From the Dean’s Desk: Sy Syms by the Numbers, 2021 Edition

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From the Dean’s Desk

Sy Syms by the Numbers, 2021 Edition

“Ki Tavo” (“when you enter/come”) is the name of this past week’s Torah portion.  This time of year, our weekly Torah portions have been progressively building excitement for the entry of the Jews into the Land of Israel. We have been experiencing week after week of Moshe Rabbeinu preparing everyone psychologically and physically for that transition.

On a much smaller scale, for the last three months we have all been building toward our own “Ki Tavo”: our entry to campus and to in-person classes and activities, paying close attention to both the psychological and the physical while watching how the “dimmer switch” might have to adjust to any new developments.

Thank you to all the students, faculty, and staff who were so instrumental in that preparation!

It was delightful to see our students on campus, in my offices on both campuses, and in the Beis Medrash last week. That was even true at the campus Dunkin Donuts, where I ran into three excited second-year students who couldn’t wait to be in-person with their faculty members and classmates after being online last year. That has been the most recurring theme across my conversations here.


Three men on the Wilf Campus


Before the Spring semester, I gave you a glimpse of Sy Syms in our 4-minute “State of Sy Syms 2021” animation. As we launch the Fall semester, I would like to tap some fresh data to give you a quantitative glimpse of the school.

We’ll focus here on the undergraduate program. In an upcoming newsletter, we’ll delve into the exciting new graduate programs we will be introducing next week that our faculty have built from scratch for the post-Covid era: a new MBA program, the Mitzner MS degree in Real Estate, and a completely redesigned MS in Accounting.



As shown in the graph below, over the last two years, we have seen interesting shifts in the interests of our students:

  • In a school that was long known as an Accounting powerhouse, Finance has become the largest major overall.
  • Strategy & Entrepreneurship (what used to be called “Management”) was our fastest-growing major this past year.
  • Business Analytics is our smallest major. However, our Principles courses that are required of all students include three business-analytics courses, which gives all students a solid foundation in business analytics regardless of eventual major. (Accounting has two required Principles courses, and otherwise all of the other departments have one required course.)



Other important data tidbits:

  • Women vs. men – Demographically, in Spring 2017, Sy Syms was 21.9% women. In Spring 2021, we were up to 24.0% women.
  • Women’s majors – At the women’s campus, of those graduating in Spring 2021 the three largest majors were Marketing, then Strategy & Entrepreneurship, then Finance.
  • Honors Program – On average over the last three years, 230 undergraduate students have graduated from Sy Syms each year. Of those, an average of 28 completed all requirements of the Honors Program.


“Duals”: Double Majors and Major+Minor

Students’ abilities to get great jobs and have impactful careers can be enhanced by developing more than one pillar for their careers. (Data from the Fed is described here.) For instance, they can take more advantage of everything YU has to offer by double majoring or by complementing a major with a minor.

Since 2019, we have emphasized bringing this message to every student who can benefit from it. For instance, we created a one-page FAQ to convey this and the message that by tapping our Academic Advisors to plan their course schedules, students can “dual” without adding much (or any) time to college.

Fresh data suggest that many students are getting that message. After starting from a baseline of 52% of students who dualed in 2018, the percentage has steadily risen to 60% now. This includes the new Real Estate minor that we introduced last year, which debuted at number four on our list of Sy Syms minors and is expected to have strong growth again this year.

Beyond Sy Syms, we focus on creating “One YU” for students in which they can get the best education for themselves regardless of where it’s found at YU. Two years ago, the number of Syms students minoring in a discipline in Yeshiva College or Stern College for Women almost doubled, and it further increased slightly this past year.


Coming Soon: Data on Job Outcomes

The early data suggest that this might have also had an impact on our graduates’ job outcomes. Before COVID, we had achieved an enviable 94% placement rate of our graduates into jobs or graduate school. When Covid hit, we expected that to plunge. However, the early data on job outcomes for the Class of 2021 were quite strong, indicating that a full 90% had placed into a job or graduate school despite the pandemic. When the final six-months-later data come out, I look forward to sharing it with you.


Another taste of Sy Syms, for your reading and listening pleasure:

  • Marketing department chair Dr. Tamar Avnet’s new “On the Clock” columns for Psychology Today, including topics like “Why Keeping Time Might Prevent You From Being Happy,” “Would Eliminating Time Limits Reduce Test Anxiety?” and “Living in a Chaotic World: Mask-Wearing and Vaccination.”
  • Marketing professor Dr. Travis Oh’s new “The Pursuit of Fun” columns for Psychology Today, including topics like “What Is the Underlying Psychology of Having Fun?” and “Why Is It So Fun to Watch the Olympics?”
  • YU team wins TAMID’s international case competition, out of more than 60 top universities. (Kudos to Avi Fried, Josh Weinstein, Kayla Tarlow, Liana Seidenfeld, and Yehuda Benhamu, plus Meir Tolchin.)
  • Fragile integrity, or amazing Hakarat Hatov?” (15 minutes on Dean Noam Wasserman’s “Opening Shiur” Siyum on Sanhedrin from the night before school started.


Dr. Noam Wasserman