“We do hear from our recent grads that sometimes their expectations were a little off,” Levey says. “Most will have had one internship – maybe two – so for the most part, they haven’t worked in business before.”
Levey says that typically, these graduates leave school expecting to start higher up than they actually do.
“We encourage students to make use of the alumni network to get an idea of what working in business really means. I think the students’ choices end up being more practical when they’ve talked to more people.
Ask For Reassurement
Levey has noticed that though not every student is proactive about asking advisors for help, it always seems as though the students who receive advising are relieved when they leave.
“I think the biggest thing is that asking for help alleviates stress – even if students think they’re moving in the right direction,” she says. “I once had a student come in, and we sorted some things out, and as she was leaving she said ‘Oh, I feel like I can breathe again!’ And I had to ask, ‘How long were you worried about this?’”
Levey says that a lot of students feel like their classmates have everything figured out, and they feel like they’re the only ones who are confused. “I would encourage them all to ask for help, because pretty much everyone is in the same boat,” she adds.
SCOTT ROMEIKA, DIRECTOR OF ACADEMIC AFFAIRS AND ADVISING AT THE WHARTON SCHOOL
Ask For Scheduling Help
Wharton students are pretty proactive about seeking advice, according Scott Romeika, the director of academic affairs and advising at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School, and the advice they want is usually about scheduling.
“They want to major in multiple areas, get dual degrees, study abroad – they want to do it all, and it’s hard to arrange that sometimes,” he says.
Freshmen Especially Should Keep Their Options Open
“We get a fair amount of freshmen coming in and saying ‘I know I want to do finance,’ but I encourage them to take a look at other options too,” Romeika says. “Our core classes train students to be strong in all aspects of business, and you don’t know if those core classes will change your mind.”
Romeika suggests that students in their first years of college take some time to test out the different aspects of business. At Wharton, he says, a sizable minority do end up changing their minds, and that it’s better to keep your options open.
Juniors Should Think About Careers
Romeika says that his junior advisees tend to move from questions about scheduling to questions about careers. Though there is a separate office for career management, the academic advisors still field career questions from an academic perspective.
“The students begin their elective courses as juniors, and so they’re asking about the career ramifications of their course schedules, what courses are most relevant to what they want to do, and how they can prepare for certain jobs,” Romeika explains.