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Best LACs for Business Majors

Andrew2199Andrew2199 67 replies5 threads Junior Member
My high school senior son is interested in attending a national liberal arts college and majoring in business. Unfortunately, many excellent schools have no business major or appear to have a very small program. He's OK with any geographic location and is targeting LACs ranked in the #50 to #150 range (CTCL schools and similar). He's been accepted at four schools and is waiting on two others. With deadlines approaching, I'm wondering if he should apply to any additional schools. What LACs have the best business programs?
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Replies to: Best LACs for Business Majors

  • BKSquaredBKSquared 1462 replies8 threads Senior Member
    The concept of a business major and a LAC is almost an oxymoron. LAC's traditionally focus on a general education in the humanities, social science, math and the natural sciences as opposed to a professional or technical course of study.

    I guess the question to ask is if your son is interested in studying business subjects, such as accounting, finance, marketing, business management and organization or does he want to study in a small liberal arts focused school with a path to a career in business. You don't need a business major for that. If your son wants to study business subjects in a small school, or a LAC that has some business subjects, you will need to dig into the majors and courses offered by school. If your son's desire is attending a small undergrad focused college with a career in business in mind, he does not need a LAC with a business program, just one with a track record of placing graduates in finance, consulting, marketing, whatever business career he is interested in. There are plenty of those.
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  • happy1happy1 23062 replies2279 threads Senior Member
    edited November 30
    A few LACs do have full business programs. I respectfully disagree with the above comment and don't consider a b-school at a LAC to be an oxymoron. Four years of college level classes does provide enough time to get a well rounded education in the liberal arts as well as a business education.

    URichmond and Muhlenberg are LACs with full business schools.

    If Catholic schools are OK look at Siena and Stonehill as LACs with full business programs.

    Another option to consider might be Babson which is a LAC sized school that is geared towards business.

    The other option is to study economics which is available at virtually every LAC. It is important to understand that economics and a business school are very different paths. Economics is a liberal arts course of study and gets very theoretical at the upper levels. In contrast if a student goes to an undergraduate business school he/she will take a business core with introductory classes in subjects such as accounting, finance, IT, marketing etc. and then will then major in one of those disciplines. I'm not saying that one path is better than the other, but they are different. I would take the time to look at the coursework (can be found online) for both a finance and an economics major and see if one path is preferable.

    edited November 30
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  • warblersrulewarblersrule 10061 replies172 threads Super Moderator
    Trinity (TX) and Bucknell also have business schools.

    Rhodes, Furman, Skidmore, and Wheaton (MA) are a few other LACs with business majors.

    Wake Forest is worth a look too. It may be more selective than he's looking for, although it's worth noting that it has gone test-optional. Wake is on the smaller side for a university (5200 undergrads), and a mere 1.3% of classes have more than 50 students -- a percentage smaller than several highly selective LACs like Swarthmore, Williams, and Bowdoin.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 2577 replies36 threads Senior Member
    edited November 30
    What schools has your S applied to so far? Where do you live....is any location open?

    In addition to the schools (and sentiment) suggested by happy1, I would add:

    Illinois Wesleyan
    U Puget Sound

    Other CTCL/CTCL like schools may have business majors as well....you just look at each school's website, majors, and courses. Some LACs with business majors will offer the choice of a BA (more humanities courses required) or BS (fewer humanities).

    Lastly, one can major in economics (opening up virtually any LAC) and go into many different business jobs in a variety of industries....exceptions to that are jobs that require more technical majors like accounting or actuarial sciences.

    Good luck.
    edited November 30
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 79097 replies703 threads Senior Member
    BKSquared wrote: »
    The concept of a business major and a LAC is almost an oxymoron. LAC's traditionally focus on a general education in the humanities, social science, math and the natural sciences as opposed to a professional or technical course of study.

    However, some LACs do have a business slant in their economics departments, even though they may not offer true (AACSB accredited) business majors. Example: Claremont McKenna College.
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  • circuitridercircuitrider 3422 replies172 threads Senior Member
    I kind of have to agree with @BKSquared. Colleges and universities small enough to be considered LACs have a very different feel from the ones that include a full-blown business track or business degree. For some, they are a major draw in maintaining gender parity as business is an overwhelming favorite among male students. Consequently, it is not at all uncommon for 50% or more of these small college enrollments to be business and or accounting majors.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 79097 replies703 threads Senior Member
    happy1 wrote: »
    The other option is to study economics which is available at virtually every LAC. It is important to understand that economics and a business school are very different paths. Economics is a liberal arts course of study and gets very theoretical at the upper levels.

    An economics major (anywhere) typically has a core set of courses:

    Lower level:

    * Introductory economics (one or two courses, AP economics may be accepted)
    * Introductory statistics (may be calculus or non-calculus based)
    * Math (varies, depending on math intensity of the major at that school)

    Upper level:

    * Intermediate microeconomics
    * Intermediate macroeconomics
    * Econometrics

    Beyond the typical core, additional upper level electives are needed to complete the major. Depending on the department's emphasis, there may be more business-like offerings, such as more offerings in finance, managerial economics, or even accounting, as opposed to more typical liberal arts economics offerings such as mathematical economics, advanced econometrics, economic history, behavioral economics, environmental economics, etc..

    Note that math intensity of the major can vary, in terms of math requirements and math prerequisites to the core upper level economics courses:

    * No calculus, with non-calculus-based statistics (AP statistics may be accepted).
    * Single variable calculus (AP calculus may be accepted), may require calculus-based statistics.
    * Multivariable calculus and/or linear algebra, may require calculus-based statistics.

    Students planning to go on to PhD study in economics should favor more math intensive economics programs, and take additional upper level math and statistics courses (e.g. real analysis, upper level linear algebra, probability theory).
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  • inthegardeninthegarden 1252 replies25 threads Senior Member
    edited November 30
    Washington and Jefferson College outside of Pittsburgh has a department of economics and business with accounting, business management and entrepreneurship. (Ranked 92 / U.S. News.) Dickinson College has international business management, ranked around 49 I think.

    Not really a LAC but a little larger at 7000 students, Elon in NC is rising in the ranks (and popularity) and has a school of business. Recently made the transition from being regarded as regional school to national university status.
    edited November 30
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  • CheddarcheeseMNCheddarcheeseMN 3448 replies11 threads Senior Member
    Knox College has a new business and management program.
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  • MistySteel27MistySteel27 39 replies0 threads Junior Member
    My cousin attended Drexel in Philadelphia for business and specialized in finance. He did very well there and had multiple job offers before he graduated. The co-op program is especially useful for business to get experience and build a resume. He did a session in NYC, San Francisco and London. Since he did extra coops he graduated in 5 years but that was his choice and could have easily finished in 4 with jobs. The school is expensive but was very generous with merit for him.
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  • taverngirltaverngirl 1105 replies30 threads Senior Member
    Susquehanna is supposed to have a good business school.
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  • roycroftmomroycroftmom 3108 replies39 threads Senior Member
    Elon combines many of the LAC features with a business school ranked number 50 on most lists
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  • PublisherPublisher 8879 replies107 threads Senior Member
    @Andrew2199: It depends upon which schools your son has applied to & been accepted. Do these schools satisfy hhis needs ?
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  • NJSwimMomNJSwimMom 1 replies0 threads New Member
    I would highly recommend searching the list of schools accredited by the AACSB on their website, and then cross referencing for any that are also LACs. I would absolutely suggest finding a school with a very strong business internship program as well. Finally, discuss whether they are thinking of completing a five year BS/MBA, as they can further refine their list with schools that meet that criteria. (Unlikely to be many LACs with the combined degree program though.)
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  • MomofmanytooMomofmanytoo 150 replies12 threads Junior Member
    edited December 2
    DePauw- doesn’t technically have business. But they do have a Management Fellows program that acts as such, with great internship opportunities attached. Plus then the student can major in whatever interests them, to go along with the program. We have one child who went through this program with great success.
    edited December 2
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  • rickle1rickle1 2084 replies18 threads Senior Member
    Somebody mentioned Richmond. That could be a really solid solution. They are unusual in functioning like a traditional LAC that happens to have a very solid UG B -School. Not that the rankings matter all that much, but a few yrs ago they were simultaneously top 20 ranked in USNWR in LACs and UG Business schools. Have around 3k students so on the larger side of LACs but all the traditional attributes are there; small classes, residential and UG focus, etc.

    Very solid career placement in traditional business related jobs. Does preety well in the DC/ NYC corridor.

    Although S attends elsewhere, we were very impressed with them. Very nice people too. Had a few dealings with financial aid, admissions folks, etc. Very organized and high touch!
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  • chmcnmchmcnm 245 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Maybe Lehigh, U San Diego (beautiful campus), Wake Forest (beautiful campus too), Duquesne, or Loyola Chicago? Some of the Catholic schools are a nice mix of LAC and business like Fordham, Santa Clara, or LMU.
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  • murray93murray93 189 replies21 threads Junior Member
    Puget Sound has a business leadership program.
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  • PublisherPublisher 8879 replies107 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2
    Many top LACs offer an online option from Harvard Business School.

    From the Fiske Guide To Colleges 2020 edition:

    Small Colleges & Universities Strong in Business: (lists 39 schools) including:

    Babson College, Bucknell University, Butler University, Eckerd College, Fairfield University, Gettysburg College, Hendrix, Ithaca, Lafayette, Lake Forest College, Lewis & Clark College, Ohio Wesleyan, Presbyterian, Rhodes College, Univ. of Richmond, Skidmore, Southwestern University, Stetson, Susquehanna, Trinity Univ. (Texas), Wash & Jefferson, Wash & Lee, Wofford College, & WPI (also lists 15 others).

    Lake Forest College in Illinois is located within a reasonable drive from Northwestern University. Located in a very wealthy suburb of Chicago. Lots of high ranking business executives live in Lake Forest, Illinois.

    Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn. should be considered.
    edited December 2
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