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What can you do with a business management degree?

At a glance

  • Business managers oversee and tend to an organization’s operations, helping to improve the efficiency of different departments and their employees.
  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment in management occupations will increase by 9% between 2020 and 2030. It anticipates a similar rise in demand for business and financial occupations, which may grow as much as 8% in the same time frame.
  • According to the same BLS data referenced above, 2020 median incomes for management occupations ranged from $49,160 to $151,150 per year. For business and financial occupations, 2020 median annual incomes ranged from $51,560 to $89,330 per year.
  • Business management provides many opportunities to continue your education. You can earn a higher degree in business management or pursue a degree in a separate but related field.
  • University of Phoenix offers a four-year Bachelor of Science in Management to prepare students for a career in business.

The complete guide to business management careers

Business management is the process of organizing and optimizing business processes and operations so a company and its employees can work as efficiently as possible. Although similar to business administration, business management is broader and more theoretical.

Rather than the specifics of day-to-day business operations, business management focuses on the bigger picture, soft skills and interpersonal relationships. It’s one of the best business degrees to get if you want to enjoy many potential career options, learn about a holistic approach to business operations, and become a well-rounded business professional.

Simply put, business management is a growing and varied field. Depending on the path you take, you may be able to enjoy high earning potential, job security and myriad opportunities for advancement.

What is a business management degree?

A business management degree is designed to prepare students to supervise, govern and handle a business’s operations. As opposed to more technical business degrees, a business management degree is broader in scope, looking at the big picture of running a business.

This type of work can encompass many responsibilities, so programs offer classes on an equally diverse range of topics, such as:

  • Business ethics and law
  • Business finance
  • Business technology
  • Economics
  • Human resources
  • Management
  • Market research
  • Marketing
  • Project management
  • Soft skills, such as communication and leadership
  • Strategic planning and logistics

Some business schools may offer electives or certificates, allowing you to specialize and further develop your skills in a certain area. Business majors might focus on specific areas of management, including operations management, project management or general management, to earn an additional certificate alongside their degrees. You may also focus on an entirely different area — such as information technology — to add even more depth to your degree and open more career pathways.

How do I start a career in business management?

To get started, you’ll need to earn a business management degree. Different employers will have different educational requirements, but most will expect to see at minimum an undergraduate degree, especially with a focus on business studies. A degree in business management may help you stand out from other applicants and help you become a more compelling candidate in your own right.

On top of a degree, some employers look for previous work experience related to business management. This is particularly true for management, executive or other high-level positions. However, this may not be the case for entry-level positions. 

What jobs can you get with a business management degree?

Like other business degrees, business management degrees are incredibly useful and offer opportunities in a variety of fields. With a degree in business management, you can pursue careers related to:

  • Accounting
  • Client and customer relations
  • Data
  • Finance
  • Human resources
  • International business
  • Management
  • Market research
  • Marketing
  • Products
  • Sales

However, your options don’t have to stop there. With such a versatile degree, you are prepared for a number of opportunities. You can even become an entrepreneur and start your own business if you’re so inclined. The exact way you use your degree will depend on your interests, preferred specialization and desired career path.

How to find a job with a business management degree

If you have a business management degree, you may be able to find a job through any of the traditional methods of job hunting, such as searching online and networking. If you’re still in business school, touch base with a career advisor for more personalized guidance and assistance.

When searching for jobs online, turn to popular job search websites, such as LinkedIn®, Glassdoor, Indeed and Monster®. You can use keywords like “business manager” and “business management” to find postings. If you want to specialize or work in a particular industry, use terms that match that specialty or field. Business management is a broad term, so you’ll get more specific results if you use more descriptive search phrases.

(LinkedIn is a registered trademark of LinkedIn Corporation and its affiliates in the United States and/or other countries. Monster is a registered trademark of Monster Worldwide, Inc.)

Business management jobs

Here are some of the specific business roles you may be able to take on with your degree:


Overview: Accountants prepare, maintain and interpret financial records, typically on behalf of a company or individual. Their duties often include bookkeeping, paying taxes, auditing records and working to decrease expenses while increasing profits.

National average salary: The salary range for accountants was $45, 220 to $128,680 in May 2020, according to BLS. Salaries vary depending on location, experience, certification and industry.

Education requirements: At a minimum, you need a bachelor’s degree in accounting, business, finance or a related field to work as an accountant. For some jobs, you may also need to get licensed as a certified public accountant (CPA) in the state in which you work.

Job outlook: BLS anticipates 7% growth in employment for accountants and auditors between 2020 and 2030. 

Business manager

Overview: Business managers are responsible for overseeing many, if not all, aspects of a business’s daily operations. They ensure that a business is running smoothly and on track to meet organizational goals. Depending on the organization, a business manager may oversee other departments, including finances, marketing and human resources.

National average salary: BLS reports that administrative services and facilities managers — the organization’s closest occupation to a business manager — had a salary range of $56,080 to $169,930 per year. Salaries vary by industry, company size and other factors like location and experience.

Education requirements: To become a business manager, you will need a bachelor’s degree and several years of hands-on experience in the workplace. Some organizations, particularly larger ones, may even require a master’s degree in business management.

Job outlook: Per BLS data, jobs in all management occupations are expected to grow 9% between 2020 and 2030. This amounts to about 906,800 new jobs in the coming years.

Financial manager

Overview: Similar to an accountant, financial managers oversee an organization’s finances. However, they usually look at overall and long-term finances. Responsibilities include analyzing financial data, setting goals based on that information and creating plans to achieve them. In some organizations, they may have to manage employees in accounting, financial or sales departments.

National average salary: BLS reports an annual wage range of $70,830 to $208,000 per year. Again, salaries vary according to several factors.

Education requirements: You’ll need a bachelor’s degree in business, economics or finance to become a financial manager. Some employers look for a master’s degree in one of these fields or additional licensure, such as a CPA or Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification. You will need several years of experience in a lower-level business or finance role before moving into management.

Job outlook: Demand for financial managers is expected to increase 17% between 2020 and 2030, significantly faster than the growth expected for all other occupations.

Management analyst

Overview: Management analysts assess an organization’s operations and work to improve their efficiency and productivity. They identify problems their clients face and develop solutions to address and overcome those challenges. They are usually self-employed or work for a consulting company, rather than in-house at a business, to provide an unbiased and fresh perspective.

National average salary: The annual salary range for management analysts was $50,990 to $156,840 per year in May 2020. Salaries vary depending on location, experience, certification and industry.

Education requirements: You’ll need a bachelor’s degree in business, management or a related field to work as a management analyst. Depending on the position, you may benefit from getting a master’s degree in business or having several years of work experience in a business or financial setting.

Job outlook: National demand for management analysts is expected to rise 14% between 2020 and 2030. This is significantly faster than the anticipated growth for all other occupations.

Marketing manager

Overview: Marketing managers oversee a business’s marketing department, taking charge of both its employees and marketing activities. They handle marketing strategies from start to finish, conduct market research for new products or services, analyze the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, and report this information to internal stakeholders. They usually work closely with other departments, such as sales, or represent their company in the media.

National average salary: BLS reports an annual salary range of $74,620 to $208,000 per year in May 2020. Salary ranges vary based on several factors.

Education requirements: You will likely need a bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, communications or a related field. Because this isn’t an entry-level position, you will need many years of experience in marketing to become a manager. In addition, some employers require multiple years of management experience.

Job outlook: The BLS predicts that demand for marketing managers will increase 10% between 2020 and 2030.

Project manager

Overview: Project managers supervise the operations of specific projects and tasks within an organization. This includes managing client relations, finances, budget and the employees working on the project. You can have a career as a project manager in countless sectors, ranging from healthcare to technology to government agencies and everything in between.

National average salary: The annual salary range for project management specialists in May 2020 was $42,180 to $135, 220, according to BLS. These ranges vary by industry, location, education level, experience and other factors.  

Education requirements: Most employers will expect to see a bachelor’s degree (preferably in business or business management). Some require additional certifications or even a master’s degree in project management. You will also need some hands-on experience in your chosen field before becoming a project manager in that industry.

Job outlook: The Project Management Institute (PMI) expects international demand for project managers to grow 33% through 2027.

The salary ranges are not specific to students or graduates of University of Phoenix. Actual outcomes vary based on multiple factors, including prior work experience, geographic location and other factors specific to the individual. University of Phoenix does not guarantee employment, salary level or career advancement. BLS data is geographically based. Information for a specific state/city can be researched on the BLS website.

How to get a business management degree

To get a business management degree, you need to make a few key decisions. First and foremost, you need to decide what kind of educational experience you want. Will you attend school online, in person or through a combination of the two? There are advantages and drawbacks to both virtual and traditional classes, and one isn't inherently better than the other. Instead, pick the option that works best for you.

After you’ve made that decision, you can start researching schools and their business management programs. Review the entry requirements and curriculum to see which would be a good fit for you and your goals. Check to see if these schools offer minor programs; specialties or concentration areas; or certificates. From there, apply to the schools that most interest you.

After you get into a program and start business school, focus on your studies! If you want to succeed as a business professional, do your best to learn the material. Simply put, take advantage of all the knowledge and resources available to you during your time as a student.

How long does it take to get a degree in business management?

Typically, it takes four years of full-time study to get a bachelor’s degree in business management. You may be able to move through a program more quickly if you take more than the minimum number of required classes each term or find alternative ways to earn class credit. Some business schools offer accelerated or condensed programs, which may be a good option if you want to complete your degree as quickly as possible.

Conversely, it will take longer to get your degree if you go to school part time or take time off from your studies. If you do a double major, or add a minor or certificate to your program, you may spend more than four years completing your undergraduate degree.

Keep in mind that program length can vary among schools; be sure to check the expected duration of your program when planning out your education. Further, you will need to spend an additional year or two going to school if you choose to pursue a master’s degree in business management.

How to prepare for business school

If you want to reach your academic and professional goals as quickly as possible, it’s best to start preparing for your degree in advance. It doesn’t matter if you’re in high school or going back to school as a working adult; take some time to set yourself up for success. You can then devote your time to learning about the details of business management and focusing on your professional development.

Here are a few ways you can begin prepping for your business management degree:

  • Pick classes wisely: If you’re a career changer or working on your general education courses, select the classes within your program wisely. Look to see if the program includes courses related to business, such as economics, business math or personal finance. These classes will build up your knowledge base, introduce important business concepts and make it easier for you to step into your business management classes.
  • Join professional organizations: Join relevant professional organizations in your community, including groups related to business and entrepreneurship. Also look into organizations that focus on other areas — such as debate and public speaking, community engagement and technology — to brush up on skills that are important in the business world. Again, this will lay a helpful foundation that better prepares you for college-level business courses — and help with networking too.
  • Work with a mentor: Connect with an existing business professional or local entrepreneur. Ask them if they’d be willing to serve as a mentor and share their expertise with you on your educational and professional journey. Having the help, knowledge and expertise of someone who has already had this experience will be invaluable as you progress into college and then the workforce.
  • Do an internship: If possible, sign up for an internship. Ideally, this internship would be related to business, but any kind of program will give you firsthand knowledge of how an organization works. If you’re working full time, conduct informational interviews with professionals in the industry you want to enter to learn more about what to expect and what you need to learn to succeed.
  • Get a job: Similarly, try getting a job to learn more about the inner workings of an organization. If you can, find a position related to the kind of work you’d like to do in business management. However, an unrelated job is still a useful opportunity, as you will learn about the general flow of a workplace and your qualities as an employee.
  • Research, research, research: Finally, do some research! Learn about business management, the industry and potential specializations. Take things a step further and look into specific programs, their curriculum, and their entry requirements. You don’t need to figure everything out before starting school, but you can benefit from having more knowledge. This will allow you to maximize the value of your time in school and focus more on your studies.

Ultimately, a business management degree is what you make of it. It’s a broad and varied field, filled with possibility and opportunity. Once you get your degree, it’s up to you to figure out what to do with it.


Explore all your options before committing to one path. Here’s the scoop in business administration.

Ready to start your business management degree? Explore the program at University of Phoenix!

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Michael Feder is a Content Marketing Specialist at University of Phoenix, where he researches and writes on a variety of topics, ranging from healthcare to IT and everything in between. He is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars program, and a New Jersey native!

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