Harris’ Degree In Business Administration Prompts Workplace Connections
It is said that “experience is the best teacher.” This is true on many different levels, but especially when it comes to lessons learned in the workplace. College students in particular can expect to learn a lot when they work in their field as they receive an education. And sometimes, this insight can come before it’s covered in class. This was the case for student Carter Harris. As a third-year senior pursuing a degree in Business Administration, he has taken classes that provide insight into the world of business, and he’s been able to legitimize that knowledge while working at Kroger and interning with Timberline Team Consulting. If you’re wondering, “What can I do with a business administration degree?” Harris is living proof that the answers are limitless.
Harris began working at Kroger five years ago as a bagger and has worked his way up to the company’s assistant department manager. Being with the company long term has helped him understand the fundamentals of business because he sees it play out in his everyday life.
“Once I got to college and started base level business classes,” he said, “all the material was true to my workplace experiences. I got to learn the methods behind what I had lived.”
His management classes interested him because he was able to apply the concepts he was learning with his fellow managers. When he learned that management is about ensuring business success and working well with people, he began to think about how he could utilize those concepts to help make Kroger a more successful store.
When he took Corporate Finance, Dr. Kenneth McEwan had the class compare the profits and spending habits of Kroger, Walmart, and Meijer to see where each company was spending most of its profits. “That exercise was really interesting for me because I always wondered where Kroger was spending its profits and why they weren’t doing more in certain areas, but seeing the comparison helped me understand their strategy.” These class activities helped Harris understand the details that contribute to successful business strategies.
The summer before his senior year, Harris completed an internship that helped him use the skills he was learning with his degree in business administration. He interned at Timberline Team Consulting with Dave Grout and also had the opportunity to work with Joy Grout’s company, Personalized Fitness For You.
For most of his internship, Harris worked with one of Timberline’s client companies to determine if it would be beneficial to bring on an employee as a partial owner of the company. Prior to working with the consulting firm, the company had no set prices. By comparing price estimates with actual costs, Harris was able to build a pricing structure and a price estimator to give the company an accurate picture of where they were financially so that they could make a well-informed decision. When he presented the price estimator to the client, they were very impressed with his work and offered him a job! Although he did not accept the offer, the experience proved to be beneficial.
“I treated Carter as an employee, not just an intern, because that is the best way for students to learn. They need to see that you have confidence in their ability and that you trust them with the work,” Dave Grout said. “He showed professionalism by being on time, going above and beyond on projects, and handling everything I presented to him. He came into the internship with business to customer relations skills, and during his time at Timberline he learned the business-to-business vertical.”
Harris had a similar opportunity in Entrepreneurship class with Dr. Jeff Fawcett. Their class project was to find an alternative revenue stream for Fellowship Mission, a local nonprofit that helps people experiencing homelessness. Harris’ group made a plan to build a tiny house neighborhood where the nonprofit could rent houses out to college students, those visiting the area, and those graduating Fellowship Mission’s program.
“The hands-on part of the class was very interesting because I got to see how my work would affect a real organization,” said Harris.
Throughout college, Harris has learned how to couple a degree in business administration with workplace experience through his job, his internship, and the real-life applications in his classes. Looking forward, Harris aspires to work in logistics sales in Fort Wayne for Total Quality Logistics, an organization that connects truck suppliers with companies in need of trucks. But whatever comes after graduation, Harris is ready to apply what he’s learned to elevate and enhance the company that employs him.
“I would love to provide feedback as I get to know the company I work for and its mission,” he said. “Because at the end of the day, I want to contribute in a way that adds value for my employer.”
“What can I do with a business administration degree?”
Like Harris experienced, a degree in business administration at Grace will provide you with hands-on experiences in classes. You’ll be encouraged to get workplace experience and be set up with the tools you need to be successful in a wide variety of roles and industries.