By Chereese Sheen
The Business and Economics Department at York College currently has the largest number of registered students pursuing degrees in five baccalaureate programs, four minors and one certificate program.
And despite popular belief, the focus of the department is to encourage students to identify a career they enjoy first, then concern themselves with potential future earnings.
“If students choose their majors with the attitude of looking for money, they will never find it,” said Department Chair Olajide Oladipo. “What they need to do is obtain the skills, and the money will come. Having a foundation is very important, otherwise, you will be very frustrated.”
More than 1,300 students at York are majoring in a program that the Business and Economics department offers. The majors include Aviation Management, Business Administration, Economics, Information Systems Management, and Marketing.
With the help of Oladipo, they have been the top department at York since 2011.
“We looked at what was available at CUNY and we created new programs that are not available on other campuses, like Logistics and Supply Chain,” said Oladipo.
According to the 2015-2016 College Salary Report on the Payscale website, Business and Marketing majors earn a median salary of $44,800 with zero to five years experience. However, Dr. Oladipo suggests that the salary for graduates exceeds that amount.
“That’s low,” said Oladipo. “[The salary] can’t be $40,000, it’s about $50,000. The largest is $57,000 straight out of college. Students just have to choose the right career path.”
Claujan Pryce, a junior Business Administration major said, she chose the entrepreneurship track, because she would rather be her own boss.
“I’m not too ecstatic about working for someone else, but it is something that I will have to do for a little while,” said Pryce. “I would prefer working for organizations that are geared towards helping society at large.”
Conversely, Pryce’s fellow Business Administration major, 21-year-old Natasha Smith, always dreamed of working for a large corporation.
“Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be a part of corporate America,” said Smith. “I would like to be a hospital administrator one day, or work for a bank.”
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Projections, job openings for Medical and Health Service Managers, such as Hospital Administrators, are expected to increase by 150 thousand job openings by 2022. In 2012, the median annual wage was $88,580.
“There are so many job [opportunities], said Oladipo. “If you look at the private sector, students can work in any area in the private sector. They can work at banks, as accountants, at JFK Port Authority, or for an airline. I had a student who is now making $70,000, so it depends on which organization you are talking to.”
In a recent survey of York College students, about 68 percent of the students said they chose their majors because they are excited about pursuing a career in that field. Almost 32 percent said they chose their major in hopes of a high-paying job in the future, and 18 percent of students said they do not enjoy their major at all.
The students’ excitement is a direct response to the department’s daily involvement. The Business department hosts at least one workshop a semester, where guest speakers interact with the students.
“Our students are really passionate,” said Oladipo. “They see people who are exactly like themselves in high positions, so they ask themselves, why wouldn’t they want to be here. That always inspires them.” Oladipo added, “We have so many clubs, and they have information sessions as well.”
The Business and Economics department has seven clubs: Aviation, entrepreneurship, finance, economics, ISM, marketing, and human resources.
Although Pryce had considered pursuing a career as a lawyer when she was younger, she soon realized that was not the profession for her.
“At first, I genuinely was not passionate about this field,” said 20-year-old Pryce. “I made the decision solely on hopes of making loads of money in the future. Fortunately, after my first semester [at York] I realized that business was in fact something I liked and something I could see myself being happy about doing.”
Unlike most departments at York, the Business and Economics department offers paid internships, but the students do not receive the money in form of cash or check. Once a student enrolls in an independent study course, the department pays for the credits. That is one course a student does not have to pay for out of pocket, or subtract from their financial aid.
Smith believed the department had been a big help thus far. While Pryce disagreed and said they have “moderately” prepared her for a career in the business field.
“Classes are not as hands on to the extent where I would be confident enough to know what to expect [in corporate America],” said Pryce. “I can say that I will be more educated on technical issues more than social or personal issues within the workplace.”
Business and Economics students are allowed to take as many independent study courses needed. Oladipo said a student only needs a maximum of two internships to be prepared for a career in the corporate world.
Pryce, said she interned in the business department at The Institute of Applied Human Dynamics (IAHD) last summer, but was unaware that the fee for the course had been paid for by the Business and Economics department.
According to the U.S. News’ list of the Best Business Jobs for 2015, Market Research Analyst is ranked number one. With an average wage of $67,780 in 2013, market research analysts are one of the top paid business employees. The profession ranked last at 25 is receptionist. The median annual salary for receptionists was $26,410 in 2013, or $12.70 an hour.