Alternative Pathways to Business Careers

In case you missed it last week the Center for Career Development, in partnership with ACES, put on an employer panel about pursuing a career in business, even if you aren’t a business major.  The main message my staff and our employers: David Houpert, Aetna; Chris Hinesley, Aetna; and Tammy Yowell, Northwestern Mutual, were looking to convey was that you don’t need to major in business to have a successful business career after graduation.  According to Chris, the most important thing for students to have when they graduate is additional experiences (besides education) on their résumé.  Whether it’s volunteering, an on-campus club, a part-time job, or related internship, as a hiring manager he wants to see that you’ve actively pursued interests outside of the classroom (or in conjunction with classroom learning) while you’re in college.

All three panelists agreed that students need to build and utilize their network to have a successful job search.  Networking will get your foot in the door to an interview, but it is your own skills and experiences that will help you land the job and move up within the company. As a Career Consultant, I want to bring home the message that it is how you advocate for yourself and articulate your strengths to employers that matters much more than what you majored in.  Employers want to see that you can handle college level work and think critically, problem solve, and communicate effectively.  With the ever-evolving job market, by having transferable skills you will always be prepared for whatever careers are in demand in the future.

Below are the “Alternatives to Majoring in Business” that we proposed at the presentation.  These are just some initial suggestions, if you’re still unsure of what you want to major in consider meeting with a career consultant or your academic advisor to clarify your personal goals.


Business School Major          Related Majors in CLAS or other Programs

Business/Finance                          Economics, Resource Economics, Statistics

Marketing                                       Communication, Individualized Major, Philosophy

Management                                  Psychology (the I/O track), HDFS

Sales                                                 Communication, Journalism, Sociology, Psychology, HDFS

Accounting                                      Mathematics, Actuarial Science

Health Care Mgmt.                       Allied Health

Business Admin.                            English, Sociology, Psychology, HDFS

International Business                 Foreign Language, Sociology

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By Emily Merritt
Emily Merritt Career Consultant, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Emily Merritt