Friday, May 27, 2016

Choosing a Major

A common issue that arises is the process of choosing a major. Many business students come to a business school with a major already in mind. In many cases their choice has been determined by some familiarity with a relative who has already succeeded in that field. For example, a student chooses to major in accounting because her father majored in accounting. Or, the choice of major may be influenced by some perception that comes from the popular media. For example, a student chooses to major in finance because he believes finance graduates automatically make a lot of money.

I encourage all business students to shop around.

There are many majors in a business school that a student has never heard of prior to arriving. Depending on the business school, these include majors like business analytics, entrepreneurship, information systems, insurance, logistics, operations management, production management, real estate, risk management, and supply chain management. A student should investigate all of these.

Most majors have a student group that meets regularly. I encourage students to attend a range of student group meetings during the first year on campus so that they can learn something about their options.

There are faculty who will explain job opportunities in fields to students. If a student will go to the department office and ask, she will be directed to a faculty member who will be happy to discuss the industry.

I also encourage students to go to any lecture given by a successful alumnus of the school. These people often provide a perspective of a career path that is not expected.

More than anything, though, the most important thing is for a student to find a major that s/he finds interesting. I believe that people are most productive when they are in a job they enjoy. Productivity leads to success, both personally and professionally.

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