Designed for exceptional students from all majors across the University of Maryland, the UMD Honors College and the Robert H. Smith School of Business will premier the Interdisciplinary Business Honors Program in fall 2022. This two-year program features an advanced and unique interdisciplinary approach. Students will combine access to cutting-edge professional and technical business skills with broader thinking about the role of business in the world, and in relation to multiple academic fields. They’ll then apply this knowledge to thinking critically about the great challenges of our time, including social, environmental, public health, and human rights topics.
Interdisciplinary Business Honors Living Learning Program
The Future of Work
Work closely with distinguished professors from both the business school and the larger university, engaging current issues of real-world impact through the lens of groundbreaking research and multidisciplinary perspectives.
Get a big-picture view of business and the many fields and concerns involved with it, coupled with local internship opportunities, collaborative teamwork, and experimentation, original research and research assistance.
Join a diverse group that teaches students to collaborate with others of diverse interests and backgrounds. Leverage this diversity as you work across disciplines to design business solutions for major national and world challenges.
Use extracurricular offerings like VIP excursions, private meetings with executives, and community service projects to become an imaginative and adaptable leader, challenge long-held assumptions, and think critically about evolving issues.
Engage actively with industry executives and experts through a mix of discussions, lectures and presentations, as well as mentoring, internship and networking opportunities.
Live together, take classes together and grow together. Get the small-class, personal attention you need with all of the benefits of attending a bustling, world-class research university.
Freshman Year: Foundations and Skills
This course begins with foundations in both the history and evolution of business functions and processes and the role of business in the general health and welfare of the United States and the world. It then considers the future of business and work from a critical and multidisciplinary perspective, involving a wide array of technological, information access, macroeconomic, governmental and political, legal, socially responsible, environmental, personal and interpersonal dimensions. The future of work is particularly dynamic in view of rapid changes in technological developments, artificial intelligence, automation, information access, public health conditions, and social and environmental justice demands. These conditions are explored in relation to questions of socially responsible practices in business that respect employee rights, promote ethical conduct, involve new forms of media and global coordination, address diversity and equity concerns, protect the environment, and respond to new ways of thinking, feeling, and critically engaging the world by all individuals involved in various ways and capacities with business. This course provides an overview of these topics relying on senior faculty to ensure that students, as they develop a critical and multidisciplinary sense of the future of work and business, also engage in critical introspection about themselves in considering their skills, interests, and goals.
This three-credit course is split into three modules:
- Markets and Society: A History, Overview, and Structure of Business. (e.g.: various business functions - what businesses do, and how they do it, types of businesses - startups vs established businesses – critical reflection on business)
- The Future of Work: The Evolving Business Landscape. (a focus on current and future events and developments: Intelligent Business, Business and Technology, e.g.: AI, automation, blockchains, crypto, feeling economy, social media, trends, globalization, information access)
- The Impact of Business on Society: Responsible Business Practices, Role of Business in Society, Business Society Partnerships. (e.g.: DEI and minority business policies, women in the workplace, fairness, social responsibility, business ethics, climate change, employee activism)
With the availability of tremendous quantities of information and new capacities to analyze them, the field of business is now part of a larger movement across disciplines in data science. This movement focuses on the ability to mine large data sets for insight among numerous dimensions, in the context of business including products, customers, suppliers, operations, finance, and much more. Drawing from various quantitative, computational, and technical fields, this course introduces students to the business world of tomorrow through a big picture understanding of the new approaches to analysis necessary in it and practical acquisition and experiment with the technical skills essential to processing and analyzing data overloads. Such skills include coding skills to manage and process data into usable forms as well as knowledge and dynamic usage of advanced software tools to analyze data. This course introduces students to the basics of processing data into manageable forms for analysis and provides them with the skills to use sophisticated software tools within the context of decision-making. An equally important objective of the course is the transfer of data analytical results into implementable business decisions. Students will learn techniques (including relevant programming approaches) to analyze large data sets as well as the limitations of data sets and the implications of data-driven decisions. They will also be given experience with the many real-world situations where inadequate data exists, but decisions must still be made. The class is intended to prepare students to make general business decisions and represents the necessary foundation from which other, more advanced data analytics and decision-making courses will build upon within the functional areas of business; its tools of analysis also intersect with and empower students to work in a wide array academic disciplines currently invested in new quantitative, computational, and related analytic methods.
Sophomore Year: Advanced Interdisciplinary Topics and Experiential Learning
The world around us is increasingly fraught with uncertainty. The world is also complex and diverse in ways that encompass a diversity of perspectives, backgrounds, cultures, interests, and circumstances. Consequently, managers everywhere need to be effective at handling uncertainty and also just, attentive, and equitable in their engagements with diversity. This course focuses on skills that enable an individual to be innovative and creative while managing and interacting in uncertain and diverse environments. Managers need the ability to reason clearly and articulate this reasoning to others. While working in a team, the manager needs to be able to follow the points made by their teammates and understand the thinking from those outside the organization. To achieve these goals, this course focuses first on illuminating the key elements of critical thinking and also impasses to deliberation, collaboration, and mutual understanding. It provides students the opportunity to make their own reasoning explicit, reflect on the quality of thinking around them, and to engage, challenge, and learn from the thinking of others in a constructive manner. It dives deep into understanding design thinking, and how one can apply principles of design thinking to build empathy and gain insights into others’ perspectives. Finally, the course provides students the opportunity to apply their learning to innovate in an uncertain context, and gain hands-on experience with the process of creating solutions to enable organizational growth.
Students choose an approved interdisciplinary course involving business and some other discipline(s); this course must be an upper-division (300 or 400 level) or H-version course, offered either within the Business School or from any other academic unit on campus. Examples of topics might include: Business and Law, Business and Literature, the History of Business, Business in Southeast Asia, Business and Race, Marxist and Postcolonial Theories of Business, the Business of Public Health, etc. These courses will be approved by the Smith School and the Honors College.
Students choose one experiential learning option as the culmination of their IBH experience: (a) a course involving professional reflection and development in relation to a substantial internship experience; (b) original research involving business or working with a faculty member on a substantial research project; (c) a study abroad option that involves business in some way; or (d) a “capstone” or culmination project, analytical or creative, in which a student engages in some interdisciplinary engagement with business (an option especially attractive to non-business majors, inviting them to connect business to their major).
How to Become a Member of the Smith Interdisciplinary Business Honors Program
All students who apply to the University of Maryland by the early action November 1 freshman deadline are automatically considered for invitation to the Honors College. Upon admission to UMD and invitation to Honors, students will have an opportunity to submit a Living Learning preference form. For more information about this process, check out these next steps.
If you would like more information about the Interdisciplinary Business Honors Program, please contact:
Joseph P. Bailey
Assistant Dean for Specialty Undergraduate Programs
Associate Research Professor
Associate Director of Admissions and Recruitment, Honors College
Coordinator for Recruitment and Programming, Honors College