School days are here again. Whether you’re new to campus with first-year jitters or a returning student with a few solid semesters under your belt, there’s one thing that’s for certain: opportunity awaits. Undergraduate business programs are welcoming new and returning students to the fall semester with a variety of new programs, courses, and community-centered initiatives.
Poets&Quants for Undergrads set out to discover what’s new at the top business schools this academic year. Here’s what we found.
MENTAL HEALTH: IT’S KIND OF A BIG DEAL
This summer, Poets&Quants reported on the rise in stressed out students that’s being seen at business schools — and universities in general. In addition to an embedded counselor making her debut at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management this semester, and Emory University’s Goizueta Business School gearing up for a spring-semester launch of co-curricular options ranging from yoga to general wellness, Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business is another top school making mental health a high priority.
Dean Idalene Kesner shared earlier this year, “Universities across the country are seeing an increased need to focus on student mental wellness. At Kelley, we want to make sure that our students have sufficient skills to cope with the demands and stresses of college life and their careers afterward.”
To reach this goal, the keyword for Kelley and its nearly 8,000 undergraduate students is balance. While renovations are set to begin for a “Balance Room” — a quiet space for students to unplug from electronics, rest, and re-center themselves in the midst of the busy school days, the schools says — this semester’s week before finals will be known for the first time as “Balance Week.”
The intent is to replace the not-so-mental-health-friendly moniker “Dead Week,” which refers to the intense levels of stress and anxiety students encounter in preparation for final exams. Balance Week will include programming activities to help manage anxiety and promote well-being such as therapy dogs, yoga, meditation, massages, relaxation activities, crafts, and a healthy on-the-go breakfast. Kelley will deliver these events in conjunction with the school’s student government body and a brand new student organization called Balance at Kelley.
Finally, to help first-year students further understand the importance of balance, the school says it has launched the Kelley Mentor Collective, matching freshmen mentees and upper-class mentors. The program offers a sophomore, junior, or senior mentor to all incoming students while mentorship training includes a custom module on promoting balance and mental health.
NEW MINORS, COURSES, AND JOINT DEGREES
As with many academic years gone by, 2018-2019 brings the introduction of new offerings that reflect the changing pace of business and the evolving interests of students. On this front, new courses include three from New York University’s Stern School of Business. The first is a sustainability impact consulting course set in New York and Costa Rica. Classes will meet in the fall then spend a week in Costa Rica at the beginning of January working on such potential student projects as business and marketing plans for agricultural production, ecotourism, and environmental education for youth.
Other new courses on Stern’s roster are Economics of Innovation — studying the behavior of inventors, artists, and writers to figure out what makes people creative, what encourages firms to take risks, and what types of institutions encourage people to do their best work. The other is Deal Making in the Entertainment Industry which uses film and television content as the primary example for what goes into cutting a deal in the entertainment world.
A few states south, Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business is unveiling a new undergraduate minor in entrepreneurship.
In other news, multidisciplinary offerings seems to be a theme this fall. Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis has just launched and is recruiting for its first joint undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Science in Business & Computer Science. Olin is also mixing art and business with the launch of its new Business of the Arts minor.
The University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business says it’s expanding its interdisciplinary minor in innovation and entrepreneurship. Though a few years old, for the first time this year the minor will be open to 25 non-Mendoza students.
BUSINESS ANALYTICS CONTINUES TO SIZZLE
In addition to the above list of new minors and courses, this fall’s new offerings also show that the business analytics wave sweeping across B-Schools isn’t quite finished yet. Along with its Business of the Arts minor, Olin launches its new minor in Business Analytics. Meanwhile, over at Georgetown’s McDonough School, a bundle of new business analytics courses will be introduced. The courses will cover social and digital media marketing and applied data visualization and will teach undergrads how to use data for business decisions and to write business applications using Python programming.
At Mendoza, the school reports that 40% of its new faculty hires are in IT, Analytics and Operations. The school is also sending the chair of its IT, Analytics, and Operations department and another associate professor to scope out a Dublin Global Gateway at Dublin City University. The purpose is to learn about the Ireland university’s new data analytics program and its existing enterprise computing major to find courses that could meet requirements for its own business analytics and IT management majors. “While our students have been able to study abroad in Dublin for some time, this will enable them to take classes that count toward their major,” the school’s director of communications shared with Poets&Quants.
As the global economy continues to enlarge itself, so does the number of students looking to immerse themselves in it. This semester, 33 students from the University of California-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business are studying abroad in London. Together, they make up the Class of 2022 inaugural members of Haas’s Global Management Program. Launched this semester, the selective program requires a language requirement and specialized global business courses, blending general business education with cultural understanding.
On the East Coast, Stern just added a new location to its popular International Studies Program. Known as ISP, the program now boasts Copenhagen as a destination. This adds to other cities throughout Asia, Europe, and Latin America where students in junior standing spend a week experiencing a cultural immersion first-hand, meeting with executives of a major corporation inside the region, and working towards a final project that analyzes the company’s competitive status in the global marketplace. Previous destinations have included Berlin, Buenos Aires, Santiago, and Singapore. Earlier this year, our Poets&Quants Campus Correspondent, Alex Grieco, took readers on her ISP journey to Hong Kong.
BOOK CLUB ANYONE?
Finally, several schools are inviting their undergrads to come together through reading. As Cornell University’s Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management dean Lynn Wooten shared in a previous interview about the book titled Behold the Dreamers, “I’m excited about the summer read we’re doing with incoming freshmen and transfer students dealing with a lot of things happening in society right now: immigration, social, and economic disparities.”
Wooten adds, “Our upcoming theme this year is ‘From Dream to Design’ and we’re going to have the author on campus in the fall. I’m excited about how we think about and conceptualize diversity as an experience in and out of the classroom. The book we’re reading addresses that topic too.”
At Kelley, business school students who take part in this year’s Common Read initiative will absorb similar social justice issues as they read Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. Participation isn’t required, but encouraged, enabling student to join in a range of events dedicated to the book all semester long.