Rumor has it that the Scheller College of Business at Tech is easier, more joyful and generally kinder than the rest of campus. But, as with most things in life, this rumor is dependent upon the observer. As a Scheller student myself, although my thoughts may be biased, I feel that I gained perspective while struggling as an engineering student for my first year and a half at Tech.
The first thing that comes to mind when I think of the disparities between the College of Business and the College of Engineering is the emphasis on different strengths. Engineers must know how to calculate, analyze and manipulate the hard data in front of them. Business majors should not only have these critical thinking skills, but also must hone their communication in the forms of networking and public speaking.
Business majors, additionally, still take tests but at a lesser rate than engineers. Instead, we focus on working in groups to present projects that often take precedence over a multiple-choice exam done in silence. Are projects easier than tests? The two are hard to compare equally. A project can force one person in a group of six to complete the work if the rest of the group does not pull their weight, and most Scheller professors in upper-level classes tend to stand by the idea that because this happens in the real world, there will be no excuses or arrangements made to help the group — instead, the group must figure out how to make it work.
With respect to communication and public speaking skills, there are quite a few engineers with minimal social skills who contribute to the idea that Tech is a place full of nerds who are better suited in front of a computer than an audience — not a good place to be if you are trying to begin a startup or pitch an idea to investors. Scheller takes the time to prepare business students for these moments through “cold calls” in class and ample public speaking opportunities that would leave many students in the engineering school hyperventilating. On the other hand, I would be the first to tell you that I cannot seem to ever grasp calculus despite taking it multiple times, and that I struggled to pass my CS 1371 class even after using “freshman forgiveness” to retake it. These two things are crucial to an engineer’s education, but it was not that I was “dumb” or did not belong at Tech, I just was not in the right school of education.
I would like to argue that neither school is necessarily harder than the other, but that these views are based on the inner workings of an individual. I found business classes to be easier not because there was less work, but because I finally understood what was going on and how it was applicable to my life. If you are an engineering major reading this and thinking, “This girl is crazy,” I challenge you to stand up in front of a full lecture hall of students and introduce yourself beyond an elevator pitch without forewarning, present for ten minutes without slides or make networking a part of your daily routine. As the old saying goes, “To each his/[her]/[their] own.”