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Offices: Registrar - Catalog

Business Management

Division of Social Sciences


Susan A. Vowels, Chair

Sun Young Ahn

Sheila Bair

Stewart Barroll

Joseph Bauer

Alvin Drischler

Ryan Eanes

Michael Harvey

Steven Migdal

Robyn Moore

Caddie Putnam Rankin

Crystal Richard

Hui-Ju Tsai

S. Lansing Williams


Build in-demand career skills with a specialization in Accounting and Finance … gain experience with internships in town and around the world … study abroad in London, Paris, or other business capitals … work hands-on with SAP, the world’s leading enterprise software package… invest in your future with the Brown Advisory student-managed investment fund: at Washington College, business management is an active liberal art.


Our quantitative orientation teaches you how to think with numbers. Our small course size sharpens your discussion skills and lets you work closely with faculty. Our team projects let you experience the challenges and rewards of collaborative work. Our senior capstone—a rigorous, senior-year individual project—polishes your research, analytic, and writing skills. All in all, our program challenges you to link the College’s enduring liberal-arts values of critical thinking, effective communication, and moral courage with cutting-edge business leadership skills. 


Managerial knowledge, critical thinking skills, quantitative analysis skills, communication skills, global perspective, collaboration skills, ethical awareness: these are abilities you will take with you after your successful completion of the Business Management major.


The Major


The Business Management major consists of two economics introductory courses, eight 4-credit required courses, one 4-credit elective course at the 200-level or above, a Global Learning requirement, and the Senior Capstone Experience.  A 1-credit Introduction to the Business Management Discipline is also required once students have declared the major; students will be enrolled in this class by the department chair.


ECN 111. Principles of Macroeconomics

ECN 112. Principles of Microeconomics

BUS 109. Managerial Statistics (or alternative—see details under Quantitative Requirement)

BUS 111. Principles of Marketing

BUS 112. Introduction to Financial Accounting

BUS 200. Introduction to the Business Management Discipline

BUS 209. Financial Analysis

BUS 210. Management Information Systems

BUS 302. Organizational Behavior

BUS 303. Legal Environment of Business (or a PHL ethics course)

BUS elective at the 200-level or above

Global learning requirement (see details under Global Learning Requirement)

BUS 401. Strategic Management

BUS SCE. Senior Capstone Experience


All required courses are offered every semester.  Elective courses are offered on a rotating basis; please check with the department chair or your advisor for details.  All of these courses (except for the Senior Capstone Experience) may be taken at our study-abroad partners (not all courses are offered by all study abroad partners).


Global Learning Requirement

Since business is global, the Business Management major includes a global learning requirement. (International students are exempt but are welcome and encouraged to take advantage of visiting another country through study abroad.) It may be fulfilled in one of three ways: (1) participating in any study-abroad or away-from-campus experience that earns Washington College credit; (2) studying a foreign language through the 202-level; or (3) taking two global-focus courses. One of these must be a Business Management course (BUS 310 International Business, BUS 311 Global Business Strategy, or an approved elective course). The other may be chosen from any course listed as part of the International Studies Program offered by any other department (excluding ECN 111).


The department encourages students to fulfill their global learning requirement by studying abroad. Study abroad gives you first-hand experience with other ways of life; you’ll get a deeper understanding of how culture affects markets, firms, and strategy. And study abroad, by offering you a new perspective on your native culture, will challenge you and stimulate your creativity and critical thinking. To facilitate study abroad, we’ve identified nine outstanding partner business programs (all taught in English):


Royal Holloway, University of London (England)

American Business School Paris (France)

Bond University (Gold Coast, Australia)

Lingnan University (Hong Kong, China)

Al Akhawayn University (Ifrane, Morocco)

Meiji Gakuin University (Yokohama, Japan)

Bogazici University (Istanbul, Turkey)

University College Cork (Cork, Ireland)

Monash University (Melbourne, Australia)


Including those listed above, there are a total of 28 semester-long study abroad programs available; only four do not offer business or management classes for their international students (please see the Global Education Office for details). Students interested in study abroad are encouraged to share their interest with their academic advisors and visit with the Global Education Office at their earliest convenience.


Many students planning to study abroad and interested in further study of international business choose to pursue a concentration in Global Business Studies, administered through the International Studies Program (students are not required to major in International Studies). In addition, students interested in a particular region may wish to pursue a regional concentration in African Studies, Asian Studies, Latin American Studies, Near Eastern Studies, or European Studies.


Quantitative Requirement

BUS majors are required to complete a two-course quantitative sequence: BUS 109 Managerial Statistics and BUS 209 Financial Analysis. Both courses count towards the college’s general education quantitative requirement. All students may replace BUS 109 with MAT 109 Statistics. Business Management-Economics double majors may substitute ECN 215 for BUS 109. Business Management-Psychology double majors may similarly substitute PSY 209. In all cases, however, the Business Management major requires students to take BUS 209 Financial Analysis, so that in some cases double-majors may need to end up taking three quantitative courses (for instance, PSY 209, PSY 309, and BUS 209) to fulfill all their requirements.



Most majors and many minors in Business Management gain valuable experience by participating in for-credit internships during the fall, spring, or summer after completing Marketing and Introduction to Financial Accounting (see the course descriptions below for BUS 390 and BUS 490). The Business Management department works closely with the Center for Career Development to prepare our students to vie for internships and flourish during their experience.


Recent local, national and international internships garnered by our students include the following:


Bank of America Headquarters (Charlotte, NC)

Corbin Perception (Farmington, CT)

Deloitte (McLean, VA)

Dixon Valve and Coupling Headquarters (Chestertown, MD)

Equirus Capital Private Limited (Mumbai,India)

Li & Fung Headquarters (Hong Kong)

RETHINK Water (Ellicott City, Maryland)

Sam’s Club Headquarters (Bentonville, AK)

Semiconductor Industry Association (Washington, D.C.)

Social Security Administration (Woodlawn, MD)


The Business Management Minor

A Business Management minor adds value to your résumé regardless of your major.  You’ll learn the language of business, the concepts of organizations, and lay the foundation for infusing your vision with these valuable tools whether you plan to pursue a career in the arts, humanities, social sciences, mathematics or natural sciences.  The five-course minor consists of three required courses (BUS 111, 112, and 302) and two BUS electives, which may be drawn from any upper-level (200-level or higher) BUS course. Any of the five courses may be taken in a study-abroad program. BUS 109 Managerial Statistics is not required for the Business Management minor but is highly recommended.


The Accounting and Finance Minor

The Accounting and Finance minor provides a rigorous, in-depth opportunity to study in these in-demand fields in preparation for employment or further study at the graduate level. The minor consists of four core courses, and four electives. Business Management majors cannot declare the minor, but can earn a specialization in Accounting and Finance by completing the same curricular requirements.  Elective courses are offered on a rotating basis; please contact the department chair or co-directors of the Accounting and Finance Minor to obtain a schedule of course offerings. Details can be found in the separate catalog listing for the Accounting and Finance Minor.


The Information Systems Minor

Information Systems is the interdisciplinary study of the ways in which computer technology can foster organizational excellence.  Drawing from both Business Management and Computer Science, the Information Systems Minor stresses strong analytical skills, the facility to find imaginative solutions to difficult problems, and the application of ethical principles.  Details can be found in the separate catalog listing for the Information Systems Minor.


The Marketing Minor

Marketing is a creative problem-solving endeavor that rigorously identifies people’s needs and desires and develops products and services to meet them. Marketing includes market research and data analysis of consumer behavior and mindset; development of new products and services; cultivation of relationships with consumers and target markets; and creation and maintenance of brand identities as a durable source of trust and credible information in complex environments.  The minor consists of three required courses, and two electives. With the exception of BUS 111 and BUS 224, courses are not offered every semester; please contact the department chair or co-directors of the Marketing Minor to obtain a schedule of course offerings. Details can be found in the separate catalog listing for the Marketing Minor.




Honor Societies

The Washington College chapter of Sigma Beta Delta, the national business honor society, recognizes Business Management majors and minors in the top 20% of their class who aspire toward personal and professional improvement and a life distinguished by service to humankind.


In addition, business management students may aspire to membership in other honor societies, including Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society, and Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest academic honor society.  Membership in Phi Beta Kappa is by invitation only, and eligibility is based on the totality of a student’s academic achievement and character. Students interested in Phi Beta Kappa are advised to take a broad range of courses and should plan a program that includes at least 96 credits in “liberal studies” courses. (BUS 109 Managerial Statistics, BUS 302 Organizational Behavior, BUS 303 Legal Environment of Business and the BUS senior capstone count toward the “liberal studies” requirement, but other BUS courses do not.)


American Marketing Association Student Chapter

Students declaring the Marketing minor are invited to participate in the student chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA), which provides a variety of opportunities and experiences, including speakers, networking, real-life case-based competitions and more. 


Brown Advisory Student-Managed Investment Fund Program

Students from any major can participate in the Brown Advisory Student-Managed Investment Fund Program and help manage an equity fund valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars. Under the mentorship of Richard Bookbinder P’10, founder and manager of TerraVerde Capital Management and Bookbinder Capital Management, LLC, you’ll learn to analyze and report on stocks, and then execute trades worth tens of thousands of dollars. The program includes career preparation, talks by visiting business leaders, and intensive work over the semester that will help prepare you for a career in the investment field.  Networking events and special opportunities such as attendance at shareholder meetings allow students to acquire valuable real-world knowledge.


SAP Student Recognition Award

Washington College, a member of the SAP University Alliances Program, has been authorized by SAP to award students meeting the following criteria with the SAP Student Recognition Award.  In order to earn this highly valued non-transcript resume-building recognition, students must successfully complete BUS 210, BUS 315 and BUS 316, reflecting a breadth of experience and familiarity with the SAP software products that are used to support pedagogy in these three classes.  BUS 210 is offered every semester but BUS 315 and BUS 316 are offered on a rotating basis so students interested in pursuing this award should work with their advisors to plan accordingly.


Washington College Enactus

Enactus is an international organization that develops students into leaders through hands-on experience in designing and implementing entrepreneurial-based projects that empower people to engage in real, sustainable progress for themselves and their communities. Guided by academic advisors and business experts, students not only transform lives, they also develop the kind of talent and perspective that are essential to leadership in an ever more complex and challenging world.  Current projects of the Washington College Enactus team include providing employment for local people with developmental disabilities, aiding a young entrepreneur in Haiti, and assisting local businesses in upgrading their social media outreach skills. Students participate in both regional and national competitions and have access to job fairs, internships and employment opportunities.  Membership in the Washington College Enactus team is open to students of all majors.  Enactus:  ENtrepreneurial ACTion for others creates a better world for US all.


Course Descriptions

  1. Managerial Statistics

Managerial statistics focuses on the use of statistical analysis to make fact-based decisions for business firms and other organizations. Topics taught include descriptive statistics, normal distributions, probabilities, sampling distributions, hypothesis testing, ANOVA, and simple and multiple linear regression analysis.   Data analysis techniques using Microsoft Excel are included.


  1. Principles of Marketing

A critical approach to the study of the marketing concept including policies and principles. Emphasis is placed on the identification of variables involved in marketing decision-making and the process by which marketing decisions are made. Prerequisite: ECN 112


  1. Introduction to Financial Accounting

An introduction to the accounting principles and procedures used for collecting, recording, summarizing, and interpreting financial information. Students will learn to read and interpret financial statements. Special emphasis is placed upon the concepts of internal control over resources and transactions. Computerized spreadsheets are integrated into the course.


  1. Introduction to the Business Management Discipline

This course is required of Business Management majors. Students will acquire a broad view of the discipline, learn how the requirements for the major fit together and be introduced to contemporary issues in business.  They will also acquire proficiency in skills necessary for success in the Business Management major including Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint skills related to the major, presentation skills, and the ability to speak in a public forum, and participation as team members and team leaders.  Strategies for applying critical thinking skills and personal ethical frameworks in the context of business management will also be included. Classes will meet every other week for 75 minutes; students will also attend campus events related to the major. Grading is pass-fail. By permission of department chair. One credit.


  1. Financial Analysis

This course introduces students to the fundamental concepts of finance and equips students with the ability to make meaningful financial decisions. This course addresses topics including the analysis of financial statements, the operation of financial markets, and the valuation of financial instruments, such as stocks and bonds. After taking this course, students should be able to (1) conduct financial ratio analysis, (2) understand the time value of money and apply the discounted cash flow (DCF) method to value assets,  and (3) understand the concept of risk and return. Prerequisite: BUS 109 (or other statistics course) and BUS 112.


  1. Management Information Systems

This course introduces Management Information Systems and its use in solving business problems, finding new opportunities for organizational improvement, and supporting enterprise strategic, operational, and analytical objectives.  Students learn database concepts, document and analyze business processes as related to integrated software systems, and use various models to develop ethical approaches to the design and use of information systems. Microsoft Access and SAP enterprise software are used to illustrate concepts. Prerequisite:  BUS 112.


  1. Managerial Accounting

Study of the use of accounting information to plan for, evaluate, and control activities. The course will explore various product and service costing procedures. Other topics include responsibility accounting, budgets, financial analysis, costs control, and the time value of money. Emphasis will be placed upon the use of information for management decisions. Prerequisite: BUS 112.


  1. Marketing Research Methods

This course examines the role of marketing research in the formulation and solution of marketing problems, and the development of the student’s basic skills in conducting and evaluating marketing research projects.  Special emphasis is placed on problem formulation, research design, alternative methods of data collection (including data collection instruments, sampling, and field operations), and data analysis techniques using IBM SPSS.  Applications of modern marketing research procedures to a variety of marketing problems are explored.  Prerequisite: BUS 111 and BUS 109 or equivalent.


  1. Digital Marketing

This course introduces the practice of using social media and other digital communication channels, including Internet and mobile-based tools and platforms, to reach consumers and advance marketing strategies.  Digital media can be used to build brands, create and maintain relationships, launch promotions, advertise products and services and more.  While this course will aim to offer theoretical underpinnings needed to launch, manage, and measure digital marketing efforts, it will also attempt to teach students to creatively engage with digital marketing tools and to stay abreast of the latest developments in the fast-growing world of digital marketing.  Prerequisite: BUS 111


  1. Organizational Behavior

A research-based exploration of how organizations function. Topics include the contemporary workplace, career management, culture, bureaucracy, teams, motivation, emotional intelligence, power, communication, gender, diversity, and leadership. Students prepare and make collaborative presentations and conduct workplace and leadership interviews.


  1. Legal Environment of Business

This course looks at how the law has evolved from English common law to today’s statutory and regulatory legal environment. The course explores recent statutes such as Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank and how they have impacted the way businesses operate. The course also investigates legal and ethical issues facing businesses today, different types of business associations, and liability issues faced by businesses under current tort law, contract law, and property law.


  1. International Business

Introduction to the study of global business, including the dynamics of conducting business across national boundaries and the critical roles that culture, technology, politics, and economics play in shaping the global competitive environment.  Students may not take both BUS 310 and BUS 311.


  1. Global Business Strategy

Acquaints future managers with the tools necessary to understand challenges facing multinational firms. Focuses on the management, strategy, corporate structuring, and functional operations necessary for firms to succeed globally. Includes lectures, cases, guest speakers, and a computer simulation game. Students may not take both BUS 310 and BUS 311.


  1. Enterprise Resource Planning Systems

This course provides the student with comprehensive knowledge of an important information technology tool—Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. Using SAP ERP software, students learn the information flow for distribution and manufacturing business processes including fulfillment, procurement, and production, and learn how ERP systems support these business processes in an integrated fashion. The course includes an introduction to system configuration, in which organizational structure, policy rules and other corporate information are analyzed and then mapped to the ERP system. Prerequisite: BUS 210 or permission of the instructor.


  1. Business Analytics

Introduction to theory and practice encompassing tools used to perform analysis of various forms of business information. Topics may include data warehouses, in-memory analytics, predictive analysis, visualization, big data, and methods to approach both structured and unstructured data. Students use SAP software to model and provision analytics databases, and develop actionable information from databases and spreadsheets using SAP, Tableau and SAS visualization products. Prerequisite: BUS 210 or permission of the instructor.


  1. Entrepreneurship

A study of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship, the process of identifying opportunities, the marshaling and management of resources, and strategic planning and development of a business plan. An examination of the management process through growth and change, including reasons for the successes and failures of specific companies. Prerequisite: BUS 202 or permission of the instructor.


  1. Consumer Behavior

This course is concerned with how and why people behave as consumers.  Its goals are to: (1) provide conceptual understanding of consumer behavior; (2) provide experience in the application of buyer behavior concepts to marketing management decisions and social policy decision-making; and (3) to develop analytical capability in using behavioral research.   Prerequisite: BUS 111 or permission of the instructor.


327, 328, 329.

An integrated three-course unit for students spending a semester at the Washington Center. Students receive 16 elective credits in Business Management. (Details below.)


  1. Washington Center Internship

A full-time, semester-long internship in Washington, DC, with a federal agency, non-profit organization, or private firm. Depending upon interest and internship placement, students may attend hearings, conduct policy research, draft correspondence, monitor legislation, lobby members of Congress, or write analytical reports. Students will create an in-depth portfolio of their internship experience. 12 credits. Prerequisite: BUS 111, 2.8 cumulative GPA, permission of an instructor, and successful application to The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars. This course is normally open only to juniors and seniors.


  1. Washington Center Seminar

Washington Center Interns participate in an evening seminar selected from a variety of topics offered during the semester. Students engage in class discussion and may also research seminar topics, prepare written assignments, and take examinations. Required of and limited to students enrolled in BUS 327. Three credits.


  1. Washington Center Forum

Washington Center Interns participate in lectures, site visits, small group discussions, briefings, and other required events designed to help them understand the connection between their academic and professional goals and the special educational opportunities available through living and working in Washington, DC. Evaluations of these experiences are included in the student portfolio. Required of and limited to students enrolled in BUS 327. One credit.


  1. International Business Experience

This summer course, taught by a Washington College Business Management faculty member, takes students abroad for two weeks of intensive study and experiential learning in international business. The itinerary is intense. Students visit two businesses each weekday for facilities tours and/or presentations by managers on their firms’ international strategy. Cultural activities are scheduled in the evenings and on weekends. On-campus sessions prior to travel round out the academic component of the course, and ensure that students get the most out of their experience abroad.


  1. Leadership

What do leaders do? Are they born or made? Why are some leaders effective, and others ineffective? What role do followers play? This seminar explores these and other questions by focusing on leadership in organizations. Topics include vision, power, trust, ethics, communication, gender, and change. Not open to first- or second-year students.


  1. Intermediate Accounting

The study of current and emerging financial accounting theory and techniques. Emphasizes financial statement presentation and the underlying treatment of cash, investments, receivables, inventory, long-lived assets, and intangible assets. Prerequisite: BUS 112.


  1. Income Tax Accounting

Federal taxation of individuals focusing on income, exclusions, deductions, depreciation, credits, and capital transactions. Property coverage includes the tax consequences of sales and dispositions of investment and business assets. Both tax planning and tax compliance issues are covered. Prerequisite: BUS 112.


  1. Auditing

Auditing consists of a set of practical conceptual tools that help a person to find, organize, and evaluate evidence about the assertions of another party. This course will focus on those analytical and logical skills necessary to evaluate the relevance and reliability of systems and processes. Critical thinking and communications skills are developed through a variety of means including case analyses, presentations, discussion, preparation of group and individual case papers, and research of professional and scholarly literature. Recognizing that ethics is an integral part of the entire accounting-related profession and a significant topic in all the College’s accounting courses, this course will contain a section reviewing audit ethics, and will cover lapses of ethical behavior by both auditors and audited firms. Prerequisite: BUS 112.


  1. Advertising

Overview of the advertising industry from client and agency sides. Advertising is placed within the marketing context of consumer behavior and market segmentation. Included is media strategy and selection, creative strategy, print and broadcast advertising from concept through production, advertising research, and international advertising strategy. Prerequisite: BUS 111.


  1. Corporate Finance

This course provides an in-depth analysis on the financial policies of corporations. Students learn how to use and analyze financial data to make sound managerial decisions. Topics covered include capital budgeting, capital structure, dividends and payout policies, working capital management, real options, and mergers and acquisitions. In addition, to help students develop an ethical sensitivity in business, topic about ethics in corporate finance will be included. Prerequisite: BUS 209 or permission of the instructor.


  1. Internship

For-credit internships combine work experience (at least 140 hours for two credits) and faculty supervision. Internships may be taken for credit during the fall, spring, or summer. Grading is pass-fail. Prerequisite: BUS 111 and 112 and minimum 2.5 GPA, or approval by the department.


  1. Strategic Management

Strategic analysis and implementation. The case study method is used, requiring oral and written presentations. All separate functional areas are integrated in the strategy process in relation to the firms’ social responsibilities with regard to society, employees, and the larger environment. Prerequisite: BUS 111, 209, and 302.


  1. Investments

This course provides students with the essential concepts in investment and enables them to make meaningful investment decisions. To reach this goal, it will talk about current investment theories and the associated empirical evidence found in academic research. Topics addressed include the operation of financial markets, financial assets and their valuation, and the construction of optimal investment portfolios. After taking this course, students should be able to (1) understand the operation of financial market, (2) be familiar with various financial instruments, (3) apply the discounted cash flow method to determine the value of financial assets, (4) be familiar with various investment strategies, and (5) conduct financial analysis to make investment decisions.  Prerequisite: BUS 209 or permission of the instructor.


  1. Financial Derivatives

This course introduces financial derivatives and the operation of derivatives market. Coverage includes options, forward contracts, commodity and financial futures, and swaps. Students also learn how to use analytical models to determine the proper value of these financial products. Since the existence of a well-functioning financial market depends a lot on the integrity of its participants, especially the investment professionals, cases regarding financial crisis and business ethics will be provided and discussed. These case studies also allow students to strengthen their oral as well as written communication skills. Prerequisite: BUS 209 or permission of the instructor.


  1. Internship

Students taking a second for-credit internship are enrolled in BUS 490. Grading is pass-fail and as with BUS 390 the course is normally two credits. Prerequisite: Completion of BUS 390 and approval by the department.


194, 294, 394, 494. Special Topics

Topics not regularly offered in the department’s normal course offerings.


195, 295, 395, 495. On-campus Research

Consists of an individual research project chosen by the student in consultation with a faculty member, involving both design and implementation. Submission of a written report is required. Open only to upper-level business management majors and minors who have acquired a strong foundation in business management, and who have received project approval from a sponsoring faculty member and permission of the department chair.


196, 296, 396, 496. Off-campus Research


197, 297, 397, 497. Independent Study


SCE. Senior Capstone Experience

The Senior Capstone Experience is an intensive research project on a topic chosen by the student and guided by a faculty member. It hones research, analytic, and writing skills developed during four years of study. Students complete the Capstone while enrolled in the four-credit Senior Capstone Experience (SCE) course, usually in the spring of their senior year; however, planning for the SCE begins in the spring of their junior year. The Capstone receives a mark of Pass, Fail, or Honors. Full details on the capstone are available on the department website. Prerequisite: BUS 401.