Check out this ad for an internship at Synchrony in the University of Illinois Research Park. The job title is a mouthful: Synchrony Emerging Technology Intern (Business, Marketing, Consulting). It gets shortened to “Business etc.” in the ad itself.
Much of the ad may sound like white noise, if you haven’t already worked in business. It bristles with buzzwords like breakthrough changes, Agile teams, road-mapping, and cutting-edge global environment.
Something interesting happens, though, when you scroll down to the list of “Desired Characteristics.” The words start to make sense and signify a concrete and recognizable reality:
Passion and aptitude for technology
Strong technical and analytical skills, coupled with sharp business acumen
Ability to work in teams effectively
Strong oral and written communication skills, and interpersonal skills
Attention to detail and strong analytical and problem solving skills; strong organizational skills
Ability to meet deadlines
Passion for excellence with high integrity, and commitment to quality
Something else to notice: no major is specified. For this employer, what you’re interested in and care about (“passion for technology…sharp business acumen“) matters more than the words on your transcript.
Are you interested in the work Synchrony does? Can you work in teams effectively? Do you have strong oral and written communication skills, and interpersonal skills? Are you good at analyzing problems and solving them? Do you have a record of being organized and getting things done on deadline? Then…this might be a good internship for you. But notice that “passion” is in the first bullet point. If you have those skills, but conveying your enthusiasm about using them for this employer would be a struggle? Then…applying for this internship might not be a great use of your time.
Bottom line: your interests, not your major, dictate what internships and jobs you should aim for.