August 22, 2012 5:17 AM   Subscribe

I need to make some life changing decisions right now. I finish my bachelors degree in business administration soon and need to specialise myself for my masters. I want to stay in business, but I havent found my "niche" yet. More inside!

Please dont tell me to switch subject areas away from business administration, as I am able to enjoy anything once i'm good at it.
The problem is, i'm not particularly talented in any area of business. This is because until now, i haven't had the guts to bet on one area (be it marketing, controlling, finance or what have you) and instead have been average in all areas.

I've done internships in the areas of corporate auditing, basic accounting, the insurance sector (solvency II) and in an engineering firm. None of these really excited me, but I dont want to exclude these areas just yet.

The Following is also very important to me:
- I also have a very international background (5 languages) so I should be able to use this to my advantage in my future job.
- Also, it should be an area which offers a high potential of personal development.
- A high salary is a must (like i said, in most cases I can learn to enjoy something once i'm good at it)
- It should preferably give me the skills necessary to open my own business eventually

So hivemind, tell me why I should continue my studies in finance, real estate management, automotive management, controlling or something else? Something like international relations could be acceptable to me If I hear good enough reasons to study it. So far I only got people telling me to study whatever interests me, but it all interests me to some degree, just not enough to pick one specific niche.

I know this is a question that I will need to decide for myself in the end, but you guys can really help me make the decision!
Thank you for reading.
posted by freddymetz to Education (12 answers total)
Do you have to go right into your Masters program directly after getting your Bachelors? I suggest taking a few years off and take various jobs within the industry to get a better sense of what you might like doing.
posted by littlesq at 5:26 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Work for two years, then get the MBA - maybe in International Business. Your language background should set you up pretty nice for a job with any of the big consulting firms.
posted by COD at 5:28 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Honestly, Business isn't academic (unless you are into quantitative or analytical finance). I wouldn't go for your MBA until you have some real-world experience. The real world of business is about developing business relationships and management skills ie. "getting the job done."

Do you have available job opportunities? I know people coming out of college are having a tough time, so if I have any advice it's to get a job first. When hiring, I'd take the BA with 4 years of real experience over the kid who has his BA and went right for his Masters and doesn't have his feet wet in the real world.

Regarding your internships.... those aren't necessarily interesting fields, and internships don't usually breed *that* much excitement in the business world unless you are working for one of these new-age fun companies.

So I have some advice, since your seem like a smart guy with lofty goals. Go out there, get job offers and either join an organization which will develop you in the next 2-4 years, or find a small-medium size business where you can have an impact on the growth of the company. This will give you real world experience, will help towards your MBA applications, and will help you in ways you don't realize. One of the biggest mistakes I made coming out of college was thinking I needed to get my Masters right away, it is completely unnecessary, and the financial burden will not be worth the "points" you get on your CV these days.
posted by OuttaHere at 5:36 AM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

International online commerce. Through my recent experience, someone familiar with the ins and outs of that sort of thing is highly employable. Check out Zalando. They are based in Germany, but they are rapidly branching out into international markets.

I would also suggest working somewhere first and getting a few years practical experience before you start a masters program.
posted by chillmost at 5:44 AM on August 22, 2012

Most businesses would prefer it if you took a couple of years between your Bachelors and Masters, and if you get in with the right company, you can get your MBA paid by them. Don't jump into a program right away, especially if you don't know where your talent/interests lie.
posted by xingcat at 5:50 AM on August 22, 2012

Thanks for your advice so far guys!
The thing i'm worried about is that my average grades will lower my chances of getting good job offers after my bachelors, and thats the main reason i wanted to add a masters as a kind of clean slate with good grades.
I was planning on applying both to universities and companies after my bachelors and to do a masters if I dont get any good job offers.
posted by freddymetz at 5:52 AM on August 22, 2012

Hardly anyone in the business world cares about your grades, from your bachelors or your masters. And seriously, a business masters' program that will accept you with poor undergrad grades and no business experience is not worth your time and money (maybe, MAYBE if it's a professional program leading to a certification, like accountancy or something).

Try really hard to find a job. Make that your priority. Even just two years in a meh job will make you vastly more attractive to 1) better jobs and 2) MBA programs. (Perhaps even, best of all, a better job that will PAY for your MBA.)
posted by mskyle at 5:57 AM on August 22, 2012

I think your experience, plus languages etc. show qualities that would off-set "average grades". Many employers don't focus on grades. If I were you I would emphasize your enthusiasm, experiences, and most importantly be someone that you would want to work with. Also, network, network, network. The phrase "it's not what you know, but who you know" is probably the most important phrase in business, and this goes for looking for jobs as well. Reach out to everyone.
posted by OuttaHere at 5:57 AM on August 22, 2012

Thats good to hear! :)

Maybe I should direct the question into the direction of which type of companies in which geographical areas i should be applying to?
posted by freddymetz at 6:03 AM on August 22, 2012

Agreeing that you should get a job before an MBA. If you have so few actual criteria, then you might as well make it a place that will definitely pay for your MBA.

Given that you don't know what you want to do, I think you'd be well served by trying for a company that offers a business rotation program for new grads. These are more likely to require a minimum GPA (e.g. Boeing requires 3.25), but if you find one you can get into it sounds perfect for you.
posted by jacalata at 12:01 PM on August 22, 2012

It might help to specify if you are:
- getting these degrees in the USA, and
- wanting to stay in the US when you're done.

If I remember past questions, you may be in Germany which might influence people's advice here. The academic situations, the business world, what businesses want in new employees may be different; people here are usually assuming a US perspective.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:11 PM on August 22, 2012

To clear things up, i'm in Germany. I wouldn't mind coming to the US thought ;)
posted by freddymetz at 1:53 PM on August 22, 2012

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