If there were a guide-book to navigating one’s experience at Desautels, it would be called “Making it Work”. Receiving it on your first day, you would hastily comb through the pages as you did with all other documents and manuals you collected that day. You would quickly learn that the Desautels experience is uniquely suited to “making it work,” where balancing several tasks at once no longer becomes challenging but rather the norm.
This article is not to say that other faculties do not face similar experiences, but instead attempts to highlight the instant pressure to perform that burdens many management students. Academics, extracurriculars, and internship recruitment are realities of all students, but there is something unique about the intensity of the management experience.
One of the great things about Desautels is that you do not have to declare a major until your second year. This offers you a chance to discover what you’re interested in through the core courses: Introduction to Finance (MGCR 341), Information Systems (MGCR 331), Organizational Behavior (MGCR 222), and others each offer a different perspective of the business world that is crucial for students in order to discover their niche. As one would expect, it is not uncommon to overhear finance majors gripe about all non-finance courses in the Bronfman Basement.
Academics, extracurriculars, and internship recruitment are realities of all students, but there is something unique about the intensity of the management experience.
Many students are set on their chosen major and may overlook core courses that do not interest them. This is a bad idea for several reasons. For one, overlooking these courses is an easy way to sink your GPA in your beginning semesters. And how can one be so certain that finance is their desired career path? While having an idea of potential paths is important, do not overlook the many other career options—introductory courses can offer that spark.
Because the core courses are prerequisites for many major-specific courses, one must complete (at least) the introduction course to their major. For instance, Introduction to Financial Accounting is a prerequisite for Intermediate Financial Accounting. Typically, students complete most of their core courses before moving on to degree-specific courses. These are often more challenging, but (hopefully) more interesting to you, and allow you to drill down on totally new or certain concepts you learned in introduction classes.
Desautels can feel like a pressure cooker. The stress of getting a strong GPA in the presence of other students is overwhelming. Some people thrive in this atmosphere, and others don’t. If you fall in the latter camp, know that this school will, by default, allow you to rise to the occasion whether you intended for it or not. Assignments, midterms, and finals are only one aspect of your life you will have to balance. That is the great thing about this school: the herd behavior of passionate students is infectious and will soon be a part of you. By the end of the first week, you will fit right in.
Assignments, midterms, and finals are only one aspect of your life you will have to balance.
The imposter syndrome that comes with recruitment can be dampened by involvement in relevant extracurricular activities. Joining a club or organization whose mission you are passionate about is a great way to meet new, like-minded people who will help your personal development (Frosh and Faculty Olympics are indeed great ways of meeting new, like-minded people, though may not help your development).
Extracurriculars are a great way to stay motivated outside of an academic setting, which we all need to prevent burning out. Clubs and committees range from publications like The Bull & Bear and events like FBU (fashion business uncovered) to Junior Enterprise Desautels, a student-run consulting club. Clubs are the best form of low-risk experimentation, allowing students to explore their interests, turning hobbies into jobs. If nothing else, extracurricular involvement is an easy way to pad your resume during your undergraduate experience and shows recruiters and firms that you can juggle several activities at once which is a valuable, sought-after skill.
Recruitment & Internships
Info-sessions, OCR, and networking. These terms will all be familiar to you by the end of your first semester. Soon enough, you will be recruiting for jobs you are vastly underqualified for. Last summer you worked as a camp counselor, and now you feel like one month of studying finance manuals has prepared you for a summer in banking. Or, a semester of case cracks has armed you with the ability to tell fortune 500 companies what to do and what not to do. The experience is awkward but rest assured, everyone is aware of your qualifications. You are not expected to know much beyond acing the interview – and like most other things in school, you will figure it out as you go.
Unfortunately, these seem to be things you cannot skip out on. Being a summer behind on internships might put you far behind your peers in the never-ending race to full-time jobs. The mirage that is recruitment makes you feel as though your education is a means to an end, prioritizing recruitment over learning and money over knowledge. Internships are the catalyst for the rest of involvement in Desautels. While the stress of your peers and program do result in better internships for Desautels students, it promotes an environment that does not suit everyone.
The next time you are up at 3AM trying to crank out an assignment due in 5 hours, embrace that experience and know that you are not alone. We are all working to make it.
Working to Make It
The undergraduate process will allow you to discover who you truly are. In the beginning, finding that out is extremely difficult because you will be influenced by those around you to choose careers and paths. Be wary of falling for the trap of convincing yourself you are interested in (enter job here) because those around you are. To make a true, conscious decision of where life will take you after graduation, isolated self-reflection is necessary. Unfortunately, you cannot reach out to anyone to solve this riddle, it must be done individually. The next time you are up at 3AM trying to crank out an assignment due in 5 hours, embrace that experience and know that you are not alone. We are all working to make it.