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4 Life Hacks You’ll Get Along With Your BBA Degree

by David Nesmith
October 2, 2018 Can a BBA prepare you for things beyond a career? You bet!
A photo of South University students at their commencement ceremony.

So, you’re thinking about pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree. You probably already know this can be a firm foundation for a career in the Marketing, Finance, Manufacturing, Advertising, IT, and Banking industries. When you think about it, a BBA degree can help to set you up for success in pretty much any industry.

But did you know that the skills you’ll learn will also help to set you up for success in all aspects of your life? Even navigating disputes with your neighbors? Among all the other helpful things you’ll have the opportunity to learn when studying for a BBA, you'll pick up these skills you’ll rely on for the rest of your life:

Active listening

Have you ever found yourself in a conversation, nodding and saying "uh-huh" while the other person is talking, and all along you're focused on what you’re going to say next? Or watching a lecture but mentally picking out the flyest outfit possible for tonight's date? You might think you are "multi-tasking," but what you're really doing is depriving yourself of important knowledge and perspectives, while depriving people around you of the gift of actively listening to them.

The experiences you get from BBA coursework can turn active listening from a chore to something you don’t even notice you're doing. In addition to the introductory coursework in communications that most BBA candidates get, some coursework at South University depends on active listening and understanding of directions in order to pass.

"Think of it like making a cake or putting together a bookcase," Laura Baker, DBA, South University’s department chair for the College of Business Online Programs. "If you don't follow an individual instruction correctly, you'll end up with a flat cake or lopsided bookcase. It's the same with some of our coursework, which relies heavily on steps that build upon each other over time. If you don't actively listen enough to understand the instruction, and execute it as directed, you’re in danger of going down a wrong and lonely path."

For two days, try forcing yourself to be present and actively listen to everyone you engage with. You’ll definitely see a difference. People will respond to you more positively and they will even listen to you more intently.

Don't you want to make that second nature?

Critical thinking and decision-making

We all have friends who seem to make the wrong choice as often as they make the right, right? They always pick the wrong love interest, or car, or job even. These people may have a firm grasp on their emotions, but they lack or aren't using their critical thinking skills. They aren't "playing the tape through," predicting what their decision is probably going to turn out like in a few weeks or months.

That ability is also important on the job. If your job is procurement, there are a lot of factors, beyond the cost, to consider when picking a supplier.

  • Are they dependable?
  • Can they fill an order on short notice?
  • Do they always have inventory?
  • Where are they located?

Your job is to find the supplier that fits your company's purchasing style. Trust us, fewer headaches are often worth the extra fees.

"Those same courses at South that require a number of steps also force a student to think critically," adds Baker. "You can’t take your eye off the bigger picture. You have to ask yourself if this action will advance me to my goal. And you have to anticipate the land mines and roadblocks each decision might present. The act of examining all possibilities, weeding out the ones with the obviously wrong outcomes, making compromises when needed, and weighing each choice against the others will help you make decisions with confidence and authority."

Confidence and authority? That sounds like a recipe for success!

Conflict resolution

Pretend you and your neighbor are in a feud over your adorable puppy, Petals. Petals is so sweet and cute there's no way anyone could not love her. But when there’s a full moon, Petals likes to howl. Maybe your neighbor cares more about a good night of sleep than a dog’s instincts. People are weird, you know?

How would you solve this situation without bad feelings and resentments?

To people without conflict resolution skills, burning his house down or moving to a new neighborhood seem like the only options. But a person who looks at the situation from BOTH perspectives can often come up with a mutually beneficial solution. Your path to a BBA can teach you how to do just that.

"It's all about empathy," said Baker. "You can't resolve conflicts without understanding all of the parties involved. But empathy means more than that. It means being able to put yourself in their shoes. Many of our courses teach that."

"Take our Global Business Management class, for example. That course teaches students about other cultures and the importance of respecting their ways of doing things. If your goal is to seal a deal, you better know if, in your counterpart’s culture, shaking hands is like a slap in the face."

So, what's the solution to the Petal problem? What if you took the time to understand that your neighbor suffers from insomnia and can’t get back to sleep once awake? And because of that, he's too tired to do his job well or take his kid to soccer practice? What if you offered to keep outrageously gorgeous Petals indoors when there is a full moon? Seems like that is a worthy compromise to keep the peace. Who knows? Maybe he'll offer to watch Petals when you travel? Stranger things have happened.

Either way, you won’t have to find out if your neighbor’s bark is worse than his bite.

Bonus life hack: Leadership

Guess what? All of the above skills are essential traits in a good leader.

  • Active listening? Check
  • Critical thinking? Check
  • Decision making? Check
  • Conflict resolution? Check

Throughout the entire BBA process, you will have the opportunity to learn how to effectively communicate, negotiate and all the other qualities that make a good leader," Baker added. "You learn how to speak, understand and be empathetic towards others, and these are all of the key components to motivating and managing people. Leadership skills are involved in pretty much everything you learn in a BBA program."

So yes, a BBA can be the foundation for a good career. But better yet, it can be a strong foundation for a great life.

Want to know more? Talk to our admissions team about the BBA degree program at South University. Call us at 1.888.444.3404 or request information today.

Tags: leadership business careers Degree Programs online education

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