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BSE students pose in front of Google sign

Business, Society and the Economy

Developing students’ entrepreneurial mindset


With a rise in globalization has come a rise in competition. To succeed in this environment, both businesses and individuals must embrace innovation and entrepreneurship. Each of us is continuously challenged to effectively lead, work on teams and collaborate with other individuals.

Business, Society and the Economy (BSE) explores the world of commerce and teaches students the fundamentals of business today. Through team projects, simulations and case competitions, students examine:

  • The concept of leadership and the elements required to be a leader, in business or in society;
  • The interpersonal and organization-wide communications processes that affect a company's operations; and
  • Corporate and individual impact.

Students in BSE enjoy opportunities to meet alumni and other professional leaders in the United States and around the globe, allowing them to develop a broad understanding of the challenges and opportunities found in the world of business.

BSE is ideal for any student, regardless of their major, seeking opportunities to develop their leadership and networking skills.

Colloquium and Lecture Topics

  • Seeing the invisible: Elon Musk, Ted Turner, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs
  • Company transformation
  • Building a brand, for a business, for an industry
  • Managing risk

I thought I was joining a group that enjoyed learning about general business topics. What I didn’t know was that I was joining a program that would polish me into an innovative scholar who was ready to tackle any situation in a constantly changing world—and who met some of his closest friends along the way.

Jacob Pliner
Jacob Aaron Pliner '22

Other Learning Opportunities

BSE offers a variety of opportunities to reinforce what students learn in class. As a BSE’er, you will:

  • Participate in urban team activities, management assessments and decision-making simulations, and even tackle business challenges for real-world clients;
  • Take behind-the-scenes tours with corporate leaders in Washington, New York and Pennsylvania;
  • Enjoy the support of a vast alumni network as well as opportunities to work with BSE sophomores as a freshman (and vice versa as a sophomore); and
  • Participate in several student-driven service-learning opportunities throughout the year, such as service shifts at A Wider Circle in Silver Spring, Maryland, and winter coat drives.

Further, BSE is a campus leader in implementing global learning opportunities, through virtual and in-person international travel experiences. Students have studied the similarities and differences in business environments in Australia, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates and several nations in Southeast Asia, for example. Virtual global opportunities have included a consultation project with DubaiExpo2020.

Curriculum Overview

Over the two-year program experience (four semesters), students will complete a 3-credit supporting course that will count toward their BSE Scholars citation. In most cases, it will also fulfill General Education requirements. Note that your Scholars courses—colloquium, practicum and supporting course(s)—will generally be in addition to any courses you take to satisfy major requirements.

The following table outlines a typical two-year curriculum, but individual schedules may vary. Details about courses and requirements can be found on the BSE Citation Checklist.

Freshman Fall Scholars Colloquium 1 credit
Exploring Leadership 3 credits
3–4 courses toward degree and major requirements (including possible supporting course) 9–12 credits
Freshman Spring Scholars Colloquium 1 credit
Academic Writing 3 credits
3–4 courses toward degree and major requirements (including possible supporting course) 9–12 credits
Sophomore Fall Enterprise Communications 3 credits
4–5 courses toward degree and major requirements (including possible supporting course) 12–15 credits
Sophomore Spring Scholars Practicum 1–3 credits
4–5 courses toward degree and major requirements (including possible supporting course if not already completed) 12–15 credits

Residence Hall

Cambridge Hall

Office Address

1122 Cambridge Hall

Office Phone



Portrait of Oliver Schlake

Oliver Schlake

Program Director, Business, Society and the Economy
Portrait of Joanne Briscoe

Joanne Briscoe

Assistant Director, Business, Society and the Economy

Social Media Etc.

Office of International Affairs: Mourning the Loss of International Educator Mark Wellman, January 2022
Robert H. Smith School of Business: Tributes, Memories for Professor Mark Wellman, January 2022
Padlet: Remembering Mark Wellman, January 2022
Robert H. Smith School of Business: Undergrads Partner with Fox Sports U, July 2021

Business, Society and the Economy News

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  • Scholars recognizes Citation Class of 2022, Founders Circle Award winners

    Students in College Park Scholars’s Citation Class of 2022 began their University of Maryland (UMD) careers in the fall of 2020, under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic. They spent their first year almost entirely online: Some Zoomed into their program colloquium from their double-turned-single dorm rooms; others attended virtually from their families’ homes, away from campus.

  • 2 Scholars alums named Merrill Presidential Scholars

    Two Scholars alumni were among the 19 graduating seniors named this year’s Philip Merrill Presidential Scholars. The program recognizes the University of Maryland’s most successful seniors—as chosen by their academic colleges—and additionally honors the university faculty and K–12 teachers they cite for their mentorship. The two alums were: Alexia Ayuk, Business, Society and the Economy Katelyn Wang, Environment, Technology and Economy

  • Smith School Professor with Expertise in Scenario Planning to Lead Business, Society and the Economy Scholars Program

    Dr. Oliver Schlake, a clinical professor at the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business, will be the new director of Business, Society and the Economy Scholars, effective July 1, 2022.Dr. Oliver Schlake, a longtime clinical professor and senior executive teaching fellow at the University of Maryland Robert H.

  • 6 Scholars Alums Selected to Serve as Spring Commencement Senior Marshals

    The University of Maryland has announced its senior marshals for Spring Commencement, slated for Friday, May 20. Six College Park Scholars alumni number among the 60 graduating seniors serving as marshals:

  • College Park Scholars Grieves Unexpected Passing of BSE Director Mark Wellman

    College Park Scholars is grieving the loss of Dr. Mark Wellman, director of the Business, Society and the Economy (BSE) Scholars program, who died unexpectedly last week of a heart attack. He had served as director of BSE since 2005. A clinical professor in the Robert H. Smith School of Business, Wellman had been at the University of Maryland since 1990 and had also recently stepped into the role of assistant dean of alumni and corporate engagement in the Smith School.

  • Scholars recognizes Citation Class of 2021, Founders Circle Award winners

    When the Scholars Citation Class of 2021—all 930 of them—stepped onto the University of Maryland campus in August of 2019, spirits were undoubtedly high. College Park Scholars was celebrating its 25th anniversary, with branded #ScholarsAt25 shirts, buttons and laptop stickers, and even a Maryland Dairy ice cream flavor created specifically for the occasion. But spirits sank in March of 2020 with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, sending the cohort into a virtual experience for the rest of their time in the program.

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