Careers in business

A career in business can offer a diverse range of opportunities for LSE students. Business and management roles, functions and practices are essential to all organisations, across a wide variety of sectors and industries globally.

Broadly, you can expect to find both generalist and specialist career opportunities within business, including management roles. You may also find areas of work that intersect with opportunities highlighted in other LSE employment sector pages (eg, consultancy). Businesses range in size from global multinational corporations, to SMEs, to start-ups; many LSE graduates have also pursued entrepreneurial routes, setting up their own businesses in a range of sectors.

What is a career in business?

There isn’t enough space on this webpage to give a comprehensive overview of what a career in business might look like! Businesses differ immensely in their scope, size and function. For example, commercial organisations can operate at local, national or international level and provide products and services to both individuals and other organisations. Some businesses choose to specialise in a specific area, manufacturing products for a particular set of customers. Others diversify, delivering a broad range of products and services for multiple markets. This diversity is also reflected in the roles available across these organisations, there are many options available to you.

As a guide, business roles can cover many areas such as human resources (HR), business administration, strategy, business analytics, international business, sales and marketing, procurement, logistics and supply chain management, operations, project management, quality assurance, corporate social responsibility (CSR), etc.

Since business and management is quite broad in scope, many transferable skills will be useful for careers in this sector. For example, leadership, strategical thinking, data analysis, interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, planning and organisation, and problem-solving (not an exhaustive list). Organisations also value the global mindset that LSE students can offer. Increased access to global markets has led employers to seek graduates who have an international perspective, and an adaptable and proactive approach to change and innovation.

Every year, LSE graduates from a wide range of degree programmes start working in business (graduate schemes in business and management are usually open to all degree disciplines), and you will find our alumni all around the world. Business and management graduate schemes often require a 2:1 classification (minimum) in any subject (a 2:2 may be accepted for some functional areas). If you are unsure which area of business you would like to work in, you may wish to consider applying for a generalist business and management graduate scheme where you can experience a number of different functions – this will allow you to keep your options open whilst you explore different roles. A master’s qualification is not a requirement for all roles but may help you to secure some of the more specialist positions and career paths within the sector.

When considering your options, choose a sector that interests you and then research the products, brands, reputation and values of the businesses in that sector. This can provide a useful starting point for investigating opportunities within the business and management field. It is also important to consider your own strengths, competencies, and motivations.

Where can I work, what can I do, and how can I get there?

Where can I work?

You can expect to find business and management roles in a range of industries and across public, private and not-for-profit sectors (including charities), worldwide. Therefore, it’s important to take the time to investigate the options available. Within business and management, you can also access opportunities to travel and work abroad, a variety of entry points, a varied working life with an immediate high level of responsibility, and opportunities for rapid career progression. Both large corporations and SMEs offer graduate jobs in business and management. 

What can I do?

There are a multitude of career options available within business, and additional career routes are constantly emerging due to advances in technology having a profound impact on how businesses operate. We've outlined below some of the ones likely to be of most interest to LSE students, with links to where you can find more information. If you can, try and talk to someone who's doing the job you're interested in, so you get a real flavour of what it's like.

If your long-term career goal is to take up a senior level / executive or Board level remit in an organisation (ie, C-suite), there are several options available, eg, CEO, managing director, Chief Operating Officer, etc. Given the flexibility within business and management, you may also have the freedom to move around different roles and sectors throughout your career. 

  • Management – typically, managers oversee the daily functioning of a team or department, setting goals, motivating staff, solving problems, evaluating results, etc. Roles exist in all sectors, companies and countries and responsibilities vary depending on context. Job titles can vary significantly across different sectors, however. Entry-level positions can often provide early opportunities for understanding key processes and systems, supervising people, and leading projects. The Prospects overview of business, consulting and management is a useful resource, including job profiles ranging from office to retail manager. 
  • HR and recruitment – HR support and manage an organisation’s people and associated processes. Great scope for specialism and development within a particular function, for example learning and development or equality and diversity. Some graduate trainees are based purely within the HR department, while other schemes move you across different business areas including marketing and management. Increasing numbers of companies now outsource key elements of their HR functions. As a result, opportunities exist with HR consultancy, particularly for LSE students with a specialist master's degree. The Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) provide a useful overview of different HR career options. Recruitment draws on elements of both HR and sales to source employers for companies of all sizes, and many opportunities exist for graduates from any discipline. The TARGETjobs recruitment consultant job description provides further details.
  • Logistics, supply chain and procurement – procures, manages and dispatches goods and services. A logistics professional focuses on four main aspects: supply, production support, distribution, and returns. A supply chain professional oversees the processes which occur within the overall supply chain, including manufacturing and procurement processing. Large global businesses that specialise in logistics include DHL, Maersk, and Kuehne + Nagel. The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport provides a useful overview for graduates.
  • CSR – also known as sustainability, responsible business practice, social responsibility or corporate citizenship. Ensures a business's processes, strategies and everyday work follows ethical, environmental and sustainable guidelines. Training schemes specifically around CSR are rare, so gaining commercial awareness in business along with an understanding of environmental or ethical issues will help to demonstrate your commitment. Check out the Allaboutcareers overview of corporate social responsibility.
  • Operations and operational research – uses statistical and mathematical modelling to analyse and solve business related problems for clients. Can be employed across a wide range of sectors including manufacturing, transport and logistics, energy, FMCG, and healthcare. The TARGETjobs Operational researcher job description provides more information.
  • Sales – works directly with clients, growing profits and working towards targets. Graduates are required across all areas of business, not just within the retail sector. Organisations ranging from BMW to Adidas run graduate programmes, usually open to graduates from any discipline. The Prospects overview of sales will tell you more. 

How can I get there?

The range of career options within business and management are so varied that it’s essential you do your research and develop your knowledge and understanding of your chosen area. Roles are advertised directly through employers' websites, general graduate careers websites such as TARGETjobs, and also via LSE’s CareerHub.

With little management experience you can gain a place on a general management graduate scheme, although many people also join a company in a junior position and then work their way up towards a management position. Remember, you can also apply to smaller companies where you may gain more responsibility faster. Consider sending targeted, speculative applications to smaller companies that interest you, and networking with SME representatives during your time at LSE. 

If you are looking to gain experience

As many graduate schemes and entry-level roles are open to students from any discipline, it’s important to differentiate yourself by gaining relevant experience and developing your skills, via internships, volunteering or extra-curricular activities.

Work experience can often help you demonstrate a capacity to develop practical skills, such as team working and problem solving, but also your commercial awareness and an understanding of the challenges that businesses face in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Maintaining your commercial awareness can also be supported by meeting with businesses on campus, regularly reading business focused news sources, such as the FT, and speaking with LSE alumni.

Some businesses, particularly larger organisations, offer formal summer internships programmes. Smaller companies may advertise through LSE Careers, so check CareerHub regularly. LSE Generate run a year-round programme of events to enable you to meet with smaller businesses and entrepreneurs directly. 

If you’re early on in your career

Develop your understanding of the many different options available to you and target your approach to gaining relevant experience. Your focus should be on accumulating evidence for why working within your chosen area of business is the right fit for you. Also, bear in mind that some business and management graduate schemes have early application deadlines (October to December) so if you wish to apply, create a plan so you don’t miss any!

If you have more experience

The best route is likely to be through recruitment agencies and search firms, networking within the sector and applying directly for roles on company websites and via LinkedIn. If you’re changing career, reflect on what your existing skills might add to a business and be prepared to be flexible. LSE alumni who have changed career often emphasise the important of making a number of moves in the first few years in order to gain experience and credibility.This blog from LSE Careers highlights some of the areas to focus on.

Not sure what to do next?

We’re here to talk over your career plans with you. It doesn’t matter what stage you’re at, so don’t feel you have to have it all worked out. You can book a one-to-one appointment with a careers consultant on CareerHub.

Where can I find out more about working in this sector?

Interested in finding out more about a career in business?

Here are some helpful links, including the ways LSE Careers can work with you on your journey.


Given that business and management is quite broad, with roles spanning almost every sector, industry and location, you can find out about opportunities through regularly checking CareerHub for relevant events, fairs and themed weeks.


Jobs and opportunities


  • CareerHub – jobs board targeting LSE students, including events and networking opportunities. 
  • Target Jobs and Prospects for graduate level job vacancies in business and management

HR and recruitment

Procurement and supply chain


Operations management

Sales and marketing


  • Emma Mullen (Careers Consultant, Department of Management)
  • Bethan Briggs (Careers Consultant, Department of Management)
  • Hiba Dabis (Head of CAER, Department of Management)

Book a one-to-one appointment with a careers consultant on CareerHub.