Annie (left) and Mary Karsten are Business Scholars at Concordia University Wisconsin. They will earn their undergraduate and MBA in four years.

For committed students who are interested in studying business with a high emphasis on ethics, Concordia University Wisconsin offers a unique program that provides selected incoming freshmen an opportunity to earn their bachelor's and master's degrees in business administration in four years instead of the six or more it would otherwise take—and they get to do it for the price of just one degree.

Established in 2003, the Business Scholars program was created by the Batterman School of Business to attract and challenge high-achieving students who might not have otherwise considered Concordia for their undergraduate degree. Each year, 10 to 15 applicants are accepted into the program based on their grade point average and college entrance exam scores. To be eligible to apply, students must earn a minimum GPA of 3.5 and a minimum ACT score of 25.

Last month, CUW hosted its inaugural Business Scholars induction ceremony where all past and present Business Scholars received an official jacket and recited the Business Scholars Association oath that covenants them to a higher standard of accountability and responsibility.

Concordia holds its inaugural Business Scholars Coating Ceremony.

Mary and Annie Karsten were among the participants. The sisters are scheduled to graduate in May with their undergraduate and MBA degrees, and they admit they might not have made it through without the faith and support of the Concordia community.

While the reward of the program is sweet (Business Scholars could graduate with both their bachelor’s degree and their MBA by the age of 21) the path to get there is quite rigorous. These elite student scholars are required to maintain a 3.5 GPA and complete internships related to both their undergrad and graduate degrees. This is only possible by maintaining a year-round course schedule of full academic loads averaging at least 18 credits.

“As much as these have been the best years, they’ve also been the hardest four years that I will hopefully ever go through,” says Mary. “I don’t know what we would have done through the hills and valleys without the guidance of our professors. Because of them, I am prepared and confidant for whatever opportunity God leads me to.”

Annie agrees. “The intellectual grounding that I received here got me ready both in the classroom and in my field experience; it was a very holistic approach.”

Both Mary and Annie took on extensive internships during their four years at Concordia, working for organizations including Johnson Controls, Miller Corps, Gateway Plastics, Make-A-Wish, and Victims of Communism Memorial, Charles Koch Institute.

Upon graduation, Mary plans to pursue a career in business marketing and Annie intends to work in politics.

Click here for more information about the Batterman School of Business and the Business Scholars Association.

— This story is written by Kali Thiel, director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at or 262-243-2149.

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