Wait, Vandy doesn’t have a business major?
Sorry I have been AWOL lately. Finals week just ended, and I’m sitting at Gate F1 at Atlanta’s airport, heading back home to New Delhi. What’s the best way to use my 90 minutes till boarding? A new post of course!
Before coming to Vanderbilt, I was dead set on going down the academic path. Grad school for Econ, a PhD etc etc. However, my plans have changed lately (don’t they always), and now I am more interested in the world of financial services and consulting. It’s all because of the Managerial Studies Department, and the two minors, Corporate Strategy and Financial Economics, it offers.
Wait a minute…shouldn’t I be at a disadvantage because we don’t have a full-fledged business or finance major? Some universities have an entire undergraduate school dedicated to business. So why should you come to Vanderbilt? This is why.
1. Plans change, and that’s ok. Committing yourself to studying business even before you set foot on campus works for many people who have a crystal clear idea about what they want to do. I didn’t. I knew I wanted to major in Econ, and while that plan hasn’t changed, my interests have changed from academia to the corporate world. I realized this at the end of freshmen year, but thankfully it wasn’t too late for me. Vanderbilt realizes that your passions change, and that’s why having a minor which you still have enough time to complete without stressing out is a major advantage.
2. You get the best of both worlds. Sometimes, pre-professional majors can be too focussed, and this limits your exposure to other disciplines such music, art, languages etc. At Vanderbilt, having a minor helps us to combine a world-class liberal arts education with practical business skills from the minors. You can major in English, and minor in Corporate Strategy like Heather is. You can major in Mechanical Engineering and minor in Financial Economics. The options are endless, and Vanderbilt’s flexibility in combining majors and minors exposes you to different fields of study, challenging you to think and work in creative ways.
3. You still get a rigorous education in business. The Managerial Studies Department offers a wide variety of courses in Corporate Strategy and Financial Economics. While both courses have a requisite of Financial Accounting, they are very different minors:
a) Corporate Strategy. This minor focusses on devising innovative methods to give businesses a strategic advantage. You get to take courses in management, marketing, entrepreneurship, and managerial communications. In fact, my Faculty VUceptor, Joe Rando, teaches one of most popular courses in the minor, Fundamentals of Management. Heather is minoring in Corporate Strategy, so she’ll be able to give you an in-depth view of the minor.
b) Financial Economics. This is another minor that I am looking at. I just finished Financial Accounting, and will take Managerial Accounting next semester. To many people, accounting elicits yawns, but trust me, it is a fascinating subject, and with Professor Stuart Garber, I enjoyed learning about financial accounting and its uses in the corporate world. Some of the other classes in the minor include Corporate Finance, Investment Analysis, Financial Management, and Financial Instruments and Markets. This is another very popular minor on campus.
Apart from the minors, Vanderbilt has its very own Owen Graduate School of Management, and while this is a graduate school, it does offer undergraduate students opportunities to experience business, and get a taste of its MBA program through Accelerator, Vanderbilt’s Summer Business Institute. While I don’t know much about this program, one of my close friends was a part of this program this past summer, and she only had good things to say about it.
There are many student organizations such as the Investment Club, Investment Banking Club, the Consulting Club, AKPsi (the business fraternity), and other clubs that help you collaborate with fellow students on real-world cases, and learn from various guest speakers.
If you’re looking for internship opportunities, be sure to check out the Center for Student Professional Development. It has helped me so much with finding internships to apply to, resumes, and cover letters. It also has many other resources such as mock interviews and information sessions/workshops to help you find opportunities in whatever field interests you, not just business. There are networking opportunities with alumni and other key people throughout the year.
Let me know if you have any questions! Feel free to email me at email@example.com
Happy holidays, and anchor down!
Update: Vandy has a new business minor!