Even after having been in the workforce for roughly 4 years now, I can still remember how daunting (and slightly confusing) it felt when I had to declare my major back in college. Deciding on what majors to choose can be overwhelming, especially with all the more varied, diverse, and intense choice of majors available to you these days. After thoughtful thinking and discussions with my family, closed friends, school adviser and some alumni, I decided to choose Finance and Entrepreneurship as my majors, under the Business Administration program.
Why Finance and Why Entrepreneurship
- Two different skills set in Business Administration combined. Nothing speaks crunching numbers and business analysis like Finance and Accounting majors, while nothing highlights risk-taking and thinking-out-of-the box like Entrepreneurship major. In the beginning, I received a lot of questions from my peers with regards to “What does Entrepreneurship major entail? What does it teach you? Can taking a class in Entrepreneurship help you become a successful entrepreneur?”. These questions were exactly why I wanted to take on the major. While Finance major can undoubtedly teach students the technical skills and formulas of valuing a company, for example, Entrepreneurship major offers a range of classes with interesting and thought-provoking titles such as “Building a Business Plan in 54 hours”, “Do Your Thing and Be Bold!”, “What is Bootstrapping?”, “Want to be a Venture Capitalist?”, and “History behind The Body Shop”. I recall the famous The Social Network movie came out during my senior year in college, and my professor in Financial Entrepreneurship 457 course allocated a 2-hour class to discuss everything finance and entrepreneurship related matters mentioned in the movie, such as How A Start-up Works; Relationship between Venture Capitalists and Start-up Entrepreneurs; or What Could Go Wrong Beyond a Term Sheet.
- Opens up doors of possibilities under the Business Administration scope. One thing I learned a lot while majoring in both subjects was how to network and find my way out of the ordinary process. The analytical skills I learned from studying Finance allowed me to know the basic (work experience will still be one of the best career teachers, however, in my opinion) of technical skills needed to land a job at a bank or a consulting firm, while the people and communication skills I gained the most from my Entrepreneurship class went a long way in helping me get the jobs I aimed for post-graduation.
- Extrovert/Introvert Combination. If you know you are the type of person who cannot sit still and be in “silo” (i.e. being alone) for more than a few hours, but you also know you cannot always meet people and “do business” for more than half a day, then a combination of “extrovert” and “introvert” major might just be a good fit for you. I remember my semesters were almost always filled with a mix of not only group meetings and activities, but also a bunch of alone hours spent reading in the library or working on research papers.
I have worked in three work places so far since graduation—from being an analyst at a mid-size US-based investment consulting company to being a management trainee at one of the giant global investment management firms and now, at an Indonesia-origin mid-size NGO/Foundation helping them with development and investor relations work. Starting in 2016, I will be starting my new job as an Investment Analyst for a technology Venture Capital firm based in Jakarta. Looking back, all the career choices I made have always had elements of Finance and Entrepreneurship in them, which have further assisted me in balancing out skills of being a proactive and self-starter team player, and at the same time, a collaborative and flexible co-worker.
Looking back, there were three “compasses” that played a role in my decision-making process:
- Heart and gut equipped with (at the time, at least) deeper knowledge about myself than what were suggested by my peers. I knew that I was passionate about company analysis from a Finance person point of view, however, I also felt like I wanted to learn more than just justifying the numbers. I was also craving for something beyond the subject of Marketing or Business Development. I wanted something broad, in a big picture scheme, that also boiled down to details as and when they are needed. When I saw the syllabus for Entrepreneurship course, I thought it called out to me in time when I was trying to find that “missing piece” in declaring majors.
- A lot of readings on both subjects. I browsed online whenever there was spare time. I looked up news portal such as BusinessInsider.com as well as job and interviews portal such as WallStreetOasis.com to get a feeling of Finance jobs out in the marketplace. In addition, I spent a good amount of time on Inc.com and I googled a lot of Business Plan Competition web sites to understand what Entrepreneurship was about. All these were in addition to watching different episodes of Shark Tank and subscribing to Seth Godin’s blog.
- Talking to family members, good friends, college advisers, professors, colleagues, and some alumnus. I believe that the closest people around you know you well enough that they should be able to provide a third-eye perspective on choices you make. When it came down to accessing my personality, I trusted the opinions of my friends and family. When it was about my current work skills and performance, I valued the comments of class professors, college advisers and colleagues. I spoke with a few alumnus as well particularly on the Entrepreneurship major, to gain real stories and information of what they enjoyed from enrolling in the courses and how they felt they were benefited from them.
Successes and Setbacks
Studying double majors was by no means easy. While I did have fun and learn a lot, in some cases it felt overwhelming. Managing time was one of the most challenging tasks—there were packed and really busy semesters, sleepless nights and back to back meetings. Prioritization was another challenge, particularly when there were many deadlines and final exams. Because being active in both majors naturally exposed me to different opportunities, I was constantly reminded to channel my energy to what really mattered at the time. With more opportunities, comes more choices. When looking for an internship or a job after graduation, I had to ask myself if I “liked” one major more than the other. Should I apply for a finance-focused job opportunity? Part-time at a tech start-up company? Both? Multitasking was also almost a requirement and a good training ground to begin with. Simultaneously, however, all the setbacks led to more mature way of thinking as well as managing myself and my wants. A good story can also be told – when people asked me why and how I graduated with double majors in Finance and Entrepreneurship, they will soon understand, in a nutshell, my personality and the types of work I will excel in.
If you are indeed thinking of living and breathing two majors during college, I would recommend for you to take the chance. Yes, you will be busier and there will be less spare time, but all the busy schedule and excitement of switching from one project to another will equip you well to enter the job market. Finance and Entrepreneurship are the two majors that I took because of my passion in Business Administration and my choice to learn specifically those subjects due to the very different nature of Business skillsets found in them. If your interests lie in two different fields (e.g., Psychology and Math), do it. You will never be able to turn back in time your college days – the skills you will gain, stories and memories you will keep, and friends you will make along the way will for sure be well worth all the hassle and headaches that came once in a while when studying two majors.
Content edited by Artricia Rasyid