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New Degree to Offer Students a BBA with Flexibility

April 16, 2007

by Amanda Sawyer

Beginning the fall semester of 2007, the Hankamer School of Business will be adding the Baylor Business Fellows major within the Bachelor's of Business Administration program. This new degree plan will allow students flexibility both in and out of the business school to excel in their various interests.

Baylor Business Fellows is a competitive major aimed at those students who, on average, score 1400 or higher SATs or ACT equivalent, and who have a diverse interest that would not be well-served by the existing degree plans at Baylor, according to Dr. J. Allen Seward.

Initial advisors, Dr. J. Allen Seward, department chair and associate professor of finance and insurance, and Dr. Charles M. North, associate professor of economics, have championed the Business Fellows program as an alternative degree plan. They hope this will give students more opportunity to prepare for careers not limited to one degree plan, like financial economics.

It is also feasible to do the Baylor Business Scholars and be in a pre-professional program, such as pre-med. "The program allows students to choose a good set of courses in the business school and retain the flexibility to excel," said Dr. Seward.

According to the course description, Baylor Business Fellows is designed for the small percentage of students admitted to Baylor University who are drawn towards flexibility in course selection while seeking to excel both in and out of the business school. Designing a degree to suit the student's interests is the main goal of the major.

If a student has interests in information systems, medieval literature and performance theater, then they would have to attempt to negotiate the requirements with the Hankamer School of Business, the College of Arts and Sciences' English department and Fine Arts college. It is a difficult task to accomplish because of a general lack course crossover between the disciplines.

Baylor Business Fellows is designed to take out this headache and gives students the ability to pursue their interests without taking unnecessary courses. "We want to give students the flexibility to pursue excellence in multiple areas and create a structure that is profitable to the student's time," Dr. Seward said.

The degree also provides a solid foundation in business by meeting the guidelines established by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International. Such guidelines include a minimum of 25 percent of academic study within the business school and a Senior Project or Thesis.

"Each degree program is required to have a course that is multidisciplinary and capstone in design," Dr. Seward said, "and the Senior Project meets this requirement for the Business Fellows." There are various ways a student could fulfill this commitment. The university honors program thesis, Business Honors Program (B.E.S.T.) program and the Strategic Management (BUS 4385) course, which all general business majors complete, all meet this requisite.

Although it is designed for incoming freshman, the program is also open to transfer students with less than 36 Baylor credit hours. Current students, who are in good standing, are also eligible to transfer from the University Scholars program.

The founding advisors do not want the program to interfere with current programs the university offers. "If there is an existing degree program that meets a student's existing long-term goals, then go ahead and pursue those," Dr. Seward said.

If the program is incompatible with the student's needs, then it would not be beneficial to apply. They need a desire to excel within the business school, not just a high SAT score or a history of excellence is desired for acceptance to the major.

The Baylor Business Fellows degree has been added to the 2007-2008 Baylor University undergraduate catalogs. Incoming and transfer students are encouraged to apply in writing to the Director of the Baylor Business Fellows, Dr. Allen Seward. This contact information can be found through the Hankamer School of Business website (www.baylor.edu/business) and the new undergraduate catalog.

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