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Sloan Planning to Offer Undergraduate Minor

By Issel Anne L. Lim

STAFF REPORTER

The Sloan School of Management will offer a minor to MIT undergraduates, starting in the 2005-2006 school year.

“Assuming we do it well, I think this will be an important step for Sloan and an important step for MIT,” said Sloan School Dean Richard Schmalensee. “It’ll play an important role in linking Sloan to MIT. Hopefully, it’ll play an important role in undergraduate education. It’ll add a lot to people’s educational experience here.”

According to Schmalensee, a survey conducted a few years ago showed that approximately half of all MIT undergraduates would be interested in a well-organized Sloan minor. At the time, the Department of Management Science did not have the faculty capacity to sustain a minor program.

Because of a recent anonymous donation of an undisclosed amount, additional professors could be hired. A faculty committee created this fall and chaired by Professor Thomas A. Kochan is currently designing the minor.

The Sloan faculty, in conjunction with the Committee of the Undergraduate Program, intend to finalize the minor’s design this spring. The department will hire at least three new faculty members to implement the new classes for the minor, Schmalensee said.

Working with faculty, Sloan undergraduate students, and MIT alumni, the committee is still deciding how many students will be permitted to participate in the program, which courses will be offered, and other intricacies of the minor.

Schmalensee said that the committee will probably ask the C.U.P. to limit enrollment in the minor during the first few years, while the faculty works out the initial organizational details.

Sloan majors expected to decrease

Jeffrey A. Meldman, associate dean of undergraduate education, said that there are 292 students enrolled in the Management Science major, down from 321 last year.

Schmalensee expects the number of majors to decrease even more, particularly the number of double majors, with the addition of the Sloan minor.

Mike Y. Young ’05 is currently majoring in Courses I and XIV. He said that he had planned to major in Course XV, but was not interested in everything the major had to offer. “I’d have liked to take classes or minor in certain concentrations, but the major would take too much time,” he said.

However, Vincent S. Yeung ’05, a current double major in Courses VI and XV, does not see an advantage to a minor. “If there’s a minor, I don’t see what subset of courses they’d choose to be the ‘most useful,’” he said. “There are lots of useful classes in Course XV, and a minor would only give you one-fourth of that knowledge.”

Marcus B. Felder ’05 is a current Course XV major, but would have majored in Course VI and minored in Course XV if he had previously had that option. “I’m noticing how companies want the technical side with the business side,” he said.

“If you really want to delve into business, you should take the major” said Tian Yu ’05, a member of Sloan Undergraduate Management Association. “The minor would probably be more for managerial studies or if you’re promoted to manager, but it’s not your primary focus.”