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School of Management revises curriculum

Binghamton’s School of Management will revamp its curriculum this fall in an effort to better integrate SOM freshmen into the school and provide all students with a more holistic view of the business world.

Dean Upinder Dhillon said faculty, alumni, students and SOM advisory board members were involved in the two-year review process that led to the changes. “This is a proactive, rather than a reactive measure,” said Dhillon, who noted the school operates on a continuous improvement model. “You’ve got to keep up with best practices.”

Major changes will include the introduction of a required class that will focus on introducing freshmen to the functional areas of business and the use of computer tools. In particular, it will address spreadsheet modeling and other topics common to all SOM majors, Dhillon said, while giving students a sense of the school’s culture.

Previously, many students spent their first year and part of their second focused on General Education requirements and other non-SOM coursework.

The school will also reorganize some existing SOM classes into “S” and “J” cores to be taken in the sophomore and junior years, including shared labs that will help faculty better integrate material across subjects. Management information systems and operations management, for example, will now be linked by a lab and be taken by all sophomores.

“Essentially, it’s going to help them understand the application,” Dhillon said. “Historically, we haven’t done enough to help them see how knowledge is applied. Why teach in silos when business problems don’t come in silos?”

A course designated to emphasize oral presentation will be moved from the senior year to the junior year, and the school will also find other ways to better prepare students for the working world. Dhillon said those changes reflect the fact that recruiters are contacting students earlier and students need to know more about leadership, teamwork, communication, etiquette and other such topics sooner than they used to.

“When you are known for your excellence, you’d better do a good job,” said Dhillon, who noted the country’s best firms recruit SOM students.

“Companies expect us to prepare the students well in advance.”

The revised curriculum will affect seniors as well. The current course called global strategic management will be revised to include networking opportunities, a speaker series and opportunities for the school to assess learning outcomes.

Overall, Dhillon said, the changes will lead to a more structured, chronological approach throughout the school. Faculty members will have a better idea about students’ knowledge base at any given point once the new curriculum is in place, he noted.

“The quality of our students is continually rising,” Dhillon said. “We have to challenge them and add value to their experiences.”

Changes in Store for Accountants The School of Management also offers a five-year bachelor’s/master’s program in accounting.

Roughly half of all SOM students major in accounting, and new state rules will require certified public accountants to have 150 credit hours of coursework beginning in August 2009. For SOM students this will result in the award of an MS/MBA degree for which they will have to qualify, much as they would for other master’s-level programs.

SOM students can also meet the 150-credit-hour requirement by completing the school’s Professional MBA program in Manhattan.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08