Program specializations

Learn how Gustavson's specializations prepare our students and alumni for a range of careeers.

The Gustavson School of Business BCom program gives students the opportunity to specialize in a high demand area of business. In Year 4 you will complete a specialization semester in Entrepreneurship, Service Management or International Business. Students can also choose to remain non-specialized.

Entrepreneurship

Gustavson’s Entrepreneurship specialization will help you develop the entrepreneurial mindset needed to start a new venture, grow an existing business or engage in a variety of entrepreneurship support careers such as accounting, consulting, law, and venture capital. We view entrepreneurship as the creation of new value: economic, social and environmental, and entrepreneurs as people who create new value in a variety of for-profit and social contexts. All students identify and research a new business opportunity, but complete the program in one of two self-determined streams: investor ready or consulting.

Skills and expertise

We help learners identify their passions, develop expertise, practice key skills and critical thinking and develop strategies for attaining expertise. Specific skills include:

  • Identifying and evaluating opportunity
  • Assessing risks
  • Creating business model canvas
  • Testing key assumptions
  • Creating value propositions
  • Selecting founding team members
  • Leading and motivating employees
  • Creating financial forecasts
  • Valuating businesses

Hear what our students have to say about it! 

"What drew me most to the Entrepreneurship specialization was that it was a chance to invent yourself and try something new and take risks. I was really interested to see how something that so many people have said can’t be learned – being an entrepreneur – could be turned into a course." Ally Smit, BCom '17

Experiential learning

The best way to become an expert entrepreneur is through deliberate practice. That is why the Entrepeneurship specialization is designed with a number of experiential learning opportunities, including an innovation project where students start and run a micro-venture. Custom skill building assignments are also built into the course, which allow you to tailor your learning to your specific venture or interests so you get what you need out of the program.

Possible careers include

  • Entrepreneur (serial, social, corporate, lifestyle)
  • Business development manager
  • Venture capital analyst or investor
  • New product development manager
  • Small business consultant

Coursework

Courses taught in the Entrepreneurship specialization are integrative and cohort-based (5 courses taught as one). Students in the Entrepreneurship specialization must take COM 400 alongside their Entrepreneurship module.

  • ENT 410 Venture Marketing Expertise
  • ENT 411 Venture Planning/Finance Expertise
  • ENT 412 Acquiring Expert Venture Cognitions
  • ENT 413 Portfolio Practicum

Contact Entepreneurship faculty champion, Brock Smith250-721-6070

International Business

An International Business specialization is your passport to a career in the global world of commerce. In our increasingly connected world, career success demands globally minded individuals with the skills to work effectively in cross-cultural contexts and across borders. The IB specialization challenges students to expand their horizons and helps them develop knowledge and skills that can open doors to a diverse range of careers.  

Skills and expertise

Students in the International Business specialization will develop global citizenship skills and abilities in:

  • Comparing and assessing international market opportunities
  • Identifying and developing strategies for competing internationally
  • Understanding how culture and other national differences shape business practices
  • Critical thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Intercultural awareness
  • Social engagement 
  • Collaboration

Hear what our students have to say about it!

"I feel like Gustavson’s International Business students stand out because organizations know that we’re able to understand cross-cultural contexts." Conor Doherty, BCom '17

Experiential learning

Students can gain valuable international experience via short-term study trips abroad, semester-long international exchanges or an international co-op work term. Students will also benefit from engaging with Gustavson’s diverse community of students, faculty and staff, who have direct experience living and working abroad.

Possible careers include

  • International sales and marketing
  • International trade (import/export)
  • International consulting
  • International banking and investment
  • International economics and development, including non-governmental organizations

Course work

Students in the International Business specialization must take COM 400 alongside their International Business module.

  • IB 415 Cross-National Management
  • IB 416 International Marketing
  • IB 417 International Finance
  • + International component (an acceptable international component is an international exchange term or an international work term or IB 418 (not offered every year) or other significant international experience (see a BCom Advisor for details)

Contact International Business faculty champion, Wade Danis250-853-3872

Service Management

Gustavson’s Service Management specialization is your entryway into a career of managing a service-oriented business. All businesses are service businesses. Our program builds your skills to be leaders of service businesses and manage people, processes, the physical environment and technology in order to deliver great customer and employee experiences, build customer loyalty and drive profit.

Skills and expertise

The service management specialization teaches you skills in:

  • Service blueprints
  • Service design
  • Gap analysis
  • Best practices in hiring, training and motivating staff
  • Tools for understanding how technology is changing service design and delivery

Hear what our students have to say about it!

"We’ve talked about service management from a healthcare perspective, we’ve talked about it from manufacturing and operational perspectives – it’s definitely so much more than hospitality. I’m grateful for having the opportunity to see and study the subject from those diverse perspectives." Tamika Rodney, BCom '18

Experiential learning

Collecting data in the field, analyzing it and developing recommendations based on service management principles gives you the practical experience you need to manage a service organization. The Service Management classroom is a laboratory where you will work on problems and develop solutions for real businesses. Practice will open your eyes to opportunities where you can deliver “wow” experiences to your customers.

Relationship management

Building valuable relationships with customers, employees and partner businesses is at the heart of successful organizations and the service management specialization. This is particularly important in accounting and finance organizations where the ability to manage and grow client relationships is what these professionals.

Possible careers include

  • Customer experience/marketing manager
  • Financial services professional: accounting, banking, investments
  • Human resources manager
  • Project manager
  • Quality manager

Course work

Students in the Service Management specialization must take COM 400 alongside their Service Management module.

  • SMGT 415 Customer Experience Management
  • SMGT 416 Service Operations and Quality Management
  • SMGT 417 Service Human Resource Management

Contact Service Management faculty champion, Steve Tax250-721-6417

Non-specialized option

Whether your future includes working in a small, medium or large company, or your goal is to be a generalist or a specialist, the non-specialized option provides you with a solid foundation in the knowledge and skills, including a global perspective and socially responsible mindset, which you will need to effectively meet the future's challenges.

The non-specialized option offers

  • A solid background in business fundamentals
  • The flexibility to focus on a range of career interests through a variety of upper-level business electives in:
    • Law
    • Operations
    • Sustainability
    • CPA (Chartered Professional Accountant) Professional Education Program prerequisites
  • A launchpad into an accounting or finance career. If you wish to pursue a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) or Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, the non-specialized option allows for additional accounting and finance courses. When you begin BCom core year, speak to a BCom advisor to plan these courses into your course sequence early.

Hear what our students have to say about it! 

"It really hit me in my third year that I wanted to pursue accounting. The non-specialized option gave me the flexibility to do the necessary pre-requisite courses for my CPA, and I think that’s why for anyone that wants to go into accounting or finance, the non-specialized option is best." Gabriel Silva Porto, BCom '17

Possible careers include:

  • Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA)
  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
  • Product management
  • Human resources management
  • Marketing management
  • Sustainability program coordinator

Course work

Students in the Non-specialized option must complete 12.0 units of upper-level commerce electives.