When the Foisie School of Business changed its management minor to a business minor, enrollment doubled.
Now the school hopes to repeat that success and increase undergraduate enrollment with a new major in business that offers a choice of three concentrations— financial technology, business analytics, and innovation for social change.
“The approval of the BS in business is a result of the cooperation and work of many faculty and staff within the Foisie School of Business,” says professor Diane Strong, “as well as others at WPI who share the vision of a business school as a core part of STEM-based (science, technology, engineering, math) education.”
Strong, who teaches information technology and chaired the Undergraduate Committee that created the new major, says the framework for the changes was created during a faculty retreat last year.
Dean Michael Ginzberg’s desire to expand the undergraduate program and attract students who want to study business to WPI was the catalyst. It is also consistent with Ginzberg’s goal of positioning the Foisie School of Business “at the intersection of technology and business.”
All three new concentrations are technology oriented, and innovation for social change echoes president Laurie Leshin’s goal of making an impact.
“Increasingly, business students need an understanding of technology,” Ginzberg says, “while students who major in technical subjects need an understanding of business.”
Students who major in business—and even those who take a few business courses—will be better prepared for the workplace and will be more likely to be hired, according to Ginzberg.
Strong believes that if students understood the competitive advantage business education offers, undergraduate enrollment would be much higher.
“When they enter the workforce, graduates need to understand how a business works,” Strong says. “When you get into a business organization, it has rules about the way things work. If you don’t understand what a budget is, you can’t sell your ideas.”
The new program is officially scheduled to begin in fall 2017, but any student who wants to enroll in the new major can do so now.