5 business degrees that get you earning US$100,000 a year as a fresh graduate

best degrees for business
The best degrees for business can take you to all that's gold and glitters. Source: AFP

Working hard all your life to get a place in a top uni can be worth it — especially if you end up with one of the best degrees for business that earns you US$100,000 a year.

This isn’t a figure that you start earning 10 years after graduating. Fresh graduates who just completed one of the best degrees for business can land jobs that pay them US$100,000 a year (before taxes).

Don’t take our word for it. TikTok and Instagram are filled with videos of fresh graduates like user @angies_listt. She’s 23, working in New York City as an investment banker and seems to be living the “dream life.”


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There are highs and lows, of course, even if you have one of the best degrees for business that earn you nearly three times what the average worker in the US makes.

The annual wage of 20 to 23-year-olds in the US is US$38,324.

Top on the list are the long hours — up to 90 to 100 hour work weeks. Work emails seem to never cease and you could be replying to them even at 2am.

Still, the six-figure salaries right out of college for those with the best degrees in business seem to make it all worthwhile.

Or, at least, when you’re still in your 20s.

best degrees for business

Living large is possible with the best degrees for business and a willingness to sacrifice sleep. Source: AFP

Why the 20s is the time to get one of the best degrees for business that earn you big money

Many of us believe that the younger we are, the longer we can go without sleep. We can stay awake all night and still function the next day. Those who are older do not feel as energetic.

While you may think this is due to young people having more energy because their bodies recover better, this isn’t the case.

“The amount of sleep needed [as you age] doesn’t change, but the perception of sleep changes,” says Dr. Leila Kheirandish-Gozal, director of clinical sleep research at the University of Chicago, to TIME magazine.

Sleep ability also decreases with age, according to Michael Grandner, director of the Sleep and Health Research Centre at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

What all of this tells us is that younger people can deal with long work hours better. You don’t perceive sleep as a non-negotiable must-have and can probably fall asleep more easily.

All of this makes it easier for you to work at 2 a.m. and then still be able to fall asleep at 3 a.m. Ask anyone in their 30s or 40s to do this and many will laugh at how impossible it’ll be for them.

If it’s big salaries you’re after, the best degrees for business can lead you to them — if you’re planning to work up to 100-hour weeks and sacrifice sleep.

Just beware that this should be a stepping stone or temporary measure. Long-term sleep loss can mess with your mind, mood, memory and heart, increasing risks of diabetes, obesity, heart disease and more.

best degrees for business

A woman checks her mobile phone outside the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on January 18, 2023 in New York City. Source: AFP

More reasons why you should choose the best degrees for business

According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS), salaries for many occupations related to business were higher than those for all workers

Apart from high earning potential, the best degrees for business also increase your likelihood of landing a job quick.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found that business majors dominate six of the top 10 most in-demand bachelor’s degrees, making it the most marketable degree in the job market. 

Other reasons to study business include:

  • You’ll become a better communicator. Unlike STEM (that’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) graduates, you have to work with people all day. You’ll work in teams and have loads more interactions, either written or in person.
  • You can manage your own finances better. As most best degrees for business teach accounting and budgeting, you’ll know how to spend wisely and even make profitable choices in your personal life.
  • You can start your own business. By learning how others do it, you practically have step-by-step guides on how to launch start-ups and manage organisations — plus all the mistakes you should avoid.

5 best degrees for business for high-paying jobs

best degrees for business

If you like being a part of big decisions that can shape the company’s future, then a career as a financial manager may be right for you. Source: AFP

1. Bachelor of Economics 

Choose this if you are interested in statistics, accounting, and understanding the processes of producing, distributing, and consuming goods.

You will learn to analyse complex data, evaluate economic trends, and make informed decisions based on quantitative and qualitative analysis. 

The best part is that with this degree in hand, you can enter many different positions in a company as this course covers a wide range of subjects, including microeconomics, macroeconomics, managerial economics, accounting, mathematics and operations research.

Upon graduation, you will be able to choose from a diverse range of job opportunities, from education to business and government.

The skills you gain are valuable as they are highly transferable and sought after by employers across many industries. Organisations need economists to analyse market trends, conduct economic impact assessments, provide financial forecasts, and inform policy decisions.

This is one of the best degrees for business, and professionals in this field are in high demand. The demand for financial managers is predicted to grow by 16 per cent from 2022 to 2032.

According to Glassdoor, those who follow this path and become financial managers — usually after a few years of work — can anticipate a median base salary of approximately US$185,654 per year.

best degrees for business

You can make a lot more money on Wall Street than in most other industries. Source: AFP

2. Bachelor in Logistics and Supply Chain Management

There is no denying that a bachelor’s in logistics and supply chain management is one of the best degrees for business that will ensure you achieve a high-paying, successful career.  According to Glassdoor, a supply chain manager in the US can earn up to US$112,514.39 a year

To earn this high salary, you will first need to complete a bachelor in logistics and supply chain management. This degree will equip you with the knowledge of the operations behind moving goods from one place to another. You will gain expertise in logistics, procurement, inventory management and strategic planning. 

These skills are valuable as supply chain managers are crucial in optimising the flow of goods and services, reducing costs, and enhancing organisational efficiency. Companies rely on these professionals to streamline operations, reduce waste, and increase profitability. 

Overall employment of supply chain managers is expected to grow by 18% from 2022 to 2032, much faster than many other occupations. 

3. Bachelor of Marketing 

Marketing is not just about buying and selling, you will also need to know how to draw customers and keep them. “Just do it,” Nike’s highly successful motto for years, didn’t come out of nothing.

These magic words are the work of years of creativity — despite the nonchalant attitude of the marketing gurus that came up with them.

“I like the ‘do it’ part of it,” Mr. Wieden, a co-founder of Wieden & Kennedy, says in the film, recalling the moment it dawned on him to use the phrase. “None of us really paid that much attention. We thought, ‘Yeah. That’d work,’ ” he says.

Part of the art is knowing that those three words will work, and not the infinite combinations of the 170,000 words in the English language.

A degree in marketing will teach you this, as well as leadership skills, consumer behaviour and why people buy goods and services.

Pursuing a marketing degree is a great choice as graduates can find employment in any industry, as nearly all businesses, organisations, and nonprofits worldwide have marketing teams. It tops the list of the Best Sales and Marketing Jobs by US News and World Report.

The best part is that it is among the best degrees for businesses to secure a high-paying job. According to BLS, the median annual wage for marketing managers was US$140,040 per year in 2022

Marketing managers are responsible for various strategic and marketing communications projects. This includes planning and executing campaigns communicating a brand or organisation’s message to its target audience.

best degrees for business

A HR manager is usually considered a people person as they are the go-to person for all employee-related issues. Source: AFP

4. Bachelor of Human Resources Management

If you enjoy interacting and working with people, you should consider getting a degree in HRM. You will learn about payroll management, training and development, and labour laws.

In your career, you will work with a team to care for the employees and manage compensation and benefits. All while securing big bucks for yourself. 

You will be in charge of creating and implementing programmes and policies for staffing, recruiting, payroll, safety protocols, etc.

BLS reports that the average median salary for a human resource manager in the US is around US$130,000 per year

As one of the best degrees for business, the human resources management sector is expected to grow by 9% between 2020 and 2030, with an opening of over 14,800 new jobs.

However, beware that you will also have to be the person who suspends or fires employees. As much as you’re a people person, this can take its toll. 

best degrees for business

If you’re looking for a career that pays well, consider a bachelor’s degree  in finance. Source: AFP

5. Bachelor in Finance 

Finance is the study of the management of funds by people and businesses. As a finance major, you will learn about asset management, investments and how businesses interact with and operate within financial markets.

If you are looking to get rich quickly, this is one of the best degrees for business to help you with that. As a finance student, you will gain an understanding of money and how to grow and make it. 

It is ranked second in the Best Business Jobs ranking, according to US News and World Report.

This degree usually combines with accounting, giving students a better understanding of the financial world. It opens doors to careers in investment banking, corporate finance, financial planning and consulting.

As you climb up the corporate ladder and gain experience, you will be able to become a financial manager – which is known to be one of the highest-paying jobs in the world

Glassdoor estimates that the average salary for a finance manager is US$185,654 per year in the US. According to US News, Financial Managers made a median salary of US$131,710 in 2021.

The best part? You don’t have to worry about securing employment, as the BLS predicts that jobs in the sector are projected to grow 7% from 2021 to 2031.