Beware of stereotypes: what business administration students are really like
Many professions and courses of study are surrounded by outlandish rumours and preconceptions. Here, our degree-programme insiders clear up the stereotypes once and for all.
Stereotype 1: Business administration is for people who don’t know what else to study.
“Hi, my name is Max. I’m 23 and I’m studying business administration.” Yes, I’m really called Max, like so many others, and yes, I’m really studying business administration, again like so many others. You know what they say: “Business administration is for people who don’t know what else to study.” In general, however, the people who actually do that are very much an “old-school” phenomenon. Nowadays, people who don’t know what they want to do usually do a work-and-travel year in Australia, come back with a tattoo of a compass that emphasises their own individuality, and then study something to do with media. However, even those who take a less trend-conscious and more conservative or traditional approach, but still study business administration, have lots of other preconceptions waiting for them.
Stereotype 2: A pink polo shirt and a nice sportster courtesy of daddy: business administration students are spoilt mummy’s boys.
To anyone who’s imagining a pink polo shirt-wearing, sports car-driving mummy’s boy… please don’t confuse business administration with law. Compared to them, we’re harmless: at least we won’t threaten to sue you directly. What’s more, real business administration students know that a sports car isn’t economical (it doesn’t really matter which one).
Stereotype 3: As a business administration student, you don’t need any skills – you just memorise everything.
There are supposedly people who start a business administration degree because they think all you need to do is memorise things. Sooner or later, however, if you say that in front of doctors or the aforementioned lawyers, for example, they’ll burst out laughing – but not because it was a particularly funny thing to say. Compared with the kings of rote learning, we pale into insignificance.
Stereotype 4: The main thing is not to get your hands dirty: managers are only capable of delegating.
Well, if you have to be able to do a bit more than memorising things (just a little bit more), then you should at least be a “manager” afterwards and not have to get your hands dirty.
Anyone who thinks managers are only capable of delegating should try asking a master vehicle mechanic if all they can do is write invoices. You can imagine their answer.
The structural engineer who, later in their career, “only” supervises building work, as well as planning and implementing construction projects and ensuring customer satisfaction, is also a manager – just on a building site instead. You shouldn’t underestimate the effort involved in leadership, let alone in good leadership.
So that clears that one up.
Stereotype 5: Managers don’t have a conscience, as long as the price is right.
But we’re still unscrupulous and greedy… a few arms deals here, a cleared rainforest there, as long as the price is right – after all, managers don’t have a conscience. This statement is completely out of date. Have you even heard of CSR? Yes, I know – even today, there aren’t enough companies that are prepared to meet their corporate social responsibilities. Still, the number is growing. These days, if you want to make any money, you have to at least present yourself to the market as a “sustainable” provider. If need be, the occasional greenwashing campaign can help with this – especially if you work at an oil company. Should the truth come out, however, you’ll quickly get your just deserts from consumers, politicians or competitors.
Compared to the reputation of business administration students, most of us are actually more of an innocent lamb than a wolf in sheep’s clothing. But how did the saying go? “If you’ve got the name, you might as well have the game.” 😉