UCLA, I have a question for you: do you genuinely believe that business and accounting are the same things? Maybe I’m being a bit dramatic, but I had already taken several classes and declared my major as Pre-Business Economics at UCLA before my counselor informed me that the so-called “Business Economics” major was pretty much just economics featuring accounting.
UCLA (notoriously) does not offer an undergraduate business degree.
I’ve heard it my whole life; business knowledge is practical. It is applicable in pretty much any industry, helpful regardless of your major and is in no danger of going extinct in the foreseeable future. Not to mention, it’s interesting.
As someone particularly interested in corporate law and marketing, I became determined to scrounge up some business experience as an undergraduate, despite UCLA’s apparently abysmal prospects (seriously, how does UCLA’s graduate business program rank number 17 in Best Business Schools by US News, but there’s no undergraduate business program?).
At first, I considered creating my own major. UCLA’s Honors Program does offer the opportunity to do this, which is super cool, but it also requires a 20-page proposal. That said, I ultimately decided not to create a major, but in researching, I found quite a few classes and alternative ways to gain business experience as a UCLA undergraduate.
Most of the classes related to business were hidden in the Communication department. To reiterate what I discussed in my why I “opted for COMM” article, the major houses a plethora of practical classes under its very broad umbrella.
Now, of course, Business Economics and Economics majors do offer technical knowledge; the Communication major’s Integrated Marketing Communications course, however, provides much more hands-on experience in creating an actual marketing campaign plan and relevant insight into modern advertising in the digital world.
The true hidden gem for those students with their hearts set on business is the Entrepreneurship minor. Not only does it offer a wide variety of practical courses, ranging from actual management classes through Anderson to economics to communication, but a major portion of the minor is a capstone course requiring students to gain genuine business experience, whether through a personal business venture or an entrepreneurial internship. The overlap with the Communication major is also super helpful; classes like Entrepreneurial Communication, which satisfies requirements for both Entrepreneurship and Communication, are grounded in contemporary business skills, such as data analysis, presentation and interpretation.
Beyond the classes, clubs and internships are wonderful opportunities for hands-on experience. Through Handshake, I’ve landed business-related internships with both startups and established talent management companies. Clubs like Bruin Women in Business and Her Campus at UCLA (obviously) provide immensely valuable business skills and networking possibilities. Los Angeles is also the entertainment industry’s capital, so even without a direct business major, UCLA students can easily find opportunities to delve into the business world. Plus, many of the significant entertainment companies near campus are familiar with UCLA’s programs and are just as eager to hire a Communication major as a would-be Business Administration major. I’ve seen it firsthand.
That’s all to say: UCLA might not have a business major, but it certainly does produce a ceaseless supply of successful businesspeople. Whether it’s picking up a minor, finding the right classes or landing a solid internship, there is still hope for all of us non-business majors seeking to break into the industry.