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Advice wanted about choosing major


jlau20

So I have to register for classes tomorrow. I'll be a senior next year. As of right now my major is General Business, and now it's time to start choosing what I want to take to fill out my major. So far I've taken all the required core business classes, plus two others that I thought I might be interested in. Now I'm having second thoughts on if I want to stay as a General Business major, or switch to Marketing. I'll still be able to graduate on time either way, but I guess the advice I'm looking for is if other people have or have dealt with a General Business major. My dilemma is that I'm still not sure what I want to do after college, obviously something business related, but other than that I'm not sure. Marketing seems to be the most interesting of the core classes I took, and I have a thing at the Admirals sort of working with the promotions/marketing area, which I've liked doing. I'm not 100% sure it's what I want to do though. Another reason I've went with General Business is that I was told it is actually appealing to some employers because it would mean I have at least base experience in all different areas of business, and then they can train me specifically to what they need at the time if I can get hired. Now I've been thinking that it might be better to go with something more specific (Marketing), because a part of me thinks it could end up in getting a better paying job and I'd actually have more than a base knowledge in one thing, rather than knowing just a little about each different thing.

 

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

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Obviously, field and work experience is key no matter which major you choose. Marketing tends to steer you towards sales positions for entry-level just out of college, but that's not always 100% true.

 

Doing a bit of research into the world of work outlooks for marketing and business might not hurt. Here is a site that has some information on what you can do with different majors, and gives you some tips to think about if you're interested in those majors. Really thinking about what your interests, values, and skills are plays a role in it, too. If you like the marketing and sales route and feel comfortable with those principles it may be a good thing for you. If you're not really into selling and that, business might give you more opportunities.

 

As for a personal experience, a friend of mine graduated recently from UWW with a marketing major. She is in a sales job right now, low base but good opportunity for commission. A lot of the jobs she got offered initially were commission only, which you might want to take into consideration too if you have loans, etc.

 

I know that was a lot of rambling, but I hope some of it helped or was at least food for thought. I could talk about career development all day, lol.

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I might question taking the easiest route, although it seems you generally have a pretty good idea of what you're looking for. When I was an undergrad, I took most of my core classes early on and didn't really know what I wanted to do. Then I kind of just looked at something that I was interested in and what was easy and I landed on Zoology. That didn't work out too well. There really weren't many opportunities for jobs and I couldn't even have worked at the Milwaukee County Zoo unless I moved to Milwaukee County, which I wasn't going to do. So I ended up working on the roof for a year. However, I ended up getting into law school, which should hopefully open up some opportunities after graduation. Basically, think long-term and not just what is the easiest.

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Thanks for the thoughts so far. It's all good food for thought. If I had it my way I'd just drive the City's Park and Rec Dept. garbage truck like I did last summer, but I don't think that would cut it for long.
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If you know you want to work in marketing but are not interested in doing sales, I'd go for the marketing major, especially if you have no relevant experience. Otherwise, I think you'd be fine with either. With business majors, I think it is most important to determine if you want to go into a career that is heavy on numbers/math like accounting and finance or if you are more interested in the "softer" sciences of business that would lead into marketing, management, or HR majors. Once you make that decision, it's just a matter of finding that first job in a somewhat related field. Not many companies are going to discriminate against you because you didn't take those two extra marketing courses. I'd say as you enter your senior year, you should be focusing most of your energy on starting to interview for jobs. That process can help you figure out what you would actually like to do. Plus, I get the feeling nowadays that the biggest companies look to sign college students as early as their first semester of senior year and many offer interviews right on campus.

 

And I wouldn't agree that no one respects marketing majors. Clearly we are in a Coca-Cola generation where everything has a corporate sponsor so someone respects marketing.

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Recently, I found that marketing has really turned technical. I don't know if you have a lot of web / Internet experience or not. If so, it seems like there is a big-time demand for people like you.

 

Aside from that, I have no worthwhile advice... except to have a great senior year!

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I was very much in the same boat--I didn't know what I wanted to do exactly after college. Thus, I stuck with the "Business Management" major and got my bachelor's in that. I'm glad I had the balance in courses because my jobs since college have all been quite different. From collections to underwriting to my current marketing research position--each one required me to draw from some other part of my education.

 

And yes, Samurai has a great point in that marketing can be very technical and you don't have to be a salesperson to be involved in it. I can narrow a target market down to a mighty fine point for any given promotion. There are algorithms out there that can fairly accurately predict consumer behavior. For example, if you take out a loan for a car we know that in 18 months you or someone in your household have a good shot at looking at another car loan. Combining that knowledge with some demographic and survey information I can usually get a mailing list of 100 or so that will have a very high propensity to take out an auto loan. My costs are minimized to the point that even if one of these folks take out the loan we come out WAY ahead.

 

Sorry...sidetracked. But my point is I'm in marketing now but I never had to limit my career choices to just marketing. Go for the general marketing degree.

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Thanks again for the thoughts. I'm going to be signing up for classes to stay on the General Business track for now. I think it's best considering I literally have no real idea of what I want to do after college yet, and I think I would be happy with a variety of different careers, I don't have one specific one in mind that I'm shooting for. And I still haven't decided on grad school, so if I do General Business I'd have a good base to go off if I do more school after graduation.
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Ok...I changed my mind, not surprising. It turns out I'm now a Finance major. When I was signing up for classes for General Business I realized I was taking so many finance and business law electives that it just makes sense.

 

What's the deal with having to decide on what I'm supposed to do the rest of my life when I'm only 21? I know that I'm never locked into anything and should do what I want to be happy so it could all end up changing anyways, but talk about stressful.

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I think the average person changes jobs like 10 or more times and careers about 4 times during their life. Pick something that interests you now and it will likely lead you to many opportunities that you probably didn't think existed.
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Maybe things have changed since the early-mid 90's, but no one had any respect for marketing then.

 

Yea, except for those ridiculous marketing and advertising companies.

 

jlau, whatever makes you the happiest & motivates you the most is the way to go. Don't worry about money or 'employability' yet. A good company will be able to see that yuo have the skills and that you're a strong hire. As long as you're well-rounded and feel comfortable interviewing, you should do very well.

 

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Your actual major is pretty irrelevant, at least in regards in the fields you are looking at. GET AN INTERNSHIP. This is everything! It gives you practical experience for employers to see but more importantly, it will give you an outlook on what you actually want to do. I am 24 so I am not too far from your position and I can tell you this, your major doesn't matter. After going through the interview gauntlet, there is almost no emphasis placed on your major/gpa. It's just a piece of paper to get your foot in the door. It's all about your actual experience you can discuss and your interview/social skills, nothing more.
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