P&Q’s Best & Brightest Grads: 10 Biggest Surprises From B-School

JB Blood: ‘Working on marketing new products or learning about high-level corporate strategy provides a great outlet for creative energy.’

7) Creative endeavors

“I was hesitant to major in business because I thought the vast majority of work would be quantitative in nature. To my surprise and delight, majoring in business requires a lot of creative work as well. While a lot of business school is learning about statistics and honing Excel skills, more of it is about analyzing information and figuring out what to do with data. This has allowed me to practice my presentation skills along with my creative skills in classes like marketing. Ultimately, majoring in business was a lot more fun than I anticipated. Working on marketing new products or learning about high-level corporate strategy provides a great outlet for creative energy.” – JB Blood, Wake Forest University

8) Focus on collaboration

“From day one, I was surprised by how collaborative my undergraduate business curriculum was. One of my fears matriculating into a top business program was how I would stand out from my peers, given that I have never been particularly competitive and generally thrive in group contexts more so than individual ones. However, every class I have taken at Olin incorporated at least one element of collaboration. Even our accounting and finance classes utilized group case studies. I have found that the Olin curriculum is explicitly designed this way to mirror the experience of being a working business professional. Before college, I imagined myself sitting at a desk working on individualized tasks. Now, I have a greater understanding that a business professional is only as successful as the people they work with, and my image of business has shifted from one of individual work to one of collaboration.” – Gabi Marcus, Washington University (Olin)

9) Real-world applications

“One surprising aspect about studying business is the instant applicability to the real world. Many times, I have heard mention of some concept in the news, and I can relate it directly back to the class curriculum. This both reinforces content learned in the classroom and motivates me to continue adding breadth to my understanding so I can better understand the world around me.” – Austin J. Glass, Villanova University

10) Having to face your fears

“I was surprised by the number of times I had to confront my fears (a good thing!), ranging from class presentations to networking to working in teams. Business school is highly social and rewards extroverted tendencies, which was something I dreaded coming into my freshman year as an introvert. With continuous exposure to social situations and pushing myself to participate in class, my presentation skills have become night-and-day better since my first day in college. I am also much more confident and calm when it comes to networking. I strongly believe that only the nature of a business school would have allowed me to grow as much as I did.” – Jasper Tangchitsumran, Boston University (Questrom)