10 Biggest Surprises For Business Majors

Andrew Fedun, Lehigh University

4) Interpersonal is Invaluable: “I initially came into business school expecting to focus primarily on building technical skills while I underestimated the importance of soft skills. As I was exposed to a variety of experiences at Lehigh, I came to appreciate the incredible value that soft skills provide at both the simple and complex levels of business. At its core, business is about trust. Do you trust this supplier will provide quality materials for your product? Do you trust this banker will determine a fair IPO price? Do you trust this CEO will steer the company in the right direction? Soft skills such as communication, decisiveness, and leadership are critical to developing this essential trust. Delving deeper, business is constantly changing and demanding unique solutions for open-ended problems that have no blueprint. In that dynamic, soft skills are highly valuable because they engage teams to formulate tailored solutions and then communicate the nuances effectively. Majoring in business showed me the power of soft skills in both the simplest and most complex situations.”
Andrew Fedun, Lehigh University

“The importance of soft skills. Coming into freshman year, I saw business as a very technical industry with formulas driving the decision-making process. However, as I complete my degree, I was surprised to see how wrong I was. Although the technical skills are crucial in any career, TCU does a fantastic job at developing personal skills as well. The sheer number of presentations, speeches, simulations, and case studies that forced us to work in teams and have open dialogue seemed overwhelming at times. It was in these moments, however, that I learned how to work in an organization. I learned how to sell myself on a personal level and learn from others whenever possible. My business degree taught me to turn ideas into solutions and speak openly about the processes we were tasked with. Although surprising at first, these skills will help set my peers and me apart for years to come.”
RJ Finley, Texas Christian University (Neeley)

5) Data Drives Decisions: “Although business is a very “people” driven career, we are truly going through a data revolution, and having a strong analytical acumen is essential if you want to stand out as an undergraduate and ultimately a young professional. Contrary to my unfounded expectations of being a business major, I was surprised by how often I felt like a math or statistics major during my business courses.”
Jake Shenkenberg, University of Wisconsin

Ariana Loor, Purdue University (Krannert)

6) Interdisciplinary Extends Beyond Business: “What surprised me the most about majoring in business is all the exposure we get to different disciplines. In my business major, I have had the opportunity to take courses in psychology, calculus, technology, entrepreneurship, computer science, data analytics, and much more. Coming into the major, I thought I would only see the typical business courses like marketing, supply chain, accounting, and finance. The exposure that my major gave to other disciplines has made me a more well-rounded student and professional.”
Ariana Loor, Purdue University (Krannert)

7) Teamwork is the Future: “ I expected everything to be so competitive and aggressive, but that’s the complete opposite of what I experienced. Other business students are always willing to share their notes, help with homework questions, or study for exams together. This environment is definitely fostered by the numerous group projects I’ve worked on. In my mind, majoring in business was going to be all individual work with little teamwork; we’d all try to outperform each other. In actuality, so much of my success in college has come from working with others, combining our perspectives to create innovative projects and solutions.”
Leah Wren Hardgrove, Washington University (Olin)

8) Window Into Ourselves: “I was shocked by, yet appreciative of, the number of lessons directly tied to fundamental ideas of human psychology. I did not anticipate my accounting or financial classes to cover anything beyond the necessary math skills to reach our course objectives. However, most professors found a way to explain how the mathematics covered directly correlated with how we process decisions and rationalize behavior.”
Alanna Austin, Tulane University (Freeman)

Devika Dutt, Georgia Tech (Scheller)

9) Your Network is your Net Worth: “Everyone knows someone who knows someone. At the heart of business is networking and it is seen on a day-to-day basis at Scheller. Looking back to my Legal Aspects class, my professor would bring in industry professionals who she knew personally to give presentations and I met a number of recruiters and VPs through them. I had friends referring each other to Big 4 companies for interviews rather than having to submit online applications. One of my managers at NCR Corporation had put me in contact with her friend who worked at my, at that point, dream company, which did not hire a large number of business majors. Having strong communication skills in a professional environment paired with marketing yourself can lead to opportunities that I never imagined to be possible.”
Devika Dutt, Georgia Tech (Scheller)

10) It’s Hard…But It’s Worth It: “Majoring in business: I was initially intimidated at the sound of it. What has surprised me most is how accessible it is and how –through hard work and determination – it is possible to succeed in what might feel like the most trying and challenging circumstances. There are always going to be difficult classes or exams. What surprised me is that at the end of a semester, the knowledge to come from studying and welcoming the newness of each class is boundless. Along these lines, a surprise I will carry with me past graduation is that even after a class is over and the final exam is complete, that subject has infinite more within it. Within business, learning is so constant and evolving that you are truly never done (as with many other careers). My love of learning was met full force with the never-ending growth of business and has shaped my view of my future within it.”
Anabel Cordano, Wake Forest University

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