BackgroundInterview Date:December 2018
Gender Identity: Male
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2020
High School Experience: Private school outside of Detroit with a graduating class of about 190 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Major: Business Administration with a concentration in Finance. I’m in Questrom School of Business.
Extracurricular Activities: I’m a varsity athlete.
What impact has your sport had on your experience so far?
It was definitely nice coming in because I had a friend group pretty immediately. The athletic community is pretty close, everyone knows everyone. It’s shaped my experience in that I’m pretty busy and it creates a balance of school and sports that I really enjoy.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
In the business school at BU, the way it works is your first two classes you take a bunch of business classes with liberal arts classes sprayed in. The past year and a half the majority of the classes I’ve taken have been in finance, accounting, business information systems, operations, and stuff like that. This upcoming semester and the semesters before I graduate the classes will be predominantly Finance classes. Within all the business classes I’ve taken, there’s a lot of reading and a lot of case analyses, and in the finance-heavy courses, there are more problem sets.
What are your major graded assignments?
Everything’s been pretty exam based. For the upper-level classes, the grade revolves around three aspects, your midterm, your final, and participation. The business school at BU values participation in class a lot, I’ve had classes in the past where participation could make up 20% of your final grade.
Is there anything you feel the business school does especially well or poorly?
I think the professors they have at the business school are some of the best in the country. Every professor I’ve come in contact with has either come from a superior institution or had a tremendous career outside of the classroom, so they bring in a cool perspective when you take their class. I also think another thing the business school does well is there’s a lot of team collaboration, so that really helps when you start interviewing for jobs and internships [because you have examples of working in groups to talk about]. At one point in the business school, you do a project called [The Cross Functional Core Project] where you take four business classes while simultaneously being placed in a team of ten that has to develop an [extensive] business plan by the end of the semester and present it. That tends to be a busy semester, but I think that type of experience becomes valuable in interviews and understanding the different aspects of starting a business.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I think it is competitive. It’s a known fact that everyone is vying for internships and grades and trying to do everything they can to be successful. That especially happens junior year when people are gearing up for junior summer internships. I also think that the professors try to make it collaborative in the classroom because of that, and one example of that is when they value participation as 10-20% of your final grade.
Can you give an example of when you felt a competitive atmosphere?
With the Cross Functional Core Project, each session was broken up into four groups, and the way the grading worked was one team would get an A, two teams would get a B, and the fourth would get a C. So, you’re constantly competing as far as quality and production throughout the semester against the three other teams to make sure you were able to at least secure that B. I also know that a lot of classes in the business school are graded on a curve, but what can be nice about that is the professor will teach you a lot and make the exam really hard but then curve it up.
Another example is your first semester freshman year you’ll take one business class, Business, Society, and Ethics, and the second semester you’ll take Introduction to Finance, and you need to get a B- or above. If you don’t get a B- or above the first time you have to retake it, and, after you take it the second time, if your cumulative grade does not surpass a B- you can’t continue in the business school.
How accessible are your professors?
For the most part, really accessible. All of the professors’ offices are in the business school building. They all usually have multiple times for office hours throughout the week and will make time to meet with you outside of that. I’ve never had an issue meeting with a professor when I needed to.
Why did you pick your major? Are you happy with your choice?
Through high school and getting into college, I’ve always been a “numbers guy.” I have enjoyed my classes especially because in high school I wasn’t the kind of person that was interested in stocks, trading, and finance, so it was cool to learn a lot in those Finance classes about stuff I never really understood. While I enjoy the Finance classes, I also know that I don’t want a career that’s heavily concentrated in finance and numbers, so I am looking into jobs that have that but also a qualitative aspect.
How was managing your sport and your coursework?
Honestly, it’s been pretty good. I know at some schools there is a stereotype of the athletes not being very intelligent, but because BU is a good school the majority of the athletes are pretty intelligent, driven, and want to get a good job after their athletic career is over. I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by a team of people who are successful and driven. There’s an organization called the Student-Athlete Support Services in the athletic offices that help you pick your courses and have free tutoring.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on-campus?
Freshman: I lived in Claflin Hall with one roommate, which is in West Campus. It’s your generic freshman dorm.
Sophomore & Junior: Student Village 2, or “Stuvie 2.” Both Stuvie 1 and Stuvie 2 look out onto the Charles River, which is really cool. I lived in a suite of eight people with four singles, two doubles, two bathrooms, a common room, and we didn’t get a kitchen even though you have the option to.
Senior: I’m planning on moving off campus.
How was transitioning from Detroit, MI to Boston, MA in terms of location?
It’s been awesome going from growing up in a suburb my whole life to living in a city. The thing I like the most about BU’s campus is that it’s contained to a few miles along Commonwealth Avenue in Boston. It’s a campus within a city, so it’s not like the buildings are spread out throughout the city. The campus is a strip within the city. You still get the campus vibe even though the T, [the Boston metro], runs through campus. I like that I got to experience a city but not feel overwhelmed as a freshman because the layout still gives you a campus vibe.
Do you ever feel like you’re more so a resident of Boston than you are a student of Boston University?
I definitely think that as I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten more of a resident-feel. As I’ve gotten older I’ve extended farther into the city, done more in the city, and met people from other schools in Boston. Initially freshman year I stayed closer to campus, but I’ve transitioned into feeling more like a resident. I know Boston well and when I move off campus next year it will feel more like that.
Pros and Cons of being in Boston, MA?
Pros: (1) It’s an extremely manageable city, it’s not chaotic at all. It’s really easy to get used to, to understand, and find your way around.
(2) It has everything you would look for in a city. There are the big sports teams, historic landmarks, and pretty good food.
(3) It’s easy to get to if you have to fly, which is really nice.
(4) The city has so many schools and so many college students.
Cons: (1) It gets pretty cold and it snows a lot.
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you like to participate in?
A lot of people go to bars in Allston, which is pretty fun, and a lot of people will go to bars in Faneuil Hall and the more downtown area of Boston. It’s cool because when you get old enough it’s a mix of different type of nightlife experiences and a mix of people. You get a lot of different options that you get. As far as being a freshman, there are parties that happen in the Allston neighborhood at Greek life houses and off-campus houses.
What nights of the week do you regularly go out? Are there certain things you do on certain nights?
There’s one bar in Allston that is made up of BU students on Thursday in Allston. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday are the big nights to go out. Besides that, there aren’t specific nights to go out that are big. People will generally pick one or two of those nights, or even three if they don’t have a lot going on. There isn’t a random night of the week that people like to go out on like there is at other schools.
What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
I’m decently familiar with Greek life because I have friends who are part of Greek life. Some of my best friends are involved in Greek life and they like it because they can form relationships, but it is by no means a necessary facet to the life of a student. It’s not that big of a deal.
How happy are you with the weekend options at BU? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’m extremely happy with it. I really enjoy it. Because Greek life isn’t as big, a lot of people go to the five or six bars that are really common, which ends up being really fun because all of your friends are there and it isn’t chopped up where some people are at one frat party and some are at another.
How did you meet your closest friends?
Through my classes. I’m definitely close with my team, but my team is small and varies in age a lot. I met the people I live with and hang out with a lot through classes freshman year, and, by extension, some of their best friends I’ve become best friends with too. Meeting people from classes and activities formed my favorite people to hang out with.
How would you describe the social scene?
It’s very much what you make of it. You could choose to join Greek life and throw yourself in that, you could join a club or a club sports team and focus on that, or you could do a mix of both. When you’re older you can do stuff in Boston. There is such a mix of options that it’s about what you’re most interested in. I really like that there is no pressure to go one way or another.
To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix on campus?
I think they do a lot. I don’t think there is any sort of barrier between people of different races or sexual orientations. It’s accepted that anybody can do anything they want. That is especially true because Boston is such a liberal city.
How would you describe the student body?
Extremely diverse. BU prides itself on its diversity. If I had to define the student body and university in one way, it would be diverse. [About 37% of the student body is White and 22% are international students. Socioeconomically, 32% of students come from the top 5% and 4.2% of students come from the bottom 20%.]
How do you like the size of BU in terms of undergraduate enrollment? [There are about 16,600 students at BU.]
I love it. The size is nice because it’s not a huge school where you feel completely overwhelmed, but it’s also big enough where I don’t know everyone and there will always be people are new.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
Yes. The alumni network is definitely good. As far as the job and internship search, the biggest thing for me was talking to people in the business school in my year or the year or two above. That was really helpful. They gave me ideas on where to apply and tips for interviews.
Have you used the career office at all? If so, how helpful have they been?
They’re pretty helpful. A bunch of my interviews were on campus interviews because they brought companies to the business school building. The career office offers mock interviews, will look at your resume, and do stuff like that. If you want or need the help, it’s always accessible.
Have you learned any computer programs through your coursework that will be helpful to you professionally?
I’ve done a ton with Excel. Excel has been present in pretty much every business class since the beginning of my sophomore year, so I’m very familiar with Excel and a lot of the tools in it that are less common. I took a class called Information Systems that did a lot with Microsoft Access, which proved to be pretty helpful when I was interviewing. I haven’t done much with Python or C++ just because I’m not really into computer science, but I have friends in the business school who concentrate in Information Systems and then take a few Computer Science classes so they are more familiar with that.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Boston University before entering as a freshman?
This is more for me personally. My first year and a half I limited myself to only staying around campus, but there is so much to the city and around campus. I wish I started to explore the other areas around campus, like Brookline and Allston, because I really enjoy them now.
What is something a prospective athlete should know that we haven’t touched on yet?
A huge benefit of being an athlete at BU is you’re not restricted to only being friends with your team. All the athletes know each other and it becomes a community. You have classes with them and you’ll go out with them and they’re all around campus, so you get to know athletes from all different teams.
What is something that a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
I hear that the campus tour focuses more on East Campus, which is the Kenmore and Fenway area, and they don’t go much into the Fenway area. If I were a prospective student, I would make sure I hit West Campus because I think that’s the most popular area to live freshman year and even all four years. I’d also check out Brookline because, in my opinion, that is the coolest area to hang out in or potentially live in.
Reasons to attend Boston University:
1) Being in a big city.
2) The alumni network.
3) The diverse student body. One of the coolest things about BU is the diverse set of people I interact with and people who have become my best friends.
Reasons to not attend Boston University:
1) If you’re not a city person, definitely don’t come to BU. If you like familiarity and a closed area, don’t look at BU because if you come here you have to embrace everything it has to offer.