I had taken no prior business classes and my knowledge only extended to the faint conversations I had overheard working at my dads CPA firm about taxes and filing.
So, youd imagine my relief when my first semester brought a few of the "regular" classes: history, economics, and writing, along with Quantitative Business Analysis and Business Enterprise, an introductory course to all fields of business. The "QBA" seemed like a somewhat cover of basic business math skills, something I had seen before. I was excited to take the intro course to begin to learn a little bit about every field and maybe find a niche, whether it is accounting, marketing, or finance.
It wasnt far into the course that I felt way out of my league.
The professor, a doctor, was an expert and often spent whole classes talking about things I just didnt know. But, I did the work and felt like I was getting my feet wet in the world of business.
Our course mostly revolved around Capitalism at the Crossroads, by Stuart Hart, which focused on sustainability throughout firms and using the strength in businesses to actually help many people, including those in Third World countries, through the power of "the base of the pyramid."
Although this took up the classdaily concentration, I was preoccupied with the final project: a full business plan of an original business we would create, including every financial and narrative piece.
From the beginning, bits here and there were mentioned about the extensiveness of the plan, so I got right to brainstorming. My mind went directly to interests of mine and current trends in consumers, so I thought of organic, or more health-conscious, food. Also, as was stressed by the professor, simplicity and manageability was key, since you would have to find a real-life location and pay all real expenses.
Therefore, after editing, my business was a decorative truck selling quick, organic food options located in downtown Providence. After my idea was fixed, I could easily write about the description, market analysis, risks, and a fictional management team.
The trouble came once I got to the finance and accounting sections of the plan. Break even analysis, five year forecast, first year projections by month and quarter?! I favored my dads help because after hours of work and frustration I was allowed to just yell, THIS FEELS IMPOSSIBLE AND I WANT TO BE DONE!
But, the work paid off!
I had completed the plan and after a year, my business, Fresh Fast Food, had a net income of $139,538. I felt like I had accomplished more than just a project- I had been thrown into the real world of accounting.
I had not only learned a million different things, but also had begun a successful business.
Ill admit, it was overwhelming. But, my experience was not just from a textbook. My freshman year of college brought many things but maybe most enriching was the real-life experience I had in the field of business.
Jess Lambi is a sophomore accounting major at Roger Williams University. Along with business, she is interested in reading, travel, music, and fashion.