12 Biggest Lessons Learned By Business Majors

Emma Rose Dahleen, University of Washington (Foster)

5) Tell The Stories Behind The Data: “Business is not only about analyzing data and making inferences backed by numbers, but also sharing the story behind the statistics in a clear, succinct way. When you can communicate an overarching message behind the data you are receiving, you’re generating value for any business in today’s tech-driven world.”
Emma Rose Dahleen, University of Washington (Foster)

“Problem-solving is not a linear process. Immerse yourself in the environment of the problem: conduct empathy interviews, observe the world around you, and remain constantly curious. Good ideas truly become great when you collaborate and involve real people’s feedback. And sometimes the best ideas arise when you aren’t intending to think about it. Go for a walk, watch the sunset with friends, and get out of your routine!”
Lexi Magenheim, University of Virginia (McIntire)

Brock Mullen, Washington University (Olin)

6) Do Well By Doing Good: “Doing well for yourself and doing great things for society are not mutually exclusive. I’ve learned that there are innumerable ways I can use my business skills to make the world a better place. For example, I work at Bear Studios on campus, which provides consulting services primarily to St. Louis entrepreneurs and small businesses. I’ve enabled numerous clients to make a transformation in our community — they just needed someone with business knowledge to be the catalyst for their impact. I’m excited about the numerous ways in which my business studies can benefit society.”
Brock Mullen, Washington University (Olin)

7) Stay Open To Learning: “There is a common saying that “The more you know, the more you realize what you don’t know.” This could not be more true in business. Entering college, I knew that there was much to learn, but I felt that I had a solid understanding of general business. As I progressed through my classes, I realized that I actually knew nothing about business. There were so many new business concepts introduced to me during college that made me realize how much more I needed to learn in order to become successful. Studying business has given me a greater appreciation for business executives who already know everything I have learned in class and applied it to the real world. There is always something to learn.”
James Ly, University of Wisconsin

8) Soft Skills Trump Technical Skills: “At the end of the day, it truly is the teamwork, communication, leadership, empathy, and interpersonal relationships that make the difference between good and great outcomes. It doesn’t matter how impressive your analysis is. If you can’t communicate the results to stakeholders clearly, in their terms. It won’t matter if you have a groundbreaking idea if you are unable to solicit buy-in from others. You will never lead a talented team to its full potential if you fail to understand what makes your teammates tick. Business is about people.”
Margot Seidel, University of Virginia (McIntire)

9) Ask For Help: “I used to be the type of individual that always felt the need to do everything for myself. I quickly realized that by seeking help, I could grow more quickly and learn from others. This led me to finding mentors inside and outside the business school that shaped me into the person I am today. I hope to continue to be able to provide the same guidance to younger students.”
Mackenzee Balzer, University of South Carolina (Darla Moore)

Valeria Morillo, Providence College

10) No Risk Means No Return: “This phrase not only applies to investment strategies, but also to one’s life. In all areas of life, I believe that you must put in the work and step out of your comfort zone if you want to learn and grow.”
Valeria Morillo, Providence College

“My experience studying business has strongly reinforced the concept that those who are “first movers” or “go-getters” are often rewarded for having the drive, enthusiasm, initiative, and willingness to take a risk. The fear of failure often causes individuals to wait for someone else to try an idea first, but the most successful business leaders are the ones who learn to overcome this challenge and embrace innovation. Whether it be for a class, an internship, a full-time position, or a new company, it’s never too early to start pursuing your goals.”
Madeline Langley, Southern Methodist University (Cox)

“There is nothing more impactful than the lessons you learn from failure. Go out on a limb. Embrace your unique talents. Never conform. Chase your dreams no matter how small because it is a small dream that will one day bring our world into the future. Many students enter business school and get stuck in the system. They limit themselves to the confines of the recruiting cycle or worry too much about staying within the lines. Color outside the lines. Take a risk. Take advantage of your time as a student to ask all the questions, try all of your ideas, to embrace change, and to have the courage to fail boldly. It is in that failure that you will learn, develop, and grow. It is that failure that will make the world a better place.”
Maxim Manyak, Notre Dame (Mendoza)

11) Ethics Make A Slippery Slope: “The biggest lesson I learned from studying business came at a Catholics in the Marketplace meeting. Professor Kevin McMahon and Dr. Ron Jelinek were running this meeting and it was the first one I was attending. I go to Mass every Sunday here on campus and I was super excited to get involved. At this meeting, Professor McMahon touched on the importance of avoiding the phrase “just this once”. “Just this once” is a phrase that many people use when it comes to cheating on assignment, cheating on partners, cheating on a diet, or just making a bad moral or ethical decision in any walk of life. Professor McMahon walked us through various real-life situations where “just this once” backfired and ruined lives. The biggest takeaway for me here is to continue to act as a moral and ethical man in the business world and to never give up my values for money or any sort of gain.”
Aidan Vito Arone, Providence College

12) Play To Your Strengths: “Avoid making a special effort to “improve what you are not excellent at.” There will undoubtedly be classes where you need to put in extra effort to succeed or skills you need to practice, but that’s only natural. It was hard for me to accept that I could deliver better work on accounting and analytics courses than in ethics and design thinking. When it comes down to it in business, you will always operate in a team and even more individuals who will evaluate, supervise, or review your work. Those individuals will have different experiences, backgrounds and skillsets that are unique to them and will enrich your work. Instead of being haunted by the idea that you can’t perform equally to others in certain areas, invest that energy into leveraging your teams’ strengths and passions. Building team synergy is a gamechanger but it is harder to achieve if you do not first become self-aware of your weaknesses and value proposition to that project.”
Kamilah Latif, Hult International Business School






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