There seems to be an interesting trend happening amongst undergraduate liberal arts programs all across the country. While it seems a course in finance or general business was hardly what undergrads were looking for, there is now a higher demand for such courses.
Business Week’s reporter Adam Fusfeld claims: “For liberal arts students, a little bit of business knowhow is a powerful thing, giving them the confidence they need to work in a business setting.” For students vying for full-time jobs after graduation, schools don’t want them to appear at a disadvantage. Hence, courses like Introduction to Accounting, Business Management, Human Resources Management and Business Communications are becoming options for Philosophy, English and History majors. Why the sudden interest in business courses? Could it be the recent ongoing economic recession?
Some schools, like Northwestern, which terminated its undergraduate business program 41 years ago, are offering certificate programs for students who have fulfilled a certain number of credits with a B-average GPA. Such types of certificates appear to appeal to students, as it’s something they can add to their resumes when applying for internships and full-time employment. Since the start of the economic downturn in 2008, there has been an increased interest in such business certificate-like undergraduate business programs all over the country.
While the United States still holds a firm stance on the importance of a broad liberal arts education during one’s undergraduate years, perhaps a basic understanding of finance and business would be advantageous to all students, no matter what their eventual focus may be. While the recession has certainly caused some negative effects on the workplace, perhaps this is an unusual advantage for all undergraduate-bound students in the future.
Recommendations for College Students Eager to Enroll in Business School
If you are in college and interested in entering an MBA program immediately after graduation, getting accepted is not likely to be easy. Since the weak economy has put many young professionals with work experience out of jobs and many of those more mature students are applying to MBA programs, schools are less likely to be filling their classes with the less experienced. Yet, hope is not lost. This may be precisely the time to consider some alternative ways to achieve your MBA goals and bide time in school while the markets recover.
For current undergraduates as well as business school bound high school juniors and seniors, looking into various MBA options early may pay off. Universities as diverse as Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, the University of Rochester and Indiana University offer ways for students to complement their undergraduate degrees with an early MBA.
Harvard Business School allows juniors to apply to a program in which they are guaranteed a spot at HBS after they complete 2 years of work. During their junior year, applicants take the GMAT and complete an application. Applicants are notified of acceptance in the fall of their senior year. After completion of their undergraduate degree, accepted 2+2 students enter the work force. The jobs they take need to be approved by the business school. Though the HBS program does not shorten the length of time a student spends in school, both students and HBS are ultimately well served by the 2+2 program. It allows students to be able to focus on gaining work experience and enjoy the comfort of already being admitted to a top-MBA program, and the school is guaranteed a committed and experienced student.
The Kelley School of Business offers an Accounting program in which undergraduates can earn both an undergraduate degree and an MBA in just five years. This opportunity, open to juniors majoring in Accounting or Finance at Indiana, gives students the possibility of earning an MBA with an Accounting concentration in just one extra year and also relieves them of the GMAT requirement. Indiana has excellent job placement statistics and consistently pumps out solid MBAs with the high level Accounting skills valued by businesses.
UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER
The William E. Simon School of Business Administration at the University of Rochester offers another 5 year option for undergraduates of the University of Rochester. Interested students apply early in the spring semester of the junior year and begin MBA level coursework as seniors. Students will still need to take the GMAT in order to apply. This program is a great option for Rochester students as the University currently does not offer an undergraduate business degree. The University also offers several fellowships geared toward the more youthful aspiring MBAs, those with less than 3 years work experience interested in an MBA at Rochester.
Tepper School of Business also has opened its doors to Carnegie Mellon Computer Science majors that are interested in applying to business school and gaining an MBA and Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science in just 5 years. Applicants still will need to gain admission by submitting an application, resume, GMAT, essays, interview and recommendations, but they are offered the bonus of gaining an MBA from a top school with just one additional year of schooling. Though ultimately the Department of Computer Science determines eligibility, good grades, high scores, internships and maturity go a long way toward gaining acceptance.
Other schools too offer similar 5 year or early acceptance programs for undergraduates. So young applicants, take a closer look at alternative programs that are out there!
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