Next Year You Might Be a MIB Major

Today we started the process to go from our current six departments down to five. Necessity is the mother of invention and part of the rationale for our new structure lies in our austere budget situation. But while the “new normal” helped spur change, we hope this alignment will help us become a more innovative, engaging, collaborative college that is well-positioned for the future,

Back in the day, business schools were created to get people jobs at General Motors. More precisely the goal was to give people the professional training necessary to get a well-paying job in a functional area in a large organization. Students majored in accounting, finance, marketing, human resource management and so forth, learned the requisite skills, got a job in the corresponding department, bought season tickets to the Detroit Tigers and moved up the corporate ladder. Retirement came with a gold watch, life-time health insurance and a defined benefit pension. Thank you United Auto Workers.

Have you been keeping up on the news? General Motors hasn’t been doing so well lately–that little government bail out thing. Most new jobs are in small companies. Fewer and fewer employees stay in one company for their entire working lives. Work is often performed in project teams composed of people from different functional backgrounds sometimes spread out across the globe. Retirement depends on the performance of your 401-K (it also hasn’t been doing well lately). Entrepreneurship is the value de jour and many people are encouraged to go into business themselves.

I cannot detail all of the ways these changes are going to impact your professional life. They are that profound. Suffice it to say that one implication for students is that you need to acquire an integrated understanding of business. This includes how markets are changing, how these changes impact the internal operation of firms, and how the various functions of business fit together to contribute to the bottom-line. Pay attention as you go through the college core for no matter what your major you are going to need to understand this other stuff if you want a successful career as a business professional.

And as business practice has become more integrated, the business disciplines have experienced some convergence. These days it is getting harder and harder to figure out what is what. Is e-commerce marketing or management information systems or both? What about business intelligence or customer relationship management? And isn’t accounting a management information system? Professor Miller will tell you everything is economics (every economist thinks so) and what discipline can’t claim project management or entrepreneurship?

So in thinking about how to restructure the college we decided to take advantage of some of this convergence as well as consider how our new departments might develop expertise that could better link us with other colleges where we share some interests. In the end, we decided to reorganize three of our departments into two. Gone are the departments of Management, Management Information Systems and Marketing. In there place we have a new department of Technology Entrepreneurship & Management (TEM), that we hope will elevate entrepreneurship in the College and increase our ties with the College of Engineering. We also have a new department of Marketing and International Business (MIB). Men in Black references aside, we hope this new combination will take advantage of the synergies that exist between marketing, supply chain management and international business.

I have asked these new departments to look at the curriculum they will inherent ( for TEM- Management, Entrepreneurship and MIS; for MIB- Marketing, Supply Chain and International Business and suggest ways to integrate the core concepts from these areas into a more streamlined set of course offerings and majors that will better prepare students for the challenges that await you. They should have these new curriculum ready by next fall. If you are already well into your major, don’t worry we will make sure you can complete the old degree. But if you are new to the College or are interested in the more updated programs, you might just be a MIB major by Fall 2012. Stay tuned.

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