As an undergraduate at the Scheller College of Business at the Georgia Institute of Technology,
Kara Pomerantz noticed that her business education was siloed into distinct segments: Marketing class focused on branding, finance discussed the value of money, accounting taught debits and credit.
However, during an accounting internship, she found herself pulling pieces learned in each course to approach problems. Although these subjects were taught in a very siloed way, she realized, they are all interconnected and often interdependent.
“As I reflected on this phenomenon with a professor, they boldly stated that the accounting function acts as the backbone of an organization. For any company, regardless of industry, all operations that impact financials must be accounted for according to the applicable rules and regulations,” says Pomerantz, a 2022 graduate, and a Poets&Quants for Undergrads Best & Brightest honoree.
Accountants have to be knowledgeable about financial reporting, sure, but they must also understand how the company operates as a whole, supporting and guiding every moving part of the organization.
“It was then that I began to appreciate the nuances of each subject I had been learning and grew to have a hearty respect for my own concentration,” Pomerantz tells Poets&Quants. “As I progressed in my accounting coursework and gained more internship experiences, my sincere affinity for the profession and all that it represents has been one of the most surprising but also validating aspects of my undergraduate experience.”
10 BIGGEST SURPRISES OF TOP BUSINESS GRADUATES
Each year, P&Q honors 100 graduates among the Best & Brightest Undergraduate Business Majors. As part of the nomination, these students answer the following question: What has surprised you most about majoring in business?
We scoured those answers for the 10 biggest surprises from the Class of 2022. Read them on the following pages.
1) Responsible, ethical and socially responsible
“My biggest surprise was about the range of passions people have and the community of students who care deeply about social impact studying business. I came into Wharton somewhat wary of the reputation of students studying business as being ‘snakey,’ solely profit-centered, and hyper-competitive. Instead, I’ve found that most students in my class want to shape business for the better so that it can be a tool, not an inhibitor, of societal progress. There certainly are people who fit the stereotype, but I’ve been glad to find a community of peers who will be ethical and inclusive advocates for the environment, underrepresented groups, and other important social causes.” – Javion Joyner, Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania)
“I appreciated how our business courses were not just about business. They taught us about ethics and interactions across cultures, corporate social responsibility, and how finance can be channeled into sustainability outcomes. And they encouraged us to think broadly about stakeholders, and the interactions between business, nonprofits, and government.” – Andres Pulido, University of Denver (Daniels)
2) Story matters
“It surprised me that majoring in business is almost less about numbers, and more about the story. Sure, you have to get the numbers right, but numbers on a presentation mean nothing without the context and application. Recommendations based on analysis of those numbers are the most valuable insights a company can get, and business analytics can be applied in nearly all functions of business in every industry.” – Meredith MacKenzie, Elon University (Love)
“Through being a business major, I’ve learned that a firm’s success extends beyond having great products or providing a great service. Branding, company culture, and organizational structure are just as important as a firm’s products. Therefore, what has surprised me most about studying business is that consumers don’t necessarily buy what you do; they buy why you do it. Thus, the goal of business is not to engage with everyone who could find your products useful; rather, it is to do business with those who believe what you believe.” – Ryon Cairo Henderson, Georgetown University (McDonough)
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