Saturday was the first day of my Ultimate league. For those that aren’t familiar, Ultimate is a sport very similar to football but played with discs (don’t call them Frisbees; Ultimate folks don’t like to be associated with Wham-O and vice versa).
It’s a bunch of strangers coming together and playing a fun game for 4 hours every Saturday throughout the winter. My favorite thing about the game is being able to meet a bunch of brand new people.
One of the people on the team is a freshman in college. I asked him about his school and he told me that he’s majoring in Electrical Engineering. He seemed to be pretty happy with the choice, but did mention the fact that it’s difficult. While he’s studying, the kids in the business school are out partying six nights a week.
This is where I jumped in with my unsolicited advice as the wise old soul. Sure, I’m pretty far away from being old and almost certainly farther away from being wise, but this is the best I’ve got.
Skills are More Important than GPA
College kids should be a lot more worried about learning skills in college than they should be about a high GPA. Anyone can get a high GPA when you don’t actually have to learn anything to pass the courses.
Sorry general business majors, but that’s just one of the eight points in this article about why you shouldn’t major in Business.
You can learn business when you work in business. In fact, the only place to really learn business is to get a job. Every company operates differently, so how is some college course supposed to teach you “business”? It doesn’t even make sense.
Reading about how business works in a textbook is not a marketable skill, and it will never get you a job. Sorry.
On the other hand, a student can use his or her time in college to learn how to do accounting for a business. Maybe the student learns to write a computer program a business can sell. If you study something more specific, like business intelligence rather than just general business, you can learn to handle massive amounts of company data, a skill of increasing importance in the ever-advancing digital age. Visit this link for more information about getting a masters in business intelligence. Perhaps the student learns to design for a new plant that would make a business spend less money and produce more product.
These are all skills. And they are all very valuable skills that businesses need.
Take a look at the highest paying college degrees and see if you can figure out how many of those degree programs teach a valuable skill. If you don’t feel like clicking the link, here’s a spoiler: “Business Administration” didn’t make the list.
You might also notice that the list didn’t mention GPA. Because in the real world, your GPA doesn’t matter. The only time a college GPA will be on a resume is for a student’s first job out of college. After that, the GPA is gone and it’s all about what degree you have, what skills you have, and how you’ve applied that knowledge to the workforce.
So if you are a kid in college, get yourself a skill. Or maybe two or three. You don’t need a business degree. Heck, you don’t even need a business minor. Spend four years learning a skill that makes you incredibly valuable.
While your friends are pulling down 3.8 GPAs in their business schools, you can smile knowing that you’ll be making $38k/year more than them when you graduate with real skills to go along with your degree.