20 Lessons You Learn In Business School

University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Davonté Higginbottom

5) Relationships Are Capital: “The biggest lesson I gained from studying business has been the importance of developing real relationships with people. Many people view networking as meeting as many people as possible. Whereas, I have found that it is more important to develop deep relationships with people that will last your entire life. These relationships provide both professional and personal benefits that outlast any amount of surface-level connections.”
Jason Quill, Georgia Tech (Scheller)

“The biggest lesson I learned from studying business is that at the end of the day, networking is the most important skill you need to develop. Continuing to expand my network is the reason why I have been able to receive the unique opportunities that I have. I try to always make sure my relationships are as authentic as possible. You can know a thousand people, but if they don’t know you or can’t vouch for you then that connection ultimately does not help.”
Davonté Higginbottom, University of Massachusetts-Amherst (Isenberg)

“There is so much power in relationships. Every activity I have been a part of, the student board position I have held or the internship I have received has been because of the connections I had within my personal and professional network. Relationships are not only important for opportunities, but they are also important for personal development and growth. I have been able to find mentorship and communities on campus because of the relationships I developed throughout my undergraduate career.”
Stephanie Avalos, University of Minnesota (Carlson)

6) Embrace a Growth Mindset: “The biggest lesson I’ve gained from studying business is the growth mindset: there is always room for improvement. We’ve explored throughout my business education that in order for a company to succeed in the long run, it needs to do better. Perhaps it innovates or adopts more ethical practices. Whatever it may be, just as there is space for companies to improve, there is room for improvements in our own lives. Business has taught me to recognize this and seek this both in application to the real world and in my personal life.”
Kristin John, Boston University (Questrom)

7) The Only Certainty is Change: “Having professors who participated in the industry can show how textbook examples have evolved over the years, as well as bring new relatable examples into the classroom. Our economy is ever-changing. When studying business, you begin to understand that problems that will need to be solved in the future do not exist yet.”
Ty-Lynn Johnson, Rutgers Business School (Newark)

University of Indiana’s Donnesha Robinson

8) Take Advantage of the Opportunities Available to You: “While you may not think you are qualified for the opportunity or ready for, it is best to take the leap rather than think about what could have been. I have grown a lot since my first business course at WPI, but thanks to that course on leadership practice I was able to set goals for myself and realize the importance of self-reflection and feedback. Using those tools that I learned in my business courses have helped me be successful and reach my goals. When I was presented the opportunity to study abroad in Namibia my junior year, it meant going away during the season for field hockey. I had to make a choice of whether or not I would continue to play field hockey or study abroad. Thinking about the goals I set for myself, I decided to take the study abroad opportunity. It was a tough position, but after talking to my coach I was able to work out a manager position for when I came back at the end of the season. The lessons I learned in my business class helped me weigh the options, and ultimately make the best decision for me.”
Emily Wilson, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

9) The Power of One: “The biggest lesson I learned from studying business is the impact of an individual. Often, our society tells us that if we are in the minority –or if we do not have others backing us up – we cannot succeed. However, the Kelley School of Business taught me that one person can make a huge impact. By equipping me with the education and resources, I was able to bring my seemingly small ideas to fruition. I learned that as an individual, I can impact others and see real change as long as I’m willing to put in the work.”
Donnesha Robinson, Indiana University (Kelley)

“The biggest lesson I have gained from studying business is this: despite there being multiple industries across varying countries, the ability for a manager or a leader to influence the work environment or culture –either negatively or positively – always exists. However, Tobin has allowed me to realize that as a leader, I will have power. With that power, I will be able to come into work every day and make those whom I serve just a bit better each day. Studying business has allowed me to see that leadership is truly about service and development of others. If I lead with that thought in mind, I will be able to create a culture that breeds success.”
Deven Rodriguez, St. John’s University (Tobin)

Wharton School’s Tanusri Balla

10) Don’t Strive For Perfection: “I have learned to let go of perfection in favor of feedback. Coming into college, I needed my work and projects to be perfect before I showed them to others. However, studying business has taught me the importance of gathering feedback on ideas and products early and often. I have learned to pitch rough ideas to a class of students and build low-fidelity prototypes to interview customers with, gathering feedback to improve my ideas along the way. I now use my need for perfection to iterate constantly based on data, establishing an approach to work that I’ll carry with me into my first job and beyond.”
Tanusri Balla, Wharton School

11) There Are Big Differences Between Founders and CEOs: “I think anyone can found a business and start something if they wanted to do it. However, getting that idea off the ground and putting in the hours takes hard work. I realized from my time at Northeastern talking to hundreds of entrepreneurs that the founders were the ones who would only take their business so far; they would only want to start the idea but not do the tough work. The ones who carried their business into success were the entrepreneurs not only cared about their idea, but also, they put a lot of importance on caring about their customers and their feedback. They were able to be humble and take feedback and learn from others who have done it before. Finally, they were able to take care of their team and make sure their teams were met. Those are qualities of a CEO where you are taking care and managing all aspects of your business and not just the idea or product.”
Abhishek Balakrishnan, Northeastern University (D’Amore-McKim)

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