Business management jobs offer lucrative career paths and rewarding work. With a business management degree, graduates have a wide range of high-paying career options to choose from.

This article explores the 10 highest paying jobs available to those with a business management background and degree. We’ll define each role, the typical responsibilities, required skills and qualifications, as well as salary potential. Let’s get started

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1. Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

As the top executive of an organization, the CEO holds the highest leadership position. CEOs define and execute the company’s long-term strategic goals, oversee operations, and make major organizational and financial decisions.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for CEOs is $185,800. However, CEO compensation tends to be higher at larger companies. CEOs with decades of experience commanding very large companies often earn millions each year.

To become a CEO, graduates need extensive business expertise and leadership skills acquired through at least 15-20 years of increasing responsibility within an organization. An MBA is also typically required for top executive roles.


Qualified candidates have a proven track record of driving growth, increasing profitability, and inspiring high performance in teams. Strong communication, analytical, and strategic thinking abilities are essential for CEO success.

2. Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

As the chief financial officer, the CFO oversees all financial activities including budgeting, financial planning and analysis, accounting, tax strategies, risk management and internal controls. CFOs develop strategies to maximize profits and ensure regulatory compliance.

The median annual salary for CFOs is $146,400 according to PayScale, though compensation can be significantly higher depending on the company’s size and industry.


Aspiring CFOs need a solid educational background that includes an undergraduate business or finance degree followed by an MBA with a concentration in finance. At minimum, candidates typically have 10-15 years of relevant experience in audit and finance roles, along with a CPA license.

Analytical and critical thinking capabilities, leadership, and strong communication skills are essential. Aspiring CFOs should develop expertise in accounting, financial modeling, and operations.

3. Operations Manager

Operations managers coordinate and oversee a company’s production or service delivery systems. They manage resources, analyze operational needs, plan workflow, implement efficiency improvements and ensure quality standards are met.

The average annual salary for operations managers is $103,490 based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, compensation is highly dependent on industry, size of operations overseen, and level of experience.

A bachelor’s degree in business management, operations, or a related field is baseline requirement. Many employers prefer candidates with an MBA specializing in operations or supply chain management. Solid leadership, critical thinking, analytical and problem-solving skills are essential.

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Experience in manufacturing, distribution, project management or a relevant operations role is needed to advance into upper level operations manager positions. Those overseeing large scale operations or strategic divisions can earn upwards of $150,000 annually.

4. General Manager

General managers lead all activities of a business unit or division within a larger organization. They develop departmental goals aligned to company strategy, manage budgets, oversee daily operations, and motivate their team.

The typical annual salary range for general managers is $80,000 to $150,000 depending on the industry, size of division managed and level of experience.

Candidates need a bachelor’s degree at minimum, ideally in business management or a related field. An MBA provides additional strategic perspective beneficial for general manager roles.

Experience in leadership, project management, sales, marketing or another divisional function at the management level are preferred. Strong communication skills and business acumen allow general managers to adapt to new markets, represent their division well and achieve performance objectives.

5. Sales Manager

Sales managers lead and direct sales representatives or teams to achieve revenue targets. Their responsibilities include developing sales strategies, setting quotas, recruiting talent, training sales reps, analyzing performance metrics, negotiating deals and resolving customer issues.

According to PayScale, the average salary for a sales manager ranges from $68,456 to $115,000 annually depending on industry and company size. Top performers managing high volume teams can earn well over $150,000.

An undergraduate business degree is common among sales managers, though fields like marketing are also relevant. Sales management experience of 5-10 years is usually required. Candidates demonstrate strong organizational, communication and analytical skills.

Sales leadership roles also require the ability to motivate, coach and coordinate teams to perform at peak levels under pressure. For those not pursuing an MBA, obtaining professional certifications expands expertise.

6. Supply Chain Manager

Supply chain managers coordinate all logistical activities involved in acquiring raw materials, components, producing and distributing final goods globally. Responsibilities include vendor relationship management, procurement, inventory control, transportation management and demand planning to meet schedules cost-effectively.

The median salary is $94,180 per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Top earners managing strategic global supply chains command $150K or more annually depending on industry.

A bachelor’s in operations, logistics, business management or similar is typical. Supply chain managers also have 3-5 years of related experience. An MBA with a focus on supply chain management provides advanced expertise.

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Analytical problem-solving skills and the ability to collaborate with teams globally are essential to optimize supply chains. Proficiency with logistics software and data analysis techniques gives candidates a competitive advantage.

7. Project Manager

Project managers oversee initiatives from start to finish ensuring they are completed on time and on budget. They define objectives, assign team member responsibilities, track progress against milestones, address issues promptly and deliver projects successfully.

According to PayScale, the average salary range for project managers is $55,000 to $95,000 annually based on experience level and industry. Those overseeing large, complex projects at major corporations earn over $125K.

A 4-year degree in project management, engineering or another relevant field is typical. An MBA complements technical skills with business perspective.

Project managers also complete certifications like the Project Management Professional (PMP). Strong analytical abilities and multi-tasking skills make project managers excellent leaders. Proficiency with project management software tools expands career options and earning potential.

8. Brand Manager

Brand managers develop marketing strategies to build brand awareness, loyalty and drive sales growth. They research target audiences, analyze competitors, develop pricing and promotions, oversee creative projects and measure campaign effectiveness.

The typical salary range according to PayScale is $50,000 to $100,000 annually depending on industry, company size and level of brand responsibility. Top managers at global brands earn six figure salaries.

An undergraduate degree in marketing, business management or communications provides strong foundations. Work experience in marketing, public relations or product management is valuable.

Successful brand managers have excellent communication, analytical and leadership skills. An MBA complemented by continuing education on digital marketing tactics and consumer behaviors boost candidates to director level roles. Industry specific certifications add to expertise and career options.

9. Real Estate Manager

Real estate managers oversee property development projects, acquire and sell properties or coordinate leasing services. Their responsibilities cover market analysis, financial modeling, construction scheduling, tenant relations and regulatory compliance.

Compensation ranges greatly depending on industry sector and level of experience. Asset management real estate managers average $80,000-$150,000 per year according to Robert Half, though experts earn more.

A bachelor’s degree in real estate, business or finance is beneficial. A graduate degree like an MBA provides leadership skills for senior roles. Real estate licensing or appraisal certification expands options.

Candidates demonstrate strong analytical abilities and communication skills to assess property and market dynamics accurately. Those with brokerage experience negotiating deals command higher salaries. Proficiency with property management software tools is valuable.

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10. Business Development Manager

These managers identify new business opportunities, generate and qualify leads, negotiate deals, implement go-to-market strategies and more. They play a key role expanding revenues.

According to PayScale, the salary range is $60,000 to $125,000 annually depending on sector, company size and level of responsibility. Top performers managing global accounts or strategic partnerships earn six figure plus salaries.

A bachelor’s degree related to sales, marketing or business administration is common. Advanced degrees like MBAs complement business development managers well.

Work experience in sales, account management or a similar role at the management level provides necessary skills for success. Strong communication, analytical and networking abilities allow business development managers to qualify opportunities accurately while establishing trusted relationships.


What are the job duties of a business management degree holder?

Business management degree holders take on a variety of roles across industries with responsibilities including overseeing operations and production, leading teams, developing strategies, analyzing metrics, negotiating deals, budgeting, and more. Common job titles include operations manager, general manager, project manager, brand manager, supply chain manager, and others.

What skills are important for success with a business management degree?

Key skills and capabilities that contribute to success with a business management degree include strong leadership, communication, analytical and problem-solving abilities. Proficiency with Microsoft Office tools and database software is valuable. Familiarity with accounting, finance, marketing and other business functions expands career options. Experience applying theoretical coursework to practical workplace challenges provides an advantage.

What can I do with just a bachelor’s in business management?

With just a bachelor’s degree in business management, there are still many career options and paths for advancement available. Entry-level roles graduates may pursue include operations associate, project coordinator, account manager, marketing coordinator, administrative assistant, and more. Many employers provide on-the-job training for these roles.

Business graduates can also consider entrepreneurial ventures starting small businesses or freelancing using their management, analytical and problem-solving skills. Experience gained from an entry-level role combined with certification and specialization sets the stage for leadership roles or starting a company within 5-10 years post-graduation.

With a bachelor’s alone, one’s career progression may be a bit slower than MBA holders initially. However, through experience, continuing education and skill development over time, bachelor’s graduates can certainly rise to director, VP and even C-level positions given the right opportunities and work ethic. An undergraduate business degree provides a strong launchpad for rewarding careers.

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