Four years ago, when I was deciding where I wanted to go to college, I had no idea what I was doing or what I wanted my career to look like. In high school, I spent all my hours studying and in athletics and extracurriculars, leaving no time to reflect on what I wanted the next phase of my life to look like.
I recently reflected on the process I went through and put together some pieces of advice. If you feel a bit overwhelmed by this process, or even if you think you know exactly what you want, here are some of my thoughts on what to consider when choosing an undergraduate business school.
1. Look at the degree programs and how they are structured.
Not all business degrees are the same. The Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business offers one degree in business administration. The degree requires all students to take introductory classes in each specialty – finance, marketing, IT management, etc. Every student is required to select a specialty as their concentration. The concentration requires eight classes of focused coursework to graduate with a degree in business administration. My advice is to check out Scheller’s curriculum and look at the course catalog to see what classes most interest you.
2. Check out third party rankings.
Rankings are a great place to start your research. Ranking publications will give you the highlights of what each school is known for and can help you get an idea of what details you should pay attention to. Look beyond overall rankings and explore categorical rankings like career services and student involvement. Georgia Tech recently broke into Poets&Quant’s top 10 undergraduate business schools in the U.S. and ranked No. 1 in four areas: academic advising, career advising, extracurricular opportunities, and effectiveness of degree in helping students reach their career goals. Some good places to look are U.S. News & World Report and Poets&Quants.
3. Consider possible career paths.
My advice would be to explore where the school’s alumni are working and find out the positions they hold. Visiting the school’s LinkedIn page is an easy way to filter alumni by majors, industry, and job titles. That is a great way to learn about potential career paths.
4. Take a tour of the business school – yes, that is a thing!
Most people don’t know that many business schools offer tours separate from the general campus tour. The business school is where you will be spending most of your time and taking a tour will give you more specific information about the degree programs, student involvement, and career services.
5. Explore opportunities available beyond your degree program.
Consider what opportunities are available including student organizations and study abroad programs as well as other degree programs and career services that could be available to you.
When exploring career services, look closely at the school’s employment statistics. Are internships and co-ops common? How does the school support students throughout the hiring process? Look for percentages of students who graduate with a full-time offer and how many students graduate with internship or co-op experience.
Explore additional areas of study offered through the business school and the university. It is common for students to add certificates and minors, so it’s a good idea to look at what options are available beyond your major.
6. Explore the school’s website and social media pages to learn about the culture.
Social media is an easy way to get a quick taste for school culture and learn about events hosted by the school. It is common for schools to have separate accounts for undergraduate programs. I would recommend following the school’s main accounts and undergraduate accounts if they have them. Take a look at the Scheller College of Business’ LinkedIn and Instagram accounts.
Many business schools offer events that are open to the public, including guest speakers, information sessions, and panel discussions. I recommend checking out the Scheller Events page to see upcoming events.
My final piece of advice: Take some time to reflect on yourself. Think about your interests, passions, and what the school can do for you. This is your decision and what is right for you is unique to yourself.