Congratulations, you’ve decided that a business major is the right path for you! This rewarding career path will never cease to challenge you and provide you with opportunities for growth. Whether you’re just starting out on your academic journey or you’re looking to stand out above the crowd of your university peers, Opus is ready to provide you with tips and tricks as you take these crucial next steps. In the words of the late, great Dr. Seuss, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out!” Join us as we highlight some great methods for you to use as an upcoming or current business major!
In this post, we will cover 2 major topics for the business-geared individual:
- 4 tips for standing out as a Business Major Applicant at top schools
- 4 tips for standing out as a Current Business Major
Standing Out as a Business Major Applicant
It all happened so fast, one minute you’re taking pictures for your first day of grade school, the next you find yourself researching career goals for the rest of your life. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been thinking about the best way to show the college admissions office at your top choice schools that you are a prime candidate for a business related degree. It seems daunting, maybe a little overwhelming even, but fear not as Opus College Prep is here to lend you a hand as you wade through a seemingly endless sea of information.
As you gear up to take the next big leap in your academic career, please consider these tips to help you get accepted into the school of your dreams!
- Extracurricular Activities – Top schools are looking for students with niche skills and interests to diversify their incoming class. They want to see students who have shown a commitment to activities outside of academics. Does your highschool host any Business clubs? Yes? Check them out, see if they would be a good fit for you! No? Start one! What better way to show admissions that you are business-oriented than to start a specialized club for your academic peers.
- Academically Challenge Yourself! – This is a great opportunity to think about how you can cater your electives to your future goals! Does your school offer extra classes in computers, economics, or accounting? These are all great examples of classes that stand out to admissions offices. Not only will these classes look great on your transcript, but they will be the informational foundation that will only help you as you proceed forward.
- Manage Your Summer Breaks – Schools such as Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania, University of Notre Dame, and Emory University offer competitive summer enrichment programs for students interested in a degree in business. These programs give students an opportunity to hone their leadership, communication, and marketing skills. Take advantage of these programs prior to applying. Some schools will give preference to students who have been accepted into these programs prior to the application process. Another benefit to these programs is that even if they aren’t at your school of choice, they can make you a strong applicant for many top universities regardless! These experiences can really help students stand out from their peers during admissions reviews!
- Build Your Experiences – Those internships we mentioned above? That experience is priceless! Schools love to see someone building their business experience beforehand. Internships are wonderful, but thinking even further, starting your own business is an excellent show of entrepreneurial spirit. Experiences like these show not only a deeper interest in your future academic and professional career, but also that you have the initiative to take the first step into new experiences and opportunities. Not only would you stand out, but you would surely be a step ahead of the rest after starting and managing all the key aspects of your own business!
Standing Out as a Current Business Major
Phew! It feels like just yesterday that you were lugging your suitcase into your freshman dorm, having accomplished the feat of getting accepted into a competitive business degree program. As you’ve gotten into the swing of life as a higher education student, you’re probably starting to realize that the real world is just around the corner and you’re not sure if you stand out from the crowd as much as you’d like. Worry not, we have just the thing for you! Below, we go over 4 points that will help you further prove yourself as the star you are:
- Building and Strengthening Your Soft Skills – Are you asking yourself, do I even have soft skills? Soft skills include leadership, communication, problem solving, and team building, just to name a few. During your time in school, you’ve been building your skills during every group activity, project, or club. It could have been when you took the lead on an important group assignment, delegated the roles and responsibilities of a school club, or even when you assisted in a conflict resolution seminar held by a professor. Did you ever participate in a mentorship program? Mentoring is another soft skill to add to your repertoire.
Why do these skills matter? A quote from Pepperdine Graziadio Business School answers this question perfectly, “Soft skills, in some instances, can supersede hard skills when you convey that you fit in well with an organization’s culture. Most employers are looking for a solid combination of both hard and soft business skills, so you will surely set yourself apart by putting your energy into the development of both.”
These skills can only help you as you consider where you want to take your education and career. Ask yourself questions such as, what is the culture like at my dream company? Which of my skills would allow me to really contribute to their organizational goals? As you learn the answers to these questions, challenge yourself to strengthen and utilize your soft skills at any opportunity.
- Your Written Word – As mentioned in our last point, the skills you’ve been learning as an undergraduate have been priceless and will only serve you well in your goal to make you stand out. Your next step is to decide how best to present these skills to your prospective employers and potential professional colleagues. Your resume is an opportunity to make a glowing first impression and give insight on why you are best suited for the role to which you are applying. Get creative! Your resume is more than words on paper, it is every experience that has helped to mold you into the person you are today. Present this person as an asset to the company, someone who can not only fit in well with the company culture, but who will be an invaluable resource in continuing to bring forward momentum to any organizational goals.
Next, think even further beyond the words you are writing. You may have been given a resume format to follow and, while these are often helpful, it may not be the best option when trying to present yourself as an individual. You may even find it helpful to add a brief summary to your resume, giving some insight into your career accomplishments and future goals.
- Marketing, Marketing, Marketing – Do you have a business card? A LinkedIn? An online portfolio? If not, this is a great opportunity to start considering the best methods to market yourself to future employers. Keep your LinkedIn profile active and updated, share articles relevant to your professional interests, and be sure to include any skills and experiences as you grow. Building your professional presence is critical in your endeavor to stand out and get noticed. Be sure to keep your content professional and appropriate, you don’t want to stand out for the wrong reasons!
- Making and Maintaining Your Connections – Whether it be major-specific meet and greets hosted by the career development department or career fairs held by the university, be sure to update your calendar and attend them at any opportunity. Developing connections with active alumni, professors, or even fellow classmates will only serve to open doors as you proceed forward in your business career. Make building these and cultivating these relationships a part of your day-to-day routine by maintaining the connections you make.
Need help with any of these points? Opus has consultants ready to assist you at all stages in your Business Major journey. Feel free to reach out regarding a free consultation and additional information regarding our services and allow us to utilize our decades of Ivy League experience to help you make the best of your academic and post-graduate career.