Albers School of Business and Economics

Undergraduate Programs Blog

  • The Importance of a College Education

    Posted by Barbara Hauke on 4/13/2015 04:51:33 PM

    Here you are, sitting in class on a beautiful Spring day wishing you were outside enjoying the beautiful weather. You begin to ask the question: Is my college education really worth it?

    The San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank (SFFRB) released its 2014 annual report in which economists answered the question of the opportunity cost involved in a four year college education and its net value. The easiest way to determine the economic benefit from a college degree is to look at the difference of average incomes between those with and without college degrees. According to the SFFRB, since 1968, the earnings premium from going to college averaged to about $20,300 per year*. This premium in earnings has been persistent over the past 40 years and shows a clear trend of significantly higher wages for those who pursue higher education. 

    College Education = Insurance

    Many students entering the job market shortly after the recession in the late 2000’s found themselves in an economy with high unemployment rates and very few promising career opportunities. However, the unemployment rates for college graduates were half as high as those for students who only completed high school. Pay cuts for college graduates were significantly less and had a much faster salary recovery rate than for high school graduates.  

    Long-Term Investment

    Just like a treasury bill, the greatest benefit from your college education will be realized in the long-run, not immediately. Coming out of college, it is daunting to have debt from student loans, interest payments that are accruing, and a sense of uncertainty as to where you will be 10 years from now. But the data tells a compelling story. With a college degree you will have a strong foundation to build on, leading to higher average earnings, and will make you a more valuable asset in the job market. These effects will not be immediate, which can be discouraging, but remember that employers are looking for more workers with established skills and credentials to lead the industry. 

    So… Why stay in class?

    Even though it may be sunny outside (but really most days it’s not #Seattle) and you can think of a million other things to do than being in class, remember to think about the future and the net benefit of your dedication to a college education. As students at Seattle University, we have the opportunity to apply the lessons that we learned from class and our other extracurricular activities to create a foundation for our future.

    If you want to see what the Net Present Value of your college education is, check out the SFFRB’s College Education Calculator here:

    Sergiu Ispas
    Junior | Business Economics and Finance
    New Student Mentor

    *Morrill, Weston H. "Does College Matter?" PsycCRITIQUES 14.6 (1969): n. pag. Web.

    It's Never Too Early To Start Thinking About Internships!

    Posted by Kerstin Abbey Fajardo on 3/12/2015 04:38:13 PM
    When I was freshman I thought, “I am definitely going to start looking at internships early and taking every opportunity that I can!”

    Fast-forward to today, I unfortunately did not start as early as I would have liked. As of right now I have one internship, two jobs, and three officer positions on my resume since my college career started. It’s not necessarily bad, but looking back, I wish I was more proactive in pursuing more internship opportunities. Although interviews are usually nerve-wracking, I think if I applied to more internships, I would have gotten more interview experience and would be less nervous about them.

    If I could give freshman Abbey advice, I would start off with these four tips:

    1. Start looking early. Not many companies offer internships for freshmen, but it doesn’t hurt to apply or inquire. The worst they can say is no, and even if they do you would still gain experience in creating a resume and cover letter. Head over to the Albers Placement Center for help on where to start looking and resume/cover letter reviews!

    2. Internships are meant to not only give you experience in a field you may potentially want to be in, but they also help develop current skills you already have. Think about skills you may have developed from previous jobs, officer positions, or community service positions and use those in your resume.

    3. If you’re worried about whether or not you will like the company, ask for an informational interview. Networking is something that will help you throughout your college career and the best time to start practicing is now! Attend the Freshmen Networking Event hosted by the NSM’s in Spring Quarter for a safe environment to practice your networking skills.

    4. Nervous for the interviewing process? Look up some questions online to practice. A lot of questions nowadays are situational and require you to describe a time you handled something in a certain way.

    Some examples are:

    • Describe a time where you had to demonstrate leadership skills.
    • Describe a time when you worked with someone you didn’t like or get along with.

    There are also more general questions such as:

    • Why do you think you’re right for the job?
    • Why do you want to work for _____?

    And lastly:

    • Do you have any questions?

    Always. Always ask questions. You are interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you! Ask questions to learn more about the company from a current employee's perspective.

    Also, look out for any mock interviews that the Albers Placement Center may be hosting! If the company you’re interested in is attending, then great! If not, don’t be picking about signing up for one because it’s still great practice.

    The bottom line is that even though it seems like you have so much time, you’ll be signing up for graduation and prepping for the real world before you know it. Time flies when you’re having fun right?

    Good luck with your search, and remember – even if you happen to let time slip by without an internship, you have plenty of resources at Albers to help you out (:

    Abbey Fajardo


    Finals Survival Guide

    Posted by Erik Hagberg on 3/12/2015 02:25:29 PM

    It's that time of the quarter, every college student's inevitable nightmare - Finals Week. 

    It's a word that makes every one of us groan in fear, but there's a few things to remind ourselves that help. Here's my guide (or advice) to surviving finals: 

    1) We're all in this together. 

    Those High School Musical lyrics got not be more applicable than finals week. As stressed and worried as you may be, at least you're not alone! Everyone at the university seems to join hands in solidarity (a very Jesuit term) to support one another through the week. 

    2) Professors aren't your enemy

    Professors WANT to see their students succeed, and they're always willing to meet with students during their office hours or by appointments outside of class time. Some professors even opt out of using a formal office and just hang out in the cafe area of the business school so they can answer student questions. This is the case all throughout the quarter, but during finals week they are always there to make sure students feel calm and prepared. 

    3) The world is not going to end 

    It's easy to think that if you don't get A's on all of your tests and study 20 hours a day and still eat well and work out and be a person...ok, deep breath, can easily feel like the world is going to end. But fear not! It's not going to. Finals is finals, meaning no matter what happens, everything will be ok. We all have bad tests, or a bad paper, even if we've worked hard and tried our best. Sometimes that's all you can do. But trust me, ask any student on this campus and we've ALL been there. More often than not, you'll be fine! Just try your hardest and that's all you could ever ask of yourself. You got this! 

    4) Once it's over, it's vacation time. 

    The nice thing about finals (other than not having classes that week) is that after your tests are over (and some students end well before Friday) you're on break! Woo! Time to put on the ski gear, hiking shoes, pull out the shopping bags, or jet off to a far away land. The world is your oyster! Or, if you're like me, sometimes you decide to just veg on the couch and watch Netflix for hours on hours. Or, if you're feeling ambitious, you can opt to take an international study tour course or volunteer (internationally or domestically), which I've also done! 

    Overall, finals week isn't nearly as bad as it sounds. The great thing about SeattleU is that we have an incredibly supportive community of faculty, staff, and students who are all here to help. Remember, you can do it! Albers is here to help. 

    Now, off to finish my finals! 


    Erik Hagberg

    International Business major 
    New Student Mentor 

    Why Choosing a Major is the Least of your Worries

    Posted by Nantaporn Carlson on 2/11/2015 05:46:21 PM

    Professor: "We're going to begin class by introducing ourselves, our major, and what we plan on doing after we graduate."

    Girl next to me: "My name is Rachel, I'm a finance/economics double major with a non-profit leadership minor, and I plan on opening a NGO that leverages underwriters to fund educational programs for adolescent girls in Eastern Africa."

    Me: "My name is Nanty, and I have no idea what I'm going to do after I graduate."

    This actually happened during a class my freshman year, and I still think I'm a little scarred to this day. There is this immense pressure to make "life" decisions early on in college, and I'm here to tell you that deciding on a career as a freshman is pretty ambitious. Even deciding on major your freshman year can be too soon. Finding a major is not what we're interested in here at Seattle University, we want you to find yourselves.

    I know it all sounds abstract and existential, but I am always telling my mentees to start the major discernment process by thinking about what they like to do. You will come to love any major if you are able to relate what you learn in the classroom to what you want to be doing outside of the classroom. And it doesn't have to be specific - I have never heard someone say that they aspire to be an financial analyst, but I have heard someone say that they want to work at Amazon. It could be as simple as you want to have a career that is well-respected, and you'll constantly be surrounded by competent people (that's how I ended up an accounting major).

    I challenge you all to begin to think about the things you like to do, the people you want to be surrounded by, or even a company that you would want to work for - your major will come when you get to know a little more about yourself.


    Nanty Carlson | New Student Mentor





    Looking Back as a Mentee

    Posted by Barbara Hauke on 1/30/2015 04:00:52 PM

     The unfamiliar, brutal, cold weather’s setting in and the struggle of leaving my warm, cozy dorm room is becoming increasingly difficult. I watch from my window as the many upperclassmen roam around campus in their North Face jackets and scarves conversing and laughing together. I reminisce of the glory days in high school, when I would strut the hallways waving at the numerous friends I’ve made over the years; wishing they were here keeping me company in college. But that’s not the case. Everyday consists of the same routine. Wake up, get ready, go to class, eat at C-Street, and then come back to my room to kill time. I haven’t expanded beyond my comfort zone, met any new people or experienced any new things. Throughout my life, I was under the false impression that college was going to be the best years of my life. College is supposed filled with lifetime friendships, long lasting memories and exhilarating experiences. So can someone inform me why this hasn't happened to me yet?

    Today, I had a meeting with my business New Student Mentor. As usual he checked up on my academic progress and asked me if anything was bothering me about college. I decided to tell him about my struggle to enjoy college and confessed that I hadn’t made any efforts to get involved. I thought he would just give me the generic sympathy talk that everyone else gives me, but to my surprise he gave me advice that I will never forget. He told me that he too experienced similar troubles when he was a freshman, which is hard to believe. My mentor is currently working two jobs, involved in multiple clubs, maintaining a strong academic standing and has an internship lined up for him in the summer. How could he, someone with such a slow start end up being where he is today?

    My mentor told me his biggest mistake was only getting involved at the beginning of his junior year and expressed that it wasn’t easy. He strongly discourages anyone to take the path he did and regrets doing it. He wishes that I learn from his mistakes and start getting involved now. It’s never too early to start creating and nurturing relationships with your peers and professors. Even something as simple as joining clubs that intrigue you or doing community service is a great way to meet people. You never know when the next door will open for you. So now is a great time to attend that networking event, grab coffee with your professor, and get to know the shy girl that sits alone in class. The best opportunities can come from the people you least expect it. The more people you are acquaintances with the better. And the more time you have the easier it is to build these relationships. Who knows where you’ll end up in the future? But being prepared and on top of the game will put you in a great position to be successful. 

    Aaron Tom

    Self-Care is the Best-Care

    Posted by Gumpon Siriboon on 1/16/2015 03:03:28 PM

    Winter quarter is upon us and you know that Game of Thrones meme that has the guy with the sword and the text "Brace yourselves, winter is coming"? Well, brace yourselves. Because winter is here!

    Winter quarter is the quarter that students traditionally struggle with the most.  I mean, think about it, the days are depressingly short, it's cold, and there isn't Thanksgiving to break-up the quarter a little bit.  WQ is a time of year that self-care become so important to emphasize. 

    What then is self-care? For all intents and purposes self-care is what you do to keep yourself sane.  They're the healthy activities that give you a reboot.  Everyone has their own ways of taking care of themselves and I guess what I'm writing about today are a few things that I do to break myself out of the mundane cycle of class, homework, class, group project, class, meeting, class, etc.

    Physical Activity - Have you ever just left class frustrated? Maybe your teacher or a colleague just said something that drove you up a wall.  How do you deal with that white-hot, fist-clenching, jaw-gnashing emotion? My answer? Lift. Heavy. Things.  Others choose to go on a run (which I personally don't understand) and  do other cardio, yoga.  Turning to physical activity isn't just great for your body, but it can also be a great release for your brain as well.

    Go for a Walk - and I'm not talking about making that long trip from your residence hall room to the Cave to get a late-night snack.  This city is a beautiful place.  If you're feeling overwhelmed, grabbed a coat and just choose a direction.  Volunteer Park.  Kerry Park.  The Washington Arboretum, Lake Washington.  I can't tell you about all times I just picked a direction and walked.  Walking and just breathing  helped me think through a lot of the things that were bogging me down, and I came back (sometimes miles upon miles) later in a much better place

    Note: if you're going to walk make sure you're smart about it    tips and tricks from public safety  

    Talk it out - Sometimes there's nothing better than just airing out your deepest frustrations.  Keep in mind that there undoubtedly people in your life that care deeply about you.  Whether it's your friends, family, significant other, etc. There are people that would give the world to you, and they want nothing more than to see you happy.  If you're feeling down, reach out to someone that cares, and just talk.  Internalizing negatives feelings isn't a healthy habit to keep.  While I recognize that there are times where that can lead to motivation. I would argue eight times out of ten, not talking about what's making you upset in just eating away at you.  So find an outlet and just let it all out.

    These are only three things that help me  and let me emphasize it again, me . Feel better.  You can easily apply these things to your own life, but self-care is an intrinsically hyper-personal thing.  You know what makes you feel alive.  Just remember that there is almost always time to catch-up with work and that you'll always put your best foot forward if you feel like you're in a good place.


     Take care of yourself! 

    NSM Zac

    Study Tours: Guatemala

    Posted by Laura Molesworth on 1/13/2015 02:52:12 PM

        Guatemala is one of the most culturally rich countries in the world. Despite being the most populous country in Central America, its GDP is only about one-half of the average GDP for all Central American and Caribbean nations. It is full of history, from the Mayans, to the Spanish conquistadors, to the more recent 36 years of civil war. Over winter break, I went on Albers’ Study Tour to Guatemala with the Central American Development Economics course. I’m not sure that I know enough synonyms for awesome and life-changing to be able to adequately describe this trip, but I’m going to do my best!

          The trip started off in Guatemala City. We spent a day touring the city. Our time in there was very brief, but very powerful. The extreme poverty and income inequality that plague the country are striking. It was a completely different experience for me to be confronted with such a stark contrast of wealth and poverty. I struggled seeing the conditions that so many people live in. The tour of Guatemala City completely threw me outside of my comfort zone. It made me consider the extremely privileged life that I have been so lucky to have in the United States. It made me contemplate my Jesuit education at Seattle University, and the values of service and justice that it has instilled in me. My perception of extreme poverty was completely intensified after seeing it in all of its brutal reality.

           After our day in Guatemala City, we traveled to Antigua, where we spent the majority of the trip. La Antigua is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, meaning that it is protected as a place of unique cultural or geographical significance. Antigua was completely different than Guatemala City.  Its cultural history and stunning Spanish colonial architecture make the city an attractive tourist destination. The juxtaposition of wealth and poverty were much less visible. In Antigua, we visited a variety of companies and organizations, from small startups and cooperatives to huge multinational corporations.

          One of the most impactful organizations that we visited was a coffee cooperative called De la Gente. De la Gente’s mission is to provide its farmers with access to the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to run a successful and sustainable business. With these tools, the farmers are able to maintain a profit, which allows them to invest in healthcare, education, and housing. During our visit to De la Gente, we picked coffee beans with the farmers, roasted coffee beans, and drank coffee from the beans that we roasted. Then, the farmers and their families welcomed us into their home, prepared us a meal, and we all sat down and ate together. Being so warmly welcomed and accepted by a group of people that we had just met was incredible. To listen to their stories and to spend an afternoon with Filiberto, Freddy, Julio, and Timoteo was the experience of a lifetime. They are so passionate about De la Gente and their coffee, and their passion and hard work have paid off. It was absolutely wonderful to see such positivity and success.

         After a few days in Antigua, our group took a bus to Lake Atitlán. Our visit to the lake was absolutely breathtaking. I have never encountered such natural beauty in my life. I think I spent every second at the lake staring at the water and the volcanoes trying to take it all in. We took a boat around the lake and visited a few of the towns along the water. It was very interesting to see how sleepy and quiet these towns were compared to Antigua and Guatemala City, where the streets were always full of people.

        My trip to Guatemala ended with a day trip to Tikal with another student who attended the trip. Tikal is a set of Mayan ruins in the northern part of Guatemala. It is one of the largest known Mayan archeological sites, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Touring the city was absolutely out of this world. I felt like I had traveled back in time. There were howler monkeys, exotic birds, and trees taller than I had ever seen. To stand among those ancient pyramids, where people had once lived, was extraordinary. Those huge structures were built without modern machinery, which, to me, is astonishing.

        This trip was a once in a lifetime experience. I feel so lucky to have been a part of it. I could not have asked for a more exciting ten days with such a wonderful group of people. For me, this was the perfect way to study abroad. Guatemala, I will be back!   

     Guatemala City


     De la Gente

     Coffee Beans

     Guate 2014 Group

    Photos by: Aljohn Gaviola


    Laura Molesworth | New Student Mentor