Obtaining a bachelor’s degree in business administration would be the right path to take towards a career as a senior business manager. That’s just the degree Fran Smith, VP of Finance at Xtium, received when he graduated from St. Joe’s University in Philadelphia.

(Photo Courtesy of Fran Smith)

(Photo Courtesy of Fran Smith)

When did you last update your business management education?

“I have not re-enrolled into a university setting since receiving my degree from St. Joseph’s University. However, I do participate regularly in continuing education programs offered by professional services firms such as accountants, auditors, lawyers, and seminars offered by industry groups such as PACT (Greater Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies).”

How has your education fueled your management success?

“St. Joseph’s is a liberal arts university that fostered my natural curiosity. That curiosity has enabled me to better understand the more technical aspects of the businesses I have been a part of, which has helped me have a fuller understanding of how each component interacts with the others. As a result, I am able to participate in helping all segments of the business, as opposed to being confined to my specific role.”

After graduation, how hard was it to transition to the actual working world?

“I was fortunate to participate in an internship program during most of my time in college. That internship led to full-time employment following graduation, so my transition was seamless. Obtaining an internship during your time in college is really important to better prepare you for the working world.”

Do you feel a master’s education would be helpful in your day-to-day career?

“A master’s degree would certainly be beneficial, but it is not something I have been able to balance with my other commitments.”

What advice would you give someone coming out of college right now looking for a career in business management?

“The best advice I could give, would be to start at a small or medium-sized business if possible. At many large companies, younger employees do not actively participate in decision-making and instead focus on implementing or following process. I’ve seen smaller companies provide more opportunity for growth because they lack the resources of larger corporations and let younger employees be more hands-on.”

Christina Thompson is a freelance travel writer living in Philadelphia. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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