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CSOM Minor Enrollment Exceeds Initial Predictions

Nine hundred fifteen students have declared new Carroll School of Management (CSOM) minors for non-CSOM students—which were first announced in March 2018—far outnumbering the school’s expectations going into the program, according to Ethan Sullivan, the senior associate dean in the school’s undergraduate program.

Before this year, students outside of CSOM could apply to minor in management and leadership, with only around 25 students accepted into the program each year. When the University released its 10-year strategic plan in 2016, one of the key points was to increase opportunities in the professional schools for students in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences (MCAS), specifically through minors. CSOM announced the introduction of four new minors for students outside of the school and removed restrictions for the management and leadership minor last spring before fall registration.

Two hundred seventy non-CSOM students are now minoring in management and leadership, 331 in finance, 222 in marketing, 77 in accounting for finance and consulting, and 15 in accounting for CPAs, as of the beginning of the spring 2019 semester. The two most popular major combinations are economics with finance and communication with marketing, according to Sullivan.

Sullivan said that to determine how many students would be interested in the minors, the school looked at the graduating class of non-CSOM students in 2016. Of those approximately 1,500 students, 832 of them had taken at least one CSOM course over their four years at BC, and those students had combined to take almost 3,000 CSOM classes total.

“Most of these students were really doing what we now look back and say were shadow minors,” he said. “They were taking three or four classes in the Carroll school by the time they graduated. They just weren’t getting anything for it—they were purely electives.”

Sullivan said that the model predicted a total of 650 to 700 students to pursue the new minors.

“We’ve outperformed the prediction,” Sullivan said. “It’s a good problem to have—it means there’s great interest there. It means we’re serving kind of a need. And the good news is also that we haven’t had to turn people away. People have gotten the classes that they need, by and large.”

Sullivan said that CSOM has always had the philosophy that there should be a two-way bridge between CSOM and MCAS.

“We’ve always been very open to both our students doing minors and majors in A&S, and in fact … we have incentives for that,” he said. “We incentivize students to to pursue things outside of business. And then we’ve always been very open to Arts and Sciences students and students from the other undergraduate schools to take classes in the Carroll school.”

Sullivan said that, in the spring, there was a high demand for many of the classes required by the CSOM minors, but the school managed to accomodate students. Some classes had waitlists, such as Introduction to Financial Accounting, a course that is a requirement for four of the CSOM minors as well as a part of the CSOM core curriculum. It started out with a waitlist of more than 100 students on it, but by the start of the fall semester, every one had been placed into a section of the class.

“I think that our original concerns of capacity issues were somewhat validated, but we were able to get ahead of it enough and do enough planning that we were able to accommodate students,” Sullivan said. “Now they might not get their first choice professor or their first choice time, but they would get the class. And I think that was really important to us—because, again, we did not want to create barriers, we wanted to create opportunities.”

Sullivan said that while CSOM was considering which type of minors to create, there was concern that a general management minor, which can be found at many other universities, wouldn’t leave students with anything in depth or tangible enough.

The school also looked at introducing minors that lined up more with career paths—for example, investment banking, consulting, or advertising—but determined that these seemed somewhat misleading, because a minor alone would not guarantee students a job in the field. It was eventually decided that the minors’ curriculum would be aligned to CSOM’s concentrations.

“The University guidelines [for] Arts and Sciences says that minors should be six or seven courses, should have an introductory course, and kind of a senior seminar Capstone type of course, and then other courses in between—and when you look at the concentrations, that’s basically what they are,” Sullivan said. “Our concentrations are always looked at by our departments, they’re constantly assessing them and improving them, and so we knew that they’d be in good hands.”

Sullivan, noting that some students have the impression that there’s not a lot of access into CSOM for students in the other colleges, said that CSOM did not want to build barriers for students to minor in the school—in fact, its intent was to do the opposite. The CSOM minors were opened up to all students. To declare one, all students need to do is fill out a short Google Form on the CSOM website—there are no other applications, GPA cutoffs, or caps on how many students can declare a minor.
As CSOM is not fully internally equipped to take on non-CSOM students as advisees, Sullivan said that the Fulton Leadership Society—a new program for incoming freshman created in the wake of the announcement that the CSOM Honors Program would be ending—has helped with advising the minors.

Featured Graphic by Ally Mozeliak / Heights Editor

January 21, 2019