My Outlook on Concentrations and Choosing Courses
This post was written by Peer Career Ambassador, Gyda Sumadi, Class of 2018.
I have heard stories of students telling me that they are forcing themselves to complete two formal concentrations, by overloading, giving up extracurricular, rejecting part time internships, cancelling study abroad plans, etc. I advise against pigeon-holding yourself into formal concentrations. Concentrations are a great path to pursue if you feel very passionate in certain segment of business. However, students force themselves to complete formal concentrations because it is viewed as “prestigious” or maybe it gives them a sense of stability and certainty about their career path.
In my opinion, it is counterproductive to concentrate in a subject you are not good at or are not interested in, because salaries and promotions are all merit based- meaning you will make the most money and have a very fruitful career in a field that drives you to go to work every day because you enjoy it, and something that you have the skillset for and can perform exceptionally well in since you have the talent.
Just because you choose not to formally concentrate, doesn’t mean that you are taking less intensive or less fulfilling classes. As a matter of fact, I was very strategic about the classes I am taking this semester. For the summer, I have accepted an internship to work for Clarkston Consulting- a technology implementation and management consulting firm. I want to do well in this role and potentially convert it into a full time offer. Therefore, to prepare myself I took the time to understand what my career progression in that role would be. After networking with Clarkston personnel and gaining this knowledge, I discovered that I need to gain skills that will teach me how to manage teams and how to code. The idea of me CODING really frightened me- I have no programming experience. Therefore, I arranged my classes to focus on individual classes that I really felt would prepare me for this summer.
This semester I decided on Project Management and Web Technologies to help me gain the aptitude for technology and knowledge of management, to give me a leg up when it comes to on site client interaction and completing project based work. I have also always had a passion for finance, so I decided to register for Corporate Financial Strategy as my intersection between a potential finance or consulting career. Lastly, I enrolled in International Law to strengthen my critical thinking skills and prepare me once I am ready to start my own business.
As you can see, I considered many things when it comes to my classes: my internship, my interests, and all of my potential career paths in the short and long term future. I would rather be well rounded and strong in many fields rather than being specialized in one subject. I am not against being specialized, but early on in my career I would rather not be.
There are many ways to market relevant coursework without completing the entire concentration, if that is the route you want to pursue. Marketing coursework can include listing the courses on your resume and or referencing them on your cover letter. PCAs and advisers at CCD are happy to help you market your coursework and have a discussion if concentrating is right for you!