This fall, students in any program at the University of Maryland will have access to business courses in an online format to fit into their schedules from anywhere, thanks to the new asynchronous business minor program from the Robert H. Smith School of Business.
The expanded program is part of the Smith School’s strategic plan, which includes a priority to broaden access to business education at the University of Maryland and beyond.
“Irrespective of discipline, the marketability of any major is enhanced by a business minor,” says Maryland Smith Dean Prabhudev Konana. “Regardless of a student’s career goals, we believe knowledge of fundamental business concepts will be attainable and valuable.”
The asynchronous model is a reboot of the Smith School’s former in-person general business minor. Courses include video lessons from professors, complemented by online lab hours and office hours, and students interact in online discussion boards.
“There has been a lot of interest in business classes from students across campus and this opens up minors course content to a lot more students,” says Nicole Coomber, Assistant Dean of Alumni and Corporate Engagement and academic director of the program. “We don’t have to be restricted by classroom space and scheduling.”
Top business school faculty have adapted their core business courses for non-business majors. The first courses are in marketing, management, supply chain, accounting and finance, with plans to add additional electives in the future. Every course will be offered each term.
“If you ever wanted to just take one business class, this is the opportunity for students outside the business school to do that,” Coomber says. “Students can also choose to be a business minor. You can take all five classes within the year if you want to.”
Courses can also be included by other schools and programs on campus to include in their minors programs. “For example, there’s a new Arts and Leadership minor that they are developing on campus, and they are going to include the marketing elective as part of that program,” says Coomber.
The new format is also an effect of figuring out online offerings that worked well during the pandemic.
“By offering something that’s asynchronous, we meet students where they are – which turns out, is online,” says Coomber. “It’s also more efficient for the school. You can have one faculty member teaching far more students each year. It allows students across campus to access to some of our best undergrad faculty.”
The benefits to students in any discipline are invaluable, she says.
“If you’re going to work in any organization, you’re going to need these business skills. And you can get them in a way that’s going to work for you. I cannot think of a single major on campus that this doesn’t compliment. That’s the benefit to students. They can pick it up at any point in their academic career and it’s very flexible.”
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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business
The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and flex MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, business master’s, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.