As a non-business major interested in entrepreneurship and the translational/client-facing/business side of medical devices, I recently realized just how important it is to be able to “speak the language” of business. This means knowing what ROI and asset turnover are, as well as what they mean for a business or investor. It means understanding and being able to analyze balance sheets and cash flow statements, and determine what steps you can take to, say, improve your cash flow. Other than aimless Google searches, I’m not entirely sure how I would have achieved that without the UNC Business Essentials (UBE) program.
The purpose of the program is not to make you an expert or substitute for a business degree; it is to give you an introduction to a wide variety of measures and functions in the business world and a smorgasbord of options for communicating this information. In fact, I once heard someone say that the program is useful for access to the glossary alone! However, I think this set of information is the most important foundation upon which experience, specialized instruction, and guidance from mentors can build in order to help you apply your skills in the business world. And it is this “language 101”, more or less, that enables you to enter the conversation and communicate your unique perspective in a way that the rest of the room will understand.
The other thing I enjoyed about the UBE program is that it is designed to be applicable and meaningful in the context of the real world. Each topic comes with examples and activities that allow you to analyze companies and scenarios in order to understand how decisions are made in the business world. It’s fun and interesting to see how your understanding of companies like Dell, Apple, and various types of restaurants change as you learn about their differing business models, particularly in the context of your own experience.
By Zoe Wolszon