Career-Starting Tips: What Should You Expect from an Education in Business?

Career-Starting Tips: What Should You Expect from an Education in Business? (Podcast)
Career Booster


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At Grantham University, we believe in going the extra mile to help you prepare for a successful job search. Recently, two of our Career Services experts met with Dr. David Marker, Dean of the Mark Skousen School of Business, to discuss a number of issues—from the industries that need degreed business professionals to what’s happening in Grantham’s school of business.

Business students, like most professionals in the industry, are bottom-line kinds of people. When they’re looking at degree programs and business schools, they want to know why this program specifically, or this school in general, is right for them. After all, finding out how it will affect their lives and their livelihoods … well, it’s just good business.

So, they ask questions like:

  • What are hiring companies looking for in a business school graduate?
  • Am I better off with a good general understanding of business essentials?
  • Or should I focus on a specific industry?

Knowing this, Doug Dimler, Grantham’s Career Services Coordinator, asks:

“What are the main industry areas that we cover in our programs here at Grantham?”

“It’s funny,” says Marker, “because people will sometimes say they want to work in a particular industry, but a business program, in general, develops people to work across industries and not in a particular industry.”

There are exceptions, he explains, but the general business program is designed to help students work in any industry.

“That organization is going to tell you what they want you to do and how they want it done,” says Marker. “They are going to assume you have this knowledge because you have this Grantham University degree in business.” In other words, your business school will give you the language you need to communicate and be effective in any industry … and that industry will train you on the specifics.

Does Grantham’s Mark Skousen School of Business Cover Any Specializations?

Yes, it does. The school offers a number of specializations to help new graduates make their marks in the industry of their choosing. It offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in areas like Human Resource Management, Marketing, Accounting, Information Management, Logistics and Supply Chain Management and more.

“A very popular program,” says Marker, “is our Certified Financial Planning (CFP) program which prepares you to work as a financial planner. It was recently re-affirmed by the CFP board. We have many programs that have been reviewed and affirmed by their professional associations.”

“Operations management,” he continues, “is another area that isn’t a particular organization, but a particular way to look at how industry runs. Those are the ones that are kind of industry-specific. The other ones are kind of broad in what we teach in terms of marketing or human resource management and general management.”

Why Should Students Take Non-Business Courses?

“General education credits—math, science, English—why do students need those things?” asks Dimler.

“Here’s the thing,” says Marker, “as businesspeople, we operate in environments that are not closed off. Some businesspeople like to think we are apart from society. Where in fact, businesses are an integral part of the social fabric of society of where we live.”

We do not operate independently from society. It’s not a case of we are businesspeople during the day and then leave the office at quitting time to be somebody else.

“What you do as a businessperson is who you are,” says Marker. “That’s one thing. The second thing is, when we talk about learning to understand how to organize problems and even how to find problems, what math teaches us is a different way to look at problems.”

The point isn’t whether or not you get the equation right. It’s whether you’re learning how to look at different problems in different ways. Yes, it’s important to come up with the right answer. But it’s more important that you recognize and understand other ways to tackle different kinds of problems.

Different Kinds of Problems?

As the old saying goes, if the only tool you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail. Different problem sets require different tools to solve them. A well-rounded, well-educated business professional understands that.

“That’s the same thing with science,” says Marker. “What’s important to me is that the student understands the Scientific Method. That way, we can order what we do, how we do it and how we arrive at this decision.”

For these reasons, the ability to do math, understand science and recognize problems … these are important skills to a business professional.

“I’ve worked with some tremendous people whose main benefit to me was they knew when there was a problem,” says Marker. “And they knew how to get to that problem. I’ll be honest with you, solving the problem is the easiest part of that whole process … figuring out what the real problem is, is the most difficult part.”

“I think you have to do that every day of your life,” says Dimler. “Figure out what those problems are.”

“That’s the great thing about business education,” says Marker. “There’s nothing that I’m doing in my business education that’s not applicable to my life as a human being … to trying to be a better person.”

What Should Students Know About Grantham’s Business School?

“What is a typical class size?” asks Dimler. “What is the usual student-to-instructor ratio?”

“Like most schools,” says Marker, “class sizes in lower levels are larger. As you get to your junior or senior year, class sizes are smaller.”

At the Mark Skousen School of Business, leadership is trying hard to hold class sizes to around 25 students for those year one and year two classes. The average class size for Junior and Senior classes tends to come in right around 15 students - between 10 and 15 students for graduate-level courses.

“I like the smaller classes,” says Marker. “It gives you the opportunity to talk to each other and actually forces you to network with each more. Where if we have 30 or 50 people in a class, then students can sit back and not have to talk with each other. But if we have only 15 or 20 people in the class, those students actually have to talk with other people in the class.”

Any Other Changes?

“We’re constantly changing,” says Marker. “There’s nothing we’re not looking at. In fact it drives many of the people at the university kind of crazy because we’re constantly looking to see how we can better respond to the needs of our environment. Like any other organization, if we allow ourselves to become complacent in what we do, we will fade away.”

One defining principle of intentional change within the school is maintaining a student focus. Finding better ways to facilitate meaningful learning for our future alumni. To that end, the school has reorganized its undergraduate program offerings, starting with the overall business administration program and gaining approvals by all accrediting agencies involved for each program.

One example is Grantham’s new combination business administration and management associate degree program. Another is the revamped bachelor’s degree with multiple concentrations, including general management, marketing, logistics and supply chain management, financial planning, procurement and contract management, operations management and human resource management.

“Students will be able to get those concentrations attached to their transcripts,” says Marker. “That way, when an employer asks, ‘you got a BBA which is a generalist degree, what area are you interested in?’ you’ll have an answer.”

Grantham is also offering a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, recently accredited as its own program by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE).

“So we’re one of fewer than 300 schools worldwide to have both our general program accredited and our accounting program accredited,” says Marker, “out of the tens of thousands of business schools worldwide. It’s a lot of work and I’m really proud of our team for that accomplishment.”

What About Graduate Programs? Will There Be More Concentrations for the MBA?

“There will,” says Marker. “The MBA is a generalist degree, it’s considered a terminal professional degree. But similarly, there are people who want to work in finance or in accounting and they need more graduate hours in those particular areas, and so we’ll be providing that.”

“Can students transfer real-life experience or test out of required classes?” asks Dimler.

“Students cannot test out,” says Marker. “But students can apply real-life experiences for transfer credit.”

Through the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) program, students prepare a small file outlining their experience for each relevant course … and how that experience corresponds to the objectives of that course. The file is reviewed by faculty members. If they certify the experience corresponds to the needs of the course, that student can earn full credit for the course.

Getting credit for experience you already have … and earning a degree from a school that will help you learn what you need to excel in the workplace, well, that’s just good business, too.

Download Our Podcast

Now that you’ve gained some insight on what to expect from a business school that values your professional success, take some time out of your day to listen in as Marker, Dimler and Jeromey Bell, Associate Director of Talent Development and Career Services, continue to explore the many advantages of a business education at Grantham University.

About The Author

Brandon Swenson, communications manager, is on Grantham University’s editorial board. A veteran and college graduate himself, he understands the benefits and intricacies of government education programs, such as the post-9/11 GI Bill. Brandon earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City toward the end of his nearly two-decade tour in the United States Marine Corps.