What is Business?
Career and educational options in the field of business are extremely broad and you need to articulate your interests in business based on extensive exploration of professional and academic options. Your exploration and experience begin in college and can incorporate your selection of courses and concentrations, internships, volunteer activities, leadership and collaboration endeavors. Focus on course work and activities which cultivate a broad set of skills. To learn more about various career fields, attend CareerLAB programs, discuss your interests with faculty members, reach out to alumni through BrownConnect or other sources and explore Vault and O-Net. More academic and career exploration links are available under the Resources section.
Explore your Interests & Establish a Portfolio
Most students and alumni interested in business develop familiarity with a variety of business options and may have in-depth experience in a particular field before deciding to pursue a business degree. This enables you to consider your goals thoroughly and helps develop a strong portfolio of relevant experiences. You can start while in college. Internships are a great way to gain knowledge of an industry and to establish a network. Many companies and business organizations participate in on-campus recruitment every fall and much information about the preparation and application process can be found on CareerLAB's Handshake system. A list of well-defined business fields in which you may want to seek experience through internships and jobs is found under the Business Careers page.
If you decide to pursue a business degree in the future, having had experience in some kind of business setting is not only expected but can be the most valuable factor in your consideration of further education goals. Most MBA programs seek applicants with significant work (plus internship and other) experience during and after college graduation. Other business programs are designed for recent graduates with little work experience. Some specifically target recent alumni with backgrounds very different from business, entrepreneurship or quantitative analysis. To learn more, consult the Business Degrees page.
As an aspiring professional you are always a work in progress. Your continual self-reflection and honest assessment of your strengths, aspirations and preferences should guide you in selecting academic and co-curricular pursuits. This will be a process, not a singular event. The more broadly you explore, the better able you will be to articulate for yourself an educational and career path that is motivating and fulfilling. As you reflect on the above, seek opportunities to further your strengths and develop areas in which you are not particularly strong but would need some competence.
The way in which you connect your academic pursuits (concentration(s) or course selection) with your hands-on and observational experiences (internships, volunteerism, student organizations, community service, etc.) will communicate a lot about you to employers or business school admission officers. Be deliberate in your pursuits. Seek a breadth of experience through your academics and activities while focusing on depth in the areas that fascinate you the most. Embrace the Open Curriculum as you zoom in on the area(s) of particular interest to you.
This blend of self-reflection, deliberate engagement with course work and activities will make your time at Brown and beyond meaningful and will help articulate who you are, what you have achieved and what you can contribute to employers or admission officials. This is how you build your own "brand".
To learn more about different business fields and how to prepare for a career in business explore the Business Careers page.
Gauge your Interest in Business as a Career
To pursue a career in a business field you need not earn an advanced degree in business. Your Brown education can give you valuable critical thinking, analytical and quantitative skills to embark on a career in a variety of business fields. Importantly, your experience outside the classroom, both at Brown and after graduation, will be an essential part of your career development. The experience you gain through internships, leadership roles, community service, and collaborative projects can inform your interest in pursuing work in business. Your activities in college help you build a portfolio that will then help you further your career goals and seek professional realization following graduation. This website, CareerLAB's helpful materials, and on-campus recruitment,The Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship are key resources to explore during your time at Brown.
Consider if Business Education is Right for You
Business education requires a significant investment of your time and energy, not to mention your financial resources. The decision to pursue a business degree should be based on substantial self-reflection, strategic planning, and an honest assessment of your career objectives. Some applicants hope to make a change in their professional trajectories, while others see business school as a necessary component for growth in their current field. Most applicants to MBA programs have longitudinal work experience after earning an undergraduate degree but many other business degrees require less work experience. If you have already been involved in the types of activities described above, you would be in a good starting position to develop your record further after graduation if you decide to pursue an advanced degree in business.