12 Best Pieces of Career Advice For Business Majors

Sept. 17, 2020

Eller Business Blog

Whether you just started college or are about to graduate, it’s never a bad idea to get some career advice. College is an exciting time and brings many different opportunities, but it also brings many challenges and choices as well. Everybody has a different story and perspective, and it can be helpful to take a step back from your own situation at times. That being said we gathered 12 professionals to give us some of their best advice for business majors.

Here’s what they had to say:

Conduct Informational Interviews

When I was an Eller student, I decided I would travel around the country in an RV and interview people about their career paths. I lined up more than 300 interviews with people at companies for which I dreamed about working, and with titles I dreamed of having (including Lute Olson and Karl Eller!). These informational interviews not only helped me gain perspective on careers, but the experiences helped shape my philosophies and worldviews. My advice would be to seek information and perspectives outside of Tucson, but use your student status as a connection to the people you’d like to interview. 

A Student ID isn’t just a Student ID. It is a license to talk to anyone. Who do you want to meet?

Brett Farmiloe ‘06 BSBA (Accounting), CEO and Founder of Markitors

Start Pivoting to the Virtual World, Now

You will need to pivot to the virtual world to remain competitive and to market yourself remotely by improving your LinkedIn profile, expanding your network connections and reimagining your future in the changing work environment. Companies that are looking to hire business students often tell us that they want candidates who are resilient—those that can handle change and challenge, as well as failure. Strengthen your resiliency, and you will not only get through this difficult time, but any difficult time that comes your way.

Melissa Poole, Associate Director, MBA Professional Development and Career Coach at the Eller College of Management

Don't Hesitate to Ask Other Professionals

Ask for advice from the most successful people in your field. It is surprising how forthcoming people are about how they achieved their success. A short phone call can provide the knowledge to springboard a career.

Brian Greenberg ’00 BSBA (Entrepreneurship, Marketing), CEO and Founder of True Blue Life Insurance

Leverage Your School Network

Use the time in school to learn how to network and work through others. having the people skills to develop a followership is critical to becoming a leader. The earlier one starts developing those skills, the better off they'll be.

Jeff May, ‘93 BS (Economics), CMO of Cadence Education

Don't Be Intimidated by the Tech Field

Don't be intimidated to become familiar with software engineering, data engineering or data science. These professions are in very high demand and can make or break your career if you think Tech is an industry you'd like to work in. I was a Marketing major and I didn't think working on a technical team was an option for me. I was wrong. I started a technology company and sold it to Airbnb. 

Jason Puckett ’08 BSBA (Marketing, Advertising), Senior Manager of Search Marketing at Airbnb

Seek Opportunities Outside the Classroom

As students, it is so important to gain real-world work experience through part-time jobs, internships and co-ops while in school. These types of activities teach skills that cannot be taught in a classroom such as negotiation, relationship building, problem solving and collaboration, and prepare students with real experience to share in job interviews. Getting real-world experience will challenge you to be vulnerable and humble as you learn new concepts and techniques. Take advantage of those situations to show an aptitude for learning and to take risks outside of your comfort zone.

Carin Rowland, ‘03 BSBA (BA, Marketing, Spanish), Business Engagement Manager at Isagenix

Don’t Limit Yourself to One Industry

Don’t limit yourself to one industry. You may have gone into your program with your heart set on a very specific job or company, but don’t cut yourself off from other opportunities. Take some classes outside of your program to help you discover any other interests that you can apply your knowledge and skills. You will see that business degrees can be extremely beneficial to a variety of industries outside of just entrepreneurship or economics. 

Kristy Bach ‘87 BS (Marketing), COO of BestCompaniesAZ

Continue Down the Path of Hard Work 

You've made it this far because you're doing something right. You may not know now what the future holds, but continue down the path of working hard and being open-minded to opportunities that present themselves. Ultimately, regardless of what outsiders think, ensure you are passionate about what you take on and that it puts a smile on your face. Oh, and don't be too serious all the time.

Tamir Greenberg, Senior Director of Sales at SecureCircle

Take Care of Yourself 

It’s okay to take a step back and breathe. Business majors often believe that they always need to be moving full steam ahead at all times in order to be successful, but that is not the case. Burnout is real and it’s important to take care of yourself. Don’t throw all your hard work out the window, of course. School is important and you should always do the best you can, but you cannot be at your best if you are not taking care of yourself. Schedule in some fun time and downtime to help you cope with the business program.

Jennifer Schissel ‘08 BSBA (Accounting), Director of Finance and People at Y Scouts

Commit to Your Dream Job

Even in a challenging economy where it can seem like there aren’t many options, there are. Decide what you want out of your dream job—is it a high salary, international travel, working with large events or athletes, shopper to the stars? Whatever it is from there you must only consider positions and internships that will build your resume and make you an ideal candidate. Find someone on Linkedin that has your dream job—you may be surprised by where they came from. And while the first job may not make you the ideal candidate right away, you are headed in the right direction. There were lots of stepping stones before I landed my dream job and each one prepared me a little differently.

Stephanie Feder, ‘09 BA (Regional Development), Vice President of Business Development at Qwick

Shadow Professionals in Different Industries

My advice to business majors is to shadow as many professionals in their occupations as possible. During any vacation (Summer, Spring Break, Christmas, etc.), arrange to follow different types of people at their jobs to not only learn about that industry or occupation but also determine if it is something you enjoy, are challenged by and want to pursue. Every would-be doctor should first volunteer at a medical clinic to see if they faint at the sight of blood. It is the same for business students: try to shadow accountants (since you will learn about a variety of businesses), entrepreneurs, retailers, tech experts, restaurant owners, bankers, etc. Try to visit a lot of different businesses now while you are in school, so you can focus on one particular field you love when you graduate. When you are finished with each visit, remember to complete a pro/con list so you can make sensible and informed decisions when it counts.

Craig Rosen, CEO and Founder at InterviewFocus

Get Exposure to A Broad Range of Functions

If I were a business major right now, I would very much want to be exposed to a broad range of business functions and scenarios. Roles within business—especially in marketing and communications, where I operate—are becoming very fluid. While at times being a "generalist" was seen in business as a less-desirable attribute, I believe we are entering an era where knowing a lot about a lot is going to be incredibly valuable, because so much of business success is now about synthesis and integration.

Jay Baer ’92 BA (Political Science), Keynote Speaker

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