Illustration: Gary Neill

Declaring Success

Why a collection of new Carroll School minors are exploding in popularity.

Theater and classics student Mae Harrington ’22 always had an interest in marketing. Now, she’s made it official by declaring a Carroll School of Management minor in the field. While it may seem unusual for a person immersed in the arts to pursue a business degree, it turns out that Harrington is hardly alone. A collection of new CSOM minors have been a big hit with undergrads from across Boston College. "When you combine a bunch of your passions, you bring something to the table and to the discussion that is uniquely you," Harrington said. "This has opened up a lot of possibilities for both my curiosity and my professional life going forward."

Harrington is one of more than 1,200 students who are currently working toward minors in the Carroll School. Enrollment in the new CSOM minors has almost doubled since they debuted in the fall of 2018, catapulting finance, management and leadership, and marketing to the top three spots on the list of BC’s most popular undergraduate minors for three years running. Meanwhile, two other CSOM minors—accounting for finance and consulting, and managing for social impact and the public good—also placed in the top ten this year. The new programs have been so popular, in fact, that the Carroll School has added services specifically to support minor students, such as a full-time academic adviser and extra tutoring in the "R" programming language used for statistical computing.

The minors for non-CSOM students align with the University’s Strategic Plan, said Andy Boynton, the John and Linda Powers Family Dean of the Carroll School of Management. "The strategic point of doing this is to provide a distinctive undergraduate experience at BC," Boynton said, "one that’s unparalleled and focuses on the integration of ideas and knowledge, and broadens students while they’re here." That goes for CSOM students as well, he added, pointing out that they are also encouraged to declare minors in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences.

Indeed, one of the overarching goals of the program is to further integrate the University’s schools, said Carroll School Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs Ethan Sullivan ’94, Ph.D.’11. He recalled that when he was studying English and philosophy at BC in the early 1990s, it almost seemed like there was a moat around CSOM’s Fulton Hall. Now, "there’s a bridge between Stokes and Lyons and Gasson and Campion and Connell and all of the various places to Fulton," Sullivan said. "The Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society is going up next door, too. We’re building bridges."

And all of this bridge-building enriches the overall learning experience at BC, Sullivan said. Students from the College of Arts and Sciences, the Lynch School of Education and Human Development, and the Connell School of Nursing take classes and gain practical skills at the Carroll School, while the management students and faculty there enjoy a diversity of viewpoints in the lecture hall. "A theater major, an English major, or an economics major might bring a different way of thinking into the classroom than a finance major or a management major does," Sullivan said. "It’s been a really rich classroom experience for our students to cross-pollinate in that way."

Harrington, for one, has seen the benefits in her own studies. The same empathy she calls on to get into character onstage is helpful when conducting market research, strategizing how to engage customers, or making a pitch. What’s more, she often employed the problem-solving lessons from her business courses when promoting and designing the costumes for the Theatre department’s The History of Colors show last spring. "I still love theater as much as I always have," Harrington said, "but I also have this absolute love of marketing and I really want to see where it goes." ◽

Students enrolled in CSOM’s minors*

Bar chart showing growth of CSOM minor

*This includes students who are minoring in accounting for CPAs, accounting for finance and consulting, finance, management and leadership, and marketing.