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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. Pictured below are our 2019 graduates at our second annual Business Management Senior Capstone Experience Poster Exhibition… all of these students reached the finish line and have done amazing things while attending Washington College. Will you be next to follow in their footsteps?

President Kurt Landgraf poses with Spring 2019 Business Management graduates at the second annual SCE poster exhibition.

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

Student quick links

Quick links for students



What we're reading

  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p><img width="111" height="173" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/12/width/111/height/173/42589_stanley_and_danko.rev.1454387442.jpeg" class="lw_image lw_image42589 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/12/width/111/height/173/42589_stanley_and_danko.rev.1454387442.jpeg 2x" data-max-w="222" data-max-h="346"/>Thomas Stanley and William Danko, <em><a href="">The Millionaire Next Door</a></em> (first published in 1996).</p><p> 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 <em>David Copperfield</em>): “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.”</p><p>  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.</p></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p><img width="183" height="275" alt="Navarro, What Everybody Is Saying" src="/live/image/gid/12/width/183/height/275/82264_Navarro_what_everybody_is_saying.rev.1543595741.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image82264 lw_align_left lw_column_width_half" data-max-w="332" data-max-h="499"/>Joe Navarro, <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">What Everybody is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-Reading People</a> (William Morrow, 2008). Why would accounting professor Lansing Williams recommend a book on how to read people’s body language and nonverbal cues?</p><p> “Because accounting isn’t just bookkeeping. Anytime you’re certifying—and putting your name on—other people’s financial statements, you’re putting your credibility and ethics on the line. You need to be able to read people, not just documents.”</p></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p><img width="108" height="167" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/12/width/108/height/167/15840_startupnation.rev.1454361936.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image15840 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/12/width/108/height/167/15840_startupnation.rev.1454361936.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/12/width/108/height/167/15840_startupnation.rev.1454361936.jpg 3x" data-max-w="374" data-max-h="577"/>Dan Senor and Saul Singer, <em><a href="" target="_blank">Startup Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle</a></em> (12, 2009).</p><p> 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.</p><p> 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.</p></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p><img width="120" height="181" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/12/width/120/height/181/15167_the-intelligent-investor.rev.1454361683.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image15167 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/12/width/120/height/181/15167_the-intelligent-investor.rev.1454361683.jpg 2x" data-max-w="332" data-max-h="500"/>Benjamin Graham, <em><a href="" target="_blank">The Intelligent Investor</a></em> (1949; revised in 2003 with commentary by Jason Zweig).</p><p> 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 <em>The Intelligent Investor</em> “by far the best book on investing ever written.”</p><p> 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.</p><p> 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.</p></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p><img width="120" height="182" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/12/width/120/height/182/15213_bigdatatidalwave.rev.1454361715.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image15213 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/12/width/120/height/182/15213_bigdatatidalwave.rev.1454361715.jpg 2x" data-max-w="300" data-max-h="453"/>Bill Franks, <em><a href="" target="_blank">Taming the Big Data Tidal Wave</a></em> (Wiley, 2012).</p><p> Franks, Chief Analytics Officer for software firm Teradata, explains what the rise of big data means to business and other organizations today.</p><p> 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.</p></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p><img width="130" height="196" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/12/width/130/height/196/42533_piketty.rev.1454387389.jpeg" class="lw_image lw_image42533 lw_align_left" data-max-w="230" data-max-h="346"/>Thomas Piketty, <a href=""><em>Capital in the Twenty-First Century</em></a> (Belknap, 2014).</p><p> 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.</p></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p>  </p><p><img width="183" height="276" alt="Akerloff and Shiller, Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception" src="/live/image/gid/12/width/183/height/276/82263_phishing_for_phools.rev.1543594805.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image82263 lw_align_left lw_column_width_half" data-max-w="183" data-max-h="276"/>George A. Akerlof  and Robert J. Shiller, <em><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception</a> </em>(Princeton University Press, 2015). Akerlof and Shiller, two Nobel laureates in Economics, challenge the central tenet of capitalist thought—that free markets tend toward optimal outcomes. Classical economic theory assumes that buyers and sellers have ‘perfect’ information.</p><p> But, drawing on the behavioral economics revolution, Akerlof and Shiller argue that markets are filled with traps for unwary consumers.</p></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p class="textbasic"><img width="116" height="173" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/12/width/116/height/173/42534_quigley.rev.1454387389.jpeg" class="lw_image lw_image42534 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/12/width/116/height/173/42534_quigley.rev.1454387389.jpeg 2x" data-max-w="232" data-max-h="346"/>Carroll Quigley, <em><a href="">The Evolution of Civilizations</a></em> (first published 1961).</p><p class="textbasic"> In this far-ranging historical analysis, Quigley traces the life-cycle of great civilizations. Quigley’s magisterial work provides students of international business with the perspective to realize that global flows of goods, people, and ideas have been a driving force in human history for thousands of years.</p></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p><img width="183" height="276" alt="Ellenberg, How Not to Be Wrong" src="/live/image/gid/12/width/183/height/276/82285_Ellenberg.rev.1543670055.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image82285 lw_align_left" data-max-w="183" data-max-h="276"/>Jordan Ellenberg, <em><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking</a></em> (Penguin, 2014). A celebrated mathematician provides clear, clever, and compelling descriptions of the numbers-based problems we confront every day, showing us why we need mathematical tools in our daily lives: to keep us from making blunders that would otherwise seem to be reasonable conclusions.</p></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p> Gerald Posner, <a href="" target="_blank">God’s Bankers: A History of Money and Power at the Vatican</a> (Simon & Schuster, 2015).</p><p><img width="140" height="211" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/12/width/140/height/211/62228_godsbankers.rev.1463670349.gif" class="lw_image lw_image62228 lw_align_left" data-max-w="140" data-max-h="211"/>Noted investigative journalist Gerald Posner explores the complex and Byzantine financial workings of the Roman Catholic Church over the past two centuries. “A fast-paced read that brings history alive on every page” (Booklist).</p></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p><img width="161" height="209" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/12/width/161/height/209/20539_turner-book.rev.1454365253.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image20539 lw_align_left" data-max-w="161" data-max-h="209"/>Adair Turner, <em><a href="" target="_blank">Economics After the Crisis</a></em> (MIT Press, 2012).</p><p> 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.</p><p> 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.</p><p> 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.</p><p> 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.</p></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p><br/><img width="120" height="154" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/12/width/120/height/154/15562_coso-cover.rev.1454361829.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image15562 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/12/width/120/height/154/15562_coso-cover.rev.1454361829.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/12/width/120/height/154/15562_coso-cover.rev.1454361829.jpg 3x" data-max-w="660" data-max-h="847"/>Mark Beasley et al., <a href="" target="_blank">“Fraudulent Financial Reporting 1998-2007: An Analysis of U.S. Public Companies.”</a> 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.</p><p> 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.</p><p> 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.</p></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p> Susan Cain, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking</em></a> (Broadway, 2013).</p><p> In this celebrated best-seller, Cain takes a look at the undervalued introvert, and what value ‘quiet’ individuals provide to organizations. “<em>Quiet</em>,” according to a review in <em>Fortune</em>, <em>“</em>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.”</p></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p class="parseasinTitle"> Steven Schussler, <a href="" target="_blank">It’s a Jungle in There: Inspiring Lessons, Hard-Won Insights, and Other Acts of Entrepreneurial Daring</a> (Union Square Press, 2010). </p><p class="parseasinTitle"><img width="124" height="152" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/12/width/124/height/152/22952_its-a-jungle-in-there1.rev.1454367501.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image22952 lw_align_left" data-max-w="247" data-max-h="301"/>Schussler, the founder of Rainforest Café, offers an entertaining, winning guide to his own experiences as an entrepreneur on a shoestring. As a young man building his business, Schussler was never afraid to take a chance, even if it might mean making a fool of himself.</p><p class="parseasinTitle">  </p></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p><img width="133" height="199" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/12/width/133/height/199/42535_brynjolfsson-book.rev.1454387389.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image42535 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/12/width/133/height/199/42535_brynjolfsson-book.rev.1454387389.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/12/width/133/height/199/42535_brynjolfsson-book.rev.1454387389.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1001" data-max-h="1500"/>Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, <em><a href="">Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy</a></em> (Digital Frontier Press, 2012) </p><p> 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. </p></div>

[Click here for more good reads.]

Spanning the Globe

Read perspectives on study—and life—abroad from three Business Management students in the new issue of 4Corners, the Global Education Office’s International Programs Magazine. BUS major Katie Zabel talks about her time in Australia and Scotland, BUS major Lily Britt shares memories of her time in Hong Kong, and BUS minor Evelyn Mantegani remembers her spring semester in Ireland.

  • In the art studio

    A new minor in Arts Management and Entrepreneurship supports students in the creative arts disciplines.

  • Students at work in the Brown Advisory Investing Lab.
    Thanks to a $1 million grant, WC’s Department of Business Management will create the Warehime Fund for Student Excellence in Business, allowing new opportunities for student research, entrepreneurship, professional networking, and other initiatives.
  • Mark Christie '18 is using his theatre degree to raise important social questions.
    Most people start conversations with a word. Mark Christie starts them with a character, a stage, and questions that aren’t always easy to answer.

[The Daly News: More Department doings]