The Management Department at KSC launched two new specializations last fall, and they are now both growing. Within the major, students also have the opportunity to major in marketing and/or human resources.

Assistant Professor of Management Dudley Blossom said the conversation of these specializations was going on at the college when he began two years ago. He teaches the courses in marketing and said the department let students know the specializations were coming about six months before to provide the opportunity for them to adjust schedules where needed.

“A lot of students have been deciding to do the marketing specialization. We graduated some of the students last year [and] they were able to switch into it their senior year. Before I came, there was an alumni survey done within the department that showed a very large percentage of students who came out of management [and] went into marketing related fields, including sales and client service, things like that. It was a pretty natural move for a lot of students just to say, ‘I know that’s where I’m going anyways,’ so it was just a new declaration for their major,” Blossom said.

He explained that students have different choices of electives within the major and must take two prescribed classes with having three to choose from. These classes include integrative marketing, market research and advertising and promotion.

Blossom said, “The marketing specialization is very much consumer marketing oriented, so more, ‘How do people buy?’ rather than, ‘How do I manage marketing directly?’ It’s much more about people and much less about process.”

Blossom continued and said the classes he is teaching currently are full and students are truly taking advantage of this opportunity. He explained that both specializations are structured the same in the amount of classes students must be taking to complete them.

“Just because of the way the curriculum process works, we are being fairly flexible with that list (electives) so if someone comes forward [with], say a journalism class, and says, ‘I’m doing this journalism class, it fits really well will you review and approve it?’ We are trying to be flexible with that because the curriculum across campus changes every year and it’s hard to keep up with in advance,” Blossom said.

He further explained that it was important for the major to implement these specializations because management “doesn’t describe any of them.” Blossom said, “From my perspective, a lot of it came down to helping people pick electives, but also really helping them walk out the door better able to explain what they did here. Management is a terrific major, but it’s fairly broad; there’s management in everything. To have people say, ‘Well, I really want to be in this field,’ and it actually shows up as their major I think helps. It also helps our department organize a little bit. We have a lot of students in the department so it’s helpful to say, ‘Well, we can put them into clusters.’”

Blossom expects the specialization to continue to grow. “I think there’s a fair amount of demand. It’s growing and the demand for it is growing. As a result, the course options are increasing, which is nice, but it’s a little hard to make sure we are offering enough. We have also tried to adjust prerequisites to make it more accessible to people outside the major. One of the issues I had was prerequisites within the major really restrict some of these upper level electives to just management students and it doesn’t need to be that way,” Blossom said.

He continued, “We have really, at least within marketing, have been trying really hard to adjust prerequisites that really aren’t necessary; they are useful but not necessary. I’d like to see us reaching out more and bring in a wider range of people from other majors.”

Junior management major and marketing specialization Jennifer Carlson said the specialization is helpful for her future plans.

“When I was deciding on a major, I was looking into [Public Relations] originally because that was the closest to marketing that Keene offered. Then, Phoebe [Price] in Academic and Career Advising informed me of the change in the management major. I had considered minoring in management because I would be allowed to take the couple of marketing classes that were offered, but once the specialization was announced, I was very excited and registered for the intro class that I needed and declared management marketing specialization as my major. I want to get into sales or merchandising, or digital and social media marketing, so having that specialization gives me the edge I need in such a competitive field,” Carlson said.

Assistant Professor of Management Dave Beaudry teaches within the other option for a specialization in management, human resources. “It’s for students interested in that aspect of work. With the classes, there’s one course that is actually called Human Resources Management, so that deals with going through all the way from strategies of hiring, performance management and many different aspects to human resources. There’s compensation aspects, the employee conflict aspect and things along that nature,” Beaudry said.

He said the management major decided to adopt these specializations because of previous graduates. Beaudry said, “It was some of the fields they went into. Some of the things they wanted to go into and wished that they could say when they graduated they had also specialized in human resource management, so that when they were starting up their careers, they could also show more experience and knowledge in the area.”

He also added that human resources is a growing field. Beaudry said when you look statistically, the growth is around five to eight percent. “If we think of organizations and we look at them from eight to 10 years ago to now, they’ve evolved in the way we do business or management and organization is different. The human aspect of it is continuing to evolve,” Beaudry said.

Agreeing with Blossom, Beaudry sees the specialization growing. In it’s growth, the department is making new connections. “One of the things we are also doing is we’ve connected to the local chapter for the Society of Human Resources Management. We’re starting to develop some engagement that way,” Beaudry said.

Beaudry has hopes more students will become interested in joining the major. He said, “I think it’s an excellent career opportunity for people.”

Emma Hamilton can be contacted at ehamilton@kscequinox.com