Students improvise after option is dropped

Adriana Olivarez

At one point, the department of business administration at CSUN offered an option of specialization in international business. About a year ago, however, the option was removed from the major. Some students who had already declared international business in their DARS were lucky enough to continue but others were left with no choice but to change their concentration option.

Polina Ivanova did not find out that the option of IB was removed until she applied for graduation. Ivanova, an international student from Bulgaria, was interested in studying business with the international option. She did everything she was told to by the counselors in the business department. She started taking the classes toward the major, not knowing the international option had already suspended.

She said she had no idea the option had been dropped, since the classes were still in the catalog and the teachers did not mention anything about it. Ivanova went to the counseling department and demanded an explanation. She was told that she could not complete this option since she had never declared in the beginning. Ivanova had completed nine units toward the international option but the department did not allow her to keep the option since it was not listed on her DARS. Nothing could be done, according to the department. She was told the decision was made based on the fact that the option was not specific enough.

“I was so frustrated and upset,” she said. She considered a change to another CSU offering that option, but she had already taken too many units to change. She has now been forced to change her option to management. Ivanova said she does not like studying business management as much as she liked international business, but she does not want to delay her graduation even more by taking prerequisites for other options. As an international student, she cannot waste her money by taking unnecessary classes.

Dr. Rafi Efrat, director of the international business program, said the decision of removing the option was made by the faculty and issues proposed by a budget cut. “Students needed to have a more solid base in business administration,” he said. The department has adopted an alternative certification in international business. In order to obtain this certification, however, a student must finish his or her bachelor’s degree and then take four extra courses.

The efforts and interest of some students initiated the revival of the International Business Association, which was initially created in 1996 but had since fallen into inactivity.

“We needed to start brand-new, (but) we took some of the ideas of the old association,” said Jessica Lettich, vice president.

She said that the idea of forming an association through which students who were interested in international business could learn more was exciting and challenging.

Lettich was able to keep the international business option as her concentration, though she said that she was also affected by the discontinuation of the option since some classes were removed from the curriculum completely and her options were limited.

This was one of the reasons she decided to restart the association.

Moiz Dadri, president of the association, was not able to declare the international option on time, but this fact did not discourage him from wanting to learn more about international business.

“Dr. Efrat was really supportive of our plans,” Dadri said. “He was really trying to keep the option open.”

Dadri said he believes the association will help students understand the practical aspect of international business, and said that having the extra certification that CSUN offers, along with his association involvement, will prepare him more than the international option would have.