After the University announced Friday that it will offer a new business minor, starting Spring 2013, many Cornellians said the course offerings will give students a chance to study areas of interest to them and provide skills that could prove attractive to future employers.
The courses to fulfill the new business minor will be available to students from all undergraduate colleges at Cornell who have a GPA of 3.3 or higher and have passed introductory economics and introductory statistics classes. The courses will be offered by the School of Hotel Administration, the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Johnson Graduate School of Management.
Olivia Obodoagha ’15, an applied economics and management major, said students should pursue the minor because it will be appealing to potential employers.
“I know that the operational side of engineering and a lot of start-ups tend to use a lot of business-oriented skills,” she said. “I think that just having a minor, even if you don’t get credit for it, will be really appealing on a résumé for employers. It will help people express their interest in business.”
The University-wide business minor will also enable undergraduates from every college to take advantage of the Johnson’s strengths, Lin said.
“Our business school is ranked extremely high, so it is an opportunity for students to take classes at one of the best programs in the world,” he said.Maya agreed, saying that the University-wide minor will be popular because it will tap into the business expertise of the faculty from several colleges on campus.
“I think a lot of students are going to sign up for it, and it is going to be a really great success,” she said. “Because it is not just offered in one school, there are going to be a variety of professors teaching the classes, with some from CALS and some from ILR, and you’re going to get this really nice array of professors who are really going to bring a lot to the minor.”
Still, College of Arts and Sciences students — who will not be able to count credits for the business minor toward the 100 credits they must earn from the college to graduate — said they were dismayed by the minor’s set-up.
“I think this is extremely upsetting. A lot of the classes I was interested in were only available in CALS, and I was really worried about having enough Arts credits to graduate,” said Kevin Lin ’13, an information science major who is interested in the business minor.
Lin noted that, while students can usually complete a minor requiring four to five classes in time to graduate, he will not be able to pick up the business minor because it was just approved.
“A minor usually requires four to five classes, so it is a pretty decent amount if you don’t pre-plan for it,” he said. “If you planned to pick up a business minor early, then it is fine, but if you decide to pick it up later, it can result in a lot of problems before you graduate.”
Other students, however, said the fact that some students may not receive college credit for the business minor will not deter them from pursuing it.
“The minors that I’m looking at currently don’t really count towards my major, but I’m still pursuing them because I’m genuinely interested in them,” Amanda Maya ’15 said. “I believe that if students … want to do the business minor, and they really are interested in business, I don’t feel like it will deter them because this is something that they are genuinely interested in.”
Despite disagreement over whether students outside the four schools that will offer business classes will be deterred from pursuing the minor, many students agreed that it will prove popular.
For instance, students in the ILR School said that in their college — which only offers one major, ILR — a new minor offers flexibility and a chance to individualize their curriculum.
“For ILR students, it is only Industrial and Labor Relations. That is our major, and we can’t deviate from it,” Maya said. “But a business minor is definitely going to add to our major, especially for students that have always wanted to study business but never could. It’s business and everyone uses it.”
Obodoagha said that a business minor may also be especially appealing to students in more technical fields.
“I think engineering students will definitely be interested, and perhaps economics majors that might be interested in pursuing a career in business or finance will be, too, especially if they want to see what business is like without committing themselves to the major,” she said.
With the new business minor scheduled to arrive on campus in the spring, students emphasized the versatility and usefulness of studying business for students in all disciplines.
“Business is not a minor for a specific job. It is something that applies to a lot of fields,” Maya said. “I think this is a great opportunity, and I’m very excited that Cornell is offering it.”