Business students speak out against “fake major” stereotype

CHARLIE STEEL | OPINION COLUMNIST | crsteel@butler.edu

Justice for the business bros that populate the Lacy School of Business. Photo courtesy of  Design 27.

When you have a moment, take a look at the world around you. Look at the cars passing by, the buildings towering above you, the cell phones people are using or even the clothes they are wearing. Do you ever wonder how all of this is made possible? All of these goods and services are designed, created, distributed and eventually sold to customers like us. 

When you take a step back, business is everything, everyday and everywhere. It is one of the driving forces that keeps society moving forward at a steady pace. The business field is so vast that a person in it can be anything from a store clerk to a CEO. While some jobs may be higher paying than others, it’s the way they all work together that keeps the process moving. 

The real-world skills that men and women learn at their chosen institutions ready them for their careers and can often give them an advantage over the rest of the workforce. The Lacy School of Business at Butler University, for example, offers students a phenomenal business education across 12 different majors and other forms of experiential learning. 

You have probably been wondering and the answer is yes, I personally am benefitting from the educational experience at the Lacy School of Business at Butler University. I am indeed a business major, applied business technology to be exact. I am here today to come to the defense of my major, my fellow peers and the school that houses us all. 

Despite the status and national reputation of this business school, there seems to be a running stereotype that business majors have a light workload and tend to have it easier than students in other majors like pharmacy or engineering. It is this theory that initially sparked the “fake major” narrative in the business school. While much of the curriculum does not entail being buried in textbooks and pulling all-nighters, it’s still unreasonable for business students to put up with this type of scrutiny. Perhaps now it is finally time to hear why some of these business majors feel these labels are unfair and untrue. 

Benjamin Rohn, a first-year accounting major, had a particularly level-headed response to some of the criticism he personally has witnessed or received himself. 

“Students from every major on this campus play an important role,” Rohn said. “I don’t think that there’s necessarily one major that plays more of an important role than another.” 

Rohn did, however, agree that business majors, for one reason or another, receive more criticism than some others on Butler’s campus. 

“There seems to be a running gag amongst Butler students that business majors are the ones who don’t have to do as much work and don’t have to work as hard,” Rohn said. 

Rohn is absolutely right. It’s certainly annoying to endure this type of scrutiny while working toward a similar end goal as other people on campus. I personally have to deal with this stereotype on a daily basis. It seems that whenever I mention doing any business-related homework to engineering or biology majors in particular, I usually get an eye roll or another dismissive gesture in response, as if to say my life is so much easier. This is exactly the issue at hand.    

It’s true that while the paths through college may be different amongst various students, most of us can agree that we are here for the same purpose: getting a job after college and making an impact in society. 

Nic Lynn-Toledo, a first-year applied business technology major, shared some similar views with Rohn regarding this issue. 

“It’s probably biased, but without business I don’t think the world would be spinning,” Lynn-Toledo said. “[The stereotype] doesn’t really make me feel bad in any way, because I know what I’m doing is important to me. It’s also important for other people as well, so I usually just fall back onto that.” 

The Lacy School of Business is the second-largest college at Butler University in terms of enrollment. Despite it being such a popular area of study, these students are still “fake majors” in many people’s eyes. How did this idea even start, you may ask? Lynn-Toledo shed some light on why business majors may have attained this reputation in the first place.

“I think they have this reputation because, to be fair, there isn’t always as much coursework as there is in the engineering, science or pre-pharmacy programs,” Lynn-Toledo said. “It’s a lot more experiential based for the most part.” 

Lynn-Toledo’s contention is very important to understand. While natural sciences do have labs and other field work involved, there is a lot more emphasis placed on learning from textbooks and lectures rather than learning as you go. Neither is better or worse, they just have different styles. 

An early, real-world learning experience that business students get is in their First-Year Business Experience class. I was lucky enough to take this class last semester. Much of the course was structured around preparation for the school-wide Top Dawg business competition which entailed creating a product or service and developing it with your randomly selected team. This was not only fun, but also a perfect example of a situation where textbooks and flashcards were temporarily set aside. In their place was real-life thinking and a simulation of entrepreneurship.   

The skills taught in these classes not only prepares students for their real-world endeavors, but also equips them with abilities to make a difference on campus. 

Katie Kult, a first-year entrepreneurship major, feels that the impact that business students have around campus often goes unnoticed. 

“Around campus, [business majors] are some of the most involved people in terms of Greek life and other clubs,” Kult said. “People don’t realize how many [business majors] there are and how crucial of a role we really do play.” 

Kult also disagreed with the stereotype that business majors have a light workload. She had a message for the perpetrators of these labels. 

“Business is a fundamental part of society and we still put in time and effort into what we do,” Kult said. “It just isn’t in the same fashion as other majors.” 

Enough said. 

Next time you’re ready to fire shots at a business major or the amount of “work” they do, pause for a moment and think about your daily life and habits. Your cell phone, for example, does not magically appear out of thin air. A whole chain of people had to step up and make that reality possible. These are the business people of the world doing what they do best. 

The world is a much better place because of business, so those who study it will continue that trend. In a sense, it’s business majors that keep the world spinning. So when this “fake majors” narrative starts thinning, society will start winning. 

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