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Rice University’s New Undergraduate Business Major: How It’s Going

Rice University’s Class of 2024 has been the first to experience the school’s new undergraduate business major, which launched this past fall. And it seems like most students are enjoying what the new business major has to offer.

“I like how for the undergraduate major, they’re bringing all the graduate faculty,” Austin Tran, a freshman at Rice pursuing the business major, tells the Rice Thresher.

Rice’s new undergraduate business major offers a strong foundation in leadership and business fundaments, such as accounting, finance, marketing, organizational behavior, strategy, and communications. Students can choose from a finance or management concentration and the curriculum is administered through Rice’s top-ranked Jones Graduate School of Business and taught by its faculty.

“There’s a demand for deeper business education from our current and prospective students, and Rice Business can deliver to undergraduates the high-quality degree programs we have always delivered to MBAs, Master of Accountancy and Ph.D. students,” Peter Rodriguez, dean of the Jones School, says in a press release.


So far, 70 students have declared a major in business with most being from the Class of 2024. However, school officials say that number is not representative of the actual size of the undergraduate business program. And demand of the major isn’t slowing down.

“We observe that [in] our admission session for prospective students, there’s lots of demand for the business major,” Natalia Piqueira, Director of Undergraduate Business Programs at Rice University, tells the Rice Thresher. “I meet people all the time, and I sign their [business major declaration] petitions. [I signed] about 40 last week.”

For Abhi Gorjala, a sophomore at Rice, a business major—as opposed to an economics major— could give him the relevant experience he needs for a career in investment banking.

“I just think this finance major will give [me] a much better background because there’s a lot of new classes introduced, like Advanced Corporate Finance,” Gorjala tells the Rice Thresher.


Currently, the Jones School is only offering six out of the 14 business major courses it plans to offer. But officials say that’s due to the increased demand, the Jones School will be offering new courses, opening more course sections, and increasing its faculty hiring.

“The prospects for increasing and strengthening the business school pipeline are very, very strong for Rice, especially as it becomes more known that Rice Business is an option for prospective undergraduate students around the country and around the world,” Yvonne Romero da Silva, Vice President of Enrollment at Rice University, tells the Rice Thresher. “We got a great start this year, and I expect that population to grow in subsequent years.”

Sources: Rice Thresher, Rice University

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