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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 Brown Advisory Student-Managed Investment 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.

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

Student quick links

Quick links for students



What we're reading

  • Tom 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.

  • Carroll Quigley, The Evolution of Civilizations (first published 1961).

    In this far-ranging historical analyis, Quigley traces the seven-part life-cycle of great civilizations. Prof. Jim Flanagan, who teaches global business, still remembers reading the book as part of Quigley’s “mind-blowing” course at Georgetown University his very first year in college. Quigley, Prof. Flanagan says, still has a lot to teach students today, more than a half-century since the book’s original publication, about history, civilizations, and economics.

  • Benjamin 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.

  • B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore, The Experience Economy: Work Is Theater & Every Business a Stage (Harvard Business School Press, 1999).

    Terry Scout: Pine and Gilmore’s main point in this classic book is that people want experiences rather than goods and services.  Companies excel by providing compelling experiences for customers.  Apple Stores with the genius bar are an experience.  (They really are. I love to go to an Apple Store.) 

    Required for BUS 202 Marketing, 2013-14.

  • Tom Morris, If Aristotle Ran General Motors (Holt, 1997).

    In this book about philosophy and business, Morris argues that ancient philosophy has a lot to teach us about modern life and work. 

    “If we let the great philosophers guide our thinking,” Morris says, “… we put ourselves in the very best position to move towards genuine excellence, true prosperity, and deeply satisfying success in our businesses, our families, and our lives.”

  • Gary 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.

  • Jake 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.

  • Walter Isaacson, Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (Simon & Schuster, 2004).

    Inventor, diplomat, statesman, scientist, Founding Father–and entrepreneur. Benjamin Franklin helped invent the quintessentially American notion of the entrepreneur, the enterprising individual who recognizes opportunities, takes risks, and earns great success.

    Isaacson traces Franklin’s story from his start as a printer’s apprentice to his success as a publisher and journalist, to his even greater public career in diplomacy and the American founding. He shows that while Franklin may have ended up a distinguished statesman and beloved figure, he kept to the end his entrepreneurial interest in new ideas, new opportunities, and new enterprises.

  • 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.


  • Stephen Kinzer, Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008).

    Kinzer, former New York Times Istanbul bureau chief, presents a concise history of modern Turkey without hiding his passion and love for the country. Turkey, situated at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, sits symbolically between two worlds–a modern, westernized world of markets and democracy, and a traditional world of faith and authoritarianism.

    Kinzer vividly relates Turkey history, from Kemal Ataterk to contemporary challenges including militarism, women’s rights, Islamic fundamentalism, and the ongoing challenge of the place of the Kurdish minority in Turkey.

  • Dan Senor and Saul Singer, Startup Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle (12, 2009).

    Israel, a nation of just 7 million people, has more startup companies than China, India, or Japan, and is a global magnet for venture capital investment, with more than twice as much venture capital per person than the United States, and 30 times more than Europe.

    Senor and Singer explore the intellectual traditions, government policies, and people behind Israel’s remarkable economic success. Entrepreneurialism, the authors suggest, is far more than a policy or a mindset–it is a culture, as well.

  • Erik 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. 

  • Thomas 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.

  • Walter 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.

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

    A 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.

[Click here for more good reads.]

Recent Stories

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    During a summer internship with Rondar Raceboats, varsity sailor and business major Mason Sheen ’17 helped secure a major sales contract with the Gulf Yachting Association for a high-performance boat selected for its prestigious interclub Capdevielle Series.

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    As a part of Path to Passion, Alumni Relations hosted an Alumni Entrepreneurship Panel on October 20 in the Center for Career Development.
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    The well known champion of financial reform, twice named the second most powerful woman in the world, will be the College’s first female president. She starts her new job August 1.

[The Daly News: More Department doings]