Business Careers, No MBA Required


Discover how you can launch a business career without earning an MBA.

By Amanda Hearle    

Interested in getting into the business market, but worried that no one will hire you without a master's in business administration (MBA)?

You might be surprised to discover that there are opportunities out there for people without an MBA.

If you're ready to pursue your dream job in business, check out this list of careers that don't require you to hold an MBA.

Career #1- Accountant

Want to get involved in the finance side of business? A bachelor's degree in accounting could help you pursue a career as a budget analyst, auditor, or accountant, where you could play a part in how companies save, manage, and make money, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

While it's true that some employers may prefer MBA holders, the Department of Labor says many businesses generally value employees who have practical experience, technical skills, and earned a bachelor's degree in accounting or business. A bachelor's degree in accounting can also help students develop their computer and accounting programming skills, according to the Department.

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Career Details: Accountants do more than help people file taxes. They also might provide useful financial analysis, help with investment planning, and prepare financial documents. Accounting grads could potentially pursue opportunities in public accounting, management accounting, government accounting, or internal accounting, according to the Department. Many starting accountants could potentially advance to managerial positions. Average annual salary: $68,960*

Career #2 - Public Relations Specialist

Are you someone who understands the importance of image? If you enjoy crafting the perfect tweet or campaigning on behalf of a cause, consider how a bachelor's degree could help you break into the field of public relations.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, public relations is a field that usually favors articulate, creative individuals with experience. For this reason, many positions generally require a bachelor's degree in communications, journalism, marketing, or communications, says the Department of Labor.

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Career Details: PR specialists generally promote their clients' interests by writing press releases, organizing charity events, and designing advertising campaigns, according to the Department. PR specialists usually work with clients such as businesses, nonprofit organizations, universities, or hospitals; they help these organizations maintain a beneficial relationship with the public, according to the Department. Many public relations firms generally offer continuing education courses to boost your knowledge, says the Department. Average annual salary: $59,150*

Career #3 - Personal Finance Advisor

Want a number-crunching career that lets you help others? Consider preparing to pursue personal finance advisor opportunities. While it's true that an MBA could give you a leg up in this competitive field, it's not essential to finding a job as a personal financial officer, says the U.S. Department of Labor

According to the Department of Labor, most employers generally accept candidates that hold a bachelor's degree in a related field (i.e. accounting, economics, finance, or business) and have experience in banking or sales. Providing this type of financial advice also generally requires skills in math, analysis, and interpersonal communication, says the Department.

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Career Details: Personal financial officers generally help people understand their financial needs. This means you should understand how tax laws, investments, and life insurance can affect your clients, and then be able to explain it to them, according to the Department. You could help clients prepare for retirement, education costs, and investment options. Average annual salary: $91,220*

Career #4 - HR Specialist

Are you someone who understands the importance of teamwork and a positive working environment? Working as a human resources specialist could give you the opportunity to help create a dynamic office atmosphere through recruiting and instructing employees as well as effectively handling workplace conflict. And you don't need an MBA to get started!

Because responsibilities differ by position, education requirements usually vary in this field, too. While an MBA might be required for top HR management positions, the U.S. Department of Labor says that people with bachelor's degrees can be strong contenders for entry-level HR careers - and that employers typically look for workers with a bachelor's in human resources or liberal arts and who can demonstrate technical or business skills. Previous experience is generally looked on as a plus, while new hires are usually instructed by supervisors in the basic elements of their position, according to the Department of Labor.

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Career Details: HR specialists tend to be continually on the hunt for the best and brightest candidates for their company. The Department says that HR specialists generally travel to job fairs and universities, conduct interviews, and make hiring decisions for their company. To help improve office morale and productivity, HR specialists usually play a role in providing employee development programs and maintaining employee satisfaction, according to the Department. Average annual salary: $57,280*

Career #5 - Meeting and Convention Planner

Do you enjoy planning parties and special events for your family and friends? If so, you could have a future as a meeting and convention planner - without an MBA. Planners are the people who work behind the scenes to help make business conventions and other large events run smoothly and successfully.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, most employers prefer hiring candidates with a bachelor's degree in marketing, public relations, business, communications, or hotel and hospitality management. Experience in marketing or hotel sales can also be highly valuable, says the Department of Labor. Other important skills generally include creating and maintaining relationships with clients, staying organized and multitasking, and possessing effective interpersonal and communication skills.

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Career Details: Many details usually go into planning a convention: from choosing the site and managing guest lists to having audio visual equipment, transportation, and food available the day of the event, according to the Department. And meeting and convention planners are generally in charge of managing the financial components, including creating contracts with facilities and suppliers and creating an event's budget. Many entry-level planners gain experience by assisting more experienced meeting planners as they organize an event, says the Department. Average annual salary: $48,780*

*All annual salary figures are based on the U.S. Department of Labor, 2010 statistics.

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