Montana State University
MSU Catalog > College of Business

College of Business


Kregg Aytes, Ph.D., Dean
Harry Benham, Ph.D., Interim Associate Dean for Administration and Finance
Susan Dana, J.D., Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Director,
     The Bracken Center for Excellence in Undergraduate Business Education
Christine Lamb, Ed.D., Assistant Dean for Office of Student Services

Undergraduate Programs Available:

General Information:

The College of Business at Montana State University is a vibrant and exciting place where the academic and professional success of students comes first. An extraordinary faculty offers both an innovative, nationally recognized curriculum, and a unique learning environment for undergraduate students. Distinguishing features of the program include small classes, exceptional faculty members in every classroom (no graduate student instructors), rigorous course work, an interactive, personalized learning environment, and high-performing students. Each student has a faculty advisor who is available to mentor the student on both academic and career choices.

In October of 2011, the College of Business received a $25 Million gift from Jake Jabs for the purpose of building a new building for the College of Business and enhancing the College's programs. With this gift, the College of Business will become an even more vibrant and exciting place where the academic and professional success of students will continue to come first.

The College is fully accredited by AACSB International-the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the premium accrediting association for business programs. AACSB has awarded its mark of distinction to only fifteen percent of all business programs worldwide. Not only does this accreditation certify that the College meets AACSB's rigorous standards for business education, but it also signals to local, regional, and national employers that the College's graduates are well-prepared for careers in business.

The College's commitment to student-centered learning is articulated in the College's vision and mission statements:

Vision Statement: The College of Business at Montana State University will provide a locally revered and nationally recognized business education for undergraduate students and in selected areas of graduate study. The programs of study will be distinguished by the personalized attention accorded to students, a diverse and contemporary curriculum, and the dedication of the faculty to create an extraordinary classroom environment and facilitate career opportunities for students.

Mission Statement: The mission of the College of Business is to provide excellence in undergraduate and select graduate business education.

To accomplish this, the College:

  • Fosters an integrated and experiential learning environment.
  • Encourages critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, effective communication, ethical decision making, social responsibility, and life-long learning.

The College is committed to the teacher-scholar model in which faculty members are simultaneously engaged in the creation and dissemination of knowledge. In keeping with the University's land-grant mission, the College provides service and outreach to a variety of stakeholders.

Learning Objectives

Based on the College's mission, the College has established the following learning objectives for its students:

  • Knowledge of Business: Students will have strong working knowledge of fundamental concepts in accounting, finance, management, marketing, information technology, strategy, and law.
  • Critical Thinking: Students will learn to effectively and persuasively assimilate and evaluate information to solve business problems.
  • Quantitative Reasoning: Students will be able to interpret, represent, and evaluate quantitative information and integrate such information into business decisions and recommendations.
  • Effective Written Communication: Students will be able to develop and organize ideas, adopt an appropriate tone, employ correct grammar, sentence structure and mechanics, use appropriate vocabulary, and correctly cite sources for facts, quotations and ideas.
  • Effective Oral Communication: Students will be able to develop and organize ideas, successfully employ technology in support of a message, speak extemporaneously with minimal hesitations and fillers, adopt an appropriate tone, use appropriate vocabulary, employ correct grammar and sentence structure, and manage presentation pacing, and timing effectively.
  • Ethical Decision Making and Social Responsibility: Students will recognize the ethical and societal implications of proposed actions, employ decision-making tools to evaluate the ethical and societal effects of a variety of options, and make sound decisions in accordance with the analysis and evaluation of options.
  • Life-Long Learning: Students will be immersed in an environment that encourages life-long learning through extensive opportunities to learn in team settings and to develop effective team skills, to develop research skills to advance learning, and to strengthen critical thinking skills.

Throughout the business curriculum, students receive significant exposure to each of these learning objectives. The level of student learning related to each objective is assessed in the senior year.

The Gary K. Bracken Center for Excellence in Undergraduate Business Education

The College's commitment to undergraduate student success is embodied in The Gary K. Bracken Center for Excellence in Undergraduate Business Education, which is both a physical place and a philosophy.

The Bracken Center is physically located within the College of Business in Reid Hall, where it offers access to internship and career information, employer interviews, state-of-the-art conference rooms for student use, and the Bracken Business Communication Clinic (BBCC). The BBCC is staffed by business communication professionals who coach students on oral presentations and written assignments, including basic grammar, punctuation, sentence structure and tenses, and business themes, content, and organization of material.

The philosophy of the Bracken Center is reflected in its mission to facilitate excellence in undergraduate business education through a high quality learning environment. The foundation for student success is based on "Three Pillars":

  1. "Learning to Do" — Excellent Academic Preparation:
    • Innovative, challenging, and practical curriculum.
    • Small classes taught exclusively by faculty, not by graduate students.
    • Focus on experiential, hands-on learning.
  2. "Learning to Act" — Developing Professional Skills:
    • Student commitment to the student PRIDE Code of Excellence.
    • Emphasis on team work and oral and written communication.
    • Guidance in finding internships and jobs, including "Meet the Recruiters" events, and resume and interviewing assistance.
  3. "Learning to Be" — Nurturing Personal Growth:
    • Individualized attention to help students recognize their strengths and interests.
    • Faculty advisors/mentors assigned to all students from their very first day on campus.
    • Study abroad opportunities supported by fellowships to help pay for travel expenses.

The College considers student professionalism and personal development to be essential complements to academic excellence. Business students, in conjunction with the faculty, have therefore developed a Student PRIDE Code of Excellence to help guide students in their academic, professional, and personal choices:

Student PRIDE
Code of Excellence

We, the students of the MSU College of Business, understand that in choosing to enroll at MSU we are investing in our professional futures. Therefore, we proudly commit to the following Code of Excellence:


     I am accountable for and take pride in my own learning and conduct.


     I treat with respect all members of my community, including peers, staff, and faculty.


     I am ethical in all that I do.


     I do my best work at all times.


     I challenge myself to invest proactively in my academic, professional, and personal development.

The College offers a wide array of opportunities for students to develop their academic, professional, and personal skills, including:

  • First Year and Senior Seminars consisting of no more than 20 students.
  • Courses in which students serve as consultants for real firms and not-for-profit organizations.
  • Minors in Accounting, Business Administration, Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management, International Business, and Management of Information Technology (see below for more detail on these minors).
  • Student clubs, including Accounting/Beta Alpha Psi, Beta Gamma Sigma, Finance, International Business, HR/Management, Marketing, and Students in Free Enterprise (entrepreneurship).
  • Internships at local, regional, and national companies and government agencies.
  • Study abroad opportunities and short term international programs, including a most-expenses-paid internship in Tokyo, Japan. The Bracken Center offers scholarships specifically to support international activities.
  • David B. Orser Executive Speakers Forum, which brings several high-profile professionals to the College annually to interact with students and offer insights into business.

The Bracken Center also provides assistance to faculty members to support their teaching and research activities.

The Alderson Program in Entrepreneurship
The Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship for the New West

The Alderson Program in Entrepreneurship enables students to study entrepreneurship through the College's 30-credit minor in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management. The culmination of the program is the capstone course–BMGT 463, Entrepreneurial Experience. Students in BMGT 463 gain valuable experience working with start-up or growth companies and may also provide assistance to scientists at MSU in commercializing their scientific discoveries. This partnership not only allows students to apply knowledge gained from their academic work to businesses, but also makes a significant contribution to the economic development of the state of Montana. The Alderson Program has been recognized twice by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the top 10 entrepreneur-emphasis programs in the U.S.

The mission of the Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship for the New West is to help Montana businesses flourish by connecting them to Montana State University students and resources. The Center connects clients with BMGT 463 student teams and provides funding for students to travel to all parts of Montana. The Center also offers the Entrepreneur-in-Residence program, which brings in experienced entrepreneurs to spend a week with students and faculty, as well as the Family Business Day on the Road program, which offers business skills to communities across Montana. The Center will provide funding for student and faculty Entrepreneurship Fellows as well as provide other opportunities in entrepreneurship.

Degree Programs

The College grants two degrees: a Bachelor of Science in Business, with options in Accounting, Finance, Management, and Marketing; and a Master of Professional Accountancy. For information about the College's Master of Professional Accountancy program, please see the The Graduate School section elsewhere in this catalog.

The College of Business undergraduate curriculum is structured on a four-stage model. The four stages include the University Core, the Business Pre-Core, the Business Core, and the option courses. Courses are numbered to reflect their position within the curriculum. 100-level courses are generally taken in the freshman year, 200-level courses in the sophomore year, 300-level courses in the junior year, and 400-level courses in the senior year.

The University Core, which is required of all MSU students, is described elsewhere in this catalog.

The Business Pre-Core consists of 100- and 200-level courses that are necessary to develop fundamental knowledge and skills in business, accounting, mathematics, statistics, economics, information technology, and communication. Completion of the Business Pre-Core is required for formal admission to the College. The Business Pre-Core includes:

BGEN 194US--Seminar*
BMGT 205--Professional Communication Fundamentals
BMIS 211--Introduction to Business Decision Support
ACTG 201--Principlesof Accounting I
       ACTG 202--Managerial Accounting (BMGT and BMKTstudents)
       ACTG 223--Principles of Financial Accounting II (ACTG and FIN students)
M 161Q--Survey of Calculus
ECNS 202--
M 161Q--Survey of Calculus
STAT 216Q--Introduction to Statistics
       STAT 217Q--Intermediate Statistical Concepts (or)
       BMGT 240IS--Business Research Methods

*Students transferring into the College of Business, either from another institution or from another MSU department, who have already earned credit for a University Seminar (US) course must take BGEN 204 instead of BGEN 194US.

The Business Common Body of Knowledge (CBK) courses, most of which are 300-level courses designed for juniors, establish the basis for business education in management, marketing, finance, information technology, production and operations management, law, and strategy and policy. The Business CBK courses are prerequisites for most upper-level option courses. The Business CBK courses include:

BMGT 335      Management and Organization
BGEN 302         Career Perspectives
BMIS 311       Management Information Systems
BMGT 322      Operations Management
BMKT 325      Principles of Marketing
BFIN 322        Business Finance
BGEN 361      Introduction to Law
BGEN 499       Business Senior Seminar

The option courses, most of which are 400-level courses designed for seniors, enhance the depth of understanding in one area of business: accounting, finance, management or marketing. Please see the descriptions of the option requirements for more detail on the option courses.

Senior Capstone: BGEN 499 is the capstone course to be taken in the last or next-to-last semester prior to graduation. Completion of CBK courses (BMGT 335, BMIS 311, BMGT 322, BMKT 325, BFIN 322, and BGEN 361) with C- or better and full formal admission to the CoB is required before enrolling in BGEN 499. No concurrent enrollment between pre-requisite courses and BGEN 499 is permitted. This course is restricted entry/no online registration available.

Formal Admission to College of Business

All business majors must be formally admitted to the College of Business in order to enroll in upper-division (300-400 level) option (ACTG, BGEN, BFIN, BMGT, BMIS, BMKT) courses and the senior capstone, BGEN 499.

The performance criteria for formal admission to the College of Business are as follows:

  • Junior Standing (completion of 60 semester credits)
  • Completion of all Business Pre-Core Courses with no grade less than a C-
  • Score of at least 3 on the ACT Workkeys Written Exam
  • Minimum 3.00 cumulative MSU GPA (grade point average) for Priority Admission

Admission to the College of Business is competitive, and the number of students admitted each term is limited by the instructional, classroom, and resource constraints of the College. To be considered for admission, students must submit a completed admission application prior to the deadlines below. Students who meet all performance criteria and have a 3.00 or higher cumulative MSU GPA will be given priority admission. Applications from transfer students and students with cumulative grade point averages less than 3.00 will be considered on a case-by-case basis with preference based on academic performance. Applications from students with a cumulative grade point average less than 2.50 will not be considered.

To graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business, a student must earn a C- or better in all required business courses.

Applications for formal admission to the College will be considered twice a year. The application deadlines for admission are as follows:

Admission for Fall/Summer Term On or before May 1st
Admission for Spring Term On or before December 1st

Applications are available in the College of Business Student Services Office, 338 Reid Hall. Notification of admission decisions will be made via the student's official MSU e-mail.

The Montana Board of Regents has established a common policy on minimum course grades across all campuses in the Montana University System. According to the policy, a grade of C- or better is required to satisfy requirements for pre-requisite and required courses in majors, minors, and certificate programs and for all core requirements. Further, a grade of C- or better is required in all courses that will be counted toward the 42 upper-division credits required in all degrees. Courses with a passing grade of D-, D, or D+ may only be counted toward the overall 120 credit requirement. This policy creates a minimum requirement, which may be superseded by more stringent requirements within specific majors. Any such requirements are explained within the descriptions of those curricula.

Advising and Student Services

The College's Office of Student Services coordinates new and transfer student orientation, continuing student registration, formal admission to the College, and certification of College degree requirements. Each student is also assigned a faculty advisor to consult about the student's career-related goals and objectives.

Acceptance of Transfer Credits and Residency Requirements

University undergraduate programs in business administration normally concentrate professional business courses in the last two years of a four-year program. The objective is to allow students the opportunity to build a foundation of work in the arts, sciences, and humanities prior to beginning professional course work. As a result of this approach and because of the standards and requirements of AACSB - International, most students transferring into the College from another university should do so no later than the end of their sophomore year.

Students taking their first two years of work at a junior college or at another four year institution should take only those business courses offered at the freshman or sophomore level at Montana State University. Lower-division business courses may not be used to satisfy upper-division course requirements of the College of Business.

If at all possible, students should complete courses which will transfer to Montana State University as the equivalent to the Business Pre-Core.

All students transferring to the College of Business must meet the College of Business residency requirement. Students are required to complete at least the following 28 credits in residence at MSU.

Minimum of 12 credits of upper division required
option courses/4 courses
Plus a minimum of 12 credits of upper division required
BGEN, BFIN, BMGT, BMIS, or BMKT courses/4 courses
BGEN 499, Business Senior Seminar 4
Total 28

For additional guidance on transferring to Montana State University, see the Admissions section of this catalog and contact the Office of Student Services, College of Business at .

Pre-Professional Requirements for the Master of Business Administration (MBA)

The College does not offer a Master of Business Administration degree. The following courses are recommended for non-business undergraduate students who are considering graduate study in business at another institution. These courses provide the "common body of knowledge" required for most MBA programs. Completion of these courses can reduce the time required to obtain an MBA, but students should correspond with the Graduate Admissions Officer at their intended graduate school to confirm the acceptability of these courses.

ACTG 201--Principles of Accounting I 3
ACTG 202--Managerial Accounting 3
BMGT 205--Professional Communication Fundamentals 3
BMIS 211--Introduction to Business Decision Support 3
BMGT 335--Management and Organization 3
BMIS 311--Management Information Systems 3
BMGT 322--Operations Management 3
BMKT 325--Principles of Marketing 3
BFIN 322--Business Finance 3
BGEN 361--Introduction to Law 3
BGEN 499--Business Senior Seminar 4
ECNS 202--Principles of Macroeconomics 3
ECNS 204IS--Microeconomics 3
M 161Q--Survey of Calculus 4
STAT 216Q--Introduction to Statistics 3
STAT 217Q--Intermediate Statistical Concepts (or) 3
BMGT 240IS--Business Research Methods 3

Master of Professional Accountancy

The College of Business offers the Master of Public Accountancy degree. This demanding and highly reputed program should be considered by students who are interested in pursuing CPA certification or advanced financial positions. Information about this program can be found in The Graduate School section of the catalog.

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