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Taking the Road Less Traveled: How To Plan for a Unique Career Path

There are a number of career paths to choose from after completing your undergraduate business education. Many people choose traditional career paths such as marketing, information systems, accounting, or a variety of other careers students are exposed to.

While many people choose one of these more traditional career paths, others will go on to alternative career paths such as entrepreneurship, nonprofit work, trade, and many more. As such, there are a variety of resources available to students interested in one of these alternative career paths. Here are some strategies and tips for students interested in alternative business career paths.

1. Entrepreneurship

For students interested in entrepreneurship, Virginia Tech provides a variety of resources to help prepare you for running your own business. The Apex Center at Virginia Tech is a place for students interested in entrepreneurship to connect. At the Apex Center, students have the opportunity to work on new ventures, receive grant money, and get advice from their peers and successful entrepreneurs. Visit Programs – Apex Center for Entrepreneurs ( to learn more about the Apex Center at Virginia Tech.

In addition, students can also join the Entrepreneurship Club at Virginia Tech to work with like-minded individuals to learn more about entrepreneurship through touring local startups, visiting innovative cities and working with successful entrepreneurs. If a club isn’t the right fit for you, the Pamplin College of Business also offers a concentration in Entrepreneurship, Technology, and Innovation for Management majors. You will take classes centered around starting and running your own business and work with professionals in the field.

2. Non-Profit Work

For students interested in nonprofit work, there are a variety of options for you to prepare for the future. There are many nonprofit organizations you can work with, so it is important to find a cause that you are passionate about.

One option Virginia Tech offers for those interested in working with nonprofits is a Nonprofit and Non-Governmental Certificate through the School of Public and International Affairs. The certificate is for graduate students and helps students learn to navigate the environment of nonprofit organizations, while also focusing on leadership, complex management and accountability. One strategy for learning — if this field of work is right for you — is by volunteering for nonprofits or connecting with alumni who have worked in the field.

3. Trade School

If you feel a degree just isn’t right for you, trade school is a great opportunity to discover your passions. Many of the jobs trade school prepares you for are in high demand — meaning there are a lot of opportunities to find jobs in these fields as well as opportunities for growth. A great way to determine if trade school is right for you is to connect with professionals in the field and look at apprenticeship opportunities.

These are not the only alternative career paths available for you to pursue. There are a number of diverse opportunities available for women in business that are different from the traditional jobs students will prepare for. For anyone considering an alternative career path, it is a great idea to talk to your advisor to learn more about jobs that would best fit your interests and to learn more about how Virginia Tech can help you on your career path. There are also a number of online career quizzes that can help you determine the best path for you, such as the “Who am I? Self-assessment” provided by Virginia Tech’s Career and Professional Development Center. This department also offers students help by pairing them with an advisor to plan the best path towards their career and discuss what they can do during their time at Virginia Tech to prepare for their future. Regardless of what alternative career path you choose, these are great resources to help you determine what path is best for you!

Shout out to Madi from Her Campus at Virginia Tech for partnering with us; please do check out their website and Madi’s page to learn more about what they do!

Madi’s Page: Madi Armstrong | Her Campus

Her Campus at Virginia Tech: Virginia Tech | Her Campus

By Katie Smith and Madi Armstrong

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