Why You Should be an Integrated Business Major
Many of today’s students will go on to careers that comprise as many as six to nine jobs. They will work in several organizations and be required to manage a wide variety of programs across the business enterprise. With most job creation in medium and small firms, there is a good chance you will work in a company where the skills of a business “integrator” will be necessary and highly valued. As such, you need a more robust and varied educational experience than most specialty degrees can offer.
There have been numerous articles written regarding the success of business graduates who possess a wider range of knowledge and experience to serve a more diverse role in companies and organizations. UCF College of Business Dean Paul Jarley has shared some perspectives from UCF alumni and other business leaders regarding this issue in his blog.
A Different Learning Experience
As an Integrated Business student, you will have an experience that stresses the links between business disciplines and functions. All classes are face-to-face, stress applied learning and skill development and make use of free, up-to-date resources rather than traditional textbooks. You can expect to hear from local speakers and work on real-world projects. You will graduate with both a broad understanding of business and strong financial, analytic and communication skills. Your learning experience in the major will not only help you land your first job after graduation, it will help prepare you for your next job and the one to follow.
Integrated Business Skills
An Integrated Business student will demonstrate the ability to:
- Identify, evaluate, and recommend modern technological solutions for contemporary business problems.
- Analyze and evaluate the selling approaches for small and medium size companies in B2C and B2B markets.
- Identify a business problem, gather data needed to analyze it, select the appropriate analytical tool, perform the analysis, and use the results to recommend an action or solution.
- Contribute to the development and implementation of effective human resource management policies and procedures.
- Identify and apply the principled negotiation process to reach a win-win solution when dealing with conflict.
- Identify the goals of their organization, acquire and analyze useful data, and determine the most competitive strategy to meet those goals.
- Describe and measure the flow of funds to and from a company and transaction flow within the company, determine the impact of such flows on profitability, and use this information to make effective decisions.
- Create a detailed project management plan.
Graduates of this program will have a unique understanding of the structure and challenges facing small- and medium-sized companies.
Roughly 50% of our alums stay in Orlando and 40% of employees in Central Florida work for firms with less than 500 employees. Add in the fact that most job growth nationwide is in “small and medium size enterprises” (SME) and it seems likely that many UCF grads will go to work for such companies, at some point in their career.
Is this good or bad? The answer depends on what you want most out of your first job. Big companies tend to pay more initially, have better fringe benefits, and can devote more resources to formal employee training and development. SMEs tend to offer a more varied work day with greater responsibility coming earlier. This means more interesting work that offers more chances to be innovative and create something. You are less likely to be just “a cog in the machine”. It is easier to get your voice heard, have greater access to top management and have responsibility over budgets. SMEs are also more likely to have you participate on, or have responsibility for, projects from start to finish.
In many ways there is a short-term versus long-term trade off in the choice between big and small. Big firms will pay more out of the gate and probably offer more job security, but if you are a high performer you may get promoted faster and learn the entire business quicker by working for a smaller company.
If you want to run a company someday, working for a SME is likely to get you there faster. In addition, the more varied experiences gained at SMEs are likely to give you greater long term “career security” by providing you with a broader range of skills, some of which are likely to be always in demand.