically designed to hone a range of key skills employers are looking for while remaining broad enough to apply to many different industries. Because entry level jobs for business majors often fall into management, sales, and analyst roles, you can focus on developing the essential employability skills necessary to handle these types of responsibilities, and worry less about expertise in a specific field.
Below are seven of the most popular entry level business jobs, along with the primary skills required for each and the industries in which these jobs are most commonly found.
Management Analyst – Entry level analyst jobs are typically divided up based on area of focus. As a management analyst, you are tasked with adapting and improving internal processes in order to help the company run more smoothly, make the best use of resources, and become more cost efficient.
- Main skills required: Project and resource management, critical thinking and problem solving, and interpersonal skills.
- Common industries: Many private sector corporations, especially those that are growing or undergoing major shifts due to scaling.
Financial Analyst – Financial analysts help their company make decisions about how to maximize profits. This may involve analyzing ROI to adjust pricing of products and services, setting quarterly budgets and internal pay structures, or making recommendations on investments.
- Main skills required: Accounting and basic math skills, attention to detail, and strong understanding of economics.
- Common industries: Investment firms, insurance and finance, and government agencies.
Market Research Analyst – Market research analysts are responsible for following industry trends and tracking changes in supply and demand to better determine what consumers are most interested in purchasing. Based on this research, market analysts will make recommendations regarding the sale, production, and marketing of a company's products and services.
- Main skills required: Detail-oriented and self-directed, able to identify patterns and trends, critical thinking.
- Common industries: Finance, insurance, retail, B2B sales, and marketing.
Marketing Manager – Marketing managers (also sometimes called marketing coordinators) work with a company's creative team to plan and oversee deployment of advertising strategies. This role is primarily responsible for generating awareness and interest around new products, and involves making decisions based on information provided by financial and market research analysts.
- Main skills required: Creativity, leadership, communication and interpersonal skills, and strong organizational skills.
- Common industries: Advertising and marketing, retail, manufacturing.
Sales Manager – A common entry level business management position, sales managers are responsible for developing and implementing sales plans, possibly across multiple regions and markets. Though typically still an entry level position, this role may also involve managing a full or part-time sales staff, setting required sales quotas, analyzing sales team performance, and establishing training guidelines.
- Main skills required: Leadership, customer service, and interpersonal skills.
- Common industries: While this position exists in most industries that require buying and selling of products and services, it is especially common in retail, insurance, and manufacturing.
Sales Representative – Sales representatives work closely with clients and potential clients to negotiate sales of a company's products and services, answer questions, set prices, and resolve customer problems. Depending on the industry, sales reps may travel to meet with customers within their assigned regions.
- Main skills required: Customer service, strong virtual and remote communication skills, and strong persuasive abilities.
- Common industries: Pharmaceuticals, technical and manufacturing, wholesale.
Human Resources Managers & Specialists – Depending on the size of the company, entry level jobs may require employees to specialize in one branch of human resources before moving up to management. Those in human resources positions help direct the recruitment and hiring process, handle administrative tasks like dispersal of benefits and payroll, and act as arbitrators of internal conflicts and employee issues.
- Main skills required: Strong interpersonal, organizational, and administrative skills.
- Common industries: Most companies have human resources departments, from small local businesses to large corporations.
Ready to learn more? Explore the variety of business degree specializations at AIU.
1National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, Digest of Education Statistics: 2013, on the Internet at https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d14/tables/dt14_322.10.asp