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In response to growing student interest in business and the proximity of the Simon Graduate School of Business to the College of Arts and Sciences, students will now get the chance to major in business at the undergraduate level.
The major was approved by New York State Department of Education last month, after a curriculum was formulated and faculty costs were determined.
“The idea is to have a program available for students interested in [the] study of business,” Dean of the College Richard Feldman said. “It’s similar to an existing program in economics, but it gives students a greater opportunity to take courses with faculty from  the Simon school and to do work on topics directly connected to business, [compared to] the more theoretical ones offered in economics.”
UR students have shown definite interest in the field, based on the increasing enrollment in both business classes and the existing business minor, as well as enquiries from prospective students about a business major. Additionally, Alpha Kappa Psi —  a professional business fraternity  — is currently being established at the University.
Next fall, new applicants will be made aware of this major, and existing students will be able to plan their curriculum around getting on track for the major.
The business major will replace the Economics and Business Strategies major, which focused more on marketing and strategy orientation. Courses from the old major, however, will form part of the new one, along with several new offerings, including a class called Economics Theory of Organization and one on pricing strategy. Both are topics that Simon is already well-known for in business education.
Care was taken to limit the footprint of the Simon school on the major however, so as to preserve the liberal arts path that students are pursuing at the University.
“We’re very careful also to have many courses that are offered by the economics department, again to maintain the college character of the program,” Ronald Hansen, Senior Associate Dean for Program Development, said. “[Despite that], we have some courses that are quite specifically business-oriented, and we will make the core of the program similar to what an M.B.A. student would get.”
In addition, they made sure the new major did not take over Financial Economics, a business-oriented major in the economics department intended for students who want to study the technical aspects of finance.
Creation of the new major will also involve the establishment of an undergraduate council or committee for the new business students, similar to organizations like the Undergraduate English Council and the Society of Physics Students.
“Many of us are, at heart, educators, so having the opportunity to have more involvement with undergraduate students is a positive thing,” Hansen said.
Hansen is the driving force behind the program on the Simon School’s side. He is also involved with the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences through a degree program called the Master of Science in Technical Entrepreneurship and Management (TEAM), which equips natural science graduates with business skills.
“We used to have an undergraduate business program in the 60s but we got rid of it around the same time to focus on graduate studies,” Mark Zupan, Dean of Simon School, said. “There was a trend in business education to focus more on the graduate level, but we’re starting to see the pendulum switch.”
A review team started the process at the Simon School four years ago.
Noting that the University wanted to grow at the undergraduate level, but also have the Simon School mature, it was suggested that the undergraduate business major would be the ideal way to better tap into the resources of both the College and the Simon school.
There will be an advising session at 5 p.m. on Monday, March 28 in the Gowen Room, open to students who want to learn about the undergraduate business program. Hansen and Academic Advisor of the Multidisciplinary Studies Center Karen Forsythe will be present to answer questions and provide more information.
Lim is a member of
the class of 2014.

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