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Business Careers

Combining Sociology and Business at Vanderbilt

The Advantages of a Sociology Major with a Business Minor

Our students graduate and go directly into jobs in a wide range of fields. Many later go on for a graduate degree after working for a few years, and some go directly to graduate school. By combining a sociology major with a business minor, you’ll have the skills to be highly employable—not only in business but also for jobs in the nonprofit sector and in government.  There is also an option for a major in environmental sociology, which can be combined with the minor in business for careers in green business and consulting, environmental organizations, and the government and nonprofit sector.

Sociology gives you the skills to understand organizations, our social world, and people. It also gives you solid research skills that are important for analyzing problems in the workplace, formulating solutions, and writing memos. You’ll learn how to research and analyze data, understand human relations and social difference, and think about social structure and social trends. In addition, the business minor will give you technical skills that are valuable in any organization, such as finance, operations, and marketing.

You’ll also have the solid research and analytic skills and credibility of a well-recognized degree for graduate school. Our sociology majors have been accepted to the top schools in law, business, PhD programs, education, social work, the health fields, and other areas.

A Student’s Perspective:

From Eli Koven, Class of 2017, major in sociology and minor in business (corporate strategy).

“Upon graduating in May, I began working as an Investment Banking Analyst at Goldman Sachs in New York. My path to investment banking was extremely nontraditional and non-linear; however, I think it was exactly that highly diversified and unique path that provided me with a​set of experiences, perspectives, and skills that set me apart and gave me a competitive advantage in the recruiting process. Simply put, the major you choose will shape the person you will become and how you view, assess, and engage the world are you. Given the magnitude of this decision, it is critical that this choice be made thoughtfully and deliberately. Coming into my sophomore year, I, like many others, had a moderate interest in economics, thought it gave me the best chances of getting a job, and consequently was an intended Econ major. Fortunately, by mere chance, I ended up in my first sociology class at the start of my sophomore year and that experience fundamentally changed the course of​ my college experience. In my first year I found that many of the disciplines I​ was being exposed to had elements I enjoyed but felt too isolated and static. Sociology, on the other hand, much to my surprise, seemed to combine all the disciplines and offer the best of all worlds; sociology is both contemporary and historical, quantitative and qualitative, and​ theoretical and practical/applied.

“The world is incredibly dynamic, complex, and nuanced, and I don’t think there is a major better suited to give you the toolkit to interpret, assess, and engage the world around you. No matter what field or job you go into, you will always be looking at large amounts of data and information in an effort to figure out what story it tells, what are the most important takeaways, and how can you tactically communicate that message to others. Sociology teaches you how to do that, and for that reason I think it is one of the most practical and rewarding majors you could take. I am incredibly grateful that I came across the sociology discipline early on in my time at Vanderbilt and that Vanderbilt has such an outstanding department of wonderful faculty and course offerings. Your four years at Vanderbilt are a gigantic financial, emotional, and intellectual investment, and I don’t think there is major that will provide a greater return across all three of those categories.”

Some Business Positions of Recent Sociology Majors

  • Bradley Wheaton (2017): sales intern at Flow Hub, a tech firm in Denver.
  • Jonathan Crites (2017): office professional, Thrivent Professional.
  • Courtney Krieghauser (2017): advisory associate at People and Change Consulting.
  • Karlia Brown (2016): program services coordinator, Project Return.
  • Chloe Hayes (2015): worked at the Accelerator Business Institute at Vanderbilt, then became an assurance associate at PwC.
  • Logan Wilke (2015): analyst, Restaurant Brands International.
  • Allyson Conley (2014): sales associate, Wesco Distribution.
  • Victoria Clodfelter (2014): publishing assistant at East Nashvillian, then account executive at Postmates.
  • Erin Keels (2014): earned a master’s in Strategic Public Relations at the University of Southern California and became an associate digital strategist at 87AM.
  • Michael O’Connor (2014): returned to Oklahoma to run the street paper he started.
  • Megan (Pike) Steiger (2014): executive team leader in human resources at Target, then became the Talent Human Resources Manager at Medix.
  • Kate Trotter (2014): communication and graphics coordinator, Music City Center.
  • Mariel Behnke (2013): industry analyst, Freedonia Group.
  • Marianne DeAngel (2013): project manager/implementation consultant for Epic Systems, a healthcare software company, then project manager at Conversable.
  • Amanda (Milster) Dewey (2013): worked as the special projects coordinator at the Endangered Species Coalition, then entered the PhD program in Sociology at U. Maryland.
  • Abigail Gravenhorst (2012): research associate at Economists Incorporated (Washington, DC), a firm that does policy analysis, then became a business manager at Capital One.
  • Jamie Hooker (2012): recruiter for Human Resources, Epic Systems, a health software company, then became Director of Talent at SeatGeek.
  • Cecile Lauzon (2012): began as an intern at the Carlyle Group with their corporate events team and later became an event planner at Turner Hill Club.

 

You’re in Good Company

As a sociology major, you’ll join 26,000 other sociology majors who graduate from U.S. colleges and universities every year. Sociology is a well-known and well-established social science discipline, and sociology majors have excelled in many areas of life.  Chris Conner, former CEO of Sherwin Williams; Orvil Dyrfus, publisher of the New York Times; and Eric Smith, CEO of Easy Star Records, are among the business leaders who majored in sociology. Other famous sociology majors include President Ronald Reagan, First Lady Michelle Obama, Reverend Martin Luther King, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Congress-woman Shirley Chisholm, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Senator Barbara Mikulski, Secretary of Labor Francis Perkins, actors Dan Ackroyd and Robin Williams, singer Dinah Shore, and columnist E.J. Dionne.

Sample Templates

See the next page. These templates do not include AXLE and other general required courses. As for all minors and majors at Vanderbilt, at least 15 credits must be counted solely toward the minor (Business), and at least 24 credits must be counted solely toward the major (Sociology).  Some courses may be double counted. Honors options with a senior thesis are also available.

Sociology electives that are particularly relevant for business majors are as follows:

  • SOC 3316 Business, Civil Society, and the Environment
  • SOC 3317 Energy Transitions and Society
  • SOC 3318 Sociology of Green Jobs
  • SOC 3613 Law and Society
  • SOC 3615 Human Behavior in Organizations
  • More courses are under development.

For More Information

Contact Professor David Hess, david.j.hess@vanderbilt.edu.

 

 

Major in Sociology with a Minor in Business

Fall First Year

SOC 1010 or 1020

Spring First Year

ECON 1010 Macroeconomics

SOC 3xxx Core Area or statistics course from Business menu

Fall Second Year

SOC 3xxx Core Area

ECON 1020 Microeconomics

Statistics (Soc 2100 or other from Business prerequisite menu; counts as Soc Elective 1) or SOC 3xxx

 

Spring Second  Year

Soc 3002

BUS 2100 (1.5 credits), BUS 2300 (1.5 credits)

 

Fall Third Year

SOC 3001

SOC 3xxx Core Area

BUS 2400 (1.5 credits), BUS 2600 (1.5 credits)

BUS Pathways Elective

Spring Third Year

SOC Elective 2

BUS 2700 (1.5 credits)

BUS Pathways Elective

Fall Fourth Year

SOC Elective 3

SOC Elective 4

BUS in Society Elective (may double count)

Spring Fourth Year

SOC Elective 5

 

Major in Environmental Sociology and a Minor in Business

Fall First Year

Soc 1010 or 1020

EES 1xxx Introductory course from menu

Spring First Year

ECON 1010 Macroeconomics

SOC 3xxx (ENV SOC elective 1) OR statistics course from business menu

 

Fall Second Year

EES Second course from menu

ECON 1020 Microeconomics

Statistics (Soc 2100 or other from Business prerequisite menu) or SOC 3xxx (ENV SOC Elective 1)

Spring Second  Year

SOC 3002

SOC 3xxx (ENV SOC elective 2)

BUS 2100 (1.5 credits), BUS 2300 (1.5 credits)

 

Fall Third Year

Soc 3001

BUS 2400 (1.5 credits), BUS 2600 (1.5 credits)

SOC 3xxx (Env Soc elective 3)

BUS Pathways Elective

Spring Third Year

Env Soc elective 4

BUS 2700 (1.5 credits)

BUS Pathways Elective

Fall Fourth Year

Env Soc elective 5

BUS in Society Elective (may double count)

Spring Fourth Year

 

 

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