Bachelor of Science in Business Management
Gabe Johnson earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Southern Connecticut State University in 2007. Although he originally entered the engineering program, Johnson said he switched to management because he didn’t like the engineering classes, and he stuck with it because of the job opportunities available in the field. Now he works as an operations manager for the Center for Green Building, a Connecticut-based company that promotes sustainable business practices and products.
Why did you choose your major?
Originally, I had gotten into engineering coming out of high school and I couldnít stand it. Started management courses to get credits and really enjoyed what the opportunities after college that it presented, and that’s what I stayed with.
What did you like about the experience?
It was great. I’m a real believer in college and any opportunity. The biggest thing is what you put into it. You can make the most out of any university in the country, so for me, [it's not about] paying the big bucks at private universities [and getting] all the accolades from graduating from a school like, but it’s [about] what you put into it that will make you successful in the long run. That’s what Southern Connecticut State was good for, but the professors were great as well.
There was an entrepreneurial class, which was really great, and there was one that was a basic management course, but the teacher set it up like The Apprentice, the show on television. Basically, we broke up into groups and it really gave you the sense that you were in a business setting, competing against your other classmates. Everyone had to get a specified role in the group, and if you didn’t do your job in the group, then it was obvious.
What could have been better?
I would have rather had more classes like that, instead of the old school teachers telling you to read this book and tell me what it says. For the most part, they were older teachers who were stuck in their ways. That was the thing I didn’t appreciate. I understand the idea of learning the jargon because you’re going to be faced with it, but that’s something that is easily learned on the job. I feel that getting the skills you’ll need by interfacing is a lot better than just reading out of a book.
How has it impacted your career?
I wouldn’t have this job without this degree, and my bosses wouldn’t have given me the chance to work here without it. You’re not going to get the opportunities to prove yourself unless you have the degree, and that’s how it affected me the most.
What skills from your degree do you still use?
Being able to stay on task, being able to identify goals and execute what it takes to get to those goals. Just kind of managing your mind a little bit is what I picked up. As for all the book terms, I don’t remember any of those. But I’m probably using it on a daily basis to some extent, I guess. I wouldn’t be able to take a test on that, though. I think one of the things that college gives you is they teach you how to learn, to a certain extent. They give you the basics of how to absorb information and I try to translate that into my job now.
What advice would you give prospective students?
I would say if you are undecided on what you want to do in life, then go through with business management because it’s all encompassing and you can go down a number of career paths, and you can get into a number of different styles of business. It gives you a good skill set that’s appreciated by potential employers. It gets you ready to face pretty much anything with a business management degree. That was the biggest thing. I don’t think a fair number of people want to do it, so this is a great degree to have if that’s what you’re thinking because there are numerous positions throughout all industries that are available for you.