Determining whether or not you need a concentration is a career decision. Yes, academics will be involved in course selection, concentration requirements and graduation planning but this is primarily a decision related to how you will market yourself for the job search. In general, it is recommended that everyone complete a concentration to clearly show your career interest and focus in a particular field or functional area, but it really depends on your personal career goals.
The business administration degree provides you with a broad understanding of business. If your career goals do not require specialized expertise or if you are interested in general management, then you have the option to graduate without completing a concentration.
If your career goals require more specialization, then graduating without a concentration can make your job search more difficult because employers may view you as uninterested or unclear of your career direction. That is why it can be helpful for you to focus your courses in a concentration area to learn one area more thoroughly. For example, if you want to become a financial analyst, employers will be looking for a finance concentration. However, if you are entering a management development program, then employers are not typically seeking a specific concentration.
Work with a counselor in the Career Resource Center. Begin by making some career decisions and take a systematic approach to selecting a concentration. This involves several steps in the career development process.
It is recommended that you start this process the first semester of your freshman year. It may seem as though you have a great deal of time to figure out what concentration to choose, but there are many factors involved in your decision process. You need to be well-informed so that you are better able to make the right decision for you. Do not wait to take courses to decide which area interests you. This is an important decision that can have a major impact on your job search success. Taking one course will typically not give you enough information to make this decision.
Read job descriptions for various positions
Conduct informational interviews with alumni who work in your area of interest. You can use the Mentor Program to identify those alumni
Meet with a CRC staff member to discuss your career goals and concentration selection
Attend networking or educational events, including Coffee Cup Conversations and alumni networking events like Network New York and Network Buffalo
Join School of Management clubs or national and local professional organizations to learn more about your areas of interest and network with those already working in those fields
Plan to complete at least one internship in your concentration area
Work with the Undergraduate Programs Office. After you have narrowed down your area of interest and feel confident about your career goals, your next step is to formalize an academic plan. Using the undergraduate curriculum plans or the undergraduate handbook, talking with faculty, current students and recent alumni are all ways to better understand what courses will align with your career goals. If you need additional assistance with your academic plan, schedule an appointment with an academic advisor by visiting the Undergraduate Academic Programs Office in 204 Alfiero Center, using the online advising scheduling system, or calling 716-645-3206. The academic advisors can assist you with your course selection, sequencing, academic plan and graduation success.