Career Guide: Business
Get down to business and the world is your oyster
Business students learn the arts of critical thinking, research, analysis and communication: students following the markets in the trading room in UCD’s business school
What do the health industry, science and engineering, creative arts, law, media, teaching, social work and the charity sector have in common? They – and indeed, every industry – needs business graduates.
Business is a good career path for students interested in the fast-paced world of commerce with good prospects for career advancement, high salaries and international travel.
Business students learn the arts of critical thinking, research, analysis and communication – and they are among the most highly paid of all graduates. These degrees can be broad or highly specialised.
While accounting and actuarial students are focused on the numbers, a grá for maths is not an absolute essential for business, with areas such as human resources, marketing and communications and sales and procurement drawing more heavily on people skills.
Where to study it
Somewhat fittingly, there is major competition between third-level institutions to attract business students. UCD is the most established provider of business education, and its bachelor of commerce course remains hugely popular. Trinity’s business economic and social studies (BESS) degree continues to draw in a large crowd.
Both the Kemmy Business School at UL and the DCU Business School offer some of the more innovative courses. Among other options, students at UL can tackle law and accounting, economics and mathematical science and economics with sociology.
Meanwhile, DCU undergraduates can take to the skies with a BSc in aviation management, or turn their attentions stateside with a BA in global business (US), which will allow them to study for two years in the United States.
There are even more unique and specialised options. Maynooth University offers the country’s only BBS with equine studies, helping graduates develop the skills to work in Ireland’s multimillion euro horseracing industry, while Dún Laoghaire IADT is a good option for students who want a career in the arts, with a well-regarded course in business studies and arts management.
Don’t ignore the smaller operators: the Dublin Business School has a solid reputation for business education, with human resource management and accounting among the options. The National College of Ireland also offers level 8 courses in business, accounting,and human resource management.
Accounting Technicians of Ireland (ATI) points out that there is a shortage of accounting technicians countrywide. Accounting technicians perform a wide range of financial roles that are typically associated with fully trained accountants. Accounting Technicians Ireland certificates and diplomas are available at various colleges of further education countrywide; there are also part-time courses in some institutes of technology including IT Tallaght and GMIT. Check with the colleges as the application process varies.
Students can also study directly with ATI. For more information, see AccountingTechniciansIreland.ie.
Increasingly, students are opting for business courses that also have a language component, with German, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese among the options available as part of UCD’s hugely popular international commerce course.
Trinity College also offers business studies with a language, including Polish, Russian, German and Spanish. Business with language options are also available at UL, DCU, NUI Galway, WIT, UCC and DIT.
The biggest growth area is, perhaps, business with Chinese, with courses on offer at UCD, UCC and DIT.
Some of the best business courses will have some element of work placement or international exchange. These include many of the business courses on offer at UCD, UCC, DCU, and NUI Galway. It is worth checking out if your business course offers this.
There is no area of life where business graduates are not needed. In almost every field, people with a knowledge of budgetary control and business management are essential.
While business graduates may find themselves working in retail, banking, accounting or global commerce, they are equally likely to work in the civil service, the charity sector, media, science and engineering industries, hospitality and tourism . . . the list is endless.
Graduates can also work in marketing, human resources, consultancy, sales or procurement. The digital marketing industry is a huge growth area. It’s also a good route to take if you’d like to work for yourself, providing you with the skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur or a consultant.
Big companies often take in business graduates and provide them with further training. Internships are becoming more common.
Many business professionals will go on to further study, with MBA programmes among the most popular and internationally recognised postgraduate professional development options.
Business graduates have among the highest salaries of any profession. Salaries, as may be expected, will rise with experience and the huge diversity of career areas is reflected by a huge range of salaries.
Recruitment firm CPL says that a financial analyst can earn € 45,000-€ 58,000 a year, but the salary of a financial controller may be as high as € 100,000. A supply chain manager can earn between€ 55,000 and € 75,000; fund accountants can earn up to € 70,000, while a marketing manager can make € 50,000-€ 90,000.
According to a salary survey by Morgan McKinley, a project accountant can earn up to € 60,000 in their first year, which rises to € 70,000 after five years; a digital account manager will start on between€30,000-€ 45,000; and a head of digital marketing can earn up to € 90,000 after five years.
Those with postgrad business qualifications will, unsurprisingly, earn even more.