What It’s Like To Major In Business At A Top School

From a small cattle farm in southern Indiana where he was raised and spent childhood days riding and showing horses, to his current status as a graduating senior at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, Tanner Snider’s journey has been marked by remarkable milestones along the way. Among them were a pair of study-abroad trips, including to South Korea where Snider studied the country’s economic growth plan and visited businesses such as Samsung, Hyundai, and the Bank of Korea. The other trip was a trek to Hong Kong where he spent a semester studying finance at City University of Hong Kong, visiting five other countries, and building a professional network that now touches several points across the globe.

Snider’s mosaic of colorful experiences doesn’t stop there. He did three summer internships that took him from IU’s Bloomington, Indiana campus to the hustle and bustle of New York City and twice to the Windy City. Closer to home, he’s been a mentor to younger Kelley students, serving on the school’s student Funding Board and working with administrators to strengthen the school’s LGBTQ+ initiatives.

As Snider’s undergraduate experience draws to a close, he now has his eyes set on McKinsey & Company, where he’ll set foot into the real world as a business analyst.

Six Students Take You Inside Six Business Schools

It’s no wonder business administration continues to hold steady as the most popular undergraduate major on college campuses. Whether their goal is to become a marketing executive at a leading ad agency, break into the banking or consulting industry as Tanner Snider has done, or one day take a leap of faith to start an entrepreneurial venture, the pathways available to today’s undergraduate business school students are plentiful, colorful, and instructive to those who would follow in their footsteps.

How do we know? Meet the Poets&Quants for Undergrads Campus Correspondents of Spring 2018. Six students at six business schools offer first-hand accounts of undergrad life at some of the most elite programs at the forefront of business education.

The inaugural group of Campus Correspondents hail from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, New York University’s Stern School of Business, the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. Some are just beginning their B-school journeys, while others — like Wharton’s Justine Murray and Olin’s Marni Widen — have withstood the rigors of finance, strategy, economics, and other business courses and are now mere days from obtaining their coveted business degrees.

More Than Finance and Surviving Tough Classes

Murray — a graduating senior who remembers screaming, crying, and running celebratory laps around her home in St. Catherine, Jamaica when she learned she’d been admitted to Wharton — says she knew she wanted to go to business school after attending her first economics class in high school. Still, this marketing and social impact & responsibility major offers prospective students a word of advice about attending an elite business school such as Wharton: It’s okay if finance isn’t your passion.

“Students graduate with one, two, or sometimes even three of the twenty-two concentrations Wharton offers,” Murray says. “Unsurprisingly, the most popular concentration is finance. Therefore, it should also come as no surprise that after just one semester, I too started to toy with the idea of concentrating in finance.”

But Murray says business school has a way of exposing students to a wide range of opportunities that can unlock untapped passions and help students charter their own path.

“By using the two semesters of my sophomore year to take a series of introductory classes across several departments, I was able to encounter content and opportunities that I had never considered,” she says. “Marketing was something I had no interest in. However, after just one class, I realized that it was something I could thoroughly enjoy.”

Speaking of classroom encounters, Marni Widen — a graduating senior at Olin — takes readers on a journey inside of her business school’s toughest classes. In her Microeconomics course, Widen remembers, “There were so many Greek letters written on the board, I thought I was at sorority recruitment.” And while accounting may be known as the language of business, but for Widen and her fellow classmates, taking a Principles of Financial Accounting course, it was a language that was utterly foreign.

Tough classes aside, campus correspondents say business school is a space for abundant opportunity and a community of impressive, sharp thinkers.

Says Alexandra “Alex” Grieco, a junior at Stern: “I love a lot of things about Stern, but I would have to say that my top three favorite things are: the study-abroad program, being surrounded by so many driven and hardworking people, and, of course, living in and experiencing New York City! Thanks to Stern, I have been able to study abroad in Florence, Italy, intern at a luxury cosmetics brand in New York City, and meet so many students and professors, both in and out of the classroom, who are diverse in thought and background.”