Making The Most Of B-School: Advice From The Best & Brightest Business Majors

Jalen Walker

Jalen Walker


Several members of the 2016 Class also claim their business major gives them a distinct advantage over their peers. For one, it instills the mindset inherent to meeting the pace and expectations of employers.  “Business school is about proving that you are capable of doing the work, writes Emory’s Brandon Walker, who interned at Google, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley before accepting a position with the Boston Consulting Group. “I haven’t officially entered the workforce, but I think the real world values execution over capability. It’s important not to lose sight of that while in school.”

Nick Cardamone of Georgia Tech points to reading outside of class as a way for business students to raise their game. “Invest in a Wall Street Journal and Economist subscription,” he shares. “Reading their articles will put you light years ahead of your peers regardless of the concentration you decided to focus in.”

For Indiana University’s Jalen Walker, the network he is building will probably be the best investment he makes as an undergraduate business major. “Everyone will tell you how important “networking” is,” he notes, “but never forget that the friends you make in classes will be your best source of advice, support, and connections down the road.” However, William & Mary’s George Rudebusch claims the real payoff stems from the people skills you develop. “I would—and do—advise younger students that business gives you skills unattainable elsewhere on a college campus. Of course, you gain business knowledge like what financial statements are and how calculate spot rates. The true value in a business program is the soft skills. As a business major, I have honed my interpersonal skills ranging from networking to effective leadership. These skills take time to develop. Majoring in business starts this process four years before your peers, which is a huge competitive advantage.”

Ethan Muhlstein

Ethan Muhlstein

In short, a business major provides the best of all worlds: In-demand skills, interesting subject matter, and a chance to make a differences, gushes Notre Dame’s Ethan Muehlstein. “If you are interested in majoring in a business-related field, DO IT!…Business is the field of relationships (among individuals and companies), so take advantage of the opportunity to meet many interesting people. Be intentional, be passionate, share ideas, debate and discuss, find ways to incorporate the practical business skills into doing good for others and with others, and take classes outside of the business discipline. The more you understand about others and the more you know generally, the more prepared you will be before entering the workforce.”

Here is some additional advice from the best and brightest business majors from the Class of 2016:

Be Open, Curious and Passionate

“Ask questions and listen to the answers. Then ask more questions.There are complicated aspects of interpreting businesses and business climates, but professors teaching about business-related fields are overwhelmingly willing to help outside of formal lectures if you’re willing to be a listener.” – Blake Chasin, Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)

“Follow Your Passion: When you start looking into a business-related major, you don’t need to specifically know what you’re interested in pursuing in the business world. All you need to know for sure is that you have a passion for business and your classes and extracurricular activities will naturally lead you to your specialty.”  – Ashini Ganesalingam, Cornell University (Dyson) 

Emmi Banner

Emmi Banner

“Don’t be afraid to pick a specialization in business that isn’t finance or accounting. Pick what you’re passionate about, work hard, and opportunities will be there. Business isn’t about doing what everyone else does – it’s about being a leader, making connections and having the ability to dedicate yourself to something you are passionate about.” Emmi Banner, Ohio State University (Fisher)

“As I often do when giving tours at UNC Kenan-Flagler, I firmly believe that all students can benefit immensely from studying business. This major is so much more than simply looking at financial statements, and it involves thinking about how to motive people to solve big problems. If a student has an interest in anything from Bhangra dance to Kenyan politics, understanding basic business principles will be a huge asset in equipping him or her with accomplishing any desired goals.”  – Stetson Starkey, University of North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)

“My best advice is that of all the other majors you can study, business will give you the biggest return on investment. It is certainly an academic focus where the more you put in, the more you get out of it.”  – Myles Lee, Southern Methodist University (Cox)

Carve Your Own Path

“Don’t let yourself feel boxed in by what everyone else is doing. Instead find out what you want and let yourself follow that passion.” – Samir Goel, New York University (Stern) 

“Dare to be different. No longer is the business world controlled by the same generic person. It is the diversity of the people within business that allows the world to flourish.” – Ashley Martinez, Indiana University (Kelley)

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