Is it realistic to work in business fields with a Psychology degree?
I love studying psychology and find that it can help me move forward into becoming a clinical psychologist or academic counselor after undergrad. I find that a degree in psychology may be pretty versatile and would like to use it to explore careers in business as well. I plan on taking business classes to obtain a certificate from my community college and maybe even minor in Business while majoring in Psychology when I transfer to univeristy. I want to explore business administration, HR, and marketing, but I believe Psychology is my "stronger" suit, thus I want I major in Psychology and minor in BA/HR/marketing. However, I have read that many people struggle finding jobs in business with a Psychology degree. I am not sure if it is even worth putting my focus in business if business employers find my education non-sufficient. A lot of online forums and YouTube videos are especially discouraging. What do you think? Should I just focus on my goal of becoming a counselor instead?
Thank you for your answers!
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Also, don't discount your skills of finishing a degree, regardless of what the major/minor is: organization, communication, resourcefulness (looking up youtube.), initiative (asking for advice). These are more essential for entry level jobs than knowing that exact business subject matter. Most of what I/people do is solving problems when there is no answer, not having the exact answer all the time.
When I'm hiring, I look for someone who can learn quickly and shows a commitment to bettering themselves and work hard to drive results. One can teach most anything to someone with the skills I've mentioned and they will have a chance to be successful at the job.
I will say, I did leverage some technical skills I was developing by volunteering and building websites for groups when I was in school. So i think taking some additional coursework or minoring like you mentioned is a great way to build skills. You would just have to practice sharing those skills and connecting it to job/role in the interview process.
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I hope this helps!
I wish you the best!
I work in digital marketing. One of the most important aspects of my role is analyzing and understanding consumer behavior. The more I learn, the more I see the connections between how consumers behave and how consumers think/feel. Each person's personal psychology is directly related to how they shop and what they buy.
My wife has a psychology degree and has worked in HR for 10+ years. She's experienced a similar connection between human behavior and how they act as professionals.
I'm sure the same connections exist in other areas and - if i'm being honest - understanding human psychology would probably make you more effective in most roles. Having an idea of what type of person might look for an investment manager (risk averse, conservative, prepared) could help you tailor your messages to their subconscious needs and land that account or make them feel more at ease. Understanding a persons internal drivers - their goals and aspirations - could make it easier for you to sell them their new house.
The real key is identifying those connections, working through them, and being able to go into interviews and explain how your psychology degree is a major asset, not a negative.
I work now in a more tech based, data analytics role but I consider my psychology background and experience of research design pretty fundamental. So it isn't just HR roles you can move into. In my mind psychology degrees are very broadly applicable and can be applied to a wide variety of roles all across business, especially in people management but also areas you may not have considered like research.
I can only offer my own anecdotes on how businesses see a psychology degree but in my personal experience it has generally been an aspect of my resume that has generated interest and engagement during interviews. I would count it as a positive for sure.
After my graduation, I took a role as a Human Resources Specialist. I worked in that capacity for 2 years, gaining valuable business experience, and then took another job at a larger company in Human Resources where I focused on Learning & Development and Organizational Development. At that point I wanted to shift my focus to Marketing. I found myself if various marketing roles, and then settled into the Technology space in a marketing capacity where I built skills in Product Marketing, Customer Marketing and eventually Digital Marketing. It is here that I grew my potential as a digital marketer in a technology company.
The company I am with now offered continued education for free! I recently received a mini-MBA certificate in Digital Marketing from Rutgers Business School - all online and after my normal work hours, while maintaining a household and 2 children. It is all reasonably achievable.
My Psychology degree gave me a good foundation for the importance of continued education, an 'in' into a company in an HR role, and there - it all unwound perfectly into a strong career. Stick to your guns and don't doubt your decisions. Getting the foundation is good - and everything can be modified an tailored to your liking as you progress.
"Hi!! Psychology is such an interesting field and it can lead to many Careers.
Psychology + HR: can lead to Careers in Human Resource Management where you could become either a Recruiter or a Human Resource Business partner. These require interacting with Employees and Business Leaders so your psychology degree will help in reading people and their strengths and blindspots which is extremely valued in business. Your first role in HR could be starting as an intern and then working your way up. Once you graduate You could also apply to rotational programs, these are programs with mini-stints of a few months across different areas of HR that a lot of reputable companies (try Unilever, GE, Google)
Psychology + Marketing: can lead to careers in marketing, having a good read of how people absorb information helps you craft marketing strategies for any company. You will need to understand Business and product also to be a good marketer. In tech companies you could start as an Associate or Marketing associate, and work your way up to lead the marketing function a few years down the line. Marketing also has different specializations - Brand Management, Communications, Event marketing(look up Google's Job section for marketing roles, it'll give you a good clue of what they look for in a marketing grad)
If you want to work in marketing, then ideally you should seek to augment your knowledge by gaining some experience working in a marketing department. I started my degree studying both Psychology and Marketing and I see no reason why this should be a barrier if you have a passion to work in this field. I hope that this is helpful and I wish you luck!
- Katie Campbell (Box)