The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU students gather around a bucket of markers to write an encouraging note to put in “Welcome to the Shelter” kits at event in mid-April on SMU’s campus.
Dallas homeless recovery center, The Bridge, is a home
Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
Instagram

B-School students should get a double major

If accounting and finance are the guts of any business, being the numbers, then communication and persuasion are the heart and soul of it. A double major in business and journalism should get you there. I manage millions by day in the stock market for some very shrewd business owners.

These people want to know, simply and succinctly, why I expect to make money for them from a given investment. “I don’t want to hear about Betas, Gammas, Deltas and Sigmas,” more than a few clients have said. “Just tell me what this company does and how we will make money from investing in it.”

Warren Buffett is a financial genius, but his ability to cut through the heart of a company, make a decision, then explain it to his Berkshire Hathaway stockholders has made him the most beloved stock market investor in history. Buffett didn’t major in journalism but he could teach it. He uses those journalistic skills every day, coupled with his finance acumen. If it’s good enough for Warren Buffett, then maybe…

Google, Microsoft, McDonald’s and Apple all have financial whizzes inside them. How they sell their products is through simple communication and creativity. Nothing, no matter how good it is, gets bought without someone selling it. Marketing people are just journalists in disguise. You can actually sell something bad, too, with great journalistic skills, see Paris Hilton.

The skills you learn in journalism will teach you who, what, where, when and why. If you know how to get to those and the numbers make sense, you should be able to operate and market a successful business, no matter the business. I learned long ago that yelling “Kool-Aid” and having a nice, easy to read sign sold more Kool-Aid than the kid down the street who sat there with no sign but could tell you all about the ingredients in it. In fact, the B-School should require students to major in journalism and vice-versa. After all, the two rarely disconnect in today’s business world.

I didn’t show up at SMU with a double major in mind. I couldn’t make the cut at the Cox — Greenville Avenue and the Fiji House having a major role in that—so I strolled on over to the journalism department. It was the best career move I ever made and the most fun.

When I graduated and began to interview for jobs, people were impressed that I had researched my topics well, could converse in an easy-to-understand manner and could walk them through a conversation in a most organized and persuasive manner. I have the journalism department to thank for that. Not one of the interviewers ever said, “Huh?”

Today, it is more important than ever before to be able to communicate well. We do it on our cell phones, our computers and successful businesses do it in order to sell products. All things being equal, the person who can communicate the best will get the job or get the sale.

Rick Larson, the Alumni Guy, is a 1981 graduate of SMU as well as a member Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. He has been a stockbroker/investment banker for 26 years. He can be reached for comment at

[email protected]

More to Discover