Beginning January 2023, students will have the ability to matriculate into the business school in the fall of their sophomore year and a new Emory College of Arts and Sciences (ECAS) business minor will be introduced.
These are just two of the curriculum changes, which have been in the works for almost five years, that Emory University Goizueta Business will roll out for current Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) and pre-BBA students.
There will also be other modifications that are a “part of a continuous evolution of our curriculum to offer great skills as well as a great experience for our students interested in business,” said Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Ravi Bellamkonda.
A faculty-led task force established several years ago spearheaded the design and approval stages of the 2023 changes in collaboration with Goizueta administrators, including former Interim John H. Harland Dean Karen Sedatole and the newly appointed John H. Harland Dean Gareth James. Students, faculty, alumni and corporate stakeholders also communicated their ideas and feedback to this group.
According to Goizueta Senior Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education Andrea Hershatter, many of the changes center around enhancing technical preparation for the workforce, more core curriculum customization allowing flexibility in a student’s schedule and augmenting co-curricular development between ECAS and the business school.
Hershatter also noted the importance of preparing students for the world following graduation. They should be attuned to the far-reaching social and environmental impact of business decisions and know what it means to be a good steward of the resources they are entrusted with.
The customizability of learning options is central to the 2023 revisions. This entails three entry points into Goizueta: matriculating at the beginning of sophomore year, the spring semester of sophomore year or as late as the beginning of junior year. Previously, students were only able to enter Goizueta the second semester of sophomore year or at the beginning of junior year.
This choice allows business-oriented students to have earlier immersion in specific coursework, more opportunities to engage in the business school and more time to prepare professionally for a recruiting cycle.
Despite this new entry point, Hershatter explained that there is no rush for students to join the BBA program and miss possibilities for “full liberal arts immersion and the chance to be exposed to intellectual passions.” Rather, the purpose of the program is to meet students where they are at.
The required core classes will incorporate one course from each functional area of business; the functional areas are marketing, organization and management, accounting, finance and information systems and operations management. Students also pick two “flex core” courses based on their interests within the functional areas. These required classes will cross all interdisciplinary arenas instead of simply one functional area. These revisions will encourage integration with ECAS, prompting more informed course enrollment and promoting parallel studies in the liberal arts. This will be most noticeable through the newly recognized business minor at Emory College.
“The minor includes one designated core course from each of Goizueta’s five functional areas plus one elective chosen by the student based on interest,” Hershatter said.
Alexis Geller (25C) said she believed the minor will encourage integration with other subjects.
“There is something to be said about interdisciplinary classes,” Geller said. “There is so much overlap that takes place in the real world, so this minor will be very valuable and could be an incredible way to get BBA students to push themselves out of their comfort zones and the ‘Goizueta bubble.” This flexibility of courses and earlier integration into the BBA program is something that students have been requesting and are greatly looking forward to utilizing.”
Michael Chan (22Ox, 24B) highlighted how he felt matriculating into the business school the fall of his junior year was “too little too late” in regard to seeking the materials and skills he needed for internships and recruitment. Chan added that professor selection and business school courses are very limited.
Other Oxford students shared similar sentiments with the University, which motivated Emory to implement a new “Goizueta@Oxford” experience beginning January 2023. This will keep Oxford students on track to pursue the BBA degree after completing a “uniquely Oxford experience,” according to Hershatter. Goizueta@Oxford will include a designated on-site pre-BBA advisor, additional coursework taught by Goizueta faculty and Oxford subsidiaries of Goizueta clubs with an Oxford representative on the BBA Council.
Bellamkonda noted many of the changes are centered around preparing students for a rapidly changing future. A new statistical competency requirement will now be necessary prior to enrolling into new decision tools and data prerequisite courses. This requirement will ask students to show competency via AP or IB statistics credit, an Emory course or by completing the zero-credit, free online BBA Statistics Bootcamp that was developed by Goizueta faculty for this purpose. This is in addition to a three-credit “technology toolbox” requirement that consists of a one-credit Excel course and a variety of half-credit technology boot camps and workshops.
Both Geller and Chan emphasized that the technology requirements exemplify the school’s effort to acclimate students to the technical skills needed in future careers that students often do not know where or how to learn.
“Having technical training and coursework is definitely super practical and super relevant since it encompasses many skills that students previously had to go out on their own and train themselves, to code for example” Chan said.
“The required immersive experiences will open up the opportunity for students to work on actual company or industry issues, develop innovative solutions to real-world problems and create knowledge through directed study or faculty-led research,” Hershatter said.
The reimagined curriculum will also provide new personal development seminars focusing on identifying competencies, purpose and alternate pathways. These are paired with team-based experiences and the introduction of BBA Boardrooms that meet monthly in consistent cohorts. The aim is to connect students across semesters and between years.
“The personal development courses and programs are super important because students need to have opportunities to find out where they can best fit in the business world … [T]here is a place for everyone; it’s just about exploring and finding the right fit,” Geller said.
With the many innovations arriving in the 2023 curriculum, Hershatter noted that despite having expert faculty in around nine academic areas and finding value for the lives of the students in every course, allowing sufficient flexibility was difficult but a definite priority from the beginning.
“Curricular evolution is a continuous process,” Hershatter said. “It is essential that we remain on the cutting edge of thought leadership in undergraduate business education and prepare students for the ever-changing business environment.”
Reflecting on the work of his peers to create this new curriculum, Bellamkonda said he is glad to work in an environment that is constantly improving.
“I love the spirit of the Goizueta faculty and staff, who with student input, are continuously making the Goizueta experience special for our students,” Bellamkonda said.
Rachel Kay (she/her, 25B) is from San Francisco, California, and is planning on majoring in Marketing and OAM on the pre-business track. Outside of the Wheel, she can be found as an analyst for Atlas Consulting Group, tutoring students through Emory Reads, and spending time in nature.