Business and Economics

Description of Majors


Accounting majors find jobs in public accounting firms as well as internal accounting departments of businesses and government agencies. Accounting is also an excellent background for those who desire leadership and executive positions. In addition to a focus on specialized knowledge, managerial thinking skills, and communication skills, the program highlights the following competencies that are relevant to success in the accounting field: maintaining high ethical and professional standards, teamwork, and pro-activity.

Accounting Program Mission: The mission of the accounting program is to help our students achieve CPA licensure, professional accounting certifications, and those competencies most prized by accounting firms and other organizations wishing to hire or promote individuals into position of increasing responsibility.

Students may choose to broaden their career options by pursuing one of the following professional certifications:

CPA – Certified Public Accountant

CMA – Certified Management Accountant

CIA – Certified Internal Auditor

CFE – Certified Fraud Examiner

Eligibility requirements for taking the examinations to earn these certifications include a baccalaureate degree in accounting with a prescribed core of additional business courses. The student who plans to take one of the professional certification exams should meet with his or her advisor for guidance in selecting the appropriate electives.

Those planning to take the CPA exam in the state of Ohio must complete at least 120 credit hours of undergraduate coursework to sit for the exam that includes 30 credit hours of accounting courses and 24 credit hours of non-accounting business courses. To obtain licensure, CPA candidates must take an additional 30 semester hours of coursework beyond the 120-hour requirement. These courses may be taken at AU or another university in either an undergraduate or graduate program. Students planning to take the CPA examination outside the state of Ohio should contact the relevant State Board of Accountancy for specific course and degree requirement.

Student Learning Outcomes for Accounting:

  1. Students will demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the nature and use of various financial statements and how they should be analyzed.

  2. Students will demonstrate their knowledge of taxation by calculating the tax liability for a C Corporation and its majority shareholder.

  3. Students will identify auditor requirements and responsibilities both ethically and legally.

Business Analytics

The Business Analytics program equips students with data analytics and business intelligence (BI) skills, a broad category of analytical techniques, technologies and applications, and apply them to analyze, understand and interpret data. Business analytics searches for new insights and patterns in the data to improve organizational performance based on statistical methods. The major's primary focus is on analyzing industry data using industry-standard statistical software and technical communication skills.

Student Learning Outcomes for Business Analytics:

  1. Prepare data for analysis.

  2. Conduct statistical analysis and make recommendations appropriate for management decision-makers.

  3. Present analytical results understandable to a non-technical audience.

Business Management

Business management majors are provided the knowledge and skills to be successful business managers, form effective teams, lead people, manage resources, understand the conceptual frameworks required to operate a business, and pursue graduate programs or management careers in a wide variety of business and non- business enterprises. Majors develop personal portfolios listing accomplishments and showing examples of their work to prepare for the interview process and to provide prospective employers information about their potential.

In addition to a focus on specialized knowledge, managerial thinking skills, and communication skills, the management program helps students develop the competencies of: setting and achieving high standards; teamwork and managing/facilitating group processes, and self- control.

Student Learning Outcomes for Business Management:

  1. Students will demonstrate acumen in HR recruiting, hiring, training, development, and employee data analysis.

  2. Students will demonstrate acumen in management level process control, problem-solving, and data-based decision making.


Economics majors study the principles and institutions that form the foundation of our economy. We look at the policies that affect the development of industries, the growth of the economy, and consumers' standard of living. In addition to gaining specialized knowledge and communication skills, economics majors focus most of their attention on the key managerial thinking competencies of logical thinking, conceptualization, and the application of theories and concepts to the problems found in the real world.

Student Learning Outcomes for Economics:

  1. Identify how price is formed as a means of allocating scarce resources in a market economy.

  2. Identify and analyze major models of the economy.

  3. Identify the role of government in a market economy and evaluate the effects of government policies.

  4. Develop tools that can be used to measure outcomes in markets and the economy.

  5. Explain how businesses use information to make price and output decisions and to maximize profit


The Entrepreneurship program prepares students for administrative and leadership positions in business, government, and other institutions. Specialized training is directed at understanding the broader aspects of business as it functions within a national and international environment. The program focuses on the development of entrepreneurial and leadership capabilities, including recognizing viable business opportunities, and developing business concepts that allow firms to take advantage of unique competencies and capabilities. There is substantial emphasis on the acquisition and allocation of resources and on organizing, leading, and empowering people. In addition, the program familiarizes the student with small and family businesses, including the analysis of personal strengths and weaknesses as they relate to launching an entrepreneurial career. The program provides considerable attention to elementary concepts of planning, financing, starting, and managing a new business.

Student Learning Outcomes for Entrepreneurship:

  1. Students will apply specialized business knowledge at an advanced level of expertise and proprietary essentials within the field of entrepreneurship.

  2. Students will formulate and identify a systematic approach in identifying relevant business issues and analyze their interrelationships in solving entrepreneurship problems and challenges.

Fashion Merchandising

This Fashion Merchandising major combines coursework on product knowledge (fashion analysis, textiles, and fashion evolution) with courses in business (marketing, retail merchandising, and advertising). Students are prepared for careers in buying, selling, visual merchandising, or retail management. Students complete internships in the fashion industry. A cooperative program between Ashland University and the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC gives the interested student the opportunity to spend the junior year completing an associate's degree in fashion merchandising management at FIT.

In addition to focusing on specialized knowledge, managerial thinking skills, and communication skills, fashion merchandising majors also focus on competency of experiential learning and working in teams.

Student Learning Outcomes for Fashion Merchandising:

  1. Apply the elements and principles of design to the development, selection, and evaluation of apparel.

  2. Recognize fundamental factors necessary for profitable operations of a firm operating in the fashion industry.

  3. Understand and apply appropriate technology in the functional operations of a retail fashion firm.

  4. Identify target markets and develop products and solutions to satisfy the needs of the consumer.

  5. Recognize fashion trends and the environmental factors driving them.

  6. Analyze the effect of clothing on human behavior.

  7. Develop a global awareness of the factors influencing trends in the production, marketing and sales of textiles and apparel.


Finance students obtain knowledge in corporate finance, financial strategies, security analysis, investment portfolio management, money and banking, insurance, and global finance. They also have the unique opportunity to manage a portion of Ashland's endowment fund–actually making decisions about buying and selling of equity, fixed income, and other securities. They may also choose a curriculum to prepare to take the NASD Series Seven examination and become a licensed securities broker immediately upon graduation.

In addition to a focus on specialized knowledge, managerial thinking skills and communication skills, our finance program will help students to develop the competency of maintaining high ethical and professional integrity.

Student Learning Outcomes for Finance:

  1. Apply time value of money calculations to determine present values and future values of a real or hypothetical situation and describe how this information can be used to support financial decisions.

  2. Describe and/or demonstrate how non-cash expenses and assets impact financial decision-making.

  3. Describe and/or demonstrate how the capital budgeting process is performed and explain the advantages of taking a macro view when managing a company’s operations.

International Business

This major combines a solid core of business courses with classes in international business/culture, international marketing, global finance, global management, international economics, and foreign languages. This major prepares the student to work for a foreign corporation or serve as an international business specialist for an American company. 

Student Learning Outcomes for International Business:

  1. Communicate clearly and effectively in a non-native language (e.g., using Spanish if your native language is English) in a business environment for business interactions.

  2. Solve business problems related to doing business internationally (e.g., completing business forms, applying and complying with government regulations, and analyzing options for funding.)

  3. Demonstrate knowledge and awareness of environmental similarities and differences with other countries (e.g., culture, government, political and economic issues) that impact interaction with multinational companies, buyers, and clients.

  4. Analyze company operations for consistency with international business practices and requirements, e.g. monetary policy, capital markets, labor markets, transport of goods, tariffs, and international law.

Management Information Systems

Management Information Systems (MIS) combines the fields of computers and information technology with business to prepare students for careers in systems analysis, systems design, or MIS. Our program focuses on managing technology and change, a very real challenge for those who work with computing and MIS.

In addition to a focus on specialized knowledge and communication skills, the MIS program focuses heavily on the key managerial thinking competencies of logical thinking, conceptualization, and the application of theories and concepts to the real world.

Student Learning Outcomes for Management Information Systems:

  1. Students will examine the life cycle of an information system from initial business problem through systems development, implementation, and maintenance.  Students will follow the development of various systems through the use of select business cases. 

  2. Students will present aspects of relational database theory including cardinality, normalization, and referential integrity.  Students will then apply those theories to design and implement databases using a variety of database management systems. 

Manufacturing Management

The Manufacturing Management Major prepares the student for managerial roles occurring in business and industry.  This major equips the student with a traditional core business foundation enhanced by technical classes in manufacturing processes, applied mechanics/hydraulics, occupational health/safety, electrical circuits/devices, human resources, lean production, operations, and project management.

Student Learning Outcomes for Manufacturing Management:

  1. Provide the technical skills needed to succeed in a manufacturing environment.

  2. Learn improvement strategies that address trends in safety, quality, and efficiency.

  3. Apply best practice standards relevant to industry.

  4. Demonstrate effective communication through all levels of the organization.


Organizations increasingly rely on marketing professionals to guide all aspects of business, from product conception to promotion to distribution. The marketing courses at Ashland provide the knowledge to succeed in many areas such as advertising, market research, brand management, new product planning, sales, and international marketing, to name just a few.

Our students take professional internships and participate in organizations such as the student chapter of the American Marketing Association and Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) to gain different perspectives and experience.

In addition to focusing on specialized knowledge, managerial thinking skills, and communication skills, marketing majors also focus on competency of teamwork as they learn to work well with others.

Student Learning Outcomes for Marketing

  1. Perform appropriate market research, define market segments, and describe critical market characteristics and trends.

  2. Develop operational product plans.

  3. Develop product placement criteria and distribution channel alternatives.

  4. Develop pricing practices based on appropriate quantitative pricing models.

  5. Develop product promotion and sales plans.

  6. Prepare, implement, and manage an integrated market plan that meets the domestic and/or global requirements of the business

Sport Management

Sport is an integral part of our culture, both as an entertainment and a leisure activity. It has a tremendous economic impact as well. The sport management major prepares graduates for diverse roles in the areas of sport marketing and promotions, sport administration, facility management and planning, activity programming, and events management. Students pursuing degrees in sport management will develop their potential through the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and dispositions that will facilitate and enhance their opportunities to successfully acquire and execute careers within the sport industry.

Student Learning Outcomes

The sport management program is a comprehensive major that provides opportunities for students to develop requisite proficiencies in preparation for a career in the sport industry. The coursework reflects established standards for sport management programs (Sport Management Program Review Council, 2000). Students completing the sport management major will be able to:

  1. Recognize that sport is a product of society influenced by culture traditions, social values, and psycho-social experiences;

  2. Understand sport and business knowledge from a variety of sub-disciplines and the ability to apply the knowledge and skills to reach solutions to business needs.

  3. Define and understand the concepts of management and leadership;

  4. Describe the various skills, roles, and functions of sport managers;

  5. Develop a personal philosophy regarding social, ethical, and leadership responsibility in the sport management setting;

  6. Describe the principles of economics, finance, marketing, and communication particularly as they relate to the sport agency and business community;

  7. Understand the agencies governing sport, their authority, organizational and legal structures, and functions; and

  8. Demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions though integrated field experiences and internship.

Supply Chain Management

Supply chain management (SCM) prepares students to become leaders in supply management, the emerging paradigm for world-class corporations. It is a total systems approach taken by companies, suppliers, and partners to deliver manufactured products and services to the end customer. Information technology is used to coordinate all elements of the supply chain from sourcing parts to coordination of retailers to achieve a level of integration that results in a competitive advantage not available in traditional logistics systems. SCM is a major for students who wish to be involved in the management of operations (value-adding) processes; i.e., manufacturing, service production and delivery, distribution, and supply.

SCM builds on other areas of functional expertise that are part of the business degree, including marketing, finance, accounting, and strategic planning. The major provides a framework for linking these functional areas with specific areas of skill development that are focused in SCM, i.e., total quality management, productivity enhancement, and time- based competition. The major also provides in-depth analysis of operations decisions such as new product development, supply chain capacity planning, process technology planning, factory automation, and production systems planning.

Student Learning Outcomes for Supply Chain Management:

  1. Integrate global procurement, distribution, storage and transportation principles as a foundation for adding value to an organization.

  2. Design a robust system for communicating changes in supply chain capabilities throughout the supply chain network.

  3. Design an assessment system for supply chain management based on principles of continuous improvement.

  4. Develop, implement and manage a supply chain plan composed of strategy and tactics that align with a corporate business plan.

  5. Apply a professional management philosophy to a supply chain management plan.