Supply Chain Forum

What can you do with a business degree?

Work in nearly any field at any size business—from small, local shops to technology startups to retail giants—playing a vital role in their strategy and success.

Business Degrees

Business has been the most popular undergraduate major in the United States since 2010, encompassing nearly 20% of all graduates yearly. Despite the large number of graduates, seven of the top 10 degrees in demand are business majors, and business majors across the U.S. make median starting salaries of around $60,000. Recent Haslam graduates typically make starting salaries well within this range, and our placement rate is consistently above 90% across all business majors.

Our Graduates Work At:

  • The Pilot Company
  • Axle Logistics
  • PepsiCo/Frito Lay
  • Deloitte
  • Amazon
  • JB Hunt Transport
  • Proctor & Gamble
  • Dell Technologies
  • Home Depot
  • Phillips

Our Graduates Become:

  • Supply Chain Managers
  • Financial Analysts
  • Accountants
  • Investment Bankers
  • Product Marketing Managers
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Data Analyst
  • Social Media Manager
  • Sales Account Manager
  • Human Resource Generalist

…And that’s just a starting point.

What is a business degree?

For a business degree, students learn fundamental theory across the major disciplines necessary to run a business: management, accounting, economics, and marketing. At Haslam, we also integrate statistics, supply chain management, finance, and operations into every student’s core business education, and require students to pursue two areas of additional interest (called a collateral or concentration) for their majors.

A staged group advising photoshoot for Student Success in a Strong Hall classroom

What Does a Career in Business Look Like?

Overall business job opportunities are projected to grow at a steady 7 percent from 2021 to 2031 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Click on each major below to see what some mid- to senior-level career positions look like in each field, and the median salary for these experienced professionals.

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Job Descriptions by Major

Careers in accounting entail carefully analyzing and managing financial records to accurately report on a business’s health and help plan for its future.

  • Accountant: Accountants analyze companies’ financial statements to find ways to reduce costs and ensure tax and other regulatory compliance. Licensed CPAs can work independently for many businesses or as a company employee, and many Chief Financial Officers start out as accountants.
    Median Salary*: $77,250
  • Forensic Account: Forensic accountants analyze financial documents to search for evidence of crimes. They can work for insurance companies, banks, law enforcement agencies, or federal agencies like the SEC or CIA.
    Median Salary: $84,000.

Business analytics and statistics graduates can work in any data-driven field to tackle challenges, identify trends, and create more efficient processes. Industries seeking data analytics professionals include healthcare, technology, sports, government, retail, manufacturing, and transportation.

  • Business Analytics Professional: These professionals gather, summarize, and interpret data inside and outside the business to solve complex business problems, simulate business processes, and explore various scenarios.
    Median Salary: $103,500

Economics careers focus on how a society produces, distributes, and consumes goods and services and the choices people, businesses, and governments make in the process.

  • Economist: Economists analyze complex issues relating to how money flows through society by combining advanced statistical methods with factors like political stability or environmental sustainability to impact policy. They often work in academia, government, or think tanks.
    Median Salary: $114,000
  • Analyst: Economics analysts use strong quantitative skills to gather and interpret data to identify broad economic trends and market conditions that might impact business decisions. They often work for private companies, regional governments, or financial institutions examining taxes, employment levels, inflation, energy costs, etc.
    Median Salary: $106,750

The finance field primarily deals with money management—either at the individual, business, or institutional level. Financial careers involve investing, borrowing/lending, forecasting, budgeting, or risk management.

  • Financial Advisor: Financial advisors assess a person’s financial needs and inform their decisions on investments, tax laws, and insurance. They help clients plan for short- and long-term goals, such as budgeting for education expenses and saving for retirement.
    Median Salary: $96,250
  • Chief Financial Officer: The top financial position in an organization and a primary member of any corporate leadership team. They are responsible for tracking a business’s cash flow and financial planning and analyzing the company’s financial strengths and weaknesses to propose strategic directions.
    Median Salary**: $433,000

Degrees in human resources study the full experience employees have within an organization, from hiring to compensation and benefits to exiting the company. Human resource professionals oversee payroll, employee training, workplace conflicts, and equity and diversity.

  • Compensation Analyst: Expert researchers in the skills and requirements for job positions and the competitive market for qualifying candidates. They inform salaries for each position and employee benefits.
    Median Salary: $67,750
  • HR Business Partner: A senior business leader who works across an organization to align the HR strategy and implementation with business objectives and help reduce risks in HR policies, compliance, training, etc.. The HRBP must understand all areas of HR, as well as the business unit’s financial position, its midrange plans, its culture, and its competition.
    Median Salary**: $61,250

Careers in business management and entrepreneurship take in the full range of business functions—finance, marketing, operations, etc.—to lead organizations and develop business strategy.

  • Business Manager: Business managers supervise and manage a company’s assets, operations, and employees. Their responsibilities vary by company size, but their primary objective is to evaluate, troubleshoot, and implement business strategies to optimize company productivity and efficiency.
    Median Salary: $101,750
  • Director of Operations: A top management role, DOOs oversee staff management, hiring, department supervision, policies, and production, to ensure a company’s growth and profitability. They help with daily business activities and set strategic goals to help organizations remain in business.
    Median Salary**: $140,000
  • Start-up Founder: An entrepreneur who uses their knowledge of business practices to turn an idea into an organization. They can found one business or specialize in founding businesses and making them profitable before selling them. Founders assume all business risks and must have a broad knowledge of management and market tactics.
    Median Salary: dependent on funding and venture’s success.

Marketing degrees examine how a company identifies new customers and analyzes pricing, communication, competitor research, and consumer behavior to retain them. Marketing careers involve a wide range of skills, from quantitative analysis to creative communication to strategy.

  • Brand Strategist: Brand strategists help a company create and maintain its image. They analyze market research to make positioning recommendations for products or services and analyze trends on consumer needs to create marketing plans.
    Median Salary**: $97,650
  • Digital Marketing Manager: Digital marketing managers implement, oversee, and managing digital marketing strategies, promoting a business’s products or services and brand awareness through mediums like web presence, email, online advertising, and social media.
    Median Salary**: $122,400
  • Account Executive: Account executives take over from the sales team to manage, grow, and support existing customer accounts. They are communications professionals that work in any field from finance to advertising to analyze market trends and ensuring customer satisfaction.
    Median Salary**: $95,400

Supply chain management graduates ensure the flow of goods through the global economy, from procuring raw materials to delivering finished products to customers retail outlets. SCM professionals typically work for medium to large businesses, in locations all over the world.

  • Vice President of Procurement: A vice president of procurement leads all a company’s activities in trade operations and compliance, inbound and outbound transportation, logistics network operations, packaging, and logistics engineering, across 6 continents with teams in 26 countries.
    Median Salary**: $228,980
  • Chief Supply Chain Officer: The chief supply chain officer is the executive leader over the entire supply chain management team. They oversee the end-to-end supply chain, including sourcing, procuring, planning, manufacturing, and distributing products and services.
    Median Salary**: $203,967

*All salaries not marked with ** are based on information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook.
**Based on data from from the Knoxville, Tennessee area

Which Business Degree is Right for Me?

Studies show the people happiest with a career in business are practical, extraverted, assertive, and tough-minded. The opportunities to specialize in business are nearly limitless though, so here are a few resources that can help bring your business future into focus.

Data suggests that less than 10 percent of students know much about their intended majors. Exploring majors and careers is a normal part of the student experience. Research, self-assessment, and experience help students through the career decision-making process.

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Gain Experience

At Haslam we feel the best way to learn your key strengths and skills is by doing. That’s why our curriculum emphasizes experiential learning, with group business simulations and projects using real-world data. We also strongly encourage students to participate in one or more business internships, with 80% typically completing an internship before graduation. Students who complete internships are significantly more likely to have a placement by graduation. Last year, our students who interned earned $9,000 more on average than students that did not.

Students working in class on a laptop
students talking to professor

Get Advice

We have an entire team devoted to helping students prepare for jobs and internships, from resume and interviewing advice to job search assistance to career fairs and other opportunities to engage with potential employers. Students begin thinking about their future careers their first year at Haslam through our Haslam Leaders curriculum, extracurriculars, and more.

Research Resources

Strong Interest Inventory

Compiles and analyzes interest patterns and compares them to satisfied professionals in various occupations. To take the SSI, schedule a major or career exploration appointment in Handshake, or call 865-974-5435 for the assessment link.


Helps identify your personality type by evaluating your interests, values, and skills as well as your preferences for communication, work and personal interactions. Visit TypeFocus to create an account. Access code: utk34

Clifton Strengths Finder

An assessment to identify talents, develop them into strengths, and apply those strengths in experiences to make you successful in the classroom and careers.

Additional Resources

The BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook provides data-backed details on median pay, job outlook, and basic descriptions of the most common business jobs.

What Can I Do with This Major? website guides you through more of each major’s typical career areas, types of employers, and strategies to become a more marketable job candidate.

Other Paths to Business Careers

Not everyone who has a business career majors in business. Vols who want to make another field of study their primary undergraduate focus can gain some valuable business knowledge with options like:

Haslam Minors

Business Minor: Gain the foundations in accounting, finance, marketing, economics and management to support your ability to lead and run an organization in any field.

Entrepreneurship Minor: For students with a startup spirit who want some practical strategies for making their business dreams become reality.

Social Entrepreneurship Minor: Tailor your minor to your field and learn how business strategies and practices can be applied to organizations promoting social change.

Business Graduate Programs

Haslam offers a full range of masters and doctoral programs in each of our fields of study. Applicants typically can come from a different undergraduate major, but each program has specific undergraduate class requirements that you should be aware of if you plan to take this route.