Let’s be honest, business majors get a pretty bad rap at pretty much any university. However, I have found that the B-school at Emory has a unique brand of stereotypes attached to it that can be extremely negative and intimidating. As I wrap up my first semester officially in the business school, I think I can demystify and destigmatize some of the stereotypes I heard in my first year and a half at Emory.
#1: The B-school snake
The reputation of the B-school snake is one of the most pervasive stereotypes at Emory. Essentially, this image ties to the competitiveness of the infamous B-school bell curve and insinuates that because everyone wants to come out on top of the curve, no one is willing to help one another. While I haven’t had much experience with the curve for final grades yet, I will say that I have found my peers in the B-school to be incredibly personable and helpful. While there is an undercurrent of competition, this fact has not stopped me from making some great friends and study partners in the B-school.
#2: Everyone only cares about money
Another stigma of the B-school is that everyone pursuing a BBA degree is only in it for the money. There is definitely a group of students that is seeking the highly coveted investment banking or finance roles that come with terrible hours and hefty paychecks, but I think it is an overgeneralization to say this is the norm. Many B-school students are double majors looking to pursue other industries and utilize the BBA program for training in networking and technical skills. There are also paths of study which focus on less lucrative industries such as environmental management, film and media management, and business ethics.
#3: The B-school owns you
This is a phrase I heard from my double major advisor when I informed her I would be applying to Goizueta and I have found it is closer to reality than some of the other stereotypes. Once you enter the B-school you are labeled a BBA or a Goizueta student, and all of your administrative information is transitioned to the B-school from the College. This creates the feeling that you are leaving the College behind, but for many B-school students that is not true. I have a double major in the College and participate in College clubs rather than Goizueta clubs. While it can feel as if Goizueta has taken over your life, I have found that actively seeking out experiences in the College can make the distinction between the two schools less rigid.
#4: Business majors don’t work hard
At Emory, this stereotype is less pronounced than at other universities, but there is often a suggestion that students in the B-school have it easier than some college majors. I think one of the things that contribute to this is the lack of Friday classes at Goizueta, which leads to Thursday night being the new start to the weekend. While this is a definite perk to being in the B-school, I have found this semester to be my most challenging at Emory thus far. Between technical classes like corporate finance and presentation-heavy classes like business communications, I don’t think many B-school students feel that their course load has become much easier after entering the B school.
There are always going to be negative stereotypes about the B-school, but this has been my experience in some of the most common misconceptions. While the B-school is an intense experience and a lot of work, I have found my first semester to be incredibly rewarding and has made me feel more connected with my peers, even in a virtual environment. It can be easy to get caught up in such negative stigmas, but at the end of the day, Goizueta is an extremely rewarding and valuable program at Emory and it is deserving of the same esteem that other programs receive.