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What else can I do with a business studies or economics degree?

What else can I do with a business studies or economics degree?

What if you’re a business management student or graduate and you’re not sure that you want to pursue a career in business? This overview of your options should help you find a way forward.

Economics and business students typically have good commercial awareness, one of the qualities highly sought after by recruiters. What is more, they are able to effectively apply their knowledge of industries to the job.

Popular areas of employment for business and management graduates include business, HR, finance, marketing, PR and sales. Careers in consulting are another option. Consultants can specialise in a range of fields, including strategic consulting, IT consulting, HR consulting and business process management.

There is strong demand for economics graduates for financial and business roles, and as a result they are particularly well placed to move into professional level employment within a short time after finishing their degrees.

Whether you want to know what your options are or are looking for alternative careers, you can find some ideas here. This guide should help you think about the skills you have, the jobs they can be applied to, and the options available.

Skills for your CV

Specific skills you will have gained include:

  • analytical ability
  • communication skills
  • understanding figures
  • problem solving
  • ability to think logically
  • presentation skills
  • report writing skills.

One of your options is to join a scheme with one of the big graduate recruiters. These will often provide professional training as well as experience and a decent salary.

You could also pursue the less obvious opportunities with SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises). If you’re particularly entrepreneurial you might even consider starting up your own business.

You could also consider moving into the following areas:

Alternatively, you could consider the following job roles:

What do business graduates go on to do?

Here’s what business and administrative studies graduates who finished their degrees in 2018 were doing around fifteen months after graduating, according to the graduate outcomes statistics reported by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) in 2020.

Destination Percentage
Full-time employment 62
Part-time employment 7
Voluntary or unpaid work 1
Working and studying 10
Further study 6
Unemployed 6

Source: HESA's higher education graduate outcomes statistics, 2020

Key areas of employment for business graduates

These are the top five areas of work taken up by 2018 business and administrative studies graduates around fifteen months after graduating, according to the graduate outcomes statistics reported by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) in 2020.

Areas of employment Percentage
Professional, scientific and technical 16
Wholesale and retail trade 12
Finance and insurance 10
Information and communication 8
Manufacturing 7

Source: HESA's higher education graduate outcomes statistics, 2020

Which careers attract business and management students?

Hospitality, leisure and tourism was the most popular career choice for business and management students identified by a 2020 survey of more than 71,000 undergraduates carried out by Cibyl, a research business owned by the same company as GTI. Over half (57.8%) of business and management students who participated in the survey said they were interested in this area. The most popular careers were as follows:

Career Percentage
Hospitality, leisure and tourism 57.8% expressed an interest
Accounting and financial management 54.8
Consulting 47.0
Investment banking and investment 44.8
Banking, insurance and financial service  42.2

Source: Graduate Survey 2020

What salaries can business management and economics graduates earn?

Want to know what graduates in your degree discipline typically earn in different locations? The Pay Index has provided TARGETjobs with a handy graduate salary tool showing just that.

Famous people with economics or business degrees

If none of these career ideas tickle your fancy, consider the following, who all studied either business or economics:

  • Russell Howard – started his stand-up career while studying economics at the University of the West of England.
  • Cate Blanchett – originally studied economics and fine arts before starring in films including Elizabeth, The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Thor: Ragnarok.
  • Ivanka Trump – the daughter of the US president has an economics degree.
  • Konnie Huq – the former Blue Peter presenter studied economics at the University of Cambridge.
  • Mick Jagger – began playing with the Rolling Stones while studying at the London School of Economics.
  • Kunal Nayyar – landed the role of Raj in The Big Bang Theory shortly after graduating from the University of Portland.

Supported by

This describes editorially independent and objective content, written and edited by the GTI content team, with which the organisation would like to be associated and has provided some funding in order to be so. Any external contributors featuring in the article are independent from the supporter organisation and contributions are in line with our non-advertorial policy.

Advertising feature by

This describes content that has been written and edited in close collaboration with the organisation, who has funded the feature; it is advertising. We are committed to upholding our ethical values of transparency and honesty when dealing with students and feel that this is the best way not to deceive consumers of our content. The content will be written by GTI editors, but the organisation will have had input into the messaging, provided knowledge and contributors and approved the content.

In Partnership

This content has been written or sourced by AGCAS, the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services, and edited by TARGETjobs as part of a content partnership. AGCAS provides impartial information and guidance resources for higher education student career development and graduate employment professionals.

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