Business Major Shows Good Return on Investment

This fall, Brandeis launched a new major that is demonstrating the law of supply and demand; already, 60 sophomores and juniors have entered the program.

The fundamental law of supply and demand is the driving force behind the university’s new business major, which launched this fall. In recent years, economics has been the most popular undergraduate major at Brandeis, while business led the competition among the minors. The new major is already earning dividends: Since the announcement was made last spring, 60 sophomores and juniors were accepted into the program.

Business department chair Ed Bayone says those students are now participating in an interdisciplinary program linked to the rest of the academy. Classes in law and regulation, media and culture, and the social impact of business help students develop connections between their business studies and the liberal arts. Faculty in other departments are planning to create courses with the business major in mind; next spring, for example, classics professor Cheryl L. Walker will offer a new course called Money, Markets and Society in the Ancient Mediterranean.

The International Business School, a graduate program of the university, supplies most of the faculty in the major, offering undergraduates an M.B.A.-style educational experience. Undergrads take 10 courses to complete the major, including core courses in accounting, finance, marketing and organizational behavior, as well as social science courses on business and society.

“Business majors are engaged in rigorous case analysis and discussion,” Bayone says. “They may not have the work experience that graduate students have, but our undergraduates certainly have the analytical tools and intellectual capability to delve deeply into business issues and cases.” Some even move on to complete both a B.A. and an M.A. by adding a fifth year to their studies at Brandeis. All in all, the new program is proving to be a winning business model.

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