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More than ever, savvy consumers are examining the quality and value of higher education. As the Dean of the College of Business at Nicholls State University, I frequently meet with high school students and their parents to discuss their decision of whether to go to college, where to attend, and what to study. A college education demands a significant investment of time and money, and there needs to be a corresponding return.
I coach these potential students to consider important elements of a future career in making this decision. They need to balance the cost and quality of the education with the potential to land a job upon graduation. That is where the Nicholls College of Business comes in. We offer a high-quality, AACSB accredited education at a value while coaching our students to focus their education towards a high-demand field. Less than 5% of the world’s business schools have earned this accreditation; the College of Business at Nicholls had held this distinction for almost 40 years.
I frequently interact with regional employers as I advocate for job placement for the Business College’s graduates. I have noticed several trends in the last few years. First, businesses are looking for students with a focused degree path. They want to see a subset of skills and knowledge that make them ready to move into specific organizational roles. A management degree, for instance, will prepare a student with academic insight into general management. However, I encourage them to think more strategically and add a concentration such as Maritime Management or a minor such as Data Analytics to focus on specific management jobs and industries. They can also supplement their academic work with an internship or part-time work at an entry-level job. Students with academic degrees and real-world experience set themselves apart from other applicants.
Second, businesses are looking for students with professional polish and strong interpersonal skills to supplement their academic work. At Nicholls College of Business, we are addressing the development of these skills through our new Career Ready University (CRU), where students must complete four non-credit courses to graduate. These courses cover communication, interviewing, resume development, political skill, emotional intelligence, and other critical aspects of communicating a message, holding a conversation, dealing with conflict, and leading others. I am frequently complimented by business leaders who employ our graduates that the quality of their business knowledge is exceptional. With CRU, we hope to further polish that knowledge with practical leadership and professionalism.
Finally, there is a huge job market for business graduates with specific degrees. The demand for Nicholls State University graduates with these degrees has been as high as I can recall since I started working at Nicholls in 2007. In particular, I receive more job announcements to pass on to these graduates than we have graduates to fill them. The areas with the most open positions are Accounting/Finance, Maritime Management, Human Resource Management, Digital Marketing, Professional Sales, Computer Information Systems, Data Analytics, and Computer Science with Business Applications. Potential students would be wise to explore these options.
In summary, my experience as the Business Dean at Nicholls tells me that a business degree option is a sound investment in today’s business climate, especially in our region. The programs at Nicholls State University are highly regarded by our regional business partners, putting our graduates in high demand. Many of the leaders of these organizations are Nicholls Business graduates, and they know our strengths. Finally, college students should consider their degree’s value, quality, and long-term demand. They should consider Nicholls College of Business.
Marilyn Macik-Frey is the Dean of the College of Business Administration at Nicholls State University. She can be reached at Marilyn.email@example.com.