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Career Information

Careers in Business

Management/Supervision

Like coaches of sports teams, managers plan, organize and direct the work of others to achieve organizational goals. In their busy workday, they juggle many duties, including hiring and firing employees, allocating and managing resources, motivating and rewarding employees and addressing employee performance issues. Managers in large organizations specialize in functional areas such as sales, human resources, information technology, product development or supply chain. In retail or restaurant chains, an entry-level manager can advance to store manager, regional manager and beyond. Salaries vary greatly by industry, company, location and years of experience. In 2009, college graduates seeking positions as entry-level management trainees were offered salaries averaging $41,103 per year, according to the National Association for Colleges and Employers. Earning a bachelor’s degree or higher offers many opportunities for advancement. A master's degree in business administration (M.B.A.) is a common path to high-level management positions, from vice president to chief executive officer.

A manager wears many hats: interviewing and hiring new employees, administering a budget, delegating work, managing performance issues and more. Most graduates from a two-year degree program find work as entry-level managers in retail stores or non-profit organizations. Salaries for managers vary greatly by industry, company, location and years of experience. For example, in 2009, the median annual salary for a Chicago-area retail manager was $36,250, while an entry-level supervisor of production and operating workers earned about $27,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Entrepreneurship/Small Business Management

Owning a small business is the dream of many, despite the risks. Successful entrepreneurs combine tireless ambition with skills in management, including planning, marketing, managing costs, tracking inventory and supervising others. Salaries of small business owners vary greatly by the size of the business, industry, location and economic conditions.

Marketing

Another specialty for business majors is marketing. These professionals combine strategic thinking and creativity in a fast-paced, ever-changing career. They monitor trends that indicate the need for new products and services, and they identify potential customers, determine pricing strategies and oversee product development. Those on the creative side plan and execute advertising and public relations campaigns, tackling everything from identifying target audiences to coordinating the creation and placement of ads.

Entry-level careers include marketing coordinator and commercial marketing specialist. A bachelor’s degree—emphasizing solid marketing coursework—is the best gateway to management positions such as account supervisor, business development manager, marketing manager or marketing director. Marketing professionals work for both corporations and non-profit organizations and many are self-employed as consultants. In 2009, graduates with bachelor’s degrees in marketing received starting salary offers averaging $43,334 per year, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Through 2018, employment is projected to increase by 13 percent, according to the BLS.

Marketing assistants work with a marketing manager in planning and executing a marketing or promotional campaign. They assist with researching and monitoring trends, identifying potential customers, implementing pricing strategies, scheduling advertising and handling logistical details such as trade show booths. In 2010, the national average salary for marketing assistants ranged between $29,635 and $39,999, according to www.payscale.com.