What I Did with My Degree: Business Management

As a business management student like me, I'm sure you are used to all the questions by now: "What do you want to do after you graduate?" "What can you do with that degree?" "What kind of business are you going to manage?"

I essentially chose my major by eliminating things I hated or wasn't good at. Science, math and history – those programs were all crossed off the list instantly. I also wanted something practical, and something I could actually make a career out of relatively easily. I eventually concluded that every business needs managers, and that I could decide later which department or industry I preferred.

Enthusiastic to begin my life in the real world and also hoping to put an end to the endless questions, I graduated with my bachelors degree in business management and a minor in technical sales. In the months after graduation, I realized that my degree wasn't the ticket to success that everyone made it out to be. Reality set in even harder and I moved back in with my parents and worked my part-time job as a cashier for eight more months, in the mean time filling out applications to every job that required a business degree. What was I doing wrong? Obviously filling out applications wasn't getting me very far. So, as they drilled into our heads in school, I had to rethink my strategy – and fast!

Business Management Overview

Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, sales managers held about 346,900 jobs in 2008. Employment is expected to grow about as fast as average through 2018, and stiff competition is expected for jobs.

Companies Hiring Sales Managers

Related Job Listings


The BLS reports that median annual wages for sales managers were $97,260 in May 2008. The base salaries of sales managers are often supplemented by commission-based bonuses, which usually make up a large portion of total compensation.

Provided by CareerBuilder

I racked my brain for quite awhile before I finally remembered all the MBA advertisements and assemblies while I was an undergrad – "4 plus 1," they called it. Four years as a business undergrad and one year to complete the MBA program. I began talking to professors, business professionals and friends. The advice I received was split evenly: "Go back now before life gets in the way" and "Get a job that will pay for it and go back later in life when you have real experience." This was especially confusing to me. Here I was trying to make a rather expensive life decision, and I was being pulled in completely opposite directions. Eventually, I decided to enroll.

Nearly halfway through the program an opportunity finally knocked. A girl sitting in front of me in my class knew about an opening for a position at a large manufacturing company's headquarters in town. This is the company to work for in my particular town, and about as close to the golden ticket as I was ever going to get as a student! The position was related to sales and contracts, which weren't exactly my idea of fun, but my resume needed some serious help before graduation.

I got the job, and by working there I also had access to the same globally recognized training programs that were normally required for full-time employees, so I took advantage of the optional training certificates. Who was I becoming? Optional courses? On weekends? Looking back, my experiences working for this company were invaluable, and several colleagues turned out to be very influential in the years to come. It was definitely the turning point, where I really began to understand and apply the concepts I had learned in all those textbooks. I really started to understand what people meant by that "real experience" I needed to supplement my MBA.

Shortly after graduation, with the help of my colleagues and mentors, I was able to step into a full-time (and my first real) job in sales within another division of the same company. Eventually, through more discovery, hard work and accidental opportunities, I began to build an exciting and rewarding career in sales – a field I initially had lukewarm feelings about.

I would consider business management an open-ended major, in that it really does give a great foundation to a limitless list of careers, from working on a shop floor to a high-rise skyscraper. Let's be clear: in most cases students are not going to be senior-level managers the day they complete an undergrad program. But that degree in business management is a great start if you eventually hope manage the company of your dreams. Do you have to know precisely which one and have all the answers as soon as you graduate? Definitely not! It's just a foundation, like that of a building. You decide on the general blueprint early on, but many small details and changes happen throughout the entire process. The key to moving forward in business is patience. Take great opportunities and add them to your foundation as you go, even if you aren't exactly sure of where they fit into the whole. If you keep building in the right direction you will get there. Maybe not as fast as some of your peers, and your blueprint might change a few times, but you'll get there.

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I felt like I wrote the first half of your article. I am still waiting for that happy ending to go along with mine. Thank you for the inspirational words for my wait. I really appreciate your dedication.

July 23 2014 at 9:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chris Gummeson

What a great article! As a business management major I found it to be very helpful. Thanks!

January 29 2014 at 2:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jason Love

Great article and have to say you were very lucky.
I graduated with my MBA this summer and am currently burnt out from writing cover letters and adjusting my resume for each job posting.
I have started blogging as a way to pass the time and make some side money while I continue my job search. Here are some of the fields I am considering: goo.gl/v9GaRL

September 13 2013 at 1:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jason Love's comment
Jason Love

Link didn't work. Try this: http://www.businessmanagementdegreehq.com/business-administration-jobs-after-graduation/

September 13 2013 at 1:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thanks Alison! Very inspirational. Congratulations on landing that job. Hopefully I'll have continual success on my path to my business management degree.

September 03 2013 at 1:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thanks! You gave me some priceless perspective.

August 24 2013 at 5:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thank you so much for the inspiring message at the end of the article. It help me realize that life is full of randomness and you can't really put everything into an agenda. I will keep working on my BS and will take on every opportunity to improve my foundation. Overall, great article.

June 21 2013 at 12:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great article. It helps put things in perspective for me, thank you so much for writing this.

June 14 2013 at 11:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Allison, when I started reading this article, I felt like someone had narrated my life...actually kinda freaked me out how to a T we experienced the same thing. I just haven't gone to graduate school yet. You're reasoning for getting your Business Management was the same as mine. I even earned a B.A. in Psychology (one reason because I love dissecting people psychologically). Now I sit here at my parent's house, thinking, "what have I done?" I have plenty of work experience, 2 degrees, and I can't find a job in an area I would enjoy. People from both sides, just like for you, are telling me to go to grad school or find a job that would pay for it. However, I don't want to just find another job....I have had plenty of those, I want a career. I'm glad I stumbled across this article. This gave me the umph I needed to go to grad school. Thank you.

December 09 2011 at 3:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Salvador J. Horta

Thank you so much for your story I currently work for a Medicare Health Care Insurace Provider, thing is that my title is not perm I, there as a per diem. I will be graduating on Nov 13,2010. I really enjoy working for this employer because its teaching me so much and I really think that this company is the ticket its a non profit. Ive worked in the health care all together for about 3.5 years and Iam really enjoying it. But with degree I just dont know if its convinient for me to stay there I have applied for another positions but Iam still waiting for them to call me. My supervisors feel that I have great communication skils and so do the members. And not to brag I do a hell of job, beacause overall I care of what I do. Thing is that the only thing that my employer is able to see the listening portion of it. And getting worried that I will not be able to meet their expectations. I find it kind nof hard because I wish I was able to be notice and experience, but since Im a per dime. Do you of any opportunities within Health Care Insurance.

October 02 2010 at 9:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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