Last Thursday, Robert Herjavec, president and CEO of The Herjavec Group and one of the six “sharks” on ABC’s Shark Tank, joined Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism Dean Ernest J. Wilson III in an open forum. Though many might assume the tech mogul would be joining the students at the Marshall School of Business, Herjavec instead came to speak to the communication and journalism students about his journey as an entrepreneur.
Herjavec’s decision to visit Annenberg students brought to light a greater question that the university has been addressing for sometime now: How can the various disciplines across the university introduce their students to the world of business and entrepreneurship?
The Annenberg School introduced a Media, Economics and Entrepreneurship initiative that has quickly become one of the most popular undergraduate programs across all schools. Though this program offers students the opportunity to be more exposed to entrepreneurship in the media field, it also includes an additional number of courses that many students might not have the time to complete on top of their demanding major. The solution, therefore, lies in something that is simpler and less of a time commitment. The answer is a business general education requirement.
The university’s general education program is designed to “provide a coherent, integrated introduction to the breadth of knowledge you will need to consider yourself (and to be considered by other people) a generally well-educated person,” according to its website. In a country growing increasingly concerned with a declining market and the fiscal policies of the United States government, it is essential to be able to understand the basic terminology of business and economics in order to keep up with the conversation, hence complying with the GE’s mission statement of creating a “generally well-educated person.” By implementing a business category to the GE requirements, the program can fully live up to its mission.
Not only would a business requirement coincide with the GE program’s mission statement, but also a core business class makes sense for a college student looking to do anything from managing his or her own finances to starting a business. With a range of options from macroeconomics to entrepreneurship, a business GE would allow freedom to explore a side of business that one finds interesting and practical for his or her own life.
Rather than creating a seventh GE category, the university should consider eliminating one of the redundant categories already in place. For instance, two of the six GE categories are “Scientific Inquiry” and “Science and Its Significance.” If the school’s goal is to give students a rudimentary general knowledge, it shouldn’t be necessary to take more than one science class as a non-science major, which would then leave room for a business-focused GE to take its place. In order to be considered a generally well-educated person, as the GE program intends, it is important for students to be exposed to all different subjects, rather than emphasize just two or three as the program currently does.
When news outlets such as Forbes and The New York Times throw business terms such as mutual fund and self-directed 401(k) around, it is important to be able to know what they’re saying — not just for the sake of conversation, but also for the sake of one’s bank account. With the introduction of a business requirement to USC’s ever-changing GE program, students will become more well-rounded and more fiscally responsible.
Morgan Greenwald is a sophomore majoring in print and digital journalism.