Freshman and Sophomore Years
Over the course of their freshman and sophomore years, VSB students are introduced to the fundamentals of business, with foundational courses that serve to prepare them for a more focused concentration on specific business disciplines in their last two years.
All VSB freshmen take Business Dynamics (VSB 1015) during the fall semester. The course emphasizes the overarching purpose of business within society and the manner in which business vision is actualized. Business Dynamics provides context for students’ business learning experience and integrates global, political, ethical, and technological dimensions of business. The course serves as the first step in preparing students to become creative and innovative problem solvers, and seeks to develop analytical business writing, and presentation skills. VSB freshmen, also, take Information Technology (VSB 1000), a one-credit online course designed to increase students’ ability to utilize spreadsheets as analytical tools for business decision making and problem solving. Students are also required to earn Bloomberg certification by completing Bloomberg Market Concepts (BMC), a self-paced e-learning program that provides an introduction to the financial markets as well as use of the Bloomberg terminals.
Spring of freshman year students begin to complete other foundational coursework and have the opportunity to choose among Financial Accounting (VSB 2004), Strategic Information Technology (VSB 2006), Corporate Responsibility and Regulation (VSB 2007), and Business Analytics (VSB 2008). These four courses, along with Principles of Finance (VSB 2009) and Competitive Effectiveness (VSB 2020), should be completed by the end of sophomore year.
Financial Accounting introduces students to generally accepted accounting principles and both the creation and analysis of financial statements. Students are exposed to the importance of accounting in making decisions related to business, investing, and financing.
Principles of Finance studies the theory and techniques of financial management, focusing on financial markets, financial statements and analysis, time value of money, interest rates, bond valuation, risk and return, equity valuation, cost of capital, capital budgeting, and working capital management.
Competitive Effectiveness (CE) makes a strong, concrete, graspable link between the core concepts of both marketing and management, and teaches students to learn concepts from multiple disciplines by working on real problems. It pairs undergraduates with executives at local and regional companies; students have the opportunity to pitch marketing campaigns, including market research, competitive analysis and a budget, as well as individual advertisements, promotional materials and a management analysis, as they work on actual problems rather than historical cases.
Strategic Information Technology (SIT) presents examples of organizational, process, and strategy alignment, and teaches students to clearly recognize key performance measures for business processes in a global economy. Students further learn to articulate details of implementation lifecycles for enterprise-wide applications, knowledge management, and e-business initiatives.
Corporate Responsibility and Regulation examines the subjects of ethics, regulation, corporate social responsibility, and business law as they relate to business decision-making. The course emphasizes the need for managers to consider both the legal, regulatory and ethical implications of their conduct, as well as how that conduct could impact on the relationship the business has with government and society.
Business Analytics teaches students the use of business intelligence and quantitative methods, including statistical analysis, forecasting/extrapolation, predicative modeling, optimization and simulation in the context of organizational decision making and problem solving. Students gain an understanding of how managers use analytics to formulate and solve business problems to support managerial decision making, and learn how to use and apply selected business analytics software.
During sophomore year all VSB students enroll in VSB 2000 Backpack-to-Briefcase Sophomore Seminar, a one credit professional development seminar focusing on self-assessment, career decision making, personal branding, internship and job search processes, interviewing skills, networking and using social media.
During junior year, students enroll in Managerial Accounting (VSB 3006), Operations Management (VSB 3008), and Global Political Economy (ECO 3108), and begin taking courses to fulfill major and/or minor requirements.
Managerial Accounting teaches students how management accounting information can be used to help firms achieve strategic goals and profitability objectives. The course employs an entrepreneurial perspective to examine how managers apply risk measurement and management techniques to business planning and control systems.
Operations Management provides an understanding of the critical role and the contributions made by operations managers in manufacturing and service firms including decision making, forecasting, resource allocation, project management, quality, materials management, technology, and strategy.
In Global Political Economy students learn about the political history, socio-economic conditions, and government policies of various countries and regions to analyze and evaluate the global impact on international trade and monetary relations.
In the fall or spring semester, VSB juniors continue with the Backpack-to-Briefcase series by enrolling in a one-credit course, VSB 3000, that provides preparation for and culminates in an internal case competition. Written and verbal communication skills, analysis, team dynamics and leadership are integrated throughout the course. This course also provides an array of networking opportunities; students interact with and are provided feedback from business professionals.
During senior year, students continue to take courses to fulfill major and minor requirements. In addition, all students are required to take Strategic Thinking and Implementation (VSB 4002). This capstone business course teaches students to think strategically and holistically about companies and non-profit organizations from the top down and with a long term, organizational perspective.