The RIC School of Management Finance Lab allows students to gain experience in financial analysis and trading.
“Exploring Business was the second most-selected Rhode Map by incoming students at freshman orientation this year,” said Jeanne Haser, interim dean of RIC’s School of Management.
Academic Rhode Maps provide sequences of courses over three semesters that allow students who are undecided about their majors to explore degree options within a broad field of study. One such Rhode Map is Exploring Business, in which students sample the following majors within RIC’s School of Management: accounting, computer information systems, economics, finance, health care administration, management and marketing.
“Because there are so many job opportunities in the business sector, Exploring Business is a great option for students,” said Haser, who earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in taxation. She has a law degree as well and has worked in financial planning and public and private accounting.
“Businesses need students with business skills,” she said. “And wise students couple their career with an interest or hobby. One student that I knew from a different educational institution coupled his accounting degree with his passion for football. He now works as an accountant for the Patriots. There are many, many options. If you are willing to relocate, there are even more industries to explore.”
Haser also noted that RIC’s health care administration program is one of the fastest-growing programs at the college. It is also the fastest-growing industry nationally. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 22 percent growth in the health care administration profession from 2010 to 2020, well above the 14 percent average for all occupations.
The need for health care administrators has increased in response to new legal requirements and the Affordable Care Act is creating a demand for graduates who understand the new regulations, explained Haser. Demographic shifts in the population are another factor. As the aging population increases, a greater need has arisen for more nurses and physicians to care for this population. Consequently, more health care administrators will be in demand to manage health care professionals and facilities.
Other areas with high demand for business-related skills include accounting, advertising, business consultancy, computer information systems, finance, human resources, marketing, retail and sales. The diversity and plenitude of careers are vast and appeal to many students, said Haser.
By the time an “exploring” student has completed 45 credit hours, s/he must declare a major and continue to take courses that fulfill the requirements of that major.
“Students who choose Exploring Business gain an early start on their required courses by following their Rhode Map,” said Haser. “It’s important to get into the right sequences early,” she said.
As for students who do not decide on a business-related major, there are benefits as well. All courses taken on the Rhode Map for business count toward the 120 credits needed to graduate.
Haser, who has been an advisor at freshman orientation in past years, said she understands the trepidation new students feel. RIC offers nearly 90 majors and programs within five schools. For a freshman, choosing a major can be daunting, which is why students in Exploring Majors are guided at every step by advisors from RIC’s Office of Academic Support and Information Services. Advisors ensure that as these students make their way through the forest of majors they come out on the other side with a degree in hand.