“What are you going to do with a business degree?”
I’ve been asked that question countless times, and have finally decided to try to answer it. Certainly, I know of some careers that I’m interested in after graduating from QC (consultant, economist, etc.), but they are very preliminary. Rather than blindly going into something because of its prestige, I want to be able to say I researched all my options, so here, for future reference, is a list of jobs students can get into with an undergraduate business degree.
This list will be continuously updated in the future as I find new careers to investigate!
Table of Contents (Click to Jump):
Equity Research Associate
Job Description: Actuaries are risk-calculators and advisers. Actuarial analysts conduct statistical analyses in different areas (e.g. property casualty, life and health, pensions) to predict future risk, and determine prices for financial products. They also prepare presentations and communicate findings to supervisors.
Starting Salary: ~$50 000 – $60 000*
Median Salary: ~$80 000* (note: as an actuary)
Gender Ratio (M/F): ~67/33*
Yays: Work-life balance; intellectually stimulating for math lovers; BUSINESS + MATH = HOT
Nays: Lots of exams to pass; not as many exit opportunities due to specialization
Skills Required: Proficiency in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel (vlookup, pivot tables), and Access (SQL); math acumen (especially in stats and probability); attention to detail; oral and written communication skills
Other: Students looking to be hired in this profession should look into taking and passing 2-3 actuarial exams (SOA or CAS depending on area the individual wants to work in) before graduation.
Useful Uni Courses: Stats, Econometrics, Macro and Microeconomics, Finance and Risk Management
Potential Employers: Aon, Blue Cross, Deloitte, Equitable Life In Canada, KPMG, Sun Life
Job Description: Accounting clerks perform a wide range of bookkeeping and accounting duties. These may include creating accounting entries, handling accounts receivable and accounts payable, and helping in the creation of financial statements (e.g. balance sheet, income statement).
Starting Salary: ~$35 000*
Median Salary: ~$61 000* (note: as a Chartered Accountant)
Gender Ratio (M/F): ~15/85*
Yays: Job in high demand; excellent job security; accounting knowledge/experience is very desirable in many business positions (if one decides to switch careers)
Nays: Work can be monotonous and tedious*; hours staring at a computer screen
Skills Required: Proficiency in Microsoft Excel; attention to detail; written and verbal communication skills; ability to use accounting software (Quickbooks, Simply Accounting, ACCPAC, etc.); customer service
Other: Students looking to be hired in this profession should look into taking the CPA exam (and listing their intention to do so on their resume). High data entry speeds are a plus.
Useful Uni Courses: Introduction to Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Taxation, Accounting Theory, Business Law, Audit
Potential Employers: Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Friedman & Friedman, Grant Thornton, KPMG, Pricewaterhousecoopers
Equity Research Associate
Job Description: Equity research associates research industries and companies through the Internet and by talking to investors to determine their financial situation and business outlook. They create research reports predicting how companies will perform right before the release of earnings reports.
Starting Salary: ~$60 000*
Median Salary: ~$70 000* (note: as an equity analyst)
Gender Ratio (M/F): ~88/12*
Yays: High end of year bonuses (ranging anywhere from $1000 – $26000); gain specialized knowledge in a single industry that can be leveraged for future jobs (e.g. moving into hedge funds)
Nays: 12-hour workdays, may work weekends too; high stress due to deadlines; may have to deal with conflict of interest
Skills Required: Attention to detail; reading comprehension; communication skills; proficiency in Microsoft Office; ability to deal with extended or irregular hours; strong finance and accounting knowledge; critical thinking
Other: Students looking to be hired in this profession should look into starting to get either a CPA or CFA designation before they graduate from university.
Useful Uni Courses: Introduction to Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Business Management and Communication, Corporate Finance, Macro and Microeconomics, Finance and Risk Management
Potential Employers: BMO, CIBC, Cowen Group, Credit Suisse, CPP Investment Board, Morgan Stanley, TD, RBC