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Business honors program

By Brooks Phelps
On November 9, 2010

Interested in applying to a business fellowship program? For the Smith school's best and brightest, the Honors Fellows program is a challenging and rewarding program.

The Honors Fellows Program requires students to take at least 15 credits of upper level honors classes, including a capstone special to the program. In addition, students are given the option of writing a thesis as part of their curriculum.

Dr. Charles E. Olson, Professor of the Practice and the Director of the program, said that enrolled students tend to have success after graduating.

"At least half seem to have a job by the fall of their senior year," he said.

Honors classes don't necessarily mean more work, but can be stimulating in a different way, according to some students.

"They demand a different kind of attention," said David Cencula, a junior accounting and finance major. "[The classes] are less textbook, more real world analysis."

Students typically apply for the program during the spring semester of their sophomore year, as the program requires a minimum 3.5 GPA and the completion of all BMGT pre-requisites by the end of that semester. Only 35 students are accepted each semester, meaning applications are heavily scrutinized.

Olson, who reviews applications along with Associate Dean Patricia Cleveland, noted that letters of recommendation, especially from professors, are very important in the selection process. Students with special interests, such as double majors in a non-business field like music or Mandarin, are also given consideration.

However, "resume packing", or when students who try to apply to too many programs, is discouraged, said Olson.

Smaller class sizes are one of the perks students in the Honors Program enjoy, according to Brendan George, a junior finance major in the program.

"I think [honors marketing] is my best class," he said, adding that more one-on-one time was important to him.

While George and Cencula enjoyed the special attention from teachers, they both realized what the program could do to their resume, with George mentioning graduate school as a possibility.

"Tons of accounting and finance students graduate every year," said Cencula. "I want to differentiate myself."

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