Monty Cerf on How Business Majors Can Get the Most Out of...

Monty Cerf on How Business Majors Can Get the Most Out of College

Monty Cerf

Monty Cerf is a student advocate and mentor with a background in banking, wealth management and teaching college-level business classes. In the following article, Monty Cerf discusses how a business degree may seem overwhelming to those unsure of their future, and various ways to utilize all of the options available to them.

Business majors benefit from having a degree that can be applied to virtually any field of their choosing. However, this acts as both a blessing and a curse for those who remain unsure of what to do next, or how to get the most out of their degree.

Monty Cerf explains that getting the most out of a business degree involves taking internships, networking at every available turn, getting involved in clubs and other campus resources, and using available time in college to work on making a personal transformation.

To many, this may seem like an overwhelming number of boxes to check. Fortunately, Monty Cerf provides a closer look that reveals how all of these suggestions actually relate to each other quite strongly.

Use Internships to Play the Field

One of the reasons a business degree constitutes a curse as well as a blessing is that many students enter college without a clear idea of what they want to do with their careers. Various fields a person might enter with a business degree include, but are in no way limited to:

  • Advertising and public relations
  • Digital, televised and print marketing
  • Human resource management
  • Finance management
  • Business consulting
  • International trade
  • Project management
  • Entrepreneurship

Monty Cerf says that having so many options on the table can make decisions difficult for students who remain unsure of their “purpose”. Students can best explore these options through off-campus jobs and internships.

Through these internships, students can gain hands-on experience that allows them to assess the pros and cons of each specialization before fully committing. Upon discovering the field that best suits them, students can furthermore use their internships to establish an early foothold on the business world and potentially even earn themselves a full-time position after graduation.

Utilize Every Campus Resource

Not all business majors know how to find internships on their own. Luckily, Monty Cerf explains that most colleges provide resources to aid them in the search. Students enrolled in universities with a career center should make sure to analyze their options. This will assist greatly in the task of finding opportunities to grow their understanding of the business world.

Students should not stop there, however. All college campuses provide a vast quantity of resources that many students fail to utilize to the fullest of their abilities. For instance, many students only visit the campus library when studying for a class. However, Monty Cerf explains that the books and academic articles available within the library are an important resource for business majors to closely study their field.

Finally, many accredited schools provide mentorship programs that give students one-on-one experience with professionals in their field of study. Monty Cerf says that these programs typically limit participation to a small number of students, but applying for a mentor can provide not only great insight, but possibly even professional connections to help start a career.

One reason many students underutilize these resources is simply that they are not aware of them. To this end, business majors should work closely with their academic advisors to identify all of the potential resources at their disposal. If a student tells their advisor bluntly what they wish to accomplish, their advisor can tell them which resources will help them get there.

Network as Much as Possible

Internships and mentors can help students network with professionals, but business majors should not limit themselves to only these opportunities. The most successful business leaders know how to communicate and maintain relationships, and Monty Cerf notes that networking with other students can lead to amazing opportunities if those students go on to achieve success.

Greek organizations provide one particularly accessible avenue to profitable networking opportunities. Putting ethical considerations aside, it is a well-known fact that many employers tend to favor alumni who hail from the same fraternities or sororities to which they once pledged themselves. Monty Cerf says that joining these organizations may make it much easier to land a job.

Students should make use of several other networking opportunities, both on and off campus. A few such resources may include:

  • Getting to know professors with professional connections
  • Joining extracurricular organizations to work on communication skills
  • Working with the local Chamber of Commerce
  • Attending job fairs and charming the booth representatives
  • Finding local business conventions and meeting the attendees
  • Attending lectures and meeting with the speaker afterwards if possible

Monty CerfDon’t Take Academia for Granted

Business majors who follow the above tips may find their dance cards pretty full. However, those who wish to succeed in business must also know how to avoid spreading themselves too thin. This lesson begins when balancing internships and networking while still managing to keep a high GPA.

All efforts to network will mean nothing if a student fails out of college or sends abysmal transcripts to prospective employers. Monty Cerf explains that while many entrepreneurs got where they are without a degree, it certainly never hurts to attain one. If students find their social obligations standing in the way of their studies, they need to assess their situation and perhaps make some sacrifices.

Furthermore, business majors who wish to get the most out of college can actually use their studies to advance the aims discussed above. Remember that the eight business specializations previously discussed barely scratch the surface of what students can do with a business degree. No student can take enough internships to explore them all.

Instead, those who remain uncertain of which field they wish to pursue may explore the possibilities through their elective courses. Students can dip their toes into various fields that might interest them and see how they feel about the course material, thereby avoiding wasted time working in a field that ultimately fails to keep their interest.

Use Clubs to Become a Leader

Some business majors may not aim to earn a position in another company, but rather to start their own. These students may wish to make use of the three guiding pillars outlined by Grand Canyon University:

  • Servant leadership
  • Ethics
  • Entrepreneurialism

Monty Cerf says that by taking a leadership position in a club or other academic organization, students can develop these assets on their own before applying them to the business world. The first two relate strongly to each other, as leaders must maintain a keen eye for ethics when taking on a leadership role that requires them to act in the best interests of their peers.

As for developing a strong sense of entrepreneurial spirit, students may wish to start their own club. Budding entrepreneurs can start by looking at the student organizations offered on campus and determining what needs or interests remain unmet. This is essentially what all successful entrepreneurs do, so starting a successful club makes for good practice.

Strive for a Personal Makeover

College provides business majors with ample opportunities to study their field and make connections that will ultimately benefit their future career endeavors. However, students will inevitably encounter hardships along the way. Monty Cerf says that one of the most important lessons that any student can learn is that these hardships must be used to transform themselves into better leaders.

For instance, if a student attends a networking event and fails to make any viable contacts, they must learn to revisit the event in their mind and determine what they should do better in the future. Perhaps they need to present themselves better, or maybe they simply need to research some of the names in attendance beforehand so they can ready their talking points.

Just as successful businesses can never afford to stagnate, those who wish to succeed must never grow complacent. Even when a student feels they have a solid grasp on social engagements, academic achievements, and outside internships, they must always keep an eye on areas in which they might improve.

Whether students feel they need to transform themselves in terms of dress, mannerisms, or basic time management, the goal is to continue growing wherever possible. Those who rise up the corporate ladder are inevitably those who recognize their weaknesses and exemplify their strengths. College provides the perfect opportunity to begin doing so.


Monty Cerf says that some business majors may find this list of goals overwhelming, but they should always remember the resources they have at their disposal. Professors, mentors, employers, and peers can all provide feedback on which of the above areas a student needs to improve in. By heeding their advice, any business major can get the most out of what college has to offer.