What can I do with a postgraduate business degree?
Business masters graduates are a valuable commodity in a world increasingly concerned with doing business properly. A low proportion of business graduates go on to further study, but those who do will continue to develop their range of transferable skills, including:
- Understanding and interpreting numerical data and economic trends
- Time management
- Report writing
- Analysing information
- Working in teams
- Leadership skills
- Computer literacy
- Language skills and cultural awareness (if studying an international business course that involves overseas travel).
These skills are valuable to almost any employer. Though many jobs won’t specifically require candidates to have studied to a postgraduate level, it can only look impressive on your CV. Some of the careers business graduates would suit include:
Business masters graduates have the analytical skills, economic awareness and team-working abilities that management consultants need. Management consultants provide advice on the strategy, structure and management of external organisations with the aim of improving productivity and profitability.
Potential employers: There are a vast range of employers in this industry, from large City firms to independent local businesses – there is also the option of self-employment.
PA Consulting says that candidates for its graduate strategy and marketing programme must ‘demonstrate a good grasp of business principles’. 52% of Roland Berger Strategy Consultants’ graduate trainees have business-related degrees, and 16% of them have MBAs – clearly, City consultancy firms place business masters graduates high on their list of desirables.
Marketing and advertising
Marketing and advertising specialists need to understand how people think, what works well in business and how markets operate. Business masters graduates have that knowledge and often do well in these roles. Marketing and advertising executives are involved in developing campaigns to promote a product or service. The role requires a lot of creativity, as tasks will include assisting with the design of promotional materials and writing snappy copy. Choose electives that will stretch your ability to think innovatively.
Potential employers: A large number of businesses, both large and small and across all sectors, have marketing or advertising departments. Many large agencies, such as Saatchi & Saatchi and WPP, have graduate programmes that welcome business masters graduates.
It may not seem an obvious career choice, but business masters graduates have the commercial awareness and business savvy that solicitors’ firms value so highly. Solicitors are the first point of contact for a client with a legal concern. At commercial firms in particular, solicitors must have a good understanding of their clients' industries and the markets in which they operate in order to appreciate their objectives.
The majority of firms recruit roughly 50% of their trainees from a non-law background, with recruiters saying that non-law graduates often have a better awareness of the business side of the legal industry than those who have studied the academic side of law. You’ll need to study a conversion course and the legal practice course before you can train as a solicitor.
Potential employers: Business graduates would do well at commercial City firms. Those who have studied international business would be highly valued at international firms, such as Allen & Overy or Linklaters.
Many large retail employers run graduate schemes that put participants on a fast track to management positions. Business graduates already have a good level of commercial awareness, and those who have studied business to a masters level will certainly stand out among non-business undergraduates. The skills developed on a business masters course, such as team working, time management and report writing, are all highly valuable to retail employers.
Potential employers: Major retail companies recruiting graduates in the UK include Tesco, McDonald’s, Marks & Spencer and Abercrombie & Fitch. Some run schemes which are specifically suited to those with business degrees.
Accountancy and finance
Business masters graduates can make strong use of their analytical and numerical skills in accountancy and finance careers. Those who have taken electives in statistics will be especially valued. Most firms will recruit candidates from any background for their graduate programmes, but for a long-term career in these areas you’ll most likely need to study for additional qualifications.
Potential employers: Major professional service firms such as Deloitte, KPMG, PwC and Ernst & Young run a number of graduate programmes. Most large employers will provide financial support towards your professional qualifications, which can be gained on the job.
Other potential employers
- International airlines and travel agents
- Charities and non-profit organisations
- International development programmes (particularly for international business graduates).