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Thinking about Business Economics

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We've met a number of students over the years and have discovered that there are many reasons that they select a major in Business Economics. Some are very certain about what they want to do and others are not so sure. The following is designed to help you think through your goals and interests and how a Business Economics major might fit in with them.

Stop and think of what you want to get out of your college education. There are a variety of short- and long-terms goals that you could have. For example, you could say,

I want to get a good job.

My family has a business and I want to help run it.

I want to get into a good graduate school.

I see myself as a professional manager and want to prepare for a career.

I want to be financially well-off.

Business Economics seems like a safe choice.

I want to be a CPA.

Frequently Asked Questions about Business Economics

People major in Business Economics for all of these reasons and more. Pick the one that most closely relates to your thinking or read on for the full story...

Overview | Courses | Internships | Placement | International.

The Business Economics major provides an academically challenging program of education for business within the context of the liberal arts for those who desire a sophisticated understanding of business operation and an appreciation for the social and economic complexities of the world in which firms operate.

Our Goal

We aim to give you a combination of skills that you can use now and throughout your career. Breaking into the business world requires a background in business practice and institutions that will make you attractive to your first-time employer. Our program provides the necessary courses in accounting, finance, marketing, and management to develop these tools. As people rise in a business organization, however, they make less use of detailed technical information and more use of general and fundamental knowledge. In these areas, the solid liberal arts education we offer will teach you to learn from experience, to reason well, and to evaluate evidence in a meaningful way.

Our Approach

Curriculum The Major

The Business Economics major is designed to provide a broad, yet technically competent, basis for understanding the business world. It is intended for the student who plans to enter the business world directly after graduation but is sufficiently flexible to accommodate those who may choose graduate study as well.

Fifteen courses are required for the Major:

Three to five courses chosen from:

Microeconomics, Macroeconomics and two additional economics courses such as Labor Economics, Money and Banking, Industrial Organization, International Economics.

Applied Regression and Calculus for the Social Sciences complete the major.

A one-semester Junior Independent Study and a two-semester Senior Independent Study provide the opportunity to research a selected topic in depth, working closely with a faculty expert in the area.

Students are also encouraged to take Computer Science. Ample opportunity is provided to use Wooster's sophisticated computer facilities to analyze business problems.

Special Programs in Business Economics

The Business Economics Intern Program is an option for majors to obtain some practical experience in a real-world setting. Selected firms in a variety of locations employ students full time for a period of 22 weeks at the end of the junior year. The primary goal of the internship is to enable the student to obtain valuable work experience that can be related to his or her past or future academic training. Recent projects have included: financial analysis and calculations in support of a bank's program to re-sell loans in the secondary financial markets; strategic analysis of a firm's strengths and local market conditions in preparation for expanded activities in Europe and Asia; a transfer pricing study as part of a firm's Continuous Value Improvement Process.

International Business. A liberal arts background already gives you an advantage in seeking international careers. Our integrated course of study helps you learn to think in ways that will help you to handle the special requirements of adapting to a foreign environment. More practically, at Wooster you will have already had the chance to combine your business, language, and cultural studies. Special options will help you to mix French, German, or Spanish with your business courses. You can even take an economics course in German or study commercial Spanish or French. Sound impossible? Wooster students have been doing it for ten years now! For language majors, a new minor in International Business Economics will give you a head start on an international career.

For over thirty years, Wooster students have had the opportunity to put their classroom theories into practice. The Jenny Investment Club is a student-managed stock and bond portfolio, the proceeds of which are used for student scholarships. The students really manage it and the evidence suggests that they do it well! With a modest initial investment of less than $7000 supplied by the College, the fund has grown to $750,000 while providing student scholarships of over $180,000 in the last 10 years..

Research Student Research

Independent Study offers majors the opportunity to study, in depth, a topic of special interest to them. Such an opportunity has been recognized by top graduate schools as being a real advantage. Dividend, the magazine of the University of Michigan (Spring 2003, p.28) says that their "Senior Seminar" program was modelled on Wooster's IS program. The magazine goes on to cite Wooster as, "...a national leader in providing undergraduate students with an in-depth research experience..." and says that the Wharton School will introduce a similar program shortly

Past projects and assignments have included: a study to compare the cost of operations in several plants within a firm; market surveys to determine bank customer satisfaction; and an analysis of capital expenditures for a local hospital. Work like this is an obvious benefit for those interested in graduate school, but most of us enter the workforce directly after graduation. For those, I.S. gives invaluable experience in planning, organizing, and carrying out the long-term projects so typical of business.

Good research requires good research facilities. In addition to a library housing over 900,000 volumes and the Flo Gault IS facility, the College maintains state-of-the-art computer facilities. Sophisticated networking capabilities make the computer available to all buildings on campus, including residence halls. A computer business game allows students to try out various business strategies in a realistic business setting. Personal computer applications also play an important role in several courses.

Career Services Student Accomplishments

Business Economics graduates make good use of the Career Services Office and use their education in a variety of ways. Approximately 30% attend graduate or professional schools such as the University of Michigan, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Dartmouth, and Purdue. Most obtain M.B.A. degrees, but law and other professional degrees are not uncommon.

It would be wrong, however, to view our emphasis as primarily pre-professional. Most majors enter business directly after graduation, and our program supports these students both in their search for a first job and in their movement upward in the business world. No major is a ticket to a career, but College-wide, about 94% of our graduates have a job within six months of graduation. Examples of first-time positions help by recent graduates include Financial Analyst with Chemical Bank, Audit Consultant with Anderson Consulting in Geneva, Switzerland, Analyst with Wharton Econometrics, Portfolio Analyst with McDonald & Company Securities. Distinguished alumni such as the Vice Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Executive Vice President of the DuPont Company, Group Vice President of the William Wrigley Company, Senior Vice President of Tenneco, President of Bendix Finance Corporation, Chairman and CEO of Goodyear Tire & Rubber, and Senior Vice President of Booz, Allen, & Hamilton, Inc. are evidence of our longer term success.

Many majors are asked to join Phi Beta Kappa each year, and Business Economics majors are also eligible for induction into Omicron Delta Epsilon, the economics honorary society.

Talk to us!

Have we answered your questions about our Program and how you might fit into it? If not, use the form below to send us a message. Or, send an e-mail to a faculty member listed at the bottom of this page. Be sure to include your e-mail address so that we can respond to you.

The Faculty

The diversity of the faculty is shown by their research interests which include: measuring articulation in financial statements, studying factors affecting the speed of information transmission on the newly-formed Warsaw Stock Exchange, and examining the impact of various market structures on insurance markets.

Barbara S. Burnell, Professor of Economics. B.A. Connecticut; M.A., Ph.D. Illinois.

James D. Burnell, Professor of Economics. B.A. Western Illinois; M.A., Ph.D. Illinois.

Carol Mapes, Adjunct Professor of Business Economics.. CPA (Ohio)

Amyaz Moledina, Assistant Professor of Economics, B.A., Macalester College; Ph.D. University of Minnesota

Russell Ormiston, Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics, Ph.D., Michigan State University

John W. Sell, James R. Wilson Professor of Business Economics. B.S. Pennsylvania State; M.A., Ph.D., U.C.L.A .

Lisa Verdon, Assistant Professor of Business Economics. Ph.D., Florida State University.

James Warner, Assistant Professor of Economics, B.A. Bates 1983, M.A., New Hampshire, Ph.D. Utah

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Last updated: 22 March 2012 by J. Sell