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Response from a math major

Observer Viewpoint | Thursday, April 14, 2005

After reading Kate Gales’ defense of the business major, I must ask where she found the time to write to The Observer? How can one even find a moment to eat, let alone write an article, when there are numbers to enter into formulas, fake products to advertise and information systems to manage?

From what I can gather as a lowly math major, most business classes are comprised of 3 or 4 weeks of lectures and then a test. Obviously then, every few weeks a certain amount of stress is expected and all-nighters warranted.

However, I have never known a fellow math major to spend Friday or Saturday night studying, as Gales offers as proof of a business major’s burdensome workload. Perhaps business is indeed more challenging than mathematics … or maybe time management should be included into the business curriculum.

Gales reiterates her argument in extolling that she has “more exams and projects” than her pre-professional roommate. I ask, does this necessarily imply more work, or more time spent on this work? I even offer the suggestion that much of a business major’s workload is comprised of busywork that only requires hours of monotonous effort.

As proof, I offer up any computer lab the night before a business project is due. It is literally filled with students copying HTML code from a book, copying formulas from a book, or creating a spreadsheet with directions found in a book.

And don’t think we don’t notice that while one person is copying information into the computer from a book, the other three group members are talking to another group about how they are stressed out and need a break from all this work … work like learning how to read the newspaper, make webpages and sign paychecks, as Gales tells us.

Finally, I did not understand the purpose of the paragraph telling us we will probably work for business majors one day and that the University would crumble without them. Without debating the truth of this statement, you are asking that, because I will work for you later, I should forgo all logical thought and believe you do substantial amounts of work all year long?

Personally, my problem with the business school is not necessarily the amount of work completed but rather the type of work expected. Business is essentially a trade. Most business majors are getting a business degree to enter the business world and make money. They learn to take numbers and put them into the correct “debit” or “credit” columns.

You could essentially train a monkey to do this. English majors don’t leave doing English. Math majors don’t leave doing math. In fact, the majority of non-Business majors do not leave Notre Dame with a trade.

Rather, they leave with a liberal arts education that prepares them to think critically about worldly issues and prepares them for a plethora of jobs, including the business world.

Leaving Notre Dame with an education and not a trade found at a technical school? Fine by me.

Eric Staron


Dillon Hall

April 13