A student in a burgundy short-sleeved knit standing in front of a white wall.
Program Overview

Business

Meet the professional world with confidence.

Photo credit: Jennifer Manna

The Value of Business in Multiple Sectors

Oberlin prepares future visionary and creative leaders in the business and nonprofit worlds. Whatever your major, complement it with an integrative concentration in business. Guided by faculty mentors and industry experts, students from all majors, from Economics to Jazz Studies, can add a focus on business and gain professional experience in the field. Our business courses cover foundational areas, including accounting, economics, management, and ethics, as well as emerging fields such as social entrepreneurship, sustainability and technology. Through immersive experiences in organizations from local nonprofits to Columbia Pictures, JP Morgan and the World Bank, students test what they learn in the classroom and apply critical thinking and agile action to a wide range of opportunities and challenges.

Learn from Industry Professionals

Business and finance constitutes the third largest career path for Oberlin graduates. These graduates bring their Oberlin perspectives and values to effect positive change in the world from within the business sector. The business concentration helps connect students with alumni, parents and institutional partners in a range of experiential learning opportunities from the Ashby Business Scholars program to LaunchU and Start Up weekend. Our Career Communities program also offers special tracks in arts and the creative professions, science and technology, and nonprofit work. Recent internships have included positions at Columbia Pictures, Sony Music Entertainment, Salon.com, the Brooklyn Museum, Google, NASA, The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Rachel Carson Council.

$40,000 Each year LaunchU invites student teams to pitch for startup and social entrepreneurship funding. In 2019, the three top ventures were awarded a total of
Learn more about LaunchU

Ashby Business Scholars

Build your network, delve into case studies, and travel to New York, Boston, or San Francisco to meet with leaders in the fields of business and finance. Recent Ashby Business Scholars have interned at firms including JP Morgan, Deloitte, and McKinsey.

Business Scholars lined up in suits.
The career development center has helped students land over 120 internships in the arts and entertainment industry in the last three years

Business, Finance and Consulting

Oberlin’s Career Communities provides structured opportunities for students to pursue their postgraduate career plans, placing interested students at a range of organizations from the World Bank to Marathon Capital and Riverside Company.

A student in a suit having a conversation with a business person.

Featured Courses

ECON 099

Principles of Accounting

How is data used by people outside an organization—for example, investors and regulators—to evaluate its financial performance? Through this course, students gain experience in the creation, reporting, and interpretation of financial information. Students also explore how accounting data can be used within an organization as a planning and management tool.

Taught by
Paul Pahoresky
BUSI 100

Fundamentals of Sustainable Business Management

Analyze the evolving role of business in society, corporate accountability, circular economy, impact investing, and social enterprises. Students will engage with management theory, case studies, and critical discussion while building the basic tools they will need to harness the potential of business to act as a force for good.

Taught by
Business Faculty
ECON 206

Principles of Finance

This course provides a thorough foundation in financial economics with applications to investment decisions and the management of business enterprises. Topics include capital budgeting, financial statement analysis, interest and risk calculations, principles of market valuation, the capital asset pricing model, financial funding decisions, dividend and cash flow analysis, and taxation.

Taught by
Chris Cotter
THEA 240

Arts Management I

Develop an understanding of the critical areas that comprise Arts Management including: organization structure, management theory, budgeting and fiscal theories, Marketing and Audience Development. They will also begin to develop the ability to understand and navigate the challenges of competing priorities in today’s world, specifically, reconciling aesthetic, managerial and economic considerations.

Taught by
Eric Steggall

Student Profiles

Economics Team Wins First Place at Business Competition

For the second year in a row, Oberlin College was awarded first place in the Eighth Annual Peoples Bank Undergraduate Business Case Competition. The Oberlin team surpassed 15 other schools to secure the first place honor during the competition which asked teams to prepare case studies to present for Peoples Bank senior management.

Oberlin College econ team.

The Path to Entrepreneurship

Robert Palacios ’14 came to Oberlin with an enterprising spirit, securing a summer internship at the consulting firm Monitor Deloitte and participating in the Ashby Business Scholars program. After graduation, Palacios was awarded a Venture for America fellowship to work for two years at emerging start-ups and early-stage companies.

Robert Palacios.

Combining Business and Social Consciousness

At Oberlin, Ty Diringer ’14 majored in politics while gaining experience with several entrepreneurial efforts, such as Kenya Reads, ObieWear, Project Unbound, and InTown. Diringer spent the year after graduation as the entrepreneurship fellow for the Creativity and Leadership and LaunchU programs before being named a Venture for America fellow.

Ty Diringer.

What does Business at Oberlin look like?

Business scholars in suits.

The 2019 cohort of Oberlin Business Scholars.

Photo credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones ’97
Noah Gabriel and two other interns.

As part of his Career Communities internship, Noah Gabriel ’20 spent his summer as a Data Analyst Intern at the World Bank.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Noah Gabriel ’20
A student in a suit having a conversation with a business person at a round table.

The business scholar program hosts regular networking events with alumni and industry leaders.

Photo credit: Yevhen Gulenko
LaunchU winner and two judges.

LaunchU gives students the opportunity to pitch startup ideas to industry judges who give feedback and award seed funding for new ventures.

Photo credit: Dale Preston ’83
Four students sitting at a table.

Students attend a panel on careers in science and technology.

Photo credit: Mike Crupi
Steve Dolcemaschio and students.

As part of a Winter Term workshop, students learned the basics of business and finance from Hollywood producer and Oberlin trustee, Steve Dolcemaschio.

Photo credit: Yevhen Gulenko
Five students lines up outside the Sony Pictures Studios.

Students in the Arts and Creative Professions Career Community at the Sony Pictures lot.

Photo credit: Ron Knerem
12 business scholars.

Oberlin’s Business Scholars at the Google campus.

Photo credit: Yingran Zhang ’16

Next Steps

Get in touch; we would love to chat.


Lobby of the Hotel at Oberlin.
Photo credit: Yvonne Gay