If you had asked me five years ago what I'll be doing after I graduate college, I would have said archeology. Four years ago, it would have been marketing. Three years ago, it would have been investment banking. Now, three months away from graduation, I'm an accounting major. My name is Erik and I'm a senior here at the Carlson School of Management.
Some of you might have wonder how I jumped from archeology to marketing to finance but ended up in accounting. I don't want to sound cheesy, but it was really a self-discovery process, which is what college is all about. One of my favorite hobbies is reading ancient stories from different cultures like mythologies. I thought I would want to study more about it when I come to college, so I wanted to major in archeology. However, when I started thinking about my future and what kind of work I would be doing, I didn't think that I would want to travel and do research all the time. My family then encouraged me to go to a business school so I have some where to start.
In 2009, I came to Carlson thinking that I would major in marketing and finance even though I didn't know what either of those majors entailed. I just thought marketing would give me a creative outlet, while finance would be more practical in terms of job outlook. After taking some classes in marketing and finance, I discovered two things. First, marketing is fun but I am not creative enough to be a marketing major. Second, finance involves way too much math and uncertainties which is not for me. At the same time, however, I took a few accounting classes as required by Carlson and I loved it. Love is strong word and you'll probably not hear a lot of people say they love accounting, but I really liked accounting. That was how I got to where I am today.
As I took more classes in accounting, I started becoming more interested in it, especially in tax. I had the opportunity to learn more about tax during my internship last summer, and it is definitely something that I can see myself doing for at least the next five years.
I do want to mention that just because I chose accounting doesn't mean that I have stopped doing what I like. Since I came to the university, I took a lot of different classes ranging from personal leadership to Greek mythology to the evolution of dinosaurs. Although none of these classes were in my major, being at the U gave me the opportunity to explore different topics and the chance to do something different in my free time.
What I'm trying to say is, finding your major will take some time, and it is okay to take different classes to see what you're interested in. You never know what you might find and fall in love with. Carlson offers a variety of majors, and you can also do a dual-degree with other majors from different colleges. There's no need to rush to find your majors!
I remember back to my freshmen year, it was a windy spring afternoon and I decided to be bold and try and attend the career fair. Adequately dressed up in my "Suit & Tie" (Justin Timberlake approved) I hustled over to TCF Bank Stadium to attend the career fair where all of my upperclassmen peers were all anxiously trying to land that desired internship/full time job.
2. Tidy up your suit and tie and dress business professional. The career fair is for you to sell yourself as a prime candidate to a plethora of companies. This is a time for you to try and stand out, but not from the way you dress. Make sure to clean press your suits, clean up your shoes, and iron your clothes. Consult your friends before you go and get their honest opinions on how you look, and to boost your confidence. Finally, when you walk in there, pump yourself up with whatever makes you confident (Personally, I listen to some of my favorite songs - throw on some Justin Timberlake - Suit & Tie, it's the perfect pre-career fair song, I guarantee it).
The school I studied at was excellent. I took some excellent business classes, such as international finance and European economics; I also got to meet student from across the globe. I was in a program composed of international students and was able to learn from and make friends with some very intelligent and fascinating people. Through interacting with people from all over the world, I learned to embrace other cultures and to carry an open mind. When I was offered a chance to eat escargot (snails), I took it - and they were delicious!
My time in Europe was memorable, to say the least. It provided me with new opportunities and allowed me to gain an understanding of life - and business - outside of our borders. When you come to Carlson, study abroad for an entire semester. Leave the states behind for a while and learn what it means to live like the French or Chinese. Just GO and do not think twice about it.