“Oh…You’re a Business Major?”
A stereotypical Business major – not taken seriously, and considered to be a “slacker.”
When I began my academic career at UC Berkeley, the idea that Business majors were perceived to be less academically driven never crossed my mind. The Haas School of Business provided me with a challenging learning environment; which inclined me to hyperfocus on becoming a high achieving student. A high achieving student does not translate to success in terms of high exam scores. Rather, it showcases how I can utilize my resources in order to retain the most amount of knowledge. However, outside of UC Berkeley, I have witnessed individuals challenging the mindset and determination of Business majors, altering my perspective as well as decision to pursue Business as a career.
The stereotypes associated with Business majors were never apparent to me until a recent conversation I had with a group of individuals in my hometown. A conversation that began with the menu items at a restaurant translated to the deterioration of my choices to study Business. The inquiry of “what university I go to,” generated a positive response. Yet, sharing my major left me with a distraught feeling.
“Oh, you are a Business major,” followed by an exasperating demeanor, was not how I imagined my major would be acknowledged. The encounter allowed me to ponder on the qualities and interpersonal skills I have acquired in the past three years at Haas. Initially, I was reminded of how my networking skills have developed due to gaining confidence in the classroom environment. The discussions I’ve had the opportunity to explore with my professors’ allowed me to gain confidence in my ability to express my viewpoints on specific topics, as well as how I understand material discussed in class. Throughout my interactions with my professors, professional and research opportunities that I would have not considered became an interest of mine. Specifically, Professor Dana Carney sparked my interest in researching the subtle methods of expressing nonverbal microaggressions in the Business environment. Hence, networking with my professors has enriched my academic and personal goals, as I have been inspired to explore various aspects of Business that failed to cross my mind prior to such conversations.
Moreover, Haas has provided me with the opportunity to gain confidence in my intellectual thought processes. Rather than disregarding my ideas and interpretations of concepts, my Professors have encouraged challenging their mindset. Hence, “challenging the status quo” has been a core principle of Haas that has allowed me to develop academically. By providing a learning environment in which students can express their opinions, Haas professors demonstrate how open-mindedness encourages academic growth. Hence, my mindset has shifted as well as grown alongside my peers as well as Professors due to the fact that our academic differences are acknowledged and appreciated.
Prior to my discussion with the individuals from my hometown, the realization of how the Haas learning environment and community has transformed my perception of my academic career was unnoticeable. Yet, the experience empowered me to alter the negative connotations associated with Business, and reflect on my time at Haas. The myths around Business translate to the misunderstanding of holistic individuals. By associating qualities with one’s field of employment, individuals allow their false perceptions to cause division. However, the Haas School of Business has educated me on the importance of unification, especially in regards to my academic and professional career.