New undergrad business program among most popular

Three years ago, it was hard to imagine business becoming one of the most popular subjects at Brandeis. Even though undergraduate business program chair Ed Bayone always had high hopes for the new major, the academic community’s enthusiastic embrace of the interdisciplinary program surprised him a little.

“I knew we were answering a large unmet need,” says Bayone. “But having the support of the broader faculty and administration was reassuring, because it meant that we succeeded in making the study of business a valued part of the university.”

Administered by Brandeis International Business School (IBS) in conjunction with the College of Arts and Sciences, the undergraduate business program includes a major and a minor, the BA/MA dual degree, and the new BA/MBA and BS/MBA programs that were established this fall. Across these various initiatives, the program involves more than 400 undergrads, or nearly one out of nine Brandeis students.

Launched in 2010, the business major has become the fourth most popular major at Brandeis, with nearly 200 students, behind biology, economics and psychology. Due to high demand, it is the only undergraduate concentration that has an application process.

The program’s growth echoes national trends in higher education. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in the past 30 years the percentage of bachelor’s-level business degrees conferred has nearly doubled, representing almost a full quarter of all degrees in the United States. 

Brandeis requires only 10 courses for the business major and strongly encourages those who apply to also major in one of the liberal arts. More than 70 percent of business students double major.

Many classes that qualify for the major might not seem particularly business-centric, like “Managing Medicine” and “Globalization and the Media.” Several departments have developed courses with the major in mind, including Near Eastern and Judaic studies (“Jewish Business Ethics”) and theater arts (“The Business of Show Business”).

The focus of the Brandeis program, says Bayone, is to use the discipline to complement a student’s primary passion.

“Business could pair with psychology or sociology to create a nice background for careers in marketing or human resources, or with theater arts for students interested in theater management,” says Bayone, who also serves as the Earle W. Kazis Professor of the Practice of Finance and International Real Estate. “Students who develop this understanding of how business works are able to bring a broader skill set to their careers after college. It opens doors for them.”

President Frederick M. Lawrence has spoken about the importance of graduate programs for Brandeis’ continued success — a sentiment echoed in the new strategic plan.

“The business school reflects the ideals of our namesake, Justice Louis Brandeis, who wrote widely about the concept of business as a force for good in society,” Lawrence says. “We are excited and encouraged by all the ways in which Brandeis IBS has strengthened its ties with the undergraduate community.”

Read more about the undergraduate business program at Brandeis.

Categories: Business, International Affairs

Return to the BrandeisNOW homepage