Unconventional Business Major Retains Popularity

Claire Jeantheau ’21, Staff Writer

Dickinson’s International Business and Management (INBM) major is a little unusual for similar schools, but it’s popular, accounting for 11% of Dickinson’s declared majors. 

The current 224 majors declared are in line with typical enrollment, said Registrar Mary Ann Leidigh. “This year, we are on par in the number of students who have declared INBM in that same time frame” in previous years, Leidigh said. 

Mariel Arias ’19, an INBM major, said Dickinson’s INBM program is one of the most sought-after majors among students. 

“It’s extremely popular,” Arias said. Like political science and biology, “things like that, the [INBM] department is growing. I’m on the majors committee, so I want to be a part of it.” 

Helen Takacs, associate professor and department chair of INBM, said she thinks students are attracted to the major for its “practicality.” She said organizational learning and faculty attention are the program’s biggest draws. 

“The first [factor] is the interesting nature of our courses in which students learn both about themselves and about how organizations of all kinds operate,” Takacs wrote in an email.  “For example, INBM students can learn how businesses are championing the effort to mitigate – and even contribute to reversing – climate change.  The second is the commitment of INBM faculty to our students.”

Dickinson’s INBM major, in addition to requiring traditional business courses like economics and accounting, require students to stay enrolled in a modern foreign language until the advanced level. 

Majors are also strongly encouraged to participate in a study-abroad program. According to Takacs, this type of major is “uncommon” for liberal arts colleges. 

“Among the 28 schools in Dickinson’s three peer groups… only ten offer a business-related major,” Takacs wrote. “None offers an undergraduate major in international business.” 

INBM majors have different reasons for why they chose the field. Arias said he has wanted to study INBM since he was five years old. “I definitely knew that’s what I was going to major in,” he said. “I was deciding between a bigger school and a liberal arts school (Dickinson), and I decided Dickinson… because of classroom size, faculty ratio…” 

Arias said his INBM classes don’t go over forty people “and most of them are fifteen to ten-ish” people. The graduating class of 2019 makes up the majority of declared INBM students, with 84 majors. 

Natasha DiCenta ’21, who filed her INBM declaration this fall, did not originally plan to study business at Dickinson.

“I came in thinking I wanted to major in earth science, which is kind of a jump [from business],” DiCenta said, “But I liked the idea of problem-solving… and I’ve enjoyed the classes. I liked that [the program] is international and that it is the business and management side of it.” 

Nana Ama Ampofo-Tenkorang ’21, who declared her INBM major a month ago, said her experiences in the program have been “good so far.” 

“I’ve enjoyed all of [my classes],” she said, “I’ve taken a couple of things. I’ve taken Fundamentals of Accounting… it’s been good.” 

The International Business and Management major was first offered at Dickinson in 1996, with its first class of majors graduating in 1999.