Amazingly, 7 years ago I was preparing to graduate in February and start my first job. My BDIC concentration was Product Development, a combination of design, computer science, engineering and management courses from UMass Amherst and Hampshire College.
BDIC provided me the flexibility to create my own path, rather than following a traditional curriculum. I took the courses that were interesting and relevant, and augmented my experience with internships with local startup companies. The people I met during my journey were amazing, ranging from college professors, students, alumni, entrepreneurs, investors, managers, product developers and insanely gifted people.
My undergraduate program was unorthodox. I didn't belong in the School of Management, so I didn't get a chance to network with the Big 4 when they came on campus. Oddly enough, I found myself working for Big 4. I didn't belong to the School of Engineering, yet worked the the UMass Dean of Engineering, as well as MIT and Stanford engineering alumni. I didn't belong in Computer Science, yet worked with PhD candidates at UMass who worked in IT startups who later founded a startup company with me. I studied music at UMass and worked with loudspeakers with the Director of Live Sound Operations at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. BDIC allowed me to link all these intersections together in a unique and untraditional way.
Of the skills most relevant today, I'd say networking and teaming are most important. First off, everyone has a story to tell, especially if they're an entrepreneur. It is amazing who knows someone else, and to that effect, you can grow a rather diverse network rapidly. Second, is that while everyone is a great solo worker, it takes a special kind of person who can build their own teams from scratch, take an idea such as a business plan and transform it into a viable product. Teaming is incredibly important, and something special I found in networking with the right kind of people at UMass.
Over the past 7 years my career has been an extremely personal journey. BDIC gave me a taste of the real world early on, to realize that whatever I wanted, whatever I could think of could be obtained, so long as it could be thought through. Networking gave me the perspectives I needed to stay creative, to think about problems differently, and most interestingly enough, the folks I worked with were also working on some of the same problems as myself, although their domains of expertise were engineering, computer science, design, management, etc.