Selecting an Undergraduate Concentration

Do I need a concentration?

Determining whether or not you need a concentration is a career decision. Yes, academics will be involved in course selection, concentration requirements and graduation planning but this is primarily a decision related to how you will market yourself for the job search. In general, it is recommended that everyone complete a concentration to clearly show your career interest and focus in a particular field or functional area, but it really depends on your personal career goals.

The business administration degree provides you with a broad understanding of business. If your career goals do not require specialized expertise or if you are interested in general management, then you have the option to graduate without completing a concentration.

If your career goals require more specialization, then graduating without a concentration can make your job search more difficult because employers may view you as uninterested or unclear of your career direction. That is why it can be helpful for you to focus your courses in a concentration area to learn one area more thoroughly. For example, if you want to become a financial analyst, employers will be looking for a finance concentration. However, if you are entering a management development program, then employers are not typically seeking a specific concentration.

How do I select a concentration?

Work with a career advisor in the Career Resource Center. Begin by making some career decisions and take a systematic approach to selecting a concentration. This involves several steps in the career development process

It is recommended that you start this process in your first semester. It may seem as though you have a great deal of time to figure out what concentration to choose, but there are many factors involved in your decision process. You need to be well-informed so that you are better able to make the right decision. Do not wait to take courses to decide which area interests you. This is an important decision that can have a major impact on your job search success. Taking a course will typically not give you enough information to make this decision.

To understand your interests as well as your skills, we recommend you engage in self-assessment. The undergraduate program is going to help you develop business-related skills through both the core curriculum and concentration electives.

Identify your highest-match business career areas by reviewing your Focus 2 Career or CareerLeader assessment results 

  • First-year students: Complete the Focus 2 Career exploration tool offered through UB Career Design Center Majors and Careers under Discovering Your Strengths. It is free to undergraduate students
  • Second-year students: Complete various activities through MGG215 Career Connections - Part I course
  • Third- and fourth-year students: Complete the CareerLeader assessment tool through the MGG315 Career Connections - Part II course

Understand your concentration(s) of interest

  • Review the undergraduate curriculum, the concentrations available and course requirements
  • Read the descriptions of your suggested career paths in your Focus 2 Career or CareerLeader results
  • Actively engage in career events to learn more about jobs, companies, and industries. Check out BizLink | Events for days and times
  • Review the career concentration areas including videos  
  • Read the undergraduate concentration course descriptions
  • Watch career webinars, identify top employers by rankings, and gain valuable career knowledge in the career and industry guides. Sign into Vault through the University Sign On button. 
  • Talk with faculty and other students about your interests and functional areas

Explore career options related to a specific concentration

  • Read job and internship postings. Use BizLinkBullseye/Handshake, company websites and other job search sites
  • Conduct informational interviews with alumni who work in your area of interest. Use these networking resources to identify those alumni
  • Meet with your career advisor to discuss your career goals and concentration selection
  • Attend networking or educational events, including Coffee Cup Conversations and Network New York
  • Join School of Management clubs or national and local professional organizations to learn more about your areas of interest and network with those already working in those fields
  • Plan to complete at least one internship in your concentration area
  • Gain skills and exposure to jobs through virtual job simulations using Forage. You'll complete tasks that mirror real life, watch video instructions from actual employees, and compare your work to model examples.

How do I know which courses to take, and in which order?

Work with the Undergraduate Programs Office. After you have narrowed down your area of interest and feel confident about your career goals, your next step is to formalize an academic plan. Using the undergraduate curriculum plans, talking with faculty, current students and recent alumni are all ways to better understand what courses will align with your career goals.

If you need additional assistance with your academic plan, schedule an appointment with your academic advisor by visiting the Undergraduate Academic Programs Office in 204 Alfiero Center or calling 716-645-3206. Your academic advisor can assist you with your course selection, sequencing, academic plan and graduation success.