By Robert Mohr
Sewanee’s not like the other schools. We have mandatory comprehensive exams for seniors. We ingrain the natural world into our curricula and campus life. Our academic honor society, the Order of the Gown, spans generations of students. We also don’t have a business major. And I don’t really care about that.
I don’t care that Sewanee doesn’t have a business major, nor do I care about the possibility of us getting one. Frankly, I don’t think anyone on this campus cares about the business major. I hardly know anyone who is taking advantage of the business minor currently offered. This is in sharp contrast to the stereotypical business major, who can’t go five minutes without mentioning that he’s a business major.
Suppose I did care about the business major, how would I feel about it? I suppose, if I think really hard, if I cared about the business major, I would probably be against it.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, of the 1,895,000 bachelor degrees given out in 2015, 364,000 of those degrees (or 19 percent) were in business, making it the most popular major in America.
In 2018, John Byrne wrote an article for Forbes entitled “Why Parents Want Their Kids To Major In Business,” he describes all the benefits a business degree can provide. However, Byrne fails to acknowledge that all these statistics are from top flight business schools, like University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. I say this with no offense to Sewanee, but it would take a while to for a Sewanee’s business major to achieve that level of recognition.
Perhaps the strongest piece of evidence against a business major comes from the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS), a collective of Southern liberal arts colleges including Sewanee, Rhodes, Washington and Lee, Davidson and others. 10 of the 16 schools that form ACS have business majors in some form.
At a meeting of the schools in March 2017, Dean Papillion claimed that all the schools, except for Millsaps, “saw business majors as a drag on the rest of the curriculum.” Furthermore, the president of ACS said, “Sewanee should not have a business major…Sewanee above all others should hold the line.”
But, like I said, I don’t care about the business major.