For the past six years I have worked with high school students who considered various undergraduate business programs. There are many very good ones. But don’t rely too much on rankings. They fluctuate wildly from year to year. But what should you rely on to consider undergraduate business programs?
Some will admit freshmen immediately and let them sink or swim. Others will admit freshmen to a pre-business track. Then they admit them to the business school as juniors, provided that they maintained a minimum GPA or better in the required courses. Some schools offer both options. But they make the transfer process a greater academic challenge for those who want to switch to the business school.
It’s easier for a college sophomore or junior to pull out of an undergraduate business program than it is to get in. Some majors within an undergraduate business program might become “capped.” The demand for the major might be greater than the number of classes that can be offered.
Calculus is rarely used within the business world. But successful professionals in areas such as accounting, finance, human resource management and marketing are comfortable interpreting numbers and explaining trends derived from them.
Seek a school with a strong alumni base in a city where your student hopes to work and possibly reside after graduation. Some colleges such as Cornell, Indiana, Penn State or Purdue are quite isolated. But there are alumni working all over the world. The upside? Students may have fantastic summer internship experiences. Downside? They cannot work in these internships during the school year nor can they always leave campus for interviews. Another option is co-op, where students alternate between school and work for two or three years of their college degree.
If you want to be an accountant, yes. The coursework required to sit for the CPA exam is more stringent than it is for any other business discipline. If you want to work in management information systems, it helps to know the programming languages used in modern businesses and consulting firms as well as the business core courses. If you want to be in a profession such as quantitative finance that uses an industry-specific software package, it helps to get training and practice in that package while in college.
An economics major with strong skills in math and statistics can find work in finance as easily as a finance major. A communications or psychology major with similar mathematical skills can work successfully in marketing or advertising. For most college students a liberal arts major combined with core courses in accounting, economics and statistics will be fine.
Try different occupations while in college through part-time work, community service or internships to find the best fit. Academic achievements are certainly a plus, But businesses seek ambitious and motivated people who try to learn their world outside of the classroom.
Listen to my talk, College Is A Learning AND Living Community, hosted by Dr. Cynthia Colon from Destination YOUniversity on Voice of America Radio!
Listen to my talk, What Exactly Is a Good College? hosted by test-prep experts Amy Seeley and Mike Bergin on Tests And The Rest!
Sharing is caring!