Denison’s Global Commerce major is built for smart people in a complicated world.

Our program is rooted in the liberal arts with commerce at its core. It starts with the conviction that success in this globalized world requires well-developed language skills, historical understanding, and cultural awareness integrated with familiarity with business strategy and organizational cultures. Students travel to places like Paris, Singapore, and Santiago. They pursue internships and research with international companies, some of which are headquartered in Columbus. They interact with expert practitioners in the business and non-profit world who have deep knowledge and experience to share.

In short, Denison’s Global Commerce majors are preparing themselves for leadership roles in globally-connected organizations.

A traditional business degree may prepare students for interviews and their first job, but Denison's Global Commerce major prepares students for successful careers that stretch far beyond entry-level jobs. In the 21st century, long-term success in our globalized world requires adaptability, strong communication skills, broad thinking, and the ability to see connections among seemingly unrelated factors.

The Global Commerce major prepares students for these challenges by training them to think critically, creatively, and productively about economic activity, markets, and organizational cultures. Students learn how language, culture, history, politics, financial practices, and social structures shape economic and business activity in different contexts around the globe.

Business schools today recognize this need and are scrambling to incorporate the humanities into their programs. In Denison’s Global Commerce program, a solid grounding in the principles of economics, business, and market activity is already fully integrated with the traditional strengths of our liberal arts curriculum. Nothing needs to be “added on.” The major is designed for students who want to pursue careers in international business or finance, as well as those interested in global NGOs and the non-profit world.

This unique major is possible because of Denison’s strengths across the liberal arts, our remarkably accomplished alumni network, our wide range of global programs, our proximity to Columbus, one of the nation’s largest and most thriving cities, and our location in Ohio, one of the states most friendly to international business.

Thriving in a complex marketplace

The Global Commerce major is boldly designed to prepare Denison students to thrive in international business and a wide range of professions that are connected to and shaped by global markets and commercial activity.

Global Commerce students take a combination of liberal arts courses that build their understanding of how culture, history, politics, financial practices, and social structures shape economic and business activity in different contexts around the globe. Students in the major develop the wide range of skills, values, ways of thinking, experiences, and networks needed to succeed in myriad professions.

Unlike the narrow approach of a traditional business major, Denison’s broad liberal arts approach teaches students to consider the vast array of factors that influence the global exchange of goods, services, information, and money. Global Commerce majors learn to read cultures, understand historical patterns, operate in a local language, apply critical and creative thinking to problem-solving, and communicate their ideas clearly and persuasively.

The academic course work starts with three main components that provide a strong foundation:

  1. The commerce core consists of eight courses that span the study of commerce and society, macro- and micro-economics, statistics, and global financial markets. Global Commerce 101 grounds the major in an investigation of how commercial practices are shaped by the culture, history, social context, and language(s) of any given geographical region. Over the course of the major, students develop a sound understanding of the ways in which the economy and trade are connected to culture, social movements, and other global factors, as well as introducing them to basic aspects of international financial accounting, spreadsheet proficiency, business language, and ethical leadership.
  2. Global Commerce majors select a global focus and concentrate in one of five geographical areas: Africa/Middle East, Asia, Europe, Latin America/Caribbean, or a “transnational” option. Through this global focus, majors attain a deep understanding of how economic activity is shaped by the cultures and societies of each region through courses in humanities, arts and social sciences.
  3. Language study and proficiency allows students to deepen their understanding of the region’s culture and to operate effectively within it. Language development is crucial for understanding how culture, history, language, and social context shape commercial activity in a particular geographical region.

Co-curricular offerings draw on Denison’s strong alumni network, long history of global programs, and unique location in Columbus to expose students to global settings and business leaders

Global Commerce students have a wide range of opportunities to explore their areas of interest in ways that help them round out their skills while acquiring amazing sets of experiences and networks.

Every Global Commerce major is required to have at least one off-campus experience that provides them with hands-on experience in their region. Through an internship or study abroad opportunity, they further language development, deepen their cultural understanding of the region, and network. Denison’s long history of strong global programs gives students a wide range of excellent choices for semester-long programs, summer programs, and internship opportunities.

For example, in the summer of 2017, Denison piloted a new program on commerce with The American University in Paris. The program ran in Paris for six weeks and combined courses, internships and a simulated business competition.

In addition to the guidance of Denison faculty and staff, Global Commerce students also receive support from alumni and members of the Columbus Metropolitan community, who approach commerce from a variety of interests, perspectives, and professions.

Some of these connections happen through formal co-curricular programs such as internships, lunch-and-learn programs, professional development workshops, and one-on-one mentoring. These programs connect students to a range of highly engaged and successful alumni and members of the Columbus community.

Faculty mentors, staff experts, and alumni coaches help students use resources uniquely available through Denison’s Austin E. Knowlton Center for Career Exploration to round out skills development. For example, students have access to OnBoard, a Denison program that offers 60 online skills building modules to ensure students have profession-specific skills to compete for top jobs, internships and graduate programs. Students also have access to resources to fund summer internships and research.

A senior capstone experience brings it all together

During their senior year, a capstone senior experience gives students an opportunity to explore a component of global commerce either through a seminar built around engagement with a particular business or organization or through an extensive individual research project.

The project is connected to the student’s regional focus and may be research based on an issue that the student developed interest in during their experiences in Denison courses, study abroad programs, or internships abroad. Drawing on our alumni network and location, students may also design a project connected to an internship or in conjunction with an international business or other organization. Many of the global businesses in the Columbus region are located in New Albany, which is 15 minutes from campus.

This capstone experience allows students to draw together the skills, information, and approaches to critical thinking that they have acquired both on- and off-campus over the course of their Global Commerce major. The final product is a project that students can showcase on their resume as they apply for jobs, training opportunities, and graduate programs.

Contact Us

Global Commerce
100 West College Street
Granville, OH 43023

Karen Spierling

Associate Professor & Director of Global Commerce

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