Advice if You’re Taking Business

“What do you plan on doing with that degree?”

“People take business because it’s easy!”

“Only people who don’t know what they want to do with their life take business!”

I could go on with the one-liners I have heard over the years in regards to people’s views on business degrees. To their point, I am sure they have met people in a business program where they feel that view is justified. However, I would rather talk about the potential upside of pursuing a business degree based on my time taking business and I’d like to offer up my thoughts if it’s able to help anyone on edge about kicking off their journey in the business program.

(Disclaimer: I’m not a post-grad who’s got his entire life figured out, this is just some advice based on a quick reflection of my time in school, others may have different advice, but they can talk about it on their own goddamn blog.)

Passion

In my four-years taking business I met a lot of people who were born to be in business. They know from as early as middle-school that that’s where they wanted to be after graduation. Whether their passion was rooted in finance/accounting, entrepreneurship, management, or perhaps the creative side in design and marketing. You could see their eyes light up when you asked them about their plans post-college graduation about all the things they planned on accomplishing, what their goals were and how they planned on reaching them.

However, there were also people I met who were walking representations of the quotes at the top of this post. Their parents pushed for them to take business because at least it was “something”, they really didn’t have any goals laid out in terms of what they aimed to accomplish post-grad and they appeared very lost. And that’s okay. Because not everyone needs to have it figured out at 18, 19 or even 22 years-old. However, this shouldn’t be an indictment on the value of a business degree or any degree for that matter. If you’re not certain what you want to do after college graduation, help yourself out by getting active outside the classroom.

Get Involved!

A business degree can still be of value in learning the multiple facets of business. But the big catch is you get out what you put in. It seems cliché however, being that business is not a Point A to Point B degree, you have to get involved. While classes are beginning to catch up with the times in offering more creative experiences for students, the onus is still on the student to supplement their classroom time with extra-curricular activities.

Whether it’s getting involved with a business club, a fraternity/sorority, case competitions, sports teams, a job relevant to business (co-op program) or even building something on the side (like a super COOL blog). It’s important to put yourself in positions where you will be actively testing the knowledge you learn in the classroom. This goes beyond “beefing” up your resume (but it certainly doesn’t hurt), this is testing your critical thinking, time management, organization, leadership etc. And that does not even take into account the networking that can be done through any one of these activities, you never know who you’ll meet that can steer you on a totally different path than you originally anticipated! (But that’s another post in itself).

Don’t Stress

At the end of the day, there are plenty of people just like you across all majors that are uncertain about their futures post-graduation. Just because you’re majoring in something that’s more broad than others, doesn’t mean you aren’t working towards something of value for your future. As a recent graduate there’s a lot I look back on and wish I got involved in even more despite being relatively active outside the classroom. However, I do not regret taking business as the content I learned, the connections I made and the great minds I got to learn from and interact with I know will pay off in the long-term. Because with any degree or education, it’s an investment into yourself and future.

As I continue navigating life post-university I will hopefully have more detailed thoughts that can be of value for anyone in or thinking of taking business. If you have any further questions or have any differing thoughts don’t hesitate to reach out to me!

Stephen Bolen

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