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Cornerstone for Business

Many students are influenced by a culture that increasingly doubts the value that profitable businesses offer society. To address this trend, Daniels School students will begin their business school journey with a close study of transformative texts in which great thinkers have grappled with the history, philosophy, and economic theory of free-market capitalism. Cornerstone for Business offers incoming business students a customized first- year sequence that seeks to develop their communication and critical thinking skills while discussing classic texts on political economy, from Aristotle and Adam Smith to John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman. This unique collaboration with the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) is a pillar of the Daniels School's reimagined curriculum, providing a student-focused, pro-business pathway to fulfill university core curriculum requirements that will enhance critical thinking and communication skills for all business students. Cornerstone for Business builds students’ understanding of the past to better prepare them to lead in the future.


Cornerstone for Business provides students with a deeper understanding of the history of financial systems, markets, and national economies. The goal is to graduate future leaders of business and industry who can think critically and creatively, ask big questions, and grapple with the complexity of our world’s past, present, and future. Cornerstone for Business will become a model for business schools across the nation.


  • Enhance Critical Thinking: Encourage students to understand the comprehensive nature of business by studying its philosophical, historical, ethical, and economic underpinnings.
  • Business Communication Skills: Equip students with the ability to write, speak, and interact proficiently in business.
  • University Core Curriculum Alignment: Offer a business-centric pathway to meeting university core curriculum requirements.

Current Courses

These courses are capped at 30 students to maximize faculty mentorship, supporting first-year students early and throughout their Purdue career.

  • SCLA 101—Transformative Texts I: This course delves into the theoretical history of financial systems from antiquity to modernity. It emphasizes written communication, mentorship, and critical thinking. Key readings include works by Aristotle, John Locke, and Adam Smith. This course replaces the standard first-year composition course offered by the Department of English (ENGL 10600) in a business student’s core curriculum.
  • SCLA 102—Transformative Texts II: A continuation of SCLA 101, this course accentuates oral communication and examines more recent transformative texts on free markets. Authors studied include Keynes, Hayek, and Friedman. This course replaces the standard first-year fundamentals of speech communication course offered by the Brian Lamb School of Communication (COM 11400) in a business student’s core curriculum.