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How applicable is a psychology degree to the world of business?

I want to study psychology in college, but I also want to make sure I can get a good job with decent pay in business. Is this possible, or should I reconsider my college major? #business #finance #financial-services #investment-management #investing #pyschology

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Allen’s Answer

Hello Danica,

Good question! I have a BS in Psychology with a minor in Biology---during undergrad, I was considering a career in experimental, neuropsychology.

However, I jumped right into Marketing (computer-tech) and never looked back.
I found my background (and passion) for psychology and other social sciences have been instrumental in accelerating my my career growth.

I have found opportunities and success in Product Marketing, Brand Marketing, and I currently lead Social Media Marketing for Norton (by Symantec).

These "6 Principle of Persuasion", by Dr. Robert Cialdini , are great examples of how psychology can be used as a tool for Marketers.

Principle #1: Reciprocation
Principle #2: Social Proof
Principle #3: Commitment and Consistency
Principle #4: Liking
Principle #5: Authority
Principle #6: Scarcity

These tools and principles don't just apply to selling products or services, but can also be used to promote YOURSELF and accelerate your personal and professional growth.

Coincidentally, I am at a Business conference at this very moment and a Keynote presentation tomorrow is titled "Psychology-based Marketing"!

I hope this helped :)


This is awesome! I have my BA in Psychology and have been hesitant to pursue anything outside of fashion because I was unsure of how it would apply. Thank you for your insight! I'm going to check that article out! Kassondra Knecht

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Kristen Kimi’s Answer

Hi Danica! From my perspective, students can find success with a variety of academic backgrounds. While perhaps the direct concepts and theories of psychology might always directly align with the world of Finance, the skills you develop and acquire studying a major like psych can certainly be applied. For example, critical and analytical thinking; writing skills; and research and statistical analysis skills. If someone can demonstrate the ability and interest in learning more about finance and the markets, we know they can find great success in the industry. We have hired interns and full-time undergrads with a variety of academic backgrounds - French, American Studies, Psychology, Engineering, and History, just to name a few.

Best of luck!

Psychology is also relevant to business management of all sorts and to any kind of business decision-making, so it can apply to everything from HR to strategic planning to marketing to being a line manager. You can make a psychology degree even more applicable to a business career by choosing class projects that are relevant to business, such as understanding how different kinds of people/workers learn or theories of what motivates people to do their best. Deborah Frangquist

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Daniela’s Answer

Hi Danica,

The area of psychology focused for business is the Organizational Psychology.

Industrial and organizational (I/O) psychologists focus on the behavior of employees in the workplace. They apply psychological principles and research methods to improve the overall work environment, including performance, communication, professional satisfaction and safety.

I/O psychologists apply their scientific research in all types of organizational and workplace settings, such as manufacturing, commercial enterprises, labor unions and health care facilities. The focus of their research ranges from applicant and employee testing and assessment to leadership development, staffing, management, teams, compensation, workplace safety, diversity and work-life balance.

Other I/O psychologists work in research or hold academic positions in colleges and universities. In addition, they are qualified as trainers, facilitators, assessors, coaches and consultants. I/O psychologists may also work directly in an organization’s human resources department, or they may act as independent consultants, called into an organization to solve a particular problem.

The career path to becoming an I/O psychologist begins with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Opportunities with a bachelor’s degree alone aren’t unheard of, but they are sparse. Most students interested in I/O psychology go on to earn an advanced degree, although they may take time off between degrees to work and gain real world experience.

An I/O psychologist’s salary depends on his or her experience and employer. The starting salary for an I/O specialist with a master’s degree was approximately $65,000 a year, while the starting salary for those with a doctoral degree was approximately $81,000. University professors make approximately $70,000 annually and those in the private sector earn approximately $100,000.
Overall, the median annual salary for I/O psychologists is $80,000. The highest earners can make $250,000 or more each year.

I hope this information can help you. More in:


All the Best!

Danica, Daniela gives an excellent description of psychology jobs in business. There are also consulting and training businesses which focus on industrial psychology and related fields. Their customers are businesses and managers who want help managing or planning or motivating people. Deborah Frangquist

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Janet’s Answer

Psychology is very relevant to business! There are formal jobs for people with a psychology background like Daniela mentioned. In addition, psychology is relevant to a lot of other business areas. Any time you need to interact with people in your job, it is helpful to understand how people think and how different people may respond to situations.

Some other topics that use both Business skills and Psychology skills are:
- General Team Management: psychology can help you to understand how to help a team work well together, resolve conflict between team members and help people grow to be more successful

  • Change Management: humans don't always respond well to change, and Change Management helps companies that are making big changes help their people to respond positively, adjust to these changes and thrive in a new or different work environment.

  • Human Resources: many HR professionals are required to manage conflict, have difficult conversations with employees and train managers. Psychology is helpful in each of these areas.

  • Customer Service & Sales: understanding why people make the decisions they do can help you be more successful in any job where you need to work with customers or sell a product.

This is just the beginning! Psychology is a great field to give you an understanding of people and how they think and make decisions. Today's business world is all about managing and working with people, so that knowledge is very helpful!

Thank you for the advice. I never considered this topic, but I'm glad that I now have an answer to a good question. Deana A.

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Charlotte’s Answer

Hi Danica,

It's great that you're thinking ahead and how to apply your area of study to a career path. I did things a little backwards - when I was an undergrad, I found psychology interesting but knew I did not want to be a psychologist, so I declared psychology as my major with French as a minor (knowing that I would eventually get a graduate degree but deferring the decision of which degree until I was almost done with college). Looking back, it would have been wiser to research careers more deeply than the way I backed into the decision of graduate school.

I agree with many others who have responded that psychology has several applications in the world of business, however, I would suggest that you narrow down the area of business that interest you most, and then perhaps complement your course of study with applicable classes in that area. Several mandatory classes for a psychology major will be extremely useful and applicable in the business world (advanced statistics is one that comes to mind). If you know for certain that business is where you want to steer your career, then I would look into business prerequisites (accounting, finance, economics, etc.) and take those courses in addition to your psychology classes. Who knows, you may find that you enjoy these just as much and maybe you could choose a business-related minor. I would also see about getting informational interviews with people who have the career that you want - and talk to them about their paths. I found a useful article that discusses psychology applications in the world of business, and maybe this information might be useful too:


Best of luck! I always say that I use my Psychology degree more than anything else just dealing with people from day to day, so you can't go wrong!

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Lenka’s Answer

HI There, I believe that Psychology is very relevant to business! At PwC I had the pleasure to work with many colleagues that had a psychology degree. Many of them were our Psychometrician who were able to interpret data and link it with client's behavior, actions and decision process, which for a client facing consult is a great insight.
Best of Luck!