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Personality Traits for a Business Career

Posted on February 21st, 2013 by Jenny Frankel

man and woman in suit162746055Not every student is suited to a career in business. If you’re considering pursuing a business degree, it’s very important to evaluate yourself to see if you have the appropriate personality traits for a business career. Is a degree in business right for you? Think to yourself if you think you exhibit the following characteristics:


The business world is a high-stakes game where winners and losers are determined every day. It’s definitely not a world you can enter into passively. Being an active, assertive, and at times aggressive person is one of the most important personality traits for a business career because it assures you that you won’t be left in the dust without a fight. With thousands of people entering the business world every year, those that are complacent with sitting back and taking what the world gives them will certainly not make the necessary impressions for advancement in their company and in their field.


Though active stances and occasional aggression are important, they must be moderated by a healthy sense of practicality. What can you actually do? What action will ultimately progress a project? What are the realistic limitations at play? A successful businessperson will recognize his or her assertive nature, know when to use it, and know when it’s best not to use it.

Critical Thinking

So much of business is problem solving, and thus the ability to critically evaluate a challenge and shrewdly propose a solution is in high demand. Despite the nostalgic praise for a businessperson who acts first and asks questions later, the real world demands people who are able to take in all the relevant and available knowledge in order to make the most informed decisions possible.


An old saying goes that there are two types of people in the world, leaders and followers. In the various business careers, leaders get things done. The cliché of climbing the corporate ladder is alive and well, and those who sit back and let others lead them will never move from the bottom rung. Taking initiative and guiding colleagues toward better solutions is what drives small businesses to success and big businesses to prominence.

Interpersonal Communication Skills

In order to be a successful and convincing leader, you will definitely need to have well-honed interpersonal communication skills. Having a charismatic personality goes a long way, but being able to talk to people at all levels inside and outside of the business world goes even farther. Interpersonal communication skills are absolutely necessary personality traits for a business career. To take an example from American history, President Abraham Lincoln, who is considered one of America’s greatest leaders, managed to get things done by communicating effectively with other politicians and officials who didn’t agree with him. Though saving the early US and a marketing project are certainly different in scale, the interpersonal communication skills make compromise, progress, and personal advancement possible.


Finally, operating underneath all of these essential personality traits for a business career is motivation. Motivation helps prospective businesspeople in two ways. First, it serves as the drive for success. If you have no drive to get things done and make a difference, then a career in business is probably not best for you. Second, motivation is what gets businesspeople through the hard times. Hardly anyone’s business career has gone from bottom to top without some sort of hardship along the way. Projects fail, businesses go under, products flop, and ideas backfire. An unmotivated person may let these things get the best of them, stalling their careers. But a motivated businessperson learns from adversity and carries onward.

There’s no one perfect type of person for a career in business, but these personality traits in some degree will certainly help prospective businesspeople achieve their goals. If you’re considering a degree in business, be honest with yourself. Do you have what it takes?

Written by Jenny Frankel

Jennifer is the Director of Financial Services at Envisage International. Jennifer is a graduate of the University of Florida where she holds a Masters in International Business and a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration. She has lived and worked abroad in Chile, Costa Rica and London, and traveled extensively in South America, Europe and Asia.

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