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Mendoza enrollment rises

Carolyn Hutrya | Wednesday, September 5, 2012

In recent years, Mendoza College of Business has dealt with a rise in its number of students, which can be partially attributed to Bloomberg Businessweek’s No. 1 ranking of Notre Dame’s undergraduate business program.   

“Mendoza is committed to providing an excellent business education to all interested students,” Roger Huang, the interim dean for the Mendoza College of Business, said.

This year alone, the school has hired 13 new faculty members who now make up 10 percent of the total faculty positions in the College, Huang said.

The academic day was also lengthened in order to allow more class sections. The implementation of such changes is necessary to accommodate the increase of students without diminishing the caliber of the education, he said.

“This summer we also added another advisor to the Undergraduate Advising Office to ensure that our students continue to receive the high level of service they’ve come to expect,” Huang said.

Currently, Mendoza has open enrollment in all of its six available business programs, and students, who must choose a major their sophomore year, will likely receive their first choice.

“With pre-majoring advising, the University helps students make thoughtful, intentional decisions regarding their education and future career paths,” Huang said.

According to a survey that was taken by students and recruiters, the three main factors that accounted for the No. 1 ranking were an engaged and accessible set of faculty and advisors, an emphasis on ethics and an award-winning Career Center, Huang said.

“Through the survey, our students are telling us they receive an excellent grounding in all business principles, not just those specific to their major, which makes them adaptable to a wide variety of job responsibilities,” Huang said.  

The Career Center at Notre Dame showed an 82 percent rate of full-time employment within six months of graduation for the Class of 2011. In addition, 17 percent of the remaining students enrolled in a graduate or professional school, service program or the military.

Though worries exist about increasing enrollment, Huang said that Mendoza has kept a graduating class of approximately 665 students during the last two years.

“I do not agree that Mendoza is overcrowded, but our No. 1 ranking in Bloomberg Business over quality schools such as Wharton, MIT, Cornell and Virginia for the past three years has certainly brought a lot of attention,” Huang said.  

Even so, the University has created more ways of getting students involved in business without necessarily majoring in the College.  

“The shared goal of everyone on campus is to ensure that students are aware of all the programs the University offers, that they make the choices that are right for them, and that, no matter what majors or minors they pursue, they take advantage of every opportunity that Notre Dame has to offer,” said Marie Blakey, senior director of Communications and Marketing in the College of Arts and Letters.

Another Career Center survey showed that approximately 42 percent of Arts and Letters majors choose to go directly into the business world, she said. Students can now achieve a liberal arts education while simultaneously forming and strengthening a business background.

“Many students who want to pursue a primary major in Arts and Letters are also interested in becoming literate in basic economics principles,” Blakey said.

The Arts and Letters program now offers a new business minor specifically for students in its college.

“We joined the College of Arts and Letters in creating the Business Economics minor to address their student’s interest in adding formal training in the fundamental concepts of business in a market economy,” Huang said.  

In addition, a major in international economics is now possible as of this year.

Blakey said the major is aimed at students in pursuit of international careers as well as those who want to remain in the US while still globally interacting in the business world.

“The major combines the study of economics with courses in languages and cultures,” Blakey said.

The College of Arts and Letters also offers its students a business boot camp, a four-day seminar, now held over fall break, which provides networking opportunities and the chance to create and present case studies to business executives.

“It is an immersion experience in Chicago that gives students in the College a first-hand look at business operations and marketing in action,” Blakey said.

In the fall of 2013, Huang said Mendoza plans to offer introductory courses in Accounting and Finance for Arts and Letters students taking the Business Economics minor. The introduction of new courses among other changes has shaped the business focus, but it has not defined it.

“What stands us apart from others is the Notre Dame business education that integrates the mind and the heart and faith with reason, and we have done so from the founding of our College,” Huang said.

Students may enter the Mendoza College of Business or enroll in the College of Arts and Letters, but either way they will graduate with more than just a strong business background.