The GW School of Business will require most undergraduates to minor outside of the college starting next year, part of a revised curriculum faculty hope will give students more flexibility in their course schedules.
The new curriculum, to launch for freshmen getting their bachelor of business administration degrees next fall, looks to arm students with the kind of non-business skills employers are looking for, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs Isabelle Bajeux-Besnainou said.
“The intent is really to make sure that students have an in-depth experience outside of the business school, and that is something that is coming from the market,” she said. “Recruiters actually want students to be a little more than only business-skilled students.”
The school is the first at GW to require from undergraduates a minor outside the college. Last fall, it also added the first undergraduate program – a bachelor of science in finance – to require students to double major outside the school.
Students will earn nine fewer credits in both general education courses and the school’s curriculum, giving students more time to add a second minor or concentration, which a quarter of students already have Bajeux-Besnainou said.
All students will take classes in globalization, career management and business law and ethics, in addition to the First-Year Development Program currently required of all freshmen.
The school also created a new writing in the discipline course about markets and politics that will be required of all sophomores.
Business schools across the country have come under more pressure to prepare graduates for a more competitive job market, especially as more universities offer different ways to earn business degrees.
Other universities, including the College of William and Mary and the University of Southern California, have also eased undergraduate business requirements in recent years to allows students to minor in other fields.
GW's undergraduate business program is No. 71 in the country, according to Bloomberg Businessweek's annual rankings. Low student satisfaction, No. 99 in the country, has led to slipping rankings in recent years.
Four out of five employers wanted to hire college graduates with a broad liberal arts education, not a narrow business concentration, according to a survey conducted by the Association of American Colleges and Universities last year.
Faculty approved the curriculum for business administration students last month.
Robert Weiner, a professor of international business, said students will benefit from taking classes in more subjects.
“It will be beneficial because business is a part of broader society. Hopefully students will have a broader perspective,” he said.
During the first year at the University, students will have to choose between the business administration program or the bachelor of science degree, which is currently only offered to finance majors.
Sophomore Yasik Loban said he thinks the new curriculum will be “beneficial” for freshmen, giving them more time to declare the focus of study.
“I was going to transfer out of GW because I wanted to double major in the Engineering School and the Business School,” he said.
Still, freshman Megan Gills said students need more direction and guidance, and having so many options might be overwhelming for students.
“No one has really gone over the degrees much while we’ve been here. A lot of it is figuring things out on your own, in my opinion. I wish there was more guidance for freshmen,” she said.
-Mary Ellen McIntire contributed to this report.