Careers in Business

 

In brief

A career within business can offer a diverse range of opportunities for LSE students. Businesses range in size from global multinational corporations to small start-ups and they operate across every sector and industry.

Roles in business can vary from general management positions to more specialist areas of responsibility such as Human Resources (HR) or logistics and supply chain management.

Every year LSE graduates across a wide range of degree programmes start working in business, and you will find our alumni all around the world. A Master's qualification is not a requirement for all roles, but may help secure some of the more specialist positions and career paths within the sector.

Where can you work?

There isn't enough space on this webpage to give a comprehensive overview of all the different types of employers you might work for! Businesses differ immensely in their scope, size and function. For example, commercial organisations can operate at a 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 to multiple markets.

When considering your options, choose a sector that interests you and then focus on the products, brands and reputation of businesses in that sector. This can provide a useful starting point for investigating opportunities within the business and management field. 

What’s changing in the sector?

Advances in technology continue to have a profound impact on how businesses operate – changing manufacturing processes, methods of communication, use of data etc.

Organisations 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.

Useful Websites

CareerHub – jobs board targeting LSE students, including events and networking opportunities.

TARGETjobs Management and Business – an overview of job adverts, careers advice and information about further study.

Human resources

PM Jobs – for careers advice and job search.

Simply HR Jobs – UK job site specialising in HR.

Procurement and supply

CIPS: What is procurement? – for an overview of the sector from the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply.

Corporate social responsibility

Business in the Community – network focusing on responsible business.

Ethical Performance – provides news and analysis on issues and trends in corporate social responsibility.

Acre recruitment – job site specialising in CSR.

Operations management

CILT Operations management sector page – provided by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.

Recruitment

Target Jobs: Recruitment consultant – for information about graduate careers as a recruitment consultant.

Useful Information

Routes in

Introduction

The range of career options 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 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. 

If you are looking to gain experience

As many graduate scheme 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. Generate at LSE run a year-round programme of events to enable you to meet with smaller businesses and entrepreneurs directly.  Networking and speculative applications can be an effective way of securing experience in smaller organisations.

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.

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.

Job roles

There are many different job roles in this sector. We've outlined 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.

  • 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. The Prospects overview of Business, consulting and management is a useful resource, including job profiles ranging from office to retail manager. 
  • Human Resources – supports and manages 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. Read Abbas and Elina's LSE 'Alum of the month' profiles to find out how they have used their HR knowledge and experience. The Prospects Human resources officer job profile also 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.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (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– usesstatistical 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 TARGETjobs overview of sales will tell you more. 
  • Recruitment – drawson elements of both sales and HR 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.

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