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Sac State to launch Business Honors Program


CBA Associate Dean Russell Ching is spearheading the new Business Honors Program.
A new component of Sacramento State’s College of Business Administration, the Business Honors Program, will give students a broader understanding of how various parts of the business world interrelate.

The upper-class undergraduate program is being designed for high-achieving and highly motivated students who aspire to lead an organization from an executive level. It’s the brainchild of Associate Dean for the Undergraduate Program Russell Ching and Professors Seung Bach, Martha Wilson and Denver Travis, and is scheduled to become part of the college’s curriculum in Fall 2012.

The four-semester program would begin with 25-30 students in its first team of cohorts, eventually expanding to a total of 100-120 students at any one time.The standard approach is to teach each business component – marketing, operating management or finance – individually, presenting each as a functional silo without discussion of how it relates to other functions. Following graduation, students are then expected to connect them into the “big picture.”

The new program takes an integrated approach and teaches how all the components mesh. “So if you were commanding a large project, you would know exactly what resources can be drawn from finance, what can be drawn from marketing, and you can tie them together,” says Ching.

The college’s dean, Sanjay Varshney, has provided valuable support throughout the process, Ching says.

“The Sacramento region’s employers want to hire the very best from our programs. The Business Honors Program will create and retain intellectual capital vital to the region and help employers with the very best talent to fuel the economic engine,” Varshney says.

Ching and his colleagues will recruit students from the University’s Honors Program for freshmen and sophomores, local community colleges, and other Sac State business students who meet the criteria.
Some might ask why not use this approach for all business students, but Ching says there are good reasons to use a double-track curriculum.

This holistic method requires an abstract approach to business operations, a strong desire to become a manager or tackle large projects, and good people skills, Ching says.

It also requires creative thinking. “You often have to discover new and competitive solutions and not just reuse the solutions that worked before,” Ching says.

He adds that the traditional approach is better suited for those who want to focus on just one aspect of business or who prefer to work on their own.

Ching has high praise for the University’s Honors Program, which focuses on general ed programs, and its director, Professor Roberto Pomo. Ching would like to create a bridge so business students in Pomo’s program can transition seamlessly to the College of Business Administration program.

“It makes you proud to be part of this University to know we have such great students,” Ching says.
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– Craig Koscho