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Department of

Business Management

Life with meaning.

Prof. Susan Vowels, Dept. ChairProf. Susan Vowels, Dept. Chair

That’s the literal translation of 生意 (sheng-yi), the Chinese word for business.

And that’s our approach to teaching business management as a liberal art.

We engage students. You’ll share ideas with classmates, work closely with expert faculty, and get your hands on real-world tools like SAP (all our majors learn how to use it). You can invest a half million dollars in socially responsible businesses in the Alex. Brown Fund. And you can learn how to build your own business from the ground up. 

It’s your dream, and we want you to dream big. We’re here to help you make it real, and create your very own sheng-yi, life with meaning.

image Our grads image Global business BUS classroom, Spring 2011 In the classroom

Student quick links

Quick links for students

 


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What we're reading

  • imageBenjamin Graham, The Intelligent Investor (1949; revised in 2003 with commentary by Jason Zweig).

    How can you make money in the stock market? In this classic book Benjamin Graham lays out his key idea: “value investing.” Warren Buffett, America’s most famous and revered billionaire investor, was inspired by Graham’s ideas, and called The Intelligent Investor “by far the best book on investing ever written.”

    By focusing on fundamentals and resisting the urge to buy and sell at every market fluctuation, Graham argues, the intelligent investor can minimize risk and maximize long-term gain.

    It worked for Warren Buffett and countless other investors in the six decades since Graham’s book first came out. It probably stil has some wisdom left for you.

  • imageThomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Belknap, 2014).

    In this best-selling work, French economist Thomas Piketty argues that the 21st century is seeing a return to ‘patrimonial capitalism,’ the concentration of wealth, income, and power in the hands of a small group of super-wealthy individuals and families.

  • imageThomas Stanley and William Danko, The Millionaire Next Door (first published in 1996).

    Professor Terry Scout recommends this book as one of the best life lessons young people should absorb: become wealthy by the choices you make, including living frugally and avoiding debt. He says the book calls to mind the immortal advice from Charles Dickens’ character Mr. Micawber (from David Copperfield): “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”

     Based on extensive interviews, Stanley and Danko conclude that wealth in America is usually “the result of hard work, diligent savings, and living below your means.” It’s an old lesson, well understood by many successful people—and it will be the foundation for many future millionaires, too.

  • imageAdair Turner, Economics After the Crisis (MIT Press, 2012).

    The financial crisis of 2008 continues to roil the global economy. Turner, Britain’s chief financial regulator, argues that what is needed to restore sustained growth is a rethinking of the basic premises of economics and financial regulation.

    For the last generation, Turner says, economic policymaking has been driven by the so-called Washington Consensus: that markets are efficient, that economic actors are rational in pursuit of their own self-interest, and that inequality is an inescapable consequence of the necessary pursuit of economic growth.

    These simplifying assumptions certainly make for elegant mathematical models. But Turner argues that they simply don’t do a good job mapping the real world.

    What are the consequences when the assumptions and the real world diverge?  And what should we do now to rebuild the global economy? Turner’s book will inspire hard thinking about these big questions.

  • imageGary Belsky and Thomas Gilovich, Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes And How To Correct Them: Lessons From The New Science Of Behavioral Economics (Simon & Schuster, rev. ed. 2010).

    In this entertaining and readable book, Belsky and Gilovich explore how people think about money and financial decisions, and why we sometimes make mistakes. Drawing on the rapidly advancing field of behavioral economics, they explore mistakes like the sunk cost fallacy, the tendency to throw good money after bad.

    No matter how ‘smart’ you are, Belsky and Gilovich will help you avoid making irrational financial decisions.

  • imageSutton and Rao, Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less (Crown Business, 2014).

    Stanford professors Sutton and Rao explore how organizations can take good ideas practices—“pockets of exemplary performance”—and ‘scale’ them: expand their reach across the entire organization. Based on extensive research from many different industries, Sutton and Rao present a concise, clear framework for “spreading excellence” within a company.

  • Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (Broadway, 2013).

    In this celebrated best-seller, Cain takes a look at the undervalued introvert, and what value ‘quiet’ individuals provide to organizations. “Quiet,” according to a review in Fortune, should interest anyone who cares about how people think, work, and get along, or wonders why the guy in the next cubicle acts that way. It should be required reading for introverts (or their parents) who could use a boost to their self-esteem.”

  • imageErik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy (Digital Frontier Press, 2012) 

    Brynjolffson and McAfee, professors at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, argue that the pace of technological innovation is increasing, and explore the challenges this poses to the future of jobs and the economy. 


  • imageMark Beasley et al., “Fraudulent Financial Reporting 1998-2007: An Analysis of U.S. Public Companies.” The study, commissioned by leading American accounting organizations, including the American Accounting Association, documents more than 300 cases of accounting fraud in American business during a decade that saw many high-profile instances of malfeasance, with a total misappropriation of more than $100 billion.

    Senior leaders, according to the study, play a critical role in enabling fraud: 89% of CEOs and/or CFOs were named by the SEC in fraud cases it investigated.

    The study concludes that the  long-term impact of accounting and reporting fraud was strongly negative, with companies committing fraud facing higher-than-average risks of bankruptcy, delisting, or asset sales.

  • Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner, Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon (Times Books/Henry Holt, 2011).

    imageA searing exposé of the financial collapse in America in the 2000s, a collapse that has had far-reaching consequences and has been likened to a second Great Depression.

    Pulitzer-Prize-winning journal Morgenson and her co-author trace the roots of the collapse to an unhealthy, uncontrolled partnership between private-sector banks, mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and politicians going back to the 1990s. They paint a vivid story of how Fannie and Freddie, eager to guard their privileged position of being backed by the government, aggressively resisted Congressional oversight while showering money on politicians to win favorable treatment.

    The authors reveal the workings of the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street, and note that in the years since the collapse, no individual has been held accountable for the ruin and suffering. It’s a powerful, astonishing story of immensely powerful individuals using their connections and positions to enrich themselves, while shielding themselves from the consequences of their mistakes.

  • imageWalter Isaacson, Steve Jobs (Simon and Schuster, 2011).

    Isaacson (best-selling author of biographies of Henry Kissinger, Benjamin Franklin, and Albert Einstein), in his exhaustively researched biography, paints a vivid picture of the complex, difficult genius who co-founded Apple and revolutionized how the world uses computers, listens to music, and more.

  • imageJake Breeden, Tipping Sacred Cows: Kick the Bad Work Habits that Masquerade as Virtues (Jossey-Bass, 2013).

    Leaders pride themselves on traits such as creativity, passion, and fairness. But unquestioned virtues can curdle into vices when pursued relentlessly or in the wrong contexts.  The author, a Duke University faculty member, takes a hard look at seven ‘sacred cows’ dear to many leaders, showing how overzealous allegiance to them can harm their organizations.

  • imageTom Cronin and Michael Genovese, Leadership Matters (Paradigm, 2012). 

    In their new book, political scientists Cronin and Genovese explore the paradoxes of leadership by looking at literature, movies, art, and classic texts. A wide-ranging, head-expanding read.

  • image Dave Kerpen, Likeable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Generally Amazing on Facebook (And Other Social Networks) (McGraw-Hill, 2011).

    “A friend’s recommendation,” Kerpen says, “is more powerful than any advertisement.”

    Social media are transforming how businesses communicate and connect with customers, and how people learn about products and services.

    Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and other social media sites have brought in a new era of informal, rapid-fire interaction–and they’ve also brought waves of new data that companies can analyze to learn more abou their customers’ likes and dislikes.

    In this best-selling book, Kerpen, co-founder and CEO of Likeable Media, provides a fast-paced, easy-to-follow guide to the remarkable world of social media marketing.

     

  • imageBill Franks, Taming the Big Data Tidal Wave (Wiley, 2012).

    Franks, Chief Analytics Officer for software firm Teradata, explains what the rise of big data means to business and other organizations today.

    Big data is washing over our world, from gigabyte to terabyte to petabyte. Franks surveys technologies for managing it, explains how to analyze and make sense of it, and suggests how to create an organizational culture of discovery and innovation that takes advantage of the possibilities unleashed by the waves of data that are transforming the competitive environment of business.

[Click here for more good reads.]


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