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News Release

Office of News and Information
212 Whitehead Hall / 3400 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21218-2692
Phone: (410) 516-7160 / Fax (410) 516-5251

July 23, 1996
CONTACT: Phil Sneiderman

JHU Launches New Business Minor to Prepare
Engineers for Management Posts

New engineering graduates often possess top-notch technical skills, but they may not be well-equipped to run a small company or supervise a team of employees. Beginning this fall, however, undergraduates at The Johns Hopkins University will be able to bolster their courseload with business and management training. The new "Minor in Entrepreneurship and Management" is designed to prepare students to move quickly into leadership positions in industry and the public sector.

Professional organizations and business leaders have been encouraging universities to supplement their engineering training with more instruction in management and finance areas, JHU administrators say. As many large corporations have "downsized," more opportunities have opened in small businesses, where employers and professionals such as engineers need strong management skills and knowledge of marketplace dynamics and international trade. In addition, many students themselves are hungry for more education in these areas. A three-day engineering course on technological leadership and financial strategies, offered last January at JHU, was set up for 40 students. Twice as many tried to register, and many had to be turned away.

By offering the new business minor, said Roger Westgate, associate dean for academic affairs at JHU's Whiting School of Engineering, "I think we're answering what seems to be the loud and clear message that's coming from the engineering community."

Backing up an engineering program with finance and management courses is not unusual at universities that also have a school of business. But such a curriculum is far less common at other campuses, such as Hopkins, that do not have a business school, JHU administrators say. "We're near the leading edge on this," said Westgate.

Hopkins students who opt for the business minor will not receive less rigorous instruction in the fundamentals of engineering. "I hope it will be an important supplement to the engineering program," said John C. Wierman, the mathematical sciences department chairman, who led the development of the new minor. "It's not replacing anything. We want to improve the education of engineering students."

Although the minor was organized by the engineering school, students majoring in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences will also be able to sign up. Students will need to complete at least seven courses in five categories: quantitative methods, business and finance, leadership and organizational behavior, operations, and international trade. Students preparing for different professions can customize their coursework. For example, an engineering major may select classes in corporate finance and mathematical models for decision-making. A student planning a career in human resources may choose business law and marketing for credit toward the minor.

The new business program initially will draw on courses already offered by JHU, including its School of Continuing Studies. An advisory committee of alumni and business executives will make proposals to improve and expand the program. "It was put together with existing courses," said Westgate, "but it's not going to stop there."

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