What can I do with a major in management and leadership?
The management and leadership major focuses on learning the interpersonal, systems and strategic skills necessary to build and manage an effective business team.
Common areas of employment for business marketing majors include:
- Human resources
- General management
- Management and leadership rotational career programs
Sales has more job opportunities than other areas, especially entry-level positions in personal selling. Personal selling generally is one of the highest-paying careers from the beginning. Sales people could choose to make sales a career and become a specialist in dealing with jobbers, chains or vendors, selling a particular type of product, or in selling to specialized target groups such as independent grocers and hospitals. A second path is to become sales manager of a region or district, supervising sales representatives and managers under you, which could ultimately lead to becoming national sales manager, vice president of sales or president.
Human resources managers oversee the recruitment, training and compensation of a company's employees. This profession attracts people who enjoy the interpersonal aspects of business. Many HR professionals have a background or strong interest in psychology, sociology, counseling or organizational behavior.
Entrepreneurs have a strong desire to create, own something lasting and have decision-making authority over whatever they create. They're willing to face a greater degree of uncertainty and risk in exchange for autonomy and self-direction. The entrepreneurial path appeals strongly to "big-picture," creative thinkers with a penchant for market strategy and a strong need for autonomy and control. One of the most important ingredients for entrepreneurial success is managerial experience.
Retail offers a variety of positions, including sales, buying, distribution and staff functions such as advertising and marketing research. Entry-level jobs may involve some sales work, moving up to assistant buyer and then buyer, with control over types of merchandise displayed, nature of promotions and price levels.
General management entails complete responsibility, including profit and loss accountability, for the performance of an entire business or a business unit. A general manager can be the key leader of a company, or the head of a division or department within a larger business. General managers typically have cross-functional responsibility, meaning they make decisions that involve the coordination and integration of functional areas such as sales, marketing, human resources, finance and production. A general manager position requires flexibility and quick decision-making. Ultimately, accountability for the success (or failure) of the business rests entirely with the general manager, which is what many people find both challenging and attractive about the role.
Management or leadership rotational programs
Rotational programs provide an opportunity to rotate among different functional areas of an organization while gaining direct exposure to key leaders. Rotational opportunities typically are offered to high-potential individuals and may offer a “fast-track” route to promotions and other leadership opportunities.
Read about the management and leadership major at the School of Business.
View salary data for recent KU management and leadership graduates.
Tips for management and leadership students
- Join the Human Resource Management Club, Entrepreneurship Club or other student organization to facilitate career exploration.
- Consider starting in sales; many entry-level positions are in the sales industry.
- Seek leadership opportunities on campus.
- Be prepared to start in entry-level management training programs.
- Develop skills including the ability to work in teams, interpersonal communication skills, public speaking skills and problem-solving.
- An MBA may be required to reach the highest levels of management. Most MBA programs require relevant experience. Learn more about KU’s MBA program.