Equipped to Lead and Succeed

New Management Major Building Bridges Through the Human Side of Business

by School of Management, Undergraduate Management Degree

Have you ever experienced a miscommunication with a peer or coworker? Or didn’t know how to approach and address a difficult situation within a group?

What if there was a concrete way to understand how to work with those around you effectively in a way that would motivate and inspire--and simultaneously maintain your confidence as a leader and a professional? 

This fall, the School of Management is proud to introduce an addition to the Department of Organization, Leadership, and Communication: the new Management (BMGT) major, offered through the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree. Former Department Chair Linda Henderson and assistant professor Zach Burns give a breakdown on what to expect from this new major.

The new Management major focuses on the human side of business and prepares undergraduates to work in a variety of fields with a variety of individuals by examining emotions, culture, teamwork, leadership, and critical thinking.

The Management major really centers on how the whole field of organizational behavior can contribute to students’ understanding of the way organizations work, what their role could be in an organization, and how they could assume leadership roles, even right after college. It enables students to really learn about the human side of management that is so challenging.

Linda Henderson

Some of the upcoming courses in the Management major are Power and Influence, Difficult Conversations and Negotiations, Global and Virtual Project Teams, Personal Brand and Career Development, and Managerial Decision Making. Another course, Emotional and Cultural Intelligence, focuses on the perspective of the students and examines their personal emotional intelligence and knowledge of culture. “The course will enable students to really grow in those two areas and become much more aware of how both emotions and culture operate with their future coworkers and in their future organizations,” Henderson said. Initially, these courses will be open to non-majors who have completed the required prerequisite. Assistant professor Zach Burns explained that courses in the Management major will help students better understand how humans behave in organizations.

Henderson said, “The Management major prepares you to work with people from all kinds of majors because one of the key challenges in organizations today is how to work across different functions.” Working cross functionally involves working with others who are skilled in fields unlike yours. “Our Management graduates will leave USF highly prepared to work across different functions, and also across cultures, because we emphasize being able to work effectively and successfully with people from all these different areas,” she said.

Burns suggests that increasingly, job titles as well as job functions are becoming obsolete. “What BMGT prepares you to do is management in all senses of the word. It’s self-management, it’s management of others, it’s management of systems, and it’s the understanding of how to bring all those pieces together in a work environment where there’s a lot going on,” he said. “What we teach is a lot of how to avoid common mistakes in human dynamics that many people make, especially in the first two or three years of their careers. We push through many misconceptions people have about human behavior in organizations and give students theoretical frameworks that enable them to better navigate their careers,” he said.  

Ultimately, the Management major embodies a quintessentially USF approach to studying business--because it takes many of the components of a broad liberal arts Jesuit education and puts them in the context of work organizations. Students will discover the patterns underlying how humans think, feel and behave in various types of businesses. “The basic truisms we discuss in class are always going to be true,” explained Burns, “for example the role and operation of power in organizations, or understanding how communication dysfunction occurs with one’s boss.” Additionally, the professors within the department of Organization, Leadership and Communication have experience spanning a variety of academic fields, and Burns explained this is used to the students’ advantage: “We try to practice what we preach in terms of squeezing all the juice that we can out of the diverse set of faculty mindsets in our department, to make sure we’re getting a more holistic and relevant set of ideas for students.”

I think our Management major is a bridge--it’s one of the best bridges I’ve seen between an undergraduate degree experience and the world of work. We’ve made a conscious effort to build that bridge so students aren’t faced with a shock when they go to their first job after graduation.


Instead, Henderson assured, students are confident and comfortable with the knowledge they have gained regarding organizational settings, as well as how to thrive in them and make a difference.

By Lonny Wysard

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