Conquent: Without Limits
Conquent: Without Limits
Kristen Fife's Blog

The All Purpose College Major

2016-09-10 17:21:12

I was talking to a friend yesterday who has an 18-year old son starting college this fall. He did the HS running start program, which means he took college-level, full credit classes his senior year of HS. He is starting at a local Community College with the hope of transferring to a 4-year school in the next couple of years. The problem is, he doesn't have any clue what he wants to do, what major to declare, or even what sorts of classes he should take beyond his requirements. This isn't an uncommon scenario. And even if you declare a major, you will very likely change it once you figure out what you want to do in two, or three years. This suggestion is specifically for people that don't know what sort of CAREER they want; not for the vocal performance scholarship budding soprano, or the history major that is going on to get a MS Ed. and wants to teach high school.

So from my professional position as a recruiter, and my personal experience as a liberal arts major, here is my suggestion: go for a general business major (BBA, Bachelor of Business Administration). You can pick a concentration, minor, or double major along the pathway if you decide.

There are so many unemployed college graduates out there, and I cannot tell you how many MBA candidates I talk to that went back to get their MBA when they could not find a job doing anything meaningful with their drama, music, English, history, anthropology, or other take-your-pick-liberal-arts-degree. A business major at least gives you a basic skill set that can help you find an entry-level job. From a recruiting perspective, I can make a case to a hiring manager to hire an entry level business major that at least *understands* marketing or accounting concepts much more than I can for a philosophy major that has no idea that EBIDTA is a business acronym let alone what it stands for/relates to. From a personal perspective, I can tell you that I loved my major (Classical Humanities with a Medieval History minor), I learned valuable research skills that stand me in good stead, but it took me almost a DECADE to actually get started on anything remotely resembling a career path. I worked temp office (no benefits), retail, and call-center customer service jobs before I was able to network into a job that led me where I am today. (Oh, and that included a 2000-mile cross-country move on my own for personal reasons.) My LinkedIn profile and resume look amazingly different the last ten years from the first decade. Thank heavens.

The job market has changed significantly in the last decade due to a number of factors. If you read this blog with any regularity, you know that I try and give no-nonsense job seeking suggestions from the side of someone involved intimately with the hiring process. I certainly will not tell someone not to pursue a passion, only give you realistic advice about actually finding a *job* at the end of it.

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