According to Niche, business has climbed to the second most popular major in college, conferring more than 430,000 degrees per year. As a result, schools of business and liberal arts colleges have become increasingly more competitive, looking to obtain the best and bright business majors for their programs. Whether you’re looking to find a university in order to obtain your baccalaureate degree or you want to take individual courses that will help prepare you as a future entrepreneur, there are some things that you should demand of the program offered by the school of your choice.
Undergraduate institutions and business programs differ substantially. Not only do many provide a mediocre education but also produce graduates who earn less than the average art history major. It’s important, as you compare programs, to find one that is worth your time, effort, and most of all, your college dollar.
Here are a few items that should be checked off before you begin.
Paid internships. It has been shown that employers who pay for interns will make a greater effort to train the student intern effectively. Having a little skin in the game goes a long way in encouraging businesses to invest their time in teaching paid interns the knowledge and skills they need to be successful during the internship and subsequent employment. Employers who consider hiring business majors with unpaid internships report that they believe the work experience isn’t being taken seriously, that many students are not gaining the skills that are necessary for success in an entry-level job. Not to mention, according to GoodCall, that “if the company couldn’t invest in the intern, why should a prospective employer do so?”
Other research, provided by US News, indicates that paid internships are more likely to lead to permanent jobs, primarily because 80 percent of employers view recruiting as a primary function of internships. The report noted that over 65 percent of graduates who complete a paid internship at a for-profit company received a job offer prior to graduation, while only 39 percent of students who had unpaid internships received offers for employment, which was only slightly higher than the offer rate for students who had no internship experience at all.
Courses with real-world tech instruction. A business degree should prepare a student in a full range of intermediate and advanced business skills. In addition to core college coursework like English composition, college algebra and calculus, psychology and sociology, and the natural sciences, business degrees include specific coursework. These would be courses such as economics, accounting, finance, leading and managing human capital, marketing, operations and supply chain management, and strategies and interventions. But in addition to traditional knowledge and skills related to typical stone-and-mortar businesses, coursework should also prepare future entrepreneurs for ecommerce.
As a result, business majors should expect and demand classes that help them understand and utilize the complete range of technology currently available for ecommerce. From Google Analytics to online logo creators, there are many tools of the trade that are necessary for developing a competitive edge in the face of increased niche markets, social media use, and alternatives to traditional shipping methods.
Experiential Learning. Research shows that students learn more effectively by doing, rather than by listening. This means that college coursework should include classes that utilize collaborative strategies such as working together on projects or giving public presentations, rather than focusing only on listening to lectures or reading textbooks. Business coursework should involve a balance of classroom instruction and learning that allows the application of that knowledge in real-life activity. From research projects to reflective writing, there are many ways to solidify understanding of content. The objective of experiential learning is to make abstractions more concrete and develop connections between theory and practice. Courses that offer field studies, day trips, reflective writing, service learning opportunities, and out-of-class projects are just some examples of courses that can balance important academic information with practical application in business schools.
Connections with people. Students fare much better in the working world if colleges help them learn to build relationships with a variety of peers and adults. Be sure that the business college you choose helps students make connections with people. This may include individual attention from professors, work with alumni, engagement in student clubs and activities and networking with business owners. Developing cultural competence, the ability to understand, appreciate, and work with diverse populations, is a critical component to success in any field, especially business.
What are some things you would demand as a business major? Feel free to share your suggestions here.