What my business degree hasn’t taught me about business

I write this article, dear reader, to share perhaps the most significant piece of advice I have come to realize after almost three years into business school.

Allow me to introduce myself – I’m a business student currently interning at Jonar. When I began my internship, on a scale of 1 to 100, I’d say my tech savvy-ness would rank somewhere around a 1. Luckily, my co-workers have taken the time to explain some pretty neat things so I’d say my skills have gone up to at least a 5.

But, the truth is, things I should know how to do, I don’t. I’ve spent the past couple years studying various business-related topics such as accounting, marketing, organizational behavior and so on. But before this internship, not one class had ever given me any insight into the systems that help business run.

It turns out that there are countless technologies, software tools and systems that are essential to successfully running a business. One of those is the system that Jonar makes – ERP. What is an ERP system you ask? It’s what allows you to get your shit done. If businesses were like machines, ERP systems would be like the grease you put on the gears to make them run. Only more important.

I walked into this internship like a vegan walking into a butcher shop. Two months later, however, I have come to realize just how lucky I am to have scored this internship. Technology is an important area of business that my education had allowed me to avoid. Without working at such a dynamic software company, I would never have realized that I was lacking this basic knowledge.

What is the value of learning about the history of the gold standard when I won’t know how to manage inventory or warehouse processes, customer services or human resources, utilize the accounting software or the order tracking software of future employers?

Why had I spent so much time learning about management theories and almost none learning on how to actually run a business? For that matter, I feel like learning about tools like ERP should have been an integral part of my education, and not the afterthought that it currently is.

Don’t believe me? Google the required courses for a bachelor’s degree in business and I guarantee that there won’t be more than one course related to technology (and I won’t even try to explain how useless that class was).

So here’s the advice I mentioned at the beginning of this rant, I mean article. If you’re hoping for a career in business, don’t wait until you graduate or get your first job to recognize the importance of technology. Seek out opportunities to take classes or teach yourself about ERP, CRM, BI, EDI, POS and all of the other acronyms for systems that are essential to running a business.

I, for one, have signed up for an abundance of technology classes in the fall. I’m terrified, but determined.

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