New minors, double majors, more hands-on learning opportunities
Top-ranked Mendoza College of Business is reimagining its Undergraduate Studies program to elevate the student experience.
Published: August 11, 2023 / Author: Carol Elliott
The 2023-24 academic year ushers in many new developments for the Undergraduate Studies program at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. The aim, according to Martijn Cremers, Martin J. Gillen Dean of Mendoza, aligns squarely with one of the College’s top strategic goals: to provide an unsurpassed education experience that contributes to the formation and preparation of undergraduate students who will meaningfully contribute to the world.
“As the business school of this great University, we provide our students with incredible opportunities to learn, develop and grow intellectually, socially and spiritually in ways that are unique to Notre Dame,” said Cremers. “It’s our awesome responsibility to re-envision business education to emphasize integration across disciplines; add opportunities for hands-on, real-world learning; and prepare students for a data-driven world. We challenge our students to ‘Grow the Good in Business.’”
Incoming business students together with current rising sophomores will be able to take full advantage of Mendoza’s redesigned Undergraduate Business Core, first announced in spring 2022. The revised curriculum reduces the number of required business classes almost by half, enabling students to better design a curriculum suited to their particular academic interests and career aspirations.
The Business Core includes the business courses that all undergraduate business degree students must take regardless of their major. The key change is a reduction in required courses from 49.5 credit hours to 25.5 credit hours. A typical semester-long course is 3 credit hours.
Importantly, all undergraduate business students still experience a foundational course from each business discipline. They also take nine credit hours of “broadening” business electives in multiple departments outside of their own major’s department. Mendoza students balance out their academic course load with 24 credits in non-business courses.
The changes to the Undergraduate Business Core allow students to take advantage of other new developments at the College, including:
Double majors within the business school. Mendoza students in the Class of 2026 and beyond may now declare a second major within the College, allowing them to specialize in two business disciplines without adding time to their degree program. Pursuing this second major option differentiates Mendoza students in the job market, creating additional employment and graduate degree opportunities. Students pursuing degrees in Mendoza’s majors of Accountancy, Finance, Marketing and Strategic Management currently are available for students to take as double majors; the Business Analytics major is not included as a double major option.
New minors for business and non-business students. Minors allow students to add experience and knowledge in specific areas or industries. This includes non-business Notre Dame students as well, who can learn some of the essential business concepts in key disciplines to support their career plans.
As of fall 2023, Mendoza’s minors include:
For business students only:
- Business Technology
- Business and the Common Good
- Impact Consulting (open to business students with the exception of Strategic Management majors)
For non-business students:
- Digital Marketing
- Foundations of Business (open only to College of Science students)
For all Notre Dame students (business and non-business):
- Innovation and Entrepreneurship
- Real Estate
Notably, Mendoza is adding two new minors for business students in fall 2023.
The first new minor is called Business and the Common Good. This minor, offered through Mendoza’s Business Ethics and Society Program, is a “uniquely Notre Dame” offering that seeks to gather an intellectual community of students and faculty who share a special interest in the philosophical and theological foundations of careers in business and citizenship in a commercial society. Courses include Mendoza’s “Why Business?”, “The Noble Vocation of Business” and the seminar “Business and the Common Good” — all of which also fulfill University core requirements — as well as two 1.5 credit-hour colloquia.
The College also launched the Powerful Means Initiative (see below), which includes the new Impact Consulting minor. The minor initially will be open only to Mendoza students except for those currently majoring in Strategic Management (previously called the Management Consulting major).
The Impact Consulting Minor enables students to have a meaningful impact on the world’s most pressing problems. Students engage with project partners over multiple semesters to apply design thinking principles to empathize with stakeholders, co-create innovative solutions, design and test prototypes, and ultimately, build and launch concepts. All students in the minor receive full financial support to participate in the required immersion course, which is an onsite deep-dive experience working collaboratively with stakeholders for research, concept testing and implementation.
The Powerful Means Initiative (PMI). This initiative is the umbrella for Mendoza’s immersive experiential learning opportunities consisting of the new Impact Consulting Minor, the Innovation for Impact Club and the emerging Impact Investment Fund and Incubator. PMI provides the central organizational unit for all of these efforts and more to deliver truly unique, hands-on experiential learning opportunities to undergraduate students that have a real impact in taking on some of the most pressing global issues.
The initiative has its roots in the work of Management & Organization professor Wendy Angst, who initiated collaboration with a girls’ school in a remote region of Northern Uganda in 2020. Angst’s efforts resulted in the development of multi-semester engagements involving over 340 Notre Dame students to relaunch the St. Bakhita Vocational Training Center, a vocational school dedicated to supporting women and girls, many of whom are child-mothers.
The effort has grown to include creating and launching businesses to support school operations and improve the economic prosperity of the region, enabling more than 70 Notre Dame students to participate in life-changing in-country immersions; facilitating multiple on-site summer research and implementation fellowships; and creating an impact investment fund to support graduates of the vocational school to create businesses and build better futures.
Enhanced facilities. The Undergraduate Studies program has enhanced the building’s facilities with the intention to build a strong sense of community among Mendoza students. During the past couple of years, all manner of comfy lounge chairs, study booths, banquettes, counters, tables and even a fireplace have been added throughout Mendoza’s soaring atrium, hallways and lower levels to give students welcoming places to gather and study.
This goal recently received a big boost with the announcement of a new three-story addition to the Mendoza building that will add nearly 20,000 square feet of classroom space, team/seminar rooms, a large student lounge designated for undergraduate students, as well as faculty and staff offices. Groundbreaking is set for 2025.
The main feature of the new addition is a large auditorium to be used primarily for teaching foundational undergraduate courses. The mostly flat design means that students are never far from the front of the room — and thus the professor — to make the classroom experience more engaging. Its larger capacity allows the College to teach more students and expand access to business foundations courses to more non-business majors.
“We’ve made great strides in the past few years to advance the College as a leading business school guided by our Catholic identity, including launching our new Ph.D. programs in management and analytics, increasing the size of our distinguished faculty, seeing growth in our master’s programs and comprehensively revising our Undergraduate Business Core, to name a few developments,” said Cremers. “This new building is another major step toward achieving the College’s strategic goals, giving us space to serve more students and grow our faculty and staff.”