Want to succeed in business with just a bachelor's degree? The key is focusing your education while you're in school—and networking both before and after you graduate.
"People major in business and think it means a big paycheck, but it doesn't always,” says Katie Bardaro, lead analyst for online salary database PayScale.com. “It takes a lot of drive, a lot of connections and a lot of luck to get into high-paying fields in business if you have only your bachelor's degree."
Bardaro says students who are more analytical should consider focusing their studies on statistics or financial analysis. Technology and data-heavy industries are likely to continue growing and will have a high demand for business graduates in the immediate future.
Connections also count in the business world. "The best thing to do is to focus on alumni networks," Bardaro says. "Business is definitely an area where connections help a lot."
So what are some high-paying jobs for business majors? We pulled together this list of the top 10. While these jobs aren't restricted to people with only bachelor's degrees, they are all gigs you can get without further education.
IT Project Manager
Project managers in the IT field create project plans for the development of new products and releases. They ensure that departments work together to meet deadlines, perform tasks, allocate resources appropriately and maintain quality.
- Typical Median Pay: $95,000
- Popular Industries: Computer systems design; management, scientific and technical consulting services; electronics and appliance stores; software publishers; commercial equipment wholesalers.
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Business Development Manager
These business professionals find and take advantage of business opportunities, either by optimizing current revenue streams or developing new ones. They identify key strategic partnerships, gather information on customers and competitors, and understand their industry’s competitive landscape.
- Typical Median Pay: $82,500
- Popular Industries: Computer systems design; management, scientific and technical consulting services; electronics and appliance stores; scientific research and development services.
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Senior Financial Analyst
Business majors in this job analyze data affecting their companies’ investment programs.
- Typical Median Pay: $74,500
- Popular Industries: Computer systems design; depository credit intermediation (companies that accept deposits and lend funds; e.g., banks); commercial equipment wholesalers; national security and international affairs.
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Regional Sales Manager
Sales managers establish goals and quotas and analyze staff sales statistics to determine opportunities. They may also direct sales training programs.
- Typical Median Pay: $71,200
- Popular Industries: Computer systems design; management, scientific and technical consulting services; health and personal-care stores; pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing; agriculture, construction and mining machinery manufacturing; grocery and related product wholesalers.
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Media supervisors oversee media researchers, buyers and planners and make sure the right ads appear on the Web, in newspapers, during radio and TV shows, or anywhere else advertising can appear. Their goal is to spend a company's media budget in the most productive way possible.
- Typical Median Pay: $70,800
- Popular Industries: Advertising and related services.
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Construction Project Manager
Construction project managers typically create budgets and plans for developing or maintaining buildings, roads, bridges and other structures.
- Typical Median Pay: $69,200
- Popular Industries: Building equipment contractors; architectural, engineering and related services; residential building construction; nonresidential building construction.
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IT Business Analyst
Business analysts define requirements for how an IT system should work and then communicate those requirements to the technical staff.
- Typical Median Pay: $66,800
- Popular Industries: Computer systems design; depository credit intermediation; management, scientific and technical consulting services.
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Account executives work in a number of industries. They typically manage business relationships between their companies and customers. Sales savvy, relationship management and product knowledge are all must-have skills.
- Typical Median Pay: $64,600
- Popular Industries: Computer systems design; electronics and appliance stores; insurance carriers; agencies, brokerages and other insurance-related companies.
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Accountants analyze financial data to determine profit, loss and liability.
- Typical Median Pay: $61,500
- Popular Industries: Computer systems design; oil and gas extraction; agriculture, construction and mining machinery manufacturing; executive, legislative and other general government support.
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Hotel General Manager
There's not much hotel managers don't do -- they plan and manage most activities related to the day-to-day operations of the hotels they manage.
- Typical Median Pay: $60,000
- Popular Industries: Traveler accommodation.
Find hotel general manager jobs.
Source: All salary data provided by online salary database PayScale.com. Median pay is the national median (50th percentile) annual total cash compensation. Half of the people doing the job earn more than the median, while half earn less. Range in pay within a job can vary widely depending on years of experience, scope of responsibility, location of work, etc. All pay values are calculated for workers with five to eight years of experience with a bachelor's degree and major in business administration.
Learn more about business careers.
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