My experience as an entrepreneur made me very skeptical of most traditional schooling. I believe lessons are best learned in a realistic environment, with little theory necessary. When choosing a business school, Pepperdine Graziadio University was always at the top of the list. To sway my decision, Alumni from the school were significant influences, and they all showed the same characteristics, to serve the community with purpose, leadership, and service. In the end, I chose Pepperdine University and successfully graduated, and I have so much to share about the practical use of my degree.
- Business requires strong macro and micro analysis skills.
- Business leaders must know the types of analysis required to take the following steps successfully. Specific models of analysis we learned and apply to all our cases are:
- Porter’s Five Forces
- STEEP analysis
- SWOT analysis
- Situational analysis
- Leadership and organizational change skills are critical.
- Leaders impact the firm’s culture, talent, and creativity. Managers help teams reach their goals and must learn to motivate, empathize, and structure projects.
- Business is not just a numbers game.
- Ethics, principles, values, and strategy are a core guide for how the company will make its decisions. Our values determine what we will do next and can provide clarity in achieving revenue goals. Business strategy is not set in stone and requires you to think inside and outside the box.
- Hard skills are essential and will take you far.
- You need to learn the fundamentals of finance, accounting, and analysis! I can not stress this enough; it is surprising how many students ignore these critical skills. Every department has budgets, goals, and processes. It will make your job much easier if you understand how they work together.
- Invest in courses such as excel, business analysis, and research. Almost every job requires your critical thinking skills, and you’ll need to share your data with others in an easily digestible way.
- Leaders are not managers.
- Leaders focus on change, and managers focus on meeting goals. A great article explains this in-depth here. You need to know the difference to be the best at leading your team and helping them grow. To be a manager or leader is not easy, and “Gallup finds that companies fail to choose the candidate with the right talent for the job 82% of the time”(Beck, 2014).
These are the few essential things I constantly saw as a pattern throughout my time in business school. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in actual change. We think of business people as number-oriented people, and although they are essential, there is so much behind the scenes that requires success and competitive advantages.