Students talk with Marketing faculty members about the marketing program

CBE Launches “Meet the Majors” Series

This fall, Student Academic and Career Services (SACS) in the College of Business and Economics (CBE) will host three “Meet the Majors” sessions as an opportunity for students to learn more about all of CBE majors and academic program offerings.

Geared toward freshmen and sophomores but open to all students, the Meet the Majors series will give students the opportunity to talk with current students of the major, ask questions of faculty members, and learn more about the majors’ courses and projected career outcomes.

The schedule for the Fall 2023 Meet the Majors series includes:

  • Thursday, 10/5: Meet the Majors: Accounting and Finance
  • Tuesday, 10/24: Meet the Majors: Economics and BATM
  • Tuesday, 10/31: Meet the Majors: Marketing and Management

Each session will take place in the hallway outside the Dean’s Office (ST218) in Stephens Hall between 12pm and 1:30pm.

These informal sessions are a great opportunity for students to get a sense of what the majors are like to help them make decisions on which major to pursue. Professional development partners (PDPs), faculty members, and current students in the major will be on site to provide guidance and answer questions.

Questions? Contact Meghan Behm at

Capitol Hill Building in Washington DC with Vintage Filter

The debt ceiling hullabaloo: catastrophe averted, or much ado about nothing?

A Modern Monetary Theory Perspective

by Dr. Shantanu Bagchi, Associate Professor of Economics at Towson University

“I am sorry sir, but your card was declined because of insufficient funds,” says the customer service representative on the other end of the line. “Please contact your bank and pay off some of your balance, and then place a new order.” Then, with a customary “thanks for your business,” the line goes dead. You are simultaneously furious and stressed out: what other charges are going to get declined? How did you manage to lose track of your credit card balance? As these thoughts swirl around in your mind, through the corner of your eye, you see news breaking on TV: “President Biden and Speaker McCarthy reach deal to increase debt ceiling and avert a U.S. default.”

For countless American households, making ends meet has been a challenge in the post-COVID economy. Rising food and gas prices and sticky wages have left many of us wondering how to square the two pieces of our personal budgets: earnings and spendings. Some have been able to tap their past savings (excess earnings over spendings) to pool over these difficult times, but many have had to resort to borrowing (excess spendings over earnings). And many have been forced to cut their spending to stay within their borrowing limits. With all this going on, how many of us have seen a news headline like that and not felt burned: how is it that the public must live on tight budgets because no one will lend them any more money, but the federal government can just increase its debt ceiling and avoid default?

In general, the American public has believed in the principle that government debt should work much the same way as household debt (barring differences in default risk), a belief that can perhaps be traced back to the idea of “Ricardian Equivalence.” This idea, named after David Ricardo, the great British political economist of the early nineteenth century, avers that if everyone plays by the rules of credit markets, households will know that government tax cuts today will have to be financed through increased borrowing today. This increased borrowing, in turn, will need higher future taxes to pay off the accrued debt. Therefore, if the government racks up larger and larger deficits over time, it will take larger and larger future taxes to pay off the accrued debt.[1] So, if we are to spare future generations from having to pay these higher taxes, we must somehow limit the government’s ability to borrow money.

On the face of it this argument makes a lot of sense, but there is really no way to square it with reality: Congress has revised the debt ceiling 78 times since the 1960s. It turns out that the key fallacy in this argument is that it applies concepts from personal finance (i.e. households’ budgets) to evaluate public finance (i.e. the government’s budget). The two are similar only so far that the word “finance” appears in both. For households’ budgets (or personal finance), earnings typically happen before expenditures are made. Our decisions regarding which restaurants to eat at, which summer camps to send our kids to, and which coupons to use for which prescription drugs usually happen after we have some idea of our earnings. If unexpected things happen, we respond by engaging in short-term borrowing, such as temporarily running a credit card balance, or by breathing a sigh of relief that we were able to put some money away as savings. For the government’s budget (or public finance), the timing structure is very different. Roads and bridges must be built, the military must be hired, equipped, and trained, and social insurance payments must be made before the money needed to pay for them has been secured. In other words, unlike our personal budgets, earnings usually trail expenditures in the government’s budget.

Professor poses in front of dry-erase board with figures on it
Dr. Shantanu Bagchi is associate professor in the Department of Economics at Towson University. His areas of expertise include public economics, macroeconomics and mathematical economics.

The government’s ability to do things in the exact reverse order from the public is by no means an anomaly; it is by design. And the key to this design is the federal government’s unique position in the financial system: its ability to issue IOUs of dollars, and its ability to issue the very dollars that will be used to pay off those IOU’s. This insight is the foundation of a new philosophy on monetary policy in a modern capitalist economy: the Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). The basic premise of MMT is that in a world with low interest rates, loans are effectively free, so the federal government can choose to manipulate its debt however it may see appropriate.[2] And even though this idea may sound outlandish, politicians on both sides of the aisle understand this very well: over the last few decades, they have repeatedly revised the federal debt ceiling to avoid “default.”[3] In fact, from an MMT perspective, the federal government’s debt is not even a real thing, so “default” is not even a meaningful idea.

Unfortunately, the American public does not have the luxury to manipulate our personal debt, because no financial institution will give us loans in dollars and allow us to pay them back with something other than dollars. If they did, none of us would ever end up with insufficient funds to make our purchases. The bottom line: using concepts from our personal finance to understand the Federal government’s finances is a misguided endeavor, and all this cacophony about the federal’s government’s debt ceiling and possible “default” is nothing more than sensational TV.

This article represents solely the opinions of its author. This article is part of the college’s The Exchange series which offers readers in-depth articles and op-eds written by our faculty with fresh perspectives and innovative ideas related to business, the global economy and society.


[1] In macroeconomics, debt is a “stock” variable, which is essentially a cumulative measure of deficits, which is a “flow” variable.

[2] Most industrialized economies of the world have experienced persistently low interest rates at least since the 1980’s, until the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.


CBE’s MentHER Program Hosts Pitch the Purse Event

Is it possible to make a purse out of scraps? For the creative students in the MentHER group, it is. 

Purses made by Lansdowne High School students using various materials such as boxes, fabric scraps, and egg cartons. 

This semester, MentHER hosted Lansdowne High School at the Sandbox in Hawkins Hall for a “Pitch the Purse” event. Using recycled items such as egg cartons, fabric scraps, and ribbon, students were tasked to construct a purse as well as the contents inside. Students were given an hour to design, construct, and pitch their purse to the group. After the pitch, students received feedback on how to improve their business acumen going forward. 

“MentHER provided us a space at “Pitch the Purse to guide and collaborate with women with a fun project but also observe their impressive business knowledge as high school students,” shared project management & business analysis student Sadie Barrett. 

The Pitch the Purse event aimed to instill teamwork, innovative thinking, collaboration, and confidence in the students through providing unusual materials and minimal directions. By doing so, students had the opportunity to push themselves in a real-world simulation of the creation and pitching process. Pitch the Purse embraces the idea that failing forward can bring the best innovation. 

Students working together to pitch their purse to the rest of the group.

Lansdowne High School students extended these ideas during the event. Students made quick decisions and bartered for better materials, building business confidence, and overcoming stereotypes of women in business being “bossy” in the workplace by expressing themselves. Students also expressed great teamwork, as they not only worked together on the creation of the purses but opted to all pitch take turns while pitching their ideas, building upon their collaboration and public speaking skills. 

MentHER is a “lift as you rise” program that combines networking and mentorship opportunities among women to support the growth, education, and empowerment of College of Business & Economics students and high school students in the Baltimore area. The program works to connect professional businesswomen with 1:1 mentoring relationships with CBE students, who in turn mentor students at Lansdowne High School. 

During this event, CBE MentHER members were on hand to give guidance and support to the Lansdowne High School students. MentHER members offered their leadership to the high school students to help them gain the confidence to take on the task themselves, despite the time constraints and minimal direction. 

“I feel that the event served as a great opportunity to get a feel for “hands off” leadership as it related to teamwork because, while I played a supporting role in the activity, it was really the high school students who made most of the decisions on how they wanted to design their purse and what they wanted their pitch for it to be” explains Jeannie Rowe, a human resource management student in CBE. 

Pitch the Purse aimed to teach innovative thinking, collaboration, and confidence. This bag made by Lansdowne High School students was made with a box and string. 

MentHER empowers women by providing mentoring in financial literacy, career planning, and life and workplace skills. The MentHER program also builds college and career readiness by bringing Lansdowne High School students to the TU campus and gives them access to college facilities. “MentHER openly talks about advantages and disadvantages of being a woman in the workplace, so it is important for us to work together, and know that we can support each other,” said Chloe Gladson, a marketing concentration student. 

MentHER continues to impact women within multiple stages of their lives to gain the business skills and confidence they will need to further their careers. MentHER gives women a space that they do not normally receive in the business world and allows them to expand their knowledge and future careers in an area where they are not commonly in power. As described by Rowe, “the program not only allows young adult women to inspire women younger than them, but it also allows for young women to be inspired by and develop professional relationships with women in the business world.”

CBE Announces New Master’s Program in Economic Analytics

The College of Business and Economics is proud to announce the approval of a new M.S. in Economic Analytics at Towson University. In this master’s program, students will use economic theory, econometrics and data science to understand how laws, policies, and other interventions impact people’s lives. The program will soft launch  in Fall 2023, allowing current Towson University undergrads to take courses in the master’s program as part of an accelerated bachelor’s to master’s program. The full launch will take place in Fall 2024, with applications opening September 15, 2023, at which point anyone will have the opportunity to apply for the program, including international students. 

Dr. Finn Christensen, professor in the Economics Department and the program director, took the lead in bringing the program to fruition, with the support of Dr. Melissa Groves and Dr. Herbert Zhao. TU’s program differs from those offered by other universities in the region. “Our economics program is the first in the area to combine data science and econometrics as part of the standard curriculum,” Dr. Christensen said.“The program can be completed in 16 months whereas most programs in the area are 2-year programs.”

The program will not only present opportunities for students in the area, but also faculty. While existing faculty can teach all the courses in the program, this will take them away from existing responsibilities, so up to two new professors will be hired to fill the gap.

It will take students up to 16-months to complete the 33 credit hours required to graduate from the program. The content will focus on applied microeconomics, with an emphasis on data analysis. The program will be offered face-to-face and full-time attendance is optimal – however, the program can be completed on a part-time basis. Students who have recently graduated with an undergraduate degree are encouraged to consider the new program, particularly those in majors such as Economics, Business Administration, Accounting, or any quantitative major such as computer science, math or physics. Students will acquire job-relevant skills such as Stata, R, and Python without needing prior knowledge in the topics. Mid-career professionals and those seeking to later complete a Ph.D. in economics or a related field are welcome. The career prospects upon graduation include roles as a data analyst, an economist, or a statistician. These positions are well paid with average salaries in excess of $80K and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported median pay in 2019 for those with a masters degree in Economics of $105,020. Due to the fact the program is a STEM-designated degree, students on an F-1 visa will be eligible for up to 3 years of OPT after graduation through the STEM OPT extension. For domestic students, this designation signals rigorous preparation to potential employers.

We’re very excited to provide students with the opportunity to earn a STEM designated MS degree in Economic Analytics at TU,”  said Dr. Judy Harris, Interim Dean in the College of Business and Economics. “This is a growing field and with hands-on application of data analysis techniques like the modeling of big data and machine learning, graduates will be well suited to meet the evolving needs of employers in the region.”

BATM Junior Becomes First TU Student to Pass the Expert Level Exam in Excel

Jeremy Hotchkiss, a Business Systems & Processes and Investments Major, is set to graduate with both an Associate and Expert level certification in Excel

As a junior Business Systems & Processes major, Jeremy Hotchkiss took the Associate Level Exam in Excel – a requirement for the program. After passing this exam with flying colors, Hotchkiss decided to take his knowledge in Excel a step further and sit for the Expert Level Exam. Hotchkiss aced the exam with a perfect score of 1,000. Hotchkiss’ success not only highlights his tremendous work ethic but earns him the honor of being the first Towson University student to graduate with both an Associate and Expert level certification for the spreadsheet system.

Microsoft Office offers two exams for those looking to get certified in the program: the Associate Level Exam and the Expert Level Exam. While the Associate Level Exam in Excel focuses on measuring competency in creating and managing Excel worksheets, the Expert Level Exam focuses on managing professional spreadsheets to enhance productivity and meet project needs in a workplace setting. As Hotchkiss is expected to graduate in winter 2024 with his degree in business systems & processes and investments, it is crucial to understand how to implement Excel within the workplace.

“By earning an Expert Level certification, Jeremy has demonstrated to all prospective employers that he has a unique set of analytical skills and capabilities,” says professor Lynnwood Cook of the Department of Business Analytics & Technology Management. “His future employer will also be pleased to learn that he scored a perfect score on the exam.”

When asked how these exams have prepared him for his future career, Hotchkiss emphasized having confidence in the tools of the program. “This exam will have provided me the knowledge and know-how to give me a better footing when it comes to database and data analysis,” he said.

Hotchkiss was able to reach this milestone through consistent studying and practice, such as completing practice tests provided by GMetrix, a certification preparation resource. “Once I had covered that, I went back to the concept sheet that laid out the potential concepts that were going to be covered on the exam,” Hotchkiss said.

Prior to Hotchkiss’ success with the Expert Level Exam, he also passed the MOS Certification Exam, exceeding the benchmark of 950 with a score of 962. Due to this achievement, the total cost of Hotchkiss’ participation in the Expert Level exam, including his GMetrix training materials, was funded by Certiport, a certification exam provider dedicated to helping people succeed through certification.

For students who are considering taking the Expert Level Exam in Excel, Hotchkiss emphasizes the importance of having a thorough and comprehensive understanding of the concepts in the Associate Level Exam, along with the new content of the Expert Level Exam.

“About a third of the Expert Exam version I completed contained concepts from the Associate Level exam. Future Excel Exam test takers should study the concepts in depth. The rest of the exam was completely new stuff that the Associate level did not cover,” said Hotchkiss.

Through this endeavor, Hotchkiss expanded his knowledge of Excel and prepared himself for a successful future. “Although Excel isn’t the most exciting subject, taking this exam opened my eyes to many new functions and such that I never knew Excel could complete or run.”

This achievement not only highlights Hotchkiss’ talents, but also opens the door to other students within the College of Business & Economics to consider going beyond the Associate Level Exam and aim for additional certifications that could set them apart from the pack when applying for jobs in their desired fields.

“Excel is a powerful tool for data visualization and data analytics,” said Dr. Chaodong Han, the chair of the Department of Business Analytics & Technology. “Students graduating with Excel proficiency and certification will gain a clear edge in a competitive job market.”

The College of Business & Economics celebrates Hotchkiss’ success and the opportunities these certifications will give Hotchkiss in his future career.