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Find out why a business management degree opens doors to lots of different careers

Claire Sparrow

4 min read

Claire Sparrow, Head of Undergraduate Business Courses at the University of Portsmouth, explains why a business management degree could be the right choice for you.

What can you do with a business management degree? The answer, in short, is pretty much anything. Well, you wouldn't be able to do open heart surgery, or fly a fighter jet (not without a bit more training), but you could find yourself managing the team that builds the new operating theatre or the team that sells the jets.

Employers love business management graduates due to their adaptability, broad skill sets and ability to understand all facets of a business. Graduating with a business management degree will allow you to apply competitively for a vast array of roles across a variety of sectors.

Luke Hahn, Careers Adviser, University of Portsmouth

What is business management?

It sounds like too many words, doesn't it? And sometimes, just to confuse things, you'll see it as 'business and management'.

Business management is a broad degree that allows you to examine and understand all parts of a business.

A good business management course should give you an insight into all the key business areas; economics, accounting, marketing, operations, data and managing people.

Whatever kind of team or department you end up managing, a business management degree allows you to have an understanding of how everything fits together. A Business Manager is like the conductor in an orchestra, bringing all the separate instruments together to make beautiful music.

Why study business management?

1. Keep your options open

If you're not sure whether you want to work in marketing or business operations, then this is the degree for you. A business management course should allow you to explore a range of specialisms and offer you the option to focus on your interests, if you want to, as the course progresses.

2. Work in any sector

A business management degree gives you tools you can apply to virtually any industry. You might end up in IT, or banking, or arts management, or shipping. You can take what you've learned and practice it in an industry you're passionate about.

What about setting up your own business? If you have an entrepreneurial dream, business management will give you a strong grounding in all the moving parts of your business that you'll have to manage.

3. High earning potential

The average salary for a Business Manager in the UK (2021) is £53,913 (Reed recruitment).

What's more, employers often ask for business management degrees when hiring new recruits. HR News puts business degrees at number 2 in their list of the 'Top 20 most in-demand degrees in the UK' (2021).

4. Transferable skills

Even if you finish your degree and decide you don't want to be a Business Manager, you'll have developed lots of useful skills you can apply elsewhere. Did you know, for example, that Mick Jagger, Cate Blanchett and Arnold Schwarzenegger all have business degrees?

Transferable skills include:

  • Communication
  • Team working
  • Data analysis
  • Problem solving
  • Presenting
  • Leadership

I chose business and management because I wanted to gain a wider knowledge of business, with the hope I'd find something I enjoyed doing, and could then specialise. I enjoyed the variety and flexibility, the ability to be able to tailor the course to meet my own interests.

Thomas Ruther, BA Business and Management alumnus, University of Portsmouth

What jobs can I do with a business management degree?

One of the joys of a business management degree is that there's no such thing as a typical employer. The skills you learn doing a business management course are needed in tiny start-ups, large corporations, and both the public and private sector, which means you'll have lots of options.

Some of the common roles you could go onto include:

  • Project Manager
  • Business Analyst
  • Production Manager
  • Marketing Manager
  • Banker
  • Risk Manager
  • Entrepreneur
  • Accountant
  • Retail Manager
  • HR Manager

For some of these roles, such as being an accountant, you'll have to do further study and exams. But, because you've studied some accountancy in your degree, you'll know for sure that it's the career for you.

Is business management a good degree?

Business management is a very well respected degree that's often quite competitive to get into.

Business degrees are also the most popular choice for international students studying in the UK. There are many reasons for this, including the UK's well-respected finance and service sectors and our entrepreneurial culture (1,843 new companies start-up every day in the UK).

If you know for sure that you want to be an Accountant, then you should apply for a specialist degree in accountancy. But, if you want to keep your options open, taking a business management degree is your answer. You can still be an Accountant, or a Marketeer, or an HR manager, but you'll also have a much better understanding of how a whole business works.

Claire Sparrow is Head of Undergraduate Business Courses and a Principal Lecturer in Law at the University of Portsmouth.