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Business, Society and the Economy

Developing students’ entrepreneurial mindset

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In recent years, the global landscape has undergone profound transformations, rendering many once-assumed certainties obsolete while propelling us into the realm of the fourth industrial revolution. The acronym VUCA captures the essence of this evolution, depicting a world that is increasingly Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous, particularly within the world of business. For aspiring business students, navigating this dynamic environment presents unprecedented challenges. These challenges necessitate the acquisition of a new set of skills—ones that are universal, resilient, versatile, and forward-thinking. Success in such a fluid landscape demands a commitment to creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship from both individuals and businesses alike. 

The Business, Society, and Economy (BSE) program is designed to equip students with the essential knowledge and skills to thrive in today's business environment, irrespective of their chosen field of study. Through a blend of cutting-edge lectures, hands-on projects, immersive simulations, insightful guest speakers, and engaging case competitions, students will delve into: 

  • Creative problem-solving techniques that empower leaders to tackle complex challenges;
  • The application of improvisational skills to navigate uncertainty with confidence;
  • Entrepreneurial thinking to cultivate a mindset conducive to innovation and growth; 
  • The impact of interpersonal and organizational communication on business operations; and 
  • The importance of building a professional network proactively. 

BSE students benefit from invaluable networking opportunities with alumni and industry leaders both domestically and internationally, providing them with a comprehensive understanding of global business dynamics. Ideal for students from any academic background, BSE offers a platform to gain insights into the intricacies of business, develop a unique skill set tailored to an ever-evolving world, and anticipate future trends. Prospective students should note that BSE is an accelerated program designed to expedite skill acquisition, offering numerous avenues for experiential learning at an accelerated pace.

Colloquium and Lecture Topics

  • How to kill creativity.
  • Outdoor survival challenge: Improvising in the wild.
  • “Dormpreneurship” – How to start your own business while on campus.
  • What it takes to deliver a TedTalk and stand confidently in the red circle.

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 provides diverse opportunities to strengthen the knowledge and skills that students acquire in the classroom. As a BSE’er, you will:

  • Participate in team activities, management assessments, 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 various service-learning opportunities throughout the year, such as volunteering at the National Park Service, winter coat drives, and more.

BSE is a campus leader in providing global learning opportunities to its students, both through virtual and in-person international travel experiences. Students have had the chance to study and compare the business environments of countries such as Australia, New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates, and various European countries.

Curriculum Overview

Over the two-year program experience (four semesters), students will complete specially designed courses that will count toward their BSE Scholars citation. These courses—in most cases—count towards additional major requirements and fulfill General Education requirements. Scholars courses differ from courses with the same designator in that they feature many extracurricular activities and learning enhancement not available to non-BSE Scholars. Note that your Scholars courses—colloquium and practicum—will generally be in addition to any courses you take to satisfy major requirements.

The table below presents a standard two-year curriculum, but please note that individual schedules may differ. You can find information about courses and requirements on the BSE Citation Checklist.

Semester 1 CPBE 100: Colloquium I 1 credit
BMGT 161: Creative Problem Solving (DSSP, SCIS) 3 credits
Semester 2 BMGT 110S: Introduction to the Business Value Chain 3 credits
CPBE101: Colloquium II 1 credit
Semester 3 CPBE 225: Enterprise Communications (FSOC) 3 credits
CPBE200: Colloquium III 1 credit
Semester 4 CPBE 230: Internship; or
CPBE 240: Service-Learning; or
CPBE 250: Research
1 credit
1 credit
1 credit
Semester 1, 2, 3, or 4 DVCC Supporting Course or
DVUP Supporting Course
1-3 credits
1-3 credits

Office Address

1122 Cambridge Hall

Office Phone



Portrait of Oliver Schlake

Oliver Schlake

Program Director, Business, Society and the Economy
Portrait of Obioma Akaigwe

Obioma Akaigwe

Assistant Director, Business, Society and the Economy

News and Notes, 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

Showing 1 - 6 of 13
  • How to Succeed in Business Without Really Dying

    The following excerpt is from Terp Magazine:The objective: Survive a hypothetical night in the frigid woods making do with only the items found in a discarded trash bag.It’s all part of Schlake’s “Creative Problem Solving” class in the Business, Society and the Economy (BSE) program of College Park Scholars, where students are charged to think creatively and quickly, and adapt through unconventional exercises.

  • Two More Programs Added to Scholars for 2024-25

    COLLEGE PARK, MD. – College Park Scholars in Fall 2024 will add two programs to its roster of two-year living-learning experiences for academically talented students, but one will look and sound familiar.Data Justice will debut, and the University of Maryland’s CIVICUS program will relaunch with a new name: Civic Engagement for Social Good.The expansion will bring the number of Scholars programs to a record of 13 and provide 150 additional first-year students with the opportunity to begin their college journeys as members of an intellectually rich and socially vibrant Scholars community.

  • Scholars Celebrates Citation and Founders Circle Award Winners at Annual Ceremony

    When the Citation class of 2023 entered the University of Maryland, they were already adjusting to a rapidly changing world being constantly reshaped by the Covid-19 global pandemic. One thing that didn’t change – their commitment to excellence in the classroom. All who successfully completed the requirements of their respective Scholars program received their official Scholars citation. But there were some that went above and beyond the expectations, leaving a lasting impact on the community.

  • 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.

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