The new program of study within the business administration major will incorporate liberal arts and focus on addressing racial, ethnic, and gender inequities.

Brooklyn College’s Department of Business Management within the Murray Koppelman School of Business has developed an innovative concentration in “Diversity and Inclusion in Business” for its undergraduate B.B.A. in Business Administration Program to be offered for the first time in Fall 2021.

The first among CUNY colleges, the concentration leverages the expertise of Brooklyn College’s strong liberal arts programming to educate business students in a way that is substantially different compared to what business schools typically do with respect to diversity and inclusion.

Already known for its quality liberal arts courses, Brooklyn College was ranked one of the top public liberal arts colleges in the nation by The college was one of only two New York State colleges or universities that made the site’s list of renowned liberal arts institutions.

The work to develop the program started in Fall 2020 with the idea that by leveraging these perspectives and ideals, students would be better prepared for employment by having a more worldly perspective.

This new concentration will join 10 other concentrations in the B.B.A. program, giving Koppelman students a broad range of areas of interest to pursue, including Business Economics; Business for Health Professions; Business Law and Real Estate; Consumer and Organizational Behavior; E-Business; International Business; International Business; Leadership and Human Resource Management; Management; and Marketing.

Qing Hu, Dean of the Koppelman School of Business, said this new concentration is another example of the adaptability of the school’s programming driven by its mission of delivering a distinctive business education for a diverse body of students.

“By continuing to adapt our curricula to the constantly evolving environment with innovative business program offerings, Koppelman is able to provide students a distinctive education that best prepares them for the challenges in the real world, post-graduation.”

Hervé Queneau is a professor and former chair for the Department of Business Management in the Koppelman School of Business who helped create the new concentration with fellow longtime professor and former director of the business programs Hershey Friedman.

“It is rare to see business programs that offer a concentration of this type,” Queneau said. “There is a renewed recognition in society of the need to tackle racial, ethnic, and gender inequities in a systemic way. Organizations are increasingly striving to become more diverse and inclusive, and in this context, it has become critical to equip managers, leaders, and professionals with the knowledge and skills to effectively function in diverse and inclusive workplaces.”

Friedman is a professor of business management who started the business program at Brooklyn College in 1986. He has watched the business world evolve over the decades as a professional and a teacher.

“The world, including the business world, is a completely different place than it was 20, 30 years ago,” Friedman said. “The approach to business and the approach to teaching have evolved tremendously, and by offering our students programing that will better prepare them to handle issues surrounding diversity and inclusion will give them a leg up in a world that is embracing these ideals more than ever.”

This new approach to teaching business is timely. The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) did an online survey of employers (pdf) and found that 93 percent of them agree that candidates’ demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than their undergraduate major. Four out of five employers also agreed that all students should acquire broad knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences.

“It is really all about a well-rounded education,” Friedman said. “Employers need to know people also understand the world around them and have soft skills. This has never been more true in the business world, in particular, which is more international in structure and operation than ever before.”