College programs such as those offered by large public institutions in business play a very important part in promoting social mobility for students "from lower positions in the social heap." They also help explain why business schools are tempted to offer a variety of courses of an immediate job-getting value and why it is so difficult to induce students to take work outside the business area. For many students attending these institutions, the pull to keep within the business curriculum, and even within a major subject within this curriculum, seems wellnigh irresistible. The tenor of the interview reports at almost every institution was strikingly uniform on this score--again and again those interviewed said that students were inclined to choose as many courses as possible in the business area, with a heavy emphasis on a given major. Students headed for jobs in accounting were reported as wanting all the accounting work they could get, the future marketing specialists as wanting course after course in marketing, the insurance majors as much insurance as possible, the more specific and practical the better-such was the gist of interviews conducted with deans and course advisers in business schools in all parts of the country. As the assistant dean in a large business school with a four-year program put the issue: "Our students don't see anything to be gained by taking advanced courses in liberal arts. If we didn't lay down the law, I think they'd take almost all their Junior and Senior year in their major."Another dean at an institution with a 2-2-year program stated:
We urge our students to take their "swing" electives outside the business school but it's an uphill fight. In spite of everything we do, I'll bet almost all of their work during the last two years is taken in business subjects and a good deal of that, in one area.
A review of the programs of undergraduate business students at the latter institution, one of the most highly regarded in the country, shows that nearly three-fourths of all the junior and senior students took their entire last two years in business subjects, whereas only a minimum of 42 of the 60 hours was actually required. A review of a large sampling of student transcripts at comparable institutions in other parts of the country modifies these results somewhat. For example, a random sampling of the course programs of fifty-five students majoring in accounting and marketing in six large business schools in the Middle West and South revealed that the great majority of accounting students took five or less courses outside business and economics during their last two years, while most of the marketing students took between six and nine such courses.
It seems doubtful that much of the latter work played a very vital part in the total educational development of these students. Within the business field, the accounting students tended to concentrate in their field of specialization beyond the minimum required by their departmental major (two-thirds took between ten and twelve courses in accounting whereas only seven to nine were actually required); most of the marketing students, on the other hand, kept fairly close to the minimum five to seven courses required by their departmental regulations.