By Bryan Morris
As a student enrolled in the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech, I am earning a great education in the world of business. I am learning all the terminology and financial components that those working in the field of business should and need to know. I feel extremely more knowledgable than I did a few years ago, but that doesn’t mean everything I learn in school is going to equate to what I do in the real world.
When learning in school, most of the cases or studies you read all involve perfect situations. Don’t get me wrong, there are examples of business situations going wrong, but they are all cookie cutter situations; this happened and you should respond by doing this. A manual for business can only go so far– a 4.0 GPA at a top-tier university does not mean you automatically know how to handle every situation you encounter in real life.
Over the summer when I was doing sales at the retail stores, there was a situation where the blinds a customer had ordered were somehow misplaced among worksheets. This meant that the order was not put through. Later when she called to check on the status of the order, not only did she learn that the order had not been put through, but in that brief window the products she had ordered were discontinued. That’s not something you tell employees might happen, but rather it’s an issue you hope your employees are able to handle using their best judgment.
While attending Blinds To Go University and learning on the job, I learned a lot in terms of measuring blinds and attending to customers; but there is only so much one can learn. There are always going to be unforeseen situations that you cannot exactly prepare for– a combination of knowledge and experience are needed to correctly assess and resolve issues that may arise.
More and more people are arguing that real world experience is more important than what you learn in the classroom and I tend to agree. Business school tells you what has happened and what is currently happening. Having real world business experience allows you to shape what will happen.