As a business student, you’re going to experience moments in which you surprise yourself. Whether it’s an exceptional grade on a paper or acceptance into an honor society, the success that comes when you least expect it can leave you wondering how you got so lucky.

It’s not luck. Rather, you can chalk up your wins to a) deep desire, and b) those underlying business talents you never realized you had. College, especially in an online format, tends to bring these hidden skills to the surface, and when combined with your newly acquired knowledge, you become the business pro you were always meant to be. 

The resulting transformation becomes even more obvious when you’re a non-traditional student, taking everything you’ve learned in one night’s lesson and applying it to the next day’s work. 

These characteristics are telltale signs you’re a business student:

1. You love putting everything in its place. 

Business students, especially those with project management experience, thrive on list-making, planning, and organization. Even when it comes to something as mundane as loading the dishwasher, if you find yourself carefully angling to take advantage of the entire space–like a real-life Tetris game with cups and bowls–you’re putting your passion for structure to work.

2. Goal setting is a daily exercise. 

If you’re spending all of that time planning and putting together lists, you definitely have an end game in mind. Goal setting is a critical component of the career development process, and can help you determine, among other things, the information you need, the effort you need to give, and the barriers you’ll need to overcome in your journey.

“I finally came to the realization that simply having a bachelor’s [degree] wasn’t going to help me get into the career field that I really wanted,” explains Kelvin Johnson, a 2014 graduate who had made earning  his number one goal. “As much as I want to be an inspiration to others, I challenged myself to be an inspiration to me and to be fulfilled once I achieved this big accomplishment.”

3. You put everything under the scope of data analysis. 

Business students learn quickly that data analysis, in addition to being an in-demand career discipline, can help determine what’s working and what’s not within your organization, team, or project. 

While in school, graduate Timothy Renner was eager to put his business teachings to the test in the real world. Renner, a retail store manager who earned his Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration online, used what he learned to implement a SWOT analysis at his workplace, one that became, “a living document that I use with my current team to help coach them to be better associates.” 

4. You’re always the first to step up. 

Even those who don’t consider themselves natural leaders will notice a change after going to college. Courses that comprise a Business Leadership degree, such as Organizational Behavior, Communication and Conflict, and Leadership and Motivation, harness those untapped qualities with real-world lessons, erasing any anxiety you’d have about volunteering to take the helm of an important project.

5. Procrastination is gone from your vocabulary. 

Business students, especially those who learn online, are experts at time management. They have found a delicate balance between work, family, and their education; so much so that putting things off would severely impact their success. 

“It wasn’t easy,” admits graduate Gayle Eberhardt-Mitchell. “I had to set aside some specific days that I knew I had to make sure I was spending time studying and doing homework. But I’m pretty structured and super dedicated to this.”

6. You are always networking. 

Every interaction has the potential for benefit when you’re a business student, whether it’s in the boardroom or in line at the bank. Your networking skills are honed in the online learning environment, where you must interact with students you don’t know – from all over the world – on a daily basis. 

Count Business Administration graduate Kathryn Daniels among those who embraced her networking opportunities. During her time spent pursuing her degree, Williams became president of the school’s Golden Key International Honour Society chapter and was elected to be a student member of the International Leadership Council, as well as a member of the CHAMPS Peer Mentoring program. All of her networking efforts, she said, would, “help me professionally once I graduate as well as make me a stronger leader in my community.”


7. One additional surefire sign you’re a business student: When you can’t stop practicing your signature with those little letters, B-A, M-A, or M-B-A, after your name.

Try it out when you have a moment after graduation. It will serve as a constant reminder of your success. 


Written by University staff

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