What is the Questrom Honors Program?
We are a prestigious academic community. An open atmosphere designed to challenge students intellectually. An extraordinary opportunity to engage in deep discussions on business and the world we live in. A professional and social network.
A chance to create. A chance to make an impact.
Since 1998, we have invited the most academically talented sophomores to join our unique community.
What can I expect academically?
Honors Program members participate in small and specialized colloquia and seminars designed to make students think independently and critically. Taught by leading faculty, these unique classes allow members to lead discussions and challenge their pre-existing beliefs.
What can I expect socially?
Honors program members become part of a tight and active social community. We give back to the local community by volunteering with organizations in and around Boston. We also organize social bonding events such as brunches, a holiday party, city outings, and more.
How do I know it’s for me?
While the Boston University Questrom Honors Program offers extraordinary preparation to students, it is not for everyone. It is for those students who want to go above and beyond—who work hard, analyze deeply, and demonstrate tremendous motivation and commitment. We are here not only to engage in what is offered to us – but more importantly, to give back and continue to build the honors community.
Honors students must complete the following to remain in the Honors Program:
- 4 honors program classes
- 2 sophomore year
- 2 over junior and senior year
- 10 community service events
- 3 300+ CAS classes
Honors students must be registered for a minimum of sixteen academic credits in each semester that they are in the Program. Any variation to this policy must be approved by the Assistant Dean. The two-credit Honors Program seminars that are completed during junior and senior year may count towards that sixteen credit total.
Students will be reviewed for continuation at three points during their time in the Program:
|End of Fall Semester Sophomore Year – minimum 3.4 GPA cumulative
Sophomore Colloquia classes – minimum grade of “B”
|End of Spring Semester Junior Year – minimum 3.45 GPA cumulative
Honors Seminar classes – minimum grade of “B”
|Prior to Graduation – minimum 3.5 GPA
Honors seminar classes – minimum grade of “B”
Adjustments to the Honors Program curriculum will be made jointly by the Assistant Dean of the Undergraduate Program and the Faculty Director on a case-by-case basis.
Students who withdraw from, or otherwise fail to satisfy the requirements of the Program listed above, will receive full credit towards the BSBA degree for those Honors Program requirements that they have successfully completed, with the exception of the Honors Program Seminars and the Honors Program Colloquia, which will count as additional coursework.
Successful completion of the Honors Program will result in the notation “Awarded School Honors” on the student’s official transcript and the student will be individually recognized at Questrom’s commencement ceremony.
When can I apply?
Students can apply to join the Honors Program during the spring semester of their freshman year. The application process begins in January.
Am I eligible to apply?
Students who achieve a minimum 3.20 GPA at the end of their fall semester freshmen year are invited to apply to the Honors program. Please note, however, that a cumulative 3.45 GPA by the end of freshmen year is required for admission to the program. Applicants must also be on track to complete at least 32 credits of academic coursework by the end of freshmen year (AP/IB/etc. credits do count). Both current freshmen in the Questrom School of Business and freshmen in the process of applying – as indicated by enrollment in gateway courses – as an Intra-University Transfer to Questrom School of Business will be invited to apply. At this time, external transfer students are not eligible to join the Questrom Honors Program.
How do I apply?
Applicants must complete and submit the following to be considered for the Honors Program:
- Essay in response to a given prompt
- Resume and cover letter
- 2 letters of recommendation (one of which must be from a BU faculty member)
Once applications are reviewed, applicants will be selected to interview with current members of the Honors Program in an open
What are final decisions based on?
Selection is dependent on academic requirement fulfillments, the interviews, and space availability.
When will final selections be made?
Final selections will not be made until the end of June when final grades have been posted and transfers completed.
Honors Program Curriculum
The Questrom School of Business Honors Program curriculum is balanced between a core of requirements and a broad variety of electives. The aim is to develop competence with flexibility.
In addition to the core Questrom curriculum, Honors Program members take the following courses:
|Fall of Sophomore Year:
SM233 Honors Program Sophomore Colloquium (2 cr.)
This colloquia is designed to challenge students’ intellectual thought processes through meaningful discussions on broad issues impacting the world. Teams of students will take turns leading class discourse and teaching various topics to their peers.
|Spring of Sophomore Year:
SM450 International Field Seminar (2 cr.)
The International Field Seminar is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to both study and experience business, politics, and society in a foreign country. The field seminar provides Honors Program sophomores a chance to develop a better understanding of international business by comparing business environments and operations in the United States and host country. In each colloquium meeting, students will learn about the history of the selected country, the role of international trade and off-shoring, and how culture and history affect businesses.
At the end of the seminar, students will embark on a weeklong trip to the country. Students visit government officials in the host country and explore the link between business, politics, and economic growth.
The May 2017 International Field Seminar focus is Santiago, Chile.
|Fall of Junior Year:
Honors seminar (2 cr.)*
Honors students are required to take 2 courses from a menu of two-credit Honors Program seminars whose topics reflect the important issues facing future business leaders. Some examples of recent seminar topics include: “Intellectual Property,” “Competitive Environmental Strategy,” and “Globalization,” “Investing in Green Technologies”, and “Business and Health Care”. The goal of this requirement is to help students think more broadly and deeply about the process of leading others and the special functions leaders perform in helping work teams be more effective.
|Spring of Junior Year:
300+ CAS class (4 cr.)
|Fall of Senior Year:
Honors seminar (2 cr.)*
300+ CAS class (4 cr.)
|Spring of Senior Year:
300+ CAS class (4 cr.)
*Sophomore year is the only year where honors colloquia are required in set semester. During Junior and Senior year, Honors members can choose what semesters they choose to take their two honors seminar and three 300+ CAS classes
Seminars offered Fall 2017
|SM453 Brand Leadership and Product Innovation
Successful companies combine innovative growth strategies, deep customer and cultural insights and products created to solve life’s little, as well as big, problems. How they do that is not prescriptive but requires the ability to think illogically while leveraging evergreen approaches in making decisions. In this course you’ll be exposed to how real world companies develop innovative cultures (e.g. IDEO), understand consumer insights (e.g. C-Space), create technologically superior products (e.g. Bose), connect with world culture (e.g. Converse) and communicate with breakthrough creative execution (e.g. Breakaway Innovation Group). Pedagogy will include field trips to companies, guest speakers, case discussions and “in the news” requiring you to think quickly, present with minimal preparation, explore and analyze successful enterprises and products. At the end of the semester students will hand in a project applying learnings from the class to a social enterprise of your choice.
|SM456 Managing Creativity and Innovation
This course is designed to help students gain a greater understanding of the origins of the Federal Reserve System, the important role central banks play and the implications of macroeconomic policy on a global economy. The main textbook used is America’s Bank written by noted financial author Roger Lowenstein (2015). Halfway through the course, the author will conduct a guest lecture, providing students with a unique opportunity to gain additional insights. Current event articles, discussion groups and in-class debate will be utilized to further assist students in taking course materials and seeing its applicability in the real world.
International Field Seminar
The International Field Seminar is a unique chance for students to study business in another country and gain a global perspective early on in their academic careers.
During the spring semester of their sophomore year, Honors Program members participate in an International Field Seminar, which includes cross-cultural fluency activities, country analysis, and study of culture, history, and economy.
During the International Field Seminar, students will study business, politics, and society in a foreign country. In each colloquium meeting, students will learn about the history of the selected country, the role of international trade and off-shoring, and how culture and history affect businesses.
At the end of the seminar, students will embark on a weeklong trip to the country in order to experience their learnings first-hand. Accompanied by Honors Program leadership, students visit government agencies, companies in high tech, finance, and manufacturing, and non-profit organizations to explore the link between business, politics, and economic growth.
Students will also immerse themselves in the local culture by trying traditional foods, visiting important historical sites or monuments, and experiencing cultural events.
The May 2017 International Field Seminar focus is Santiago, Chile.
Past International Field Seminars
The Honors Program Class of 2017 went to Santiago, Chile for our International Field Seminar. The experience was, to say the least, eye-opening, incredibly informative, a bonding experience, and something our class will remember for the rest of our lives!
Before departing for Chile, we took an in-depth look at businesses in Latin America and Chile. We researched Chilean history, politics, society, and business in an attempt to form a greater understanding of the nation and how it differs from what we are familiar with in the US.
Once in Chile, we had the opportunity to experience and live everything we had studied. We toured Bolsa de Comericio, the Chilean stock market, to understand how their financial markets operated. We talked with entrepreneurs to learn how they were catalyzing innovation and why what Chile was like in terms of an environment for new businesses. We visited Codelco – Chile’s biggest copper mining company to learn about the country’s dominating industry. Tours of McCann, an advertising agency, Microsoft, and Vina Veramonte, a vineyard, and Techo, a housing nonprofit, were also revealing and informative.
Of equal importance were the cultural and historical sites we toured. At La Vega Central fruit market, a bustling and robust shopping place for Chileans, we sampled local produce and foods. We ventured out to coastal city Valparaíso to admire the colorful town nestled on the cliffs. At Pueblo de Los Dominicos, we admired beautiful Chilean art, jewelry, and fabrics and sampled the traditional Pastel de Choclo, a corn and meat pie. We spent almost an entire day at the Museum of Memory and Human Rights, learning about and attempting to understand the years Chile spent ruled by dictator, Augusto Pinochet, and how the years of terror shaped the nation to this day.
At night, we sampled Chilean wine and the traditional Pisco Sour, and feasted on ceviche, salmon, and chorillana. We watched and participated in a Chilean folk dance and explored the local nightlife.
By the end of the trip, we had not only a broader understanding of Chile and global business, but felt even more connected as a class!
-Keilani, Class of 2017
A core component of the Questrom Honors Program is commitment to community service and service learning. Honors Program members must complete 10 community service events (approximately 40 hours) prior to graduation.
The Honors Program Advisory Board organizes group community service events each semester and these volunteer opportunities are a chance for students to give back to their local environment while also spending time with their fellow Honors Program members!
Organizations that the Honors Program have volunteered with in the past include:
- Cradles to Crayons
- Room to Grow
- Fenway Clean-up
- Boston Bruins
- Ellen Gifford Cat Shelter
- Belle of the Ball
With approval from Honors Program advisor, Liz Katz, any Honors Program student can plan and lead a community service event in and around Boston. We encourage all members to do so at least once during their three years in the program!
To help focus the reflective aspect of this service requirement, students must complete a short reflection paper at the end of sophomore, junior, and senior year – with a different theme for each. This allows students to explore their areas of interest, examine what drew them to certain experiences, and consider how service learning shaped their BU experience.
“One of my favorite things about the Honors Program is the community that exists within the program and the friendships I’ve made with other members. A lot of my best friends are a part of the program.” – Nicole, Class of 2017
The Honors Program is a close-knit community that extends outside the classroom. Throughout the year, the Honors Advisory Board holds a variety of social events that foster inter and intra-class bonding. An annual welcome brunch, apple picking expedition, and ugly sweater party are just a few of the fun activities that bring students, alumni, and top faculty together in a close, casual environment.
Honors Program members frequently plan their own social gatherings as well, getting together for dinner, study sessions, Boston outings, and more. We encourage each class to get to know each other well as it makes for the best experience in the classroom and beyond.
Honors Program Leadership
|Honors Program Faculty Director
Professor Rachel Spooner
Rachel Spooner is a Senior Lecturer in the Markets, Public Policy and Law Department of Questrom School of Business at Boston University. Rachel has been teaching at Questrom since 2005. Rachel graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy Studies from Duke University, and received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. After clerking for the Honorable William C. Conner in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Rachel worked in the Trial Department of Goodwin Procter LLP for five years, working on commercial, securities, and bankruptcy litigation, as well as doing extensive pro bono work for prisoners, indigent criminal defendants, and on a death penalty case. Rachel teaches Business Law and Ethics courses for undergraduates and Executive MBA students at Questrom. She is the Coordinator for the law courses at Questrom, and the Faculty Liaison for the Business Law Concentration.
Rachel is very excited to begin as Faculty Director for Questrom’s Honors Program in June 2017. Her goal for all of her teaching is to inspire students to love learning throughout their lives. She lives in Wayland, Massachusetts with her husband Marc, her two children, Garrett and Kyra, and her two dogs, Zeus and Quincy. When she is not at work, Rachel is usually watching her children play basketball, soccer, or tennis, rooting on the Duke Blue Devils basketball team, or on her couch with a book and her dogs.
Questions? Email Rachel at email@example.com
|Honors Program Advisor
Liz Katz has been an Assistant Director in the Questrom Undergraduate Academic & Career Development Center since 2007 and the Questrom Honors Program Advisor since 2013. With a B.F.A. in Production Management for Theater and an Ed.M. in Higher Education from Boston University, this Massachusetts “South Shore” native has been at BU since 1999! She works closely with all Honors Program students to discuss everything from academic planning to hopes and dreams. Liz is also in charge of helping coordinate and approving all community service and social events. When not at work she loves spending time with friends and family, reading, and planning her next travel adventure.
Questions? Email Liz at firstname.lastname@example.org
|Assistant Dean for the Undergraduate Program
In her role as Assistant Dean for the Undergraduate Program, Rachel Reiser is an integral part of the leadership team that champions Honors and makes it possible – one of her very favorite aspects of her job at Questrom! She often can’t believe that she has worked in undergraduate business education for over 20 years! (That’s a lot of time for an Asian Studies major in college!) You can catch her — among her other less exciting responsibilities — getting to know students at Coffee & Conversation, her silly “pop-up” events, and just around Questrom in general. Occasionally she gets to do things aside from work, and a few of her favorites include reading, cooking, biking, and kayaking!
Questions? Email Dean Reiser at email@example.com
|Honors Program Advisory Board
The Honors Program Advisory Board is a group of Honors Program members who are involved in actively planning social and service events, leading new initiatives, and building the Honors community. Any Honors Program student may join the A-Board by simply emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and completing an application.