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

Vanessa Mariscal

Vanessa Mariscal

Explore All Of Your Options

“Take advantage of every single opportunity given to you. Your interests in business might change from when you start your college career to graduation, but business affords you the flexibility to explore a wide variety of fields. Exploring and learning from the different professors, internships, and various classes in business gives you a great idea of what is out there, and can help you realize what is or isn’t a good fit for you.” – Vanessa Mariscal, University of Wisconsin

“For students who are looking to major in a business-related field, I would tell them to get as involved as possible in Smeal and apply their business skills to student organizations. I have learned as much being involved in extracurricular activities as I have in my classes because I have had the opportunity to apply lessons learned in the classroom to real-life experiences. There are such a variety of fields where business skills are applicable, and I would encourage business students to explore all of these opportunities.”  – Katie Malley, Penn State University (Smeal)

“My advice would be to keep an open mind about which business major you want to pursue. As a freshman, I wish I had known that your major does not define your career path; nor does it limit the opportunities you’ll be able to pursue after you graduate. College is a time to explore different interests. As a freshman and sophomore, try to join as many extracurricular clubs as possible in order to expose yourself to different activities and hone in on what interests you the most.” – Cristina Gutierrez, University of Notre Dame (Mendoza)

“Take risks, try something new – perhaps it is a class in a different subject or a class in a part of business that might seem more difficult.” – Claudio Quintana, Boston College (Carroll)

Ryan Janvion

Ryan Janvion

“Do not be so narrow-minded in your career aspiration. Try new things and figure out what you like and do not like. Also, make sure you get to know the people in your classes and your professors well. You never know who will be able to help you down the road in you career choices.” – Ryan Janvion, Wake Forest University


“The business world is about forming meaningful connections with your peers and superiors. Therefore, it is very helpful to treat every person you encounter with respect. Fostering relations with those you regularly interact with is important because it will expand your network and social circle. Even if you do not “click” with someone, you never know when you might run into them in the future.” Sabrina Janski, Southern Methodist University (Cox)

“There is something for everyone in business, whether you like quantitative or qualitative or technology-related work. But whatever you choose, you will learn all the transferrable skills you need to pursue any career you like, so don’t be afraid to take the time to look for what actually interests you. And network. Network more than you think you need and then some because this is the foundation off of which you will launch your career.  Make it as sturdy as possible.” – Monica Chen, University of Illinois

“Meet as many people as possible with different goals, experiences and backgrounds to try and grow your network to as big as possible.” – Alison McAuliffe, University of Illinois

Anne Burke Baldridge

Anne Burke Baldridge

“When I came to Carolina, someone told me to spend time getting to know my classmates and professors outside the classroom; it was the best advice I received. The students and faculty at UNC Kenan-Flagler are an incredibly bright and motivated group; the relationships you develop with them will not only enhance your time at Carolina, but also become important professional connections in the future. I have found the UNC and Kenan-Flagler alumni networks to be very engaged and supportive, and I believe that as students we should all strive to further strengthen those networks after we graduate.”  – Anne Burke Baldridge, University of North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)

“Make the most of the network of people in your classes, majors, and student groups. Not only will they be immensely valuable in your professional development, but more importantly those interactions will be the most memorable during your time at University.” – Alex Ranney, Washington University (Olin)

Become Well-Rounded 

“To a prospective business student, I would remind her that it’s crucial she gains technical and conceptual expertise in whatever she studies. We need both to succeed.” – Drew Marx, University of Wisconsin

“I would encourage them to try out a variety of different subjects – both in the arts and sciences, as well as within business. I truly appreciated my liberal arts education at Boston College and never could have anticipated how much I enjoyed taking classes across all disciplines. I also think that it’s important to try out different areas within business as well. Initially I thought I would not enjoy accounting, yet some of my favorite classes ended up being in accounting and it led to me concentrating in the subject.”  – Marissa Giannetto / Boston College (Carroll)

Jeff Yu

Jeff Yu

“Don’t just focus on business classes in your four years. In the Ross BBA Program, we not only have access to the outstanding non-business academics that the University of Michigan offers, but we are encouraged to participate in them. About half of our classes are outside of Ross and they really help us become better business leaders. Working with engineers, psychology majors, and future teachers on projects not only gives you team-building skills, but it opens your mind to new methods of problem solving. More importantly, I’ve gained a better understanding of the role that businesses and business leaders have in our society through these non-business classes. These experiences will make you a better business leader in a dynamic world, where most of your accomplishments won’t just be measured by profits and how much you beat Wall Street’s expectations.” – Jeff Yu, University of Michigan (Ross)

“Focus on your business classes, but if you have other interests beyond business, do not neglect them. Business can intersect with most other interests and the result of the mix can be something beautiful.” – Teri Tan, New York University (Stern)

Business is such an amazing foundational major to help you pursue your passions – I’ve learned all the essential financial, communication, and strategic planning skills through this program that have been such an added value to my minors in Health Policy and Management and Digital Studies. I fully believe that if you do major in business, make sure to take advantage of interdisciplinary studies and opportunities offered in college to better understand how to apply your major to something you’re truly passionate about.” – Larissa Purnell, University of Southern California (Marshall)

“Business is an extremely broad field. I came into the business school interested in a variety of topics including Finance, MIS, and Supply Chain Management. While developing a diverse knowledge set is useful, there’s also tremendous benefit to specialization. Find the right balance between learning one thing extremely well and trying to learn everything at once. Talk to older students and alumni to help narrow your pursuit, but stay exposed to other topics that may interest you.” – Chirag Agrawal, University of Texas (McCombs)

“Majoring in a business-related field teaches you the necessary analytical, communication, and personal skills you’ll need to succeed in the workplace after you graduate. You’ll be given opportunities to work on teams with completely different people. And you’ll learn from seasoned professors, many of whom have had years of experience in their related fields and are eager to mentor you or help you land an internship or job. Majoring in business opens up so many doors of opportunity, both personal and professional. Go for it!” – Emily Tillo, Boston University (Questrom)

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