This is the first of five articles written for the CRIMSON by Donald H. Moyer '27, of the Alumni Placement Bureau, on "Business and industry as a Field of Opportunity for College Men".
About one-half of the Class of 1937 in Harvard College are "going into business" when they graduate. Just what this means, many of them are not sure; "office work" and "management" are their most common interpretations of the phrase. They know about certain manufacturing industries, and in the same breath talk about banks, advertising agencies, and publishing houses. They know that some people work in factories and that other people sell things, but they imagine that the factory people are dirty and ignorant and that the salesmen are back-slapping parasites whose function is to force their customers to buy things they neither need nor want. The unfortunate clerk who pores over his account books from dawn to dusk is in a blind alley and the slave of his work. "These", says the senior, "are not the things I want to do; surely somewhere in the business world is a job for a college man, perhaps a job I never heard of, perhaps in 'office work' or 'management'.
To reduce these fantasies to practical terms and to bring some order to the confused thinking and bewilderment of the undergraduate who is "going into business" is a basic function of the Alumni Placement Office. For two reasons college men seeking employment in business and industry should see clearly what their opportunities are and choose intelligently among them. First is fitness for the job and the rewards which come from satisfactory placement. Any reasonably intelligent and personable college man can do many jobs well; he cannot, however, do every jobs well. A thorough and systematic appraisal of business and industrial opportunities for college men will reveal to him the elements of jobs which for him will make for congenial or uncongenial employment, and will permit his weighing of factors necessary for planning a satisfying career. Second, employers expect college men seeking work to have a specific objective and to speak with conviction of the choice they have made and reasons for that choice. For a college senior to define his objectives in the business world this becomes an effective aid to him in the strenuous competition for jobs which now exist.
Business in general is the buying, conversion or creating, and selling of goods
and services for a profit; and these functions are the major categories of opportunity for college graduates. Research, finance, personnel administration and management are activities necessary for the operation of these primary functions. There are, then, these distinct groups of opportunity in business and industry for college men, each as significantly different from the others as it is from law, medicine, or teaching. And they are functions common to all forms of business and industry.
In order that undergraduates may have some systematized point of departure for considering business and industrial opportunities available to them after graduation, the CRIMSON will publish a series of five short articles each presenting in brief outline some major field of business employment. Because these discussions will be exceedingly brief, their value, if any, must be merely suggestive. For more adequate information on any of the subjects treated here underclassmen and seniors are invited to the Alumni Placement Office in Room R. University Hall. The succeeding articles will be presented as follows:
1. The Production of Goods and Services.2. Finance.3. Selling and Merchandising