President Woodrow Wilson once said that “it is easier to change the location of a cemetery, than to change the school curriculum.” Many business schools hold rigid views on the classes they offer, but Brandeis International Business School (IBS) has continued to demonstrate its flexibility. Exhibit A: the recent announcement about four new specializations established for the 2012-2013 academic year.
Specializations in Asset Management, Corporate Finance, Risk Management and Marketing will be offered starting in August of 2012. The quartet will join the popular Real Estate specialization, which was created last year. Senior administrators say that the new specializations will give students the opportunity to develop specific skill sets that are increasingly essential in a changing economic environment.
“One of the most important aspects of the culture we’ve created here is our flexibility and creativity,” explained Bruce Magid, Brandeis IBS dean and the Martin and Ahuva Gross Chair in Financial Markets and Institutions. “We make every effort to adapt our curriculum to the demands of the current economic climate, and it’s with that in mind that we’ve created these specializations.”
Magid has made fresh, relevant coursework a focal point during his time as dean, and the school has continued to ensure that a sizeable percentage of classes are brand-new each year. Brandeis IBS’ ever-evolving curriculum – when combined with the new specializations – is shaping up to give students more unique, focused academic opportunities than ever before.
The Asset Management specialization, targeted towards students interested in becoming the next generation of investment portfolio managers, blends practice in both quantitative tools and qualitative judgment. The Corporate Finance track, which is aimed at those who wish to become financial analysts, managers, and executives, gives graduates the tools to make sound investment and financing decisions by teaching accounting, financial analysis, international financial management, and other important skills.
Students in the Risk Management track will learn about perhaps the timeliest of the specializations. With many commentators blaming the 2008 financial crisis on faulty risk models, expertise in the field is in more demand than ever. The specialization will focus on the modeling and assessment of risk, as well as broader, more qualitative risk analysis.
“Student interest in finance courses was traditionally quite high at Brandeis IBS, but we’ve seen it skyrocket over the past few years,” said finance professor Robert R. Reitano (left). “The students who choose to pursue one of these specializations will come away with valuable knowledge and skills in increasingly-important finance disciplines.”
The Marketing Specialization is being introduced in response to another increasingly popular course of study at Brandeis IBS. The program offers training in brand management, market research and global marketing. “We strive to consider the interests of both our students and perspective employers when molding our curriculum, and the marketing specialization is a strong response to both,” said Senior Lecturer Grace Zimmerman (right), who teaches several marketing classes at Brandeis IBS.
The specializations were established in part because of the success of the Real Estate track. “The [Real Estate] specialization just started, but already students are getting internships and jobs based on their coursework and consulting activities in the industry,” said Trenery Dolbear, Senior Associate Dean and Professor Emeritus of Economics. “It's a real success story.”
The new finance specializations come on the heels of growing student interest, which has led to a larger faculty and increased coursework in the subject. All three are available to students across all programs, and will require a minimum of five semester-equivalent courses. Dolbear said they reflect a recognition that finance education is a malleable, ever-changing discipline. “We have a committee every year that looks at finance courses, and asks if we are missing anything,” he said. “The specializations will help us to organize and focus coursework even further.”