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Issue Date: October 2007 Issue


Big Shots of Studies


Myra Orenstein
For those who have dreams of becoming the next Donald Trump or saving the world, Kent State University may well be your genie in a bottle.

Kent State has introduced a four-year Bachelor of Science degree in biotechnology. Unique in Ohio, “The major appeals to a person who likes to understand how things work and wants to improve the world he or she lives in.” says Director of Biotechnology Diane Stroup, Ph.D.
“This is someone who is working toward a brighter future — either through transforming the way food is produced, speeding the development of new medical treatments or restoring contaminated environments.”

To be sure, students must have an affinity for biology and chemistry, but their desire to make an impact on the world and on our future should set them apart. “Biotechnology provides solutions for things that threaten life and the environment. It is designed to prepare individuals for the changing opportunities and the changing future that we face,” she explains.

Perhaps the best news for students is that well-paying job opportunities abound. Corporations are actively seeking biotechnology majors for internships and full-time positions are plentiful in this growing industry.

Yet, biotechnology is not the only major that is turning heads in the business world. U.S. News and World Report has ranked Kent State University’s College of Business Administration among the nation’s Best Undergraduate Business Programs. (Out of more than 1,200 public and private business schools in the United States.) Kent State is the only public university in Northeast Ohio on the list of 180 business programs in the publication’s 2007 America’s Best Colleges and one of only eight business programs in Ohio to achieve the recognition.

The accolades may be the result of alterations made to the program. Kent State students begin taking basic business courses in their freshman and sophomore years, exposing them earlier to the major. It offers students the opportunity to specialize in pre-accounting, pre-marketing and pre-finance rather than the open-ended pre-business majors offered at other schools. They also learn about business through courses taught by a retired executive, obtaining real-life exposure to the field.

On a graduate level, Kent State offers Centers of Excellence. Students enrolled in the master of science in financial engineering program are able to gain valuable experience working real-time on a financial trading floor, obtaining actual data feeds from the Chicago Board of Trade.
 
Although they are not able to buy and sell, they can monitor exchanges. In fact, Kent State’s trading floor is used as a backup, in case of disaster, by the Chicago Board of Trade. This year, 21 freshmen will experience the activity on the trading floor through a collaborative program between the economics department at the College of Business Administration and Graduate School of Management and the mathematics department at the College of Arts and Sciences.

Global Management, another Center of Excellence, features a speaker series and a minor in International Business. A new major in Entrepreneurship (a minor is already offered), allowing students to gain hands-on experience both starting and executing new ventures, also is being proposed.

The doctoral program also sets Kent State apart. “This program results in Kent State’s attracting a certain caliber of faculty,” says Elizabeth A. Sinclair, assistant dean, undergraduate office, College of Business Administration, “The graduate students attending the program are typically retired or current executives. They bring their actual work experience into the classroom.”
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