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A Catalyst for Learning Business

Carroll School launches summer program for non-management undergrads

Kate Hall leads a class in the Carroll School of Management Summer Management Catalyst Program. “The idea here is to give students a flavor for what management classes are,” says program director Associate Professor Billy Soo. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)

By Sean Hennessey | Chronicle Staff

Published: June 23, 2014

The Carroll School of Management has launched a new summer program offering non-management students an opportunity to learn a thing or two about business.

The Carroll School Summer Management Catalyst Program is an intensive 10-week full-time curriculum that aims to “develop a solid and broad foundation in the functional areas of management.” Classes began May 21 and will run until July 31. The program is in response to the demand for business classes at BC, which has intensified because the Carroll School no longer accepts internal transfers.

The 32 students in Catalyst, primarily sophomores and juniors, are taking courses that cover business management, accounting, finance, marketing, operations, ethics, and strategy, along with a workshop in Excel. Candidates for the program must have taken at least one course or received advanced placement credit in math and are evaluated based on academic standing and extracurricular activities.

While credits earned via Catalyst do not count toward students’ GPAs and graduation requirements, academic courses taken in the program receive grades and appear on transcripts. They may also be used to waive Carroll School core business course requirements for purposes of taking higher-level management courses.

“The idea here is to give students a flavor for what management classes are,” says Carroll School Associate Professor Billy Soo, Accounting Department chairman and director of the Catalyst Program. “It also increases their ability to apply for business-related jobs. In the past they might have been turned down because a hiring manager said, ‘Oh, you don’t know anything about accounting or finance or marketing.’ So Catalyst is a means for them to strengthen their resumes, certainly when they apply for internships and full-time jobs.

“And students who are just starting out wondering, ‘Is management for me?’ can get that sense in a condensed time period.”

“The Catalyst Program is another effort to build a bridge between the Carroll School and the other schools on campus, in particular the College of Arts and Sciences,” says Carroll School Dean Andy Boynton. “The program will immerse students into the world of management and be an extremely valuable experience, regardless of their program of studies or career trajectory.”

Faculty members, and the classes they are teaching, for Catalyst are Ed Taylor (accounting), Kate Hall (management), Sarah Cabral (Portico), Mike Barry (finance), Brad Hudson (marketing), Joy Field (operations management), Richard McGowan, SJ (strategic management), Craig Brown (Excel) and Tom Wesner (business law).

“They’re all what I would call all-star faculty – all highly rated,” says Soo.  

In addition to classes, Catalyst offers a career development component to help students compete in the workplace.
“We’re bringing in banks, professional service firms, marketing firms and others to help answer students’ questions like, ‘Who are the employers out there? Who is recruiting at BC? What kind of jobs do they offer?’” says Soo. “So it’s really an integrated experience. Catalyst is not just classes, but also about giving students a sense of what it’s like in the business world and what their opportunities are.”
For more on the Carroll School Summer Management Catalyst Program, see /schools/csom/undergraduate/catalyst.html.