Dear Mentor:

Should I study computers or business?

I am a high school senior [final year student in high school]. These days, everything seems to be about computers. Does this mean I must go for education in computers, like Computer Science or Computer Engineering, to be successful in my career? I am really interested in pursuing education in Business [Commerce]. Would I be okay if I went for Business Education?

College-Bound, NJ, USA

Dear College-Bound:

We are rather impressed by your approach for deciding what you should study -- striking an appropriate balance between what you like versus what would be valuable in the long run. Keeping the endgame in mind, is a very valuable practice in decision-making, and you certainly seem to be on top of it.

The short answer to your question is that Business (Commerce) education can indeed be as valuable in the marketplace as can be education in Computer Science or Computer Engineering. No matter what you do, it will be hard to escape computers as a user. To be an effective user, you do not necessarily need to know how the computers are built or how to build them to do more and valuable things. Just as in driving a car (hope you are being careful when you drive!), you do not need to be an automobile engineer or a mechanic. For most things, to be an effective user, one does not need to be the creator.

Business education is extremely valuable. Success in any field depends on your knowledge (such as formal education), your ability to apply that education to real-world problems, and your motivation. Going to school is merely the acquisition of that knowledge; its application and personal dedication depends on you. At the end of the day, it is the business that creates wealth, and thus, this profession can be a worthwhile undertaking.

We hope that you maintain the approach to decision-making that you have demonstrated here. Success is after all the product of hard work, good decision making, and a bit of luck. We wish you the very best in all.

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