Baruch College needs innovation
Published: Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 15:05
After two years at Baruch College, I have decided to transfer out. I chose Baruch because, quite frankly, it was the best school that I could get into and that my parents would pay for.
While here, I have been actively participating in student life on campus, whether it be in my fraternity, clubs, or the student government, I have tried to make the most of my experience. I joined the honors program after freshman year, and held three internships. Nonetheless, I found my experience to be underwhelming.
The question that remains, however, is how can Baruch College change in order to keep students like myself, and the many others similar to myself ( Baruch has a 20 percent transfer rate –according to data from FAFSA) from transferring?
The answer lies in the three components of any good college education: stellar academics, an interesting student life, and a diverse student body. Stellar academics is probably the easiest one to tackle.
Baruch College consists of nearly 50 percent declared finance and accounting majors, according to US News & World Report, yet it is only the highest caliber students who are able to secure jobs in front office positions at bulge bracket banks, and the big four accounting firms.
If it is so difficult to secure a job in such fields, why do so many students choose to major in these fields? The answer is quite obvious—Baruch is still regarded as a vocational school to some degree, and if it ever wants to improve the quality of its education, it must shed that viewpoint.
Baruch must continue to move forward in propelling the business school, while simultaneously investing in other related areas. Obviously, the CUNY budget has been cut numerous times in the past few years, making it a difficult task.
Currently, Baruch College is bloated. Elder professors need to be given retirement packages and sent off, so that younger, hungrier professors who can move the school forward can replace them. But also, lackluster professors plague many departments, such as math, which is the reason so many students fail courses like calculus.
Baruch also has several curriculum problems. Courses are dumbed down, some are unnecessary, and others don’t tend to compete with similar ones offered by the top-tier business schools in the country.
For example, students at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business take Management as their first business class and are instructed to create their own business and use SWOT analysis.
This bottom-up approach to business (taking marketing, management and finance courses first) allows students to gain real world experience in an academic setting—something that is sorely lacking at Baruch.
The solutions to these problems are obvious. Baruch needs to reform its departments, and remodel its business curriculum if it is to truly compete with the best schools in our nation.
It needs to make Baruch a more fit institution by cutting out “fat” and expanding in areas where there is significant student interest, such as the Journalism department, which seems booming with talent.
In regards to student life, I wrote an article last year in The Ticker titled “Baruch clubs uninspired, uninspiring.”
There I wrote, “If clubs want to elevate the value of a Baruch diploma, they must innovate, take risks, and work together in order to produce events never before seen here.”
Unfortunately, the student life at Baruch has not progressed in this direction, in large part due to the lackluster Student Government of 2011-12 and the Office of Student Life.
In my opinion, an improved student life at Baruch will require deep collaboration between clubs, USG and the Office of Student Life, in order to create the blockbuster events that will entice students to stay on campus.
The last main issue that made me inclined to transfer was the lack of diversity on campus. While Baruch has been top ranked as the most ethnically diverse college in the nation, it is sorely lacking in intellectual diversity.
Most students share the same interests, and that can inevitably become boring. One way that Baruch could work to fix this problem would be to convince CUNY to start using the Common Application, which requires students to write their extracurricular activities and a simple essay. This would allow admissions counselors to have a more intellectually diverse student body.
Baruch has a lot of potential simply because it is located in New York City. However, if it truly wants to capitalize on this innate advantage, it must not be content maintaining its standings.
The administration, the student life and the students must work to be innovative, and to push Baruch to explore new heights so that one day, Baruch College can be considered an elite school.