I’m majoring in Mathematical Economics with an interest in going into business as a career. As you might guess, during my weekly Cognos presentations, one of the most common questions I’m asked by people is why I chose to go to the College rather than Wharton? It’s a legitimate question and the reasons are not necessarily what you think—no it isn’t easier to get into the College and no the College isn’t less academically difficult than Wharton. As a senior in high school I spent a lot of time mulling over how I wanted to spend the next four years. I asked myself questions like, “what do I want to learn,” “what experiences do I want to have,” and “am I even ready to commit to specific career?” But, when all was said and done, I came to the realization that the College was the perfect choice for me for a couple of reasons, which I’ll go into below.
One of the best aspects of the College was that it allowed me to do almost anything after graduation. While I was pretty certain I wanted to go into business, I wasn’t ready to commit, and I wanted to keep my mind open to other possible fields. At the time I was binge-watching The West Wing and thought, maybe I wanted to go into politics. I thought, hey I love television, maybe I want to go into entertainment. My parents even tried to float the idea of going into medicine by me (that one never actually got much traction). By going into the College I was able to have a diversity of experiences and classes that would prepare me for any future career that I chose to go into, and I had the opportunity to keep all of possible doors open.
Similarly, so many of the skills that I learn in school are useful for business specifically! I spend a lot of time working with data and numbers, which obviously appeals to business sensibilities, but I also spend a considerable amount of time writing papers and doing complex analyzation. An interdisciplinary degree like mathematical economics has allowed me to bridge the gap between numbers and the story they tell. I’m able to understand what a model or what the data are saying and then explain it to others-- an undervalued skill among college students, but a cherished skill for employers.
In my case, the College provided me with exactly the skills and experiences I wanted to be able to look to at the end of four years. The College has continued to open doors for me and has set me off on the right path towards a career in business—EVEN if I never took Management 100 at Wharton.