Despite the nation’s economic meltdown, driven primarily through the collapse of Wall Street and the suffering of large financial institutions, officials at the Ross School of Business report that the decreased availability of jobs in finance hasn’t soured students’ interest in entering the field.

To meet this continuing demand from students, Business administrators said they are restructuring the Bachelor in Business Administration Finance curriculum for the upcoming academic year by altering existing classes and adding four new courses.

“Very close to 60 percent of our students are interested in finance careers so we wanted to take a good look at the curriculum,” Business School Prof. and Finance Department Chair M.P. Narayanan said.

Narayanan said though the field of finance has suffered of late, he hasn’t seen a related dip in enrollment in finance classes for this upcoming fall.

The new finance program will feature an increase in action-based learning, Narayanan said, which will give students the chance to use real money and information to start and manage their own hedge funds.

Additionally, the 2009 curriculum will allow for more specialized interests within the finance field.

Narayanan said the four new courses will educate students in financial trading, the macroeconomics of capital markets, alternative investments and real-estate finance.

But even with enrollment in classes holding steady, Robert Koonce, the director of undergraduate student affairs in the BBA Program Office, said a change to the program was more necessary than ever to help students navigate the current economy.

“The finance faculty thought it was time for some changes based on what’s going on in the world to try to keep the program prestigious,” he said.

John Kavchak, a Business junior and co-president of the BBA Finance Club, said the new curriculum will give students a chance to follow an educational path more tailored to their interests.

“I think that having more specialized finance programs definitely helps (students) navigate (their) future career path,” he said. “The classes will definitely give us a competitive advantage in terms of what recruiters and companies expect.”

Kavchak said while many students with a dual interest in marketing and finance have chosen marketing jobs because of the economy, students who recognize the cyclical nature of the economy still see the value of learning about finance.

“Those who have studied market cycles understand that the world isn’t going to end, and that the next five to 10 years will provide exceptional opportunities for those who have the experience and capital to devote to them and for young people like us to learn from the best,” he said.

The new curriculum will be taught by current finance faculty members, so the school will not need to hire new professors, Narayanan said.

To restructure the curriculum, Narayanan said some three-credit courses will be split up into two one-and-a-half-credit, half-semester classes.

“The whole idea here is this allows students more flexibility,” Narayanan said. “They don’t have to go through a whole three-credit course if they are not that interested in it.”

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