Business Graduate Career Paths
Studying business gives you a broad understanding of the key elements needed to make a business successful, giving you an insight into marketing, sales, events, human resources (HR), operations and logistics, entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility (CSR), accounting, corporate finance, economics, project management and more. These business functions appear in companies across all industries, from banking and financial services to fashion and advertising, as well as in both the private and public sectors.
Opting to study business at GCSE, A-Level or degree level will give you exposure to the various business functions and help you to identify areas you would like to explore further. Whether you study that topic at the next level of education or pursue as your career, studying business can lead you in many directions. If you intend on studying a business degree, consider a combined programme to integrate a topic or industry you are interested in, without committing entirely to that area i.e. Business Management with Marketing or Creative Industries and Business Management.
Let’s look at some common career paths for business graduates…
The most natural of progressions for a business graduate would be to become a business manager, responsible for keeping a business productive and efficient. Managing people and budgets to ensure company strategies and implemented and goals met. Often business managers progress to become a:
- Managing Director (MD)
- Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Within marketing, there are various specialisms and routes that can be either in-house roles – marketing the company you are hired by – or agency roles – marketing for various clients of the agency and can be in any industry. Here is a typical career path for a business graduate working in marketing:
- Marketing Executive
- Senior Marketing Executive
- Marketing Manager
- Head of Marketing
- Director of Marketing
- Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)
Sales roles are often an attractive proposition for business graduates, owing to the potential income from commission, and business graduates are ideal for companies recruiting sales roles, due to the broad business knowledge they hold. A typical career path for a business graduate working in sales looks like this:
- Sales Executive
- Sales Team Leader
- Business Development Manager
- Head of Sales (often by region i.e. EMEA)
- Vice President (VP) of Sales
Events and Entertainment
A career in events and entertainment can lead you to work on a whole host of different events, from weddings and parties to music festivals and sporting events to conferences and trade fairs to product launches and promotions anywhere in the world. To work in this sector requires great planning and a good understanding of all the elements involved the events and their respective industries, which is why business graduates often work in the events and entertainment industry. Here’s a typical career path for a business graduate working in events and entertainment:
- Event Coordinator
- Event Manager
- Senior Event Planner
- Event Director
- Event Designer/Stylist
Human Resources (HR)
People are at the centre of every company and it’s the job of HR professionals to ensure the right people are in the right place at the right time for the business to succeed. From hiring and firing to training and development, HR roles attract many business graduates, and this is a typical career path for them:
- HR Administrator
- HR Specialist
- L&D Manager
- Head of People
- HR Director
- Chief Human Resources Officer
Logistics, Operations & Supply Chain Management
Logistics and operations are at the heart of any company that sells products (rather than services), with e-commerce giants such as Amazon and Alibaba and luxury brands such as Chanel and Cartier being heavily dependent on successful supply chains to succeed. Here’s a typical career path for business graduates entering the logistics arena:
- Shipping and Logistics Administrator
- Distribution Manager
- Global Logistics Operations Manager
- Group Logistics Director
- Chief Operations Officer (COO)
Business graduates are equipped with all the essential knowledge to help a business succeed, so it’s only natural that many business graduates become entrepreneurs and create their own businesses. The word entrepreneur is often associated with the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, but every business is started by an entrepreneur and in the UK alone there are 6 million businesses – of which 5.7 million are micro-businesses (Business Statistics, House of Commons Library January 2021). So, whether it’s running a shop on Etsy or building a global empire, entrepreneurship is a great path for business graduates to follow.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
In a globalised world, companies (large and small) can have a significant impact on environments, communities, and economies. Business graduates are equipped with the knowledge to understand this impact and launch their CSR career. Careers in CSR can range from:
- ESG Investment Manager: environmental, social and governance investing follows ethical investment seeking long-term socio-economic benefits as well as profits.
- Community Engagement Manager: builds strong relationships between companies and the local communities and stakeholders they impact, often running events to include and educate your community.
- CSR Manager: whether it’s making companies CO2 neutral or supporting community initiatives CSR Manager roles are increasingly becoming a must-have at every company.
Corporate finance involves adding value to businesses through divestitures and mergers & acquisitions (M&A) and is a popular route for business graduates and can be within large corporate firms, advisories or investment banks. Careers paths can vary, but a typical route will be:
- Financial Analyst
- Senior Analyst
- Head of Business Development
- Vice President (VP) Investment
- Managing Director
- Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
If, as a business graduate, you are highly numerate, you may find yourself following a career in Economics. Economics careers can be for public or private sector organisations and involve researching and analysing data to inform and advise on strategies. Typical careers include:
- Economic Researcher
- Data Analyst
- Financial Risk Analyst
- Investment Analyst
Looking to study business? See our Getting into Business & Economics Guide and discover what it takes to win a place on a business or economics degree course and progress to a career in Business and Economics.
Behind every major company move, there is a team planning and executing a strategy that results in the new product or service you consume as a customer and new bridge or railway you travel on. Project management requires organisation, business acumen and leadership, to ensure projects are completed on time and within budget, making it a great route for business graduates. See some example projects that a project manager may oversee:
- New product/service launch
- New IT software implementation
- Construction of houses, roads, bridges railways, sewers etc.
- Business mergers
At MPW, we offer Business as a subject at GCSE, IGCSE and A level, plus Easter Revision courses, across our colleges. Simply click on the following links to find out more.
Business courses at MPW
Business at MPW London
Business at MPW Birmingham