Business department launches new majors, entrepreneurship minor

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What once was the general business major and minor will soon become five specific majors and two minors.

The new entrepreneurship minor will be offered starting fall 2018. Other degrees in finance, human resource management, human resource marketing, professional selling, and analytics and research, as well as a minor in supply chain management will start in the fall of 2019. The new programs will be available to current first-year and sophomore students.

The changes come as a response to research that the business department conducted with employers, recent graduates and prospective students. They also compared Calvin’s offerings to programs at about 40 other colleges.

Currently, the business program at Calvin offers two majors: business and a bachelor of science in accountancy (BSA). The business major includes five concentrations: entrepreneurship, finance, human resources, marketing and operations. There are also two minors available in business and accounting and a  master’s program in accountancy. The offerings in accounting will be unaffected by the recent changes.

According to business professor Tom Betts, employers are looking for more depth in students’ studies of analytics, data analysis, spreadsheets and oral and digital rhetoric. The new programs include several classes outside of the business department, drawing on strengths across the college in areas like the social sciences.

Business is one of Calvin’s biggest departments, with an average of 163 graduates a year, counting affiliated programs such as sports management or graphic design, which include business studies in their requirements.

“The new business program offers students even more robust options with greater depth in specific areas of business. [They] are current, rigorous and enhance Calvin’s strong business offering,” said professor Leonard Van Drunen, chair of the business department.

According to Eliezer Yeong, a senior involved with the Calvin Center for Innovation in Business, the entrepreneurship  minor will focus on succeeding in small business leadership through collecting information and being people-oriented. Yeong, who assisted business professor Peter Snyder in marketing the minor, said it was intended not just for business majors but for any artist, engineer or writer with an interest in creating their own enterprise.

“It’s about trying to create a solution to a problem,” said Yeong, who emphasized that the minor aligns well with Calvin’s values of thinking deeply, acting justly and living wholeheartedly. Students will have the opportunity to develop their own business in a new class on social entrepreneurship.

The minor will be 21 credits, with a couple of interim options available that could lighten the course load from a regular semester. Entrepreneurship will give students  background in areas such as communications, accounting and website design, with classes from a variety of departments in the college.

Yeong noted that many international students who had graduated from Calvin went back home and started something to answer needs that were present in their home countries. Other recent Calvin graduates with entrepreneurial ventures include Lance VanTine, who started a medical advocate service for senior citizens called Professional Experienced Assistants Caring for the Elderly (PEACE), and Ryan Roff, the creator of boldSOCKS, which partners with 20 Liters to deliver clean water to those in need.

“It’s an opportunity to understand what you can do and what people can do,” said Yeong. “Anyone can use this.”