The Stephen M. Ross School of Business will pilot a new undergraduate program for the 2006 fall term that will dramatically alter the makeup of the school.
Instead of the current two-year program that only accepts juniors, the school will now accept freshmen and sophomores into a three- or four-year program, depending on when these underclassmen decide to apply.
–ext year, the Business School will continue to offer enrollment for juniors, to ensure that nobody misses the opportunity to apply.
In a newsletter sent to business students, the school said it formed a committee to perform a review of the Bachelor of Business Administration curriculum last year. After a year of deliberations, the faculty decided in a 64 to 14 vote to pave the way for freshmen and sophomores to get into the school.
“It is challenging to do everything in two years,” said Gene Anderson, associate dean for degree programs.
The school decided to implement the new program because administrators wanted to allow students the opportunity to be able to take more classes and have better opportunities to pursue minors in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, Anderson said.
Because business students’ core curriculum will now be spread over a period of up to four years, they will have more time each year to take courses outside the Business School.
Anderson said the new system “achieves a better balance between liberal arts and business during their business education.”
Another aim of this change is to lower the pressure students face when they are in the Business School.
Under the change, students will be exposed to a better foundation of business early in their academic careers, while also being able to pursue other opportunities such as study abroad programs, which are currently off-limits to business students.
In addition to helping students, the Ross School’s programs could become more competitive with those of other schools, such as the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
“A lot of folks know they want to get into business,” and by implementing this policy the Business School could attract a better group of students than it had been losing to other schools, Anderson said.
Anderson added that the uncertainty of admissions into the University’s business program drives away students to universities that accept students as freshman. Students currently apply into the University and then apply to the business school two years later, unlike at Wharton where students are accepted as freshman.
Even though the details regarding admissions are still being worked out, the application procedure would be similar to that of the LSA. The Business School has no plans of increasing enrollment quotas because of these changes, Anderson said.
At first, freshman and sophomore enrollment will be phased into the admissions process. The first freshman class will be capped to about 70 students, and increased in following years.
Business School senior Michelle Chang said she was concerned with the quality of students that will be accepted into the program.
“The two-year program is comprised of the best group of students, but when you expand it to four years, it is hard to be sure that the students are of highest quality,” she said.
John Coury, a junior in the school, said he thought that the new program would be less stressful as it won’t be as cramped.
“I like that better as it lowers a lot of stress as far as the application procedure,” Coury added.
LSA freshman Jennifer Martin, who is planning to apply to the business school, said she had mixed feelings about the proposed changes.
“It will be more competitive as many people will apply their freshman year,” she said.
However, she felt that being in the Business School for a longer period of time will allow students more time to learn the material.
Other changes being considered include the addition of half-semester courses similar to the electives in the Masters of Business Administration program.